The best books on parenting from a dog behaviourist

Nigel Reed Author Of The Dog Guardian: Your Guide to a Happy, Well-Behaved Dog
By Nigel Reed

Who am I?

As a dog behaviourist and parent, I realised there’s a huge crossover between raising dogs and children. We must alike create an environment they thrive and can learn in. We must fulfill their needs by nurturing, feeding & protecting them. We must listen to their concerns and build their confidence whilst simultaneously being an authority figure that sets boundaries. To do this I don’t believe there is one correct way for every dog or child. For that reason, I am very open-minded to each individual’s perspective as I believe you can learn something from everyone. From the research, I have done I present my 5 best books on parenting.

I wrote...

The Dog Guardian: Your Guide to a Happy, Well-Behaved Dog

By Nigel Reed,

Book cover of The Dog Guardian: Your Guide to a Happy, Well-Behaved Dog

What is my book about?

The Dog Guardian: Your guide to a well-behaved dog book reveals vital information on why problem dog behaviour occurs, to address them at their core. The author Nigel Reed explains why emotional intelligence is key to bond successfully with our dogs.

The book begins by giving a backstory to how dogs originated. Nigel then lays out his holistic method to a happy well-behaved dog which consists of understanding the dog’s needs, language, emotional state, and how to perfect one's leadership approach. Lastly, it details how to deal with a range of common issues with the aid of case studies and access to detailed demonstrational videos. This information will empower dog guardians with the mental tools to understand their dogs on a deeper level.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers

Why did I love this book?

The type of attachment people form with their dogs, parents, friends, etc. will impact the relationship in a profound way.  I vividly remember as a young person how my friends would influence the way I would dress, talk, feel, and so behave. The authors of the book describe this phenomenon as ‘pier attachment’ where children nowadays tend to look to their peers for guidance more so than their parents. This is a remarkable force that affects every child as they seek acceptance and direction from one another, which in turn can build their self-esteem or destroy it.  The book Hold on to Your Kids, explains how this attachment has come about, and what as parents, we can do about it.

By Gordon Neufeld, Gabor Maté,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hold on to Your Kids as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Mate's book will make you examine your behaviour in a new light' Guardian

'bold, wise and deeply moral. [Mate] is a healer to be cherished' Naomi Klein, author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine

Children take their lead from their friends: being 'cool' matters more than anything else. Shaping values, identity and codes of behaviour, peer groups are often far more influential than parents.

But this situation is far from natural, and it can be dangerous - it undermines family cohesion, interferes with healthy development, and fosters a hostile and sexualized youth culture. Children end up becoming conformist, anxious…

Book cover of French Children Don’t Throw Food

Why did I love this book?

I found French Children Don’t Throw Food funny and inspiring in equal measures. The author humorously describes the differences in French and Anglophone parenting styles in a self-deprecating style. It’s not an overly prescriptive book, rather it is mainly the author detailing her own personal experiences, as an American mother living in Paris. The author highlights her pain and struggles of getting her child to eat, relax, and be on its own, compared to French children who seem to, in general, do it all with minimum effort from their parents. It’s a fun, easy to read book, which has many interesting observations and research. I found the style of French parenting and general attitude mirrored some of my approaches with dogs.

By Pamela Druckerman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked French Children Don’t Throw Food as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Fascinating...gripping...extremely funny...I loved it. It made me want to move to Paris' - India Knight, Sunday Times

Do you want to learn the secrets of the parents of France's well-behaved children?

How come French babies sleep through the night?
Why do French children happily eat what is put in front of them?
How can French mothers chat to their friends while their children play quietly?

Parents are saying MERCI to Pamela Druckerman!

***** 'Our parenting bible'
***** 'You are not alone! ... Brilliantly funny and really helpful.'
***** 'Eye opening ... it has changed the way I view…

Book cover of The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us about the Relationship Between Parents and Children

Why did I love this book?

Alison Gopnik, author, mother, and child psychologist believes in creating an environment where children are left to play and figure things out for themselves to mentally develop, opposed to starting school from an early age, enrolling them in many activities, and giving them homework. Gopnik goes along with the Finnish style of parenting. She claims through metaphor that modern parents are akin to carpenters, trying to shape their children. Whereas if we act more like gardeners, we can nurture and allow out children to flourish. It’s an interesting perspective, and a good reminder not to overload our children and let them be kids. There are dog training approaches with the same school of thought that teach through games and abandon obedience training.

By Alison Gopnik,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In The Gardener and the Carpenter, Alison Gopnik, one of the world's leading child psychologists, illuminates the paradoxes of parenthood from a scientific perspective and shatters the myth of "good parenting".

Caring deeply about our children is part of what makes us human. Yet the thing we call “parenting” is a surprisingly new invention. In the past thirty years, the concept of parenting and the multibillion-dollar industry surrounding it have transformed child care into obsessive, controlling, and goal-oriented labor intended to create a particular kind of child and therefore a particular kind of adult.

In The Gardener and the Carpenter,…

Book cover of The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind

Why did I love this book?

This book provides 12 strategies to help your child be happier and promote healthy development. I particularly loved the way it enables both parents and children to learn more about their emotions together through analogies and graphics. As well as provide many strategies to limit disputes and overcome them. It has allowed me to address my child’s reactionary behaviour in times of stress and get her to pause then take an empathetic view of the situation. Learning lessons in thinking things through and developing self-control will pay dividends in the future. 

By Daniel J. Siegel, Tina Payne Bryson,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Whole-Brain Child as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this pioneering, practical book for parents, neuroscientist Daniel J. Siegel and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson explain the new science of how a child's brain is wired and how it matures. Different parts of a child's brain develop at different speeds and understanding these differences can help you turn any outburst, argument, or fear into a chance to integrate your child's brain and raise calmer, happier children.

Featuring clear explanations, age-appropriate strategies and illustrations that will help you explain these concepts to your child, The Whole-Brain Child will help your children to lead balanced, meaningful, and connected lives using…

Book cover of The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read: (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did)

Why did I love this book?

This book explores the bigger picture of a child’s well-being by examining the two ingredients of emotional intelligence: intrapersonal awareness (understanding yourself) and interpersonal awareness (understanding others). Parry doesn’t give the reader a set of strict techniques and rules to follow. Instead, it is more of a philosophy to develop a child’s emotional resilience by making them feel safe and valued. My main takeaways from the book were to be more present with my child, to question my own behaviour and reactions to her behaviours, to create a loving environment where my child’s feelings (no matter how trivial they may seem) would be validated, to create boundaries, and truly listen before replying. The lessons I learnt from the book will stay with me forever. 

By Philippa Perry,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


From the UK's favourite therapist, as seen on Channel 4's Grayson's Art Club.

'A wonderful book' Richard Osman

'So clear and true ... Helpful for all relationships in life' Nigella Lawson

'A fascinating read on the emotional baggage we all carry' Elizabeth Day

How can we have better relationships?

In this Sunday Times bestseller, leading psychotherapist Philippa Perry reveals the vital do's and don'ts of relationships. This is a book for us all. Whether you are interested in understanding how your upbringing has shaped you, looking to handle your child's feelings or wishing to…

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