The best books to help you understand your dog

The Books I Picked & Why

Meet Your Dog: The Game-Changing Guide to Understanding Your Dog's Behavior

By Kim Brophey, Jason Hewitt

Meet Your Dog: The Game-Changing Guide to Understanding Your Dog's Behavior

Why this book?

This amazing book looks at what makes our dogs who they are. It details all the elements that go into making up an individual dog, including how the breed groups that exist in the dog species affect their behaviour. As someone who loves Border Collies, I am very aware they don’t suit every home, and this book explains the reasons why herding breeds (and the other groups) won’t suit every home perfectly. After reading this book, the differing needs of dog breeds are much clearer. Understanding the needs of dogs that come from their very genetics makes understanding the whole dog so much easier, and leads to a much happier life together.


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The Culture Clash: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding the Relationship Between Humans and Domestic Dogs

By Jean Donaldson

The Culture Clash: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding the Relationship Between Humans and Domestic Dogs

Why this book?

Reading The Culture Clash for the first time was one of the most eye-opening moments of my learning journey with dogs. A particular section asks the reader to imagine their life with an alien species whose language we cannot understand and who have completely different customs but expect us to fit in with their society and expectation. Seeing that idea expressed for the first time explaining how different our lives are to a natural dog world was a watershed experience for me, and started me on my quest to help people better understand their dogs.


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Canine Communication: The Language of a Species

By Sally Gutteridge, Dayle Smith

Canine Communication: The Language of a Species

Why this book?

I am incredibly fortunate to count Sally as a mentor and friend. Her understanding of dogs and their needs is wonderful and this book is one of the easiest to read references on interpreting canine body language that I have ever seen. Our dogs cannot speak to us so it is up to us to learn how to understand the communication they do offer and, importantly, to respect and heed it. This process of reading their communication signals and really listening to the dog goes a long way towards understanding their needs and creating the best possible lives together.


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Canine Confidential: Why Dogs Do What They Do

By Marc Bekoff

Canine Confidential: Why Dogs Do What They Do

Why this book?

Dogs do so many things that seem strange and even a little weird to us, but they are all perfectly natural and normal for the dog. This book explains the ‘why’ of many of the things our dogs do and contains lots of information to help us lead the best and most fulfilling lives with our dogs. What I really love about this book is the way it normalises the fact that dogs are emotional creatures – as is now scientifically proven – and helps us to understand what that means for our lives together.


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

By Patricia McConnell

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

Why this book?

Patricia McConnell’s book looks at the effects we have on our dogs – we are literally the other end of the leash. How we behave around our dogs and interact with them can have massive repercussions if we make the wrong choices or previously received the wrong information. There is a lot of outdated information and advice still in circulation, unfortunately, much of it by people with large audiences, but people like Patricia McConnell do an excellent job of explaining why those methods are risky and potentially damaging to our bonds and relationships with our dogs.


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