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.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is readers supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

The Other End of the Leash

By Patricia McConnell,

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

Why 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.


The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

By David Wroblewski,

Book cover of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

Why 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. 


The Forever Dog

By Rodney Habib, Karen Shaw Becker,

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

Why 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.


The Art of Raising a Puppy

By Monks of New Skete,

Book cover of The Art of Raising a Puppy

Why 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!) 


The Art of Racing in the Rain

By Garth Stein,

Book cover of The Art of Racing in the Rain

Why 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.


Closely Related Book Lists

Distantly Related Book Lists