The best books about our deep bond with dogs

Rick Woodford Author Of Feed Your Best Friend Better: Easy, Nutritious Meals and Treats for Dogs
By Rick Woodford

Who am I?

When I adopted my first dog, Jackson, I felt a little intimidated by his exuberance. By reading books about animals (and human behavior) along with stories that showed the deep connection possible between humans and dogs, I was encouraged to dig deeper, try different techniques, and appreciate all aspects of Jackson’s personality. As we added more dogs to the pack and discover new challenges, I continued to seek out experts to help develop my relationship with my dogs and help them to live happier lives.  As somebody who does a great deal of research about dogs, I appreciate and share well-researched and well-presented materials from both non-fiction and fiction.

I wrote...

Feed Your Best Friend Better: Easy, Nutritious Meals and Treats for Dogs

By Rick Woodford,

Book cover of Feed Your Best Friend Better: Easy, Nutritious Meals and Treats for Dogs

What is my book about?

I wrote Feed Your Best Friend Better to provide readers with options from a few tasty and nutritious morsels directly off the cutting board to full meals and nutrition to their dogs. The inspiration behind the book was to provide the "Warm Nose Meals" section to assist dogs with serious ailments, something that I did when I operated my own dog food company. In the original edition, I also included easy meals with a variety of ingredients, recipes for homemade cookies, and treats you can share. 

With the expanded edition, I’ve included 20 additional grain-free recipes and expanded nutritional information for each recipe.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs

Why did I love this book?

Understanding your dog and getting your dog to understand you is a two-way street. Dr. McConnell shows us how our actions and behaviors are interpreted by our dogs and what we can do to make small shifts (or some big ones if needed) to improve communication. My first dog, Jackson, was a tough dog with a mind of his own and I initially blamed much of his behavior on being a bad dog. Using techniques from this book, I was able to understand my role better and after adapting, Jackson transformed from bad dog to my best friend.

By Patricia McConnell,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Other End of the Leash as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Learn to communicate with your dog—using their language
“Good reading for dog lovers and an immensely useful manual for dog owners.”—The Washington Post
An Applied Animal Behaviorist and dog trainer with more than twenty years’ experience, Dr. Patricia McConnell reveals a revolutionary new perspective on our relationship with dogs—sharing insights on how “man’s best friend” might interpret our behavior, as well as essential advice on how to interact with our four-legged friends in ways that bring out the best in them.
After all, humans and dogs are two entirely different species, each shaped by its individual evolutionary heritage. Quite simply,…

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

By David Wroblewski,

Book cover of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

Why did I love this book?

This is my favorite dog novel that I’ve ever read. I keep buying new copies and lending them to friends who apparently enjoy the book as well, since the books continue to circulate around. The story is a simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking tale about a family who breeds their own unique mélange of dogs and strives to keep them alive through a son who is mute but has a special method of communicating with dogs. 

By David Wroblewski,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Story of Edgar Sawtelle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A literary debut of stark and striking brilliance - a coming-of-age story, set in the remote wilderness of northern Wisconsin.

Born mute and able to communicate only by sign, the brilliant Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents Gar and Trudy. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a breed of dog whose thoughtful companionship is epitomised by Almondine, Edgar's lifelong companion. But when his beloved father mysteriously dies, Edgar blames himself, if only because his muteness left him unable to summon help. Grief-stricken and bewildered by his mother's desperate affair with her dead husband's brother, Edgar's…

Book cover of The Forever Dog: Surprising New Science to Help Your Canine Companion Live Younger, Healthier, and Longer

Why did I love this book?

After doing years of research into dog nutrition, I really appreciate well-researched books on dog health. The Forever Dog sold 150,000 copies in its first few weeks to pet parents who want to prolong the healthy life of their dogs. Rodney and Dr. Becker have long distilled the science down to the information you need to put into practice in practical steps. It’s a hefty tome that covers the basics of food, healthcare, and environmental protections we can provide to dogs to ensure they maintain their best years longer. This is now one of my favorite gifts to new pet owners.

By Rodney Habib, Karen Shaw Becker,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Forever Dog as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this pathbreaking guide, two of the world's most popular and trusted pet-care advocates reveal new science to teach us how to delay ageing and provide a long, happy, healthy life for our canine companions.

The #1 New York Times Bestseller and Sunday Times Bestseller 'Everyone who lives with dogs needs to read this book' ALEXANDRA HOROWITZ, author of Inside of a Dog and Our Dogs, Ourselves

Over the past few decades, many dogs have been getting sicker and dying prematurely. Why?

Rodney Habib and Dr Karen Shaw Becker have galvanized the best wisdom from top geneticists, microbiologists and longevity…

The Art of Raising a Puppy

By Monks of New Skete,

Book cover of The Art of Raising a Puppy

Why did I love this book?

Opportunity abounds with a new puppy, both a potential for brilliance and the possibility for troublesome behaviors. When I adopted my second dog, Raleigh, I wanted to be sure she learned from me rather than picked up her training tips from Jackson who was always a little mischievous. I studied this book for a month before Raleigh came home and heavily relied on the techniques and insight to help guide Raleigh into being an incredibly smart and obedient dog, while also allowing her the opportunity to be funny and playful. (Another book that tends to disappear when I lend it out!) 

By Monks of New Skete,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of Raising a Puppy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Everything you need to know about the crucial first months of your puppy's life. From the decision to adopt a puppy through the practical steps of choosing the right breed, preparing your home, caring for your new charge and practising basic obedience exercises, the Monks of New Skete offer clear, compassionate guidelines for raising a puppy.
Renowned for breeding German shepherds, the Monks train their own dogs according to a unique programme based on understanding canine behaviour and enhancing the bond between dog and owner. This communion begins in puppyhood and is based on deep respect and affection. Improper care,…

Book cover of The Art of Racing in the Rain

Why did I love this book?

There’s something about reading a ‘dog novel’ that makes me appreciate dogs even more, particularly when the story is told in the dog’s voice. I read this over a lazy weekend while lounging on the couch with my own dogs. While Enzo, the dog, may be more articulate than most dogs, being inside of his head as he narrated his story had me shaking with laughter and grabbing for a box of Kleenex. This book gets you thinking about what your own dog's funny and heartwarming narrative might be all while being a very enjoyable read.

By Garth Stein,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Art of Racing in the Rain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Soon to be a major motion picture, this heart-warming and inspirational tale follows Enzo, a loyal family dog, tells the story of his human family, how they nearly fell apart, and what he did to bring them back together.

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: he thinks and feels in nearly human ways. He has educated himself by watching extensive television, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo realizes that racing is a metaphor: that by applying the techniques a driver would apply on…

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