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My all time favorite dog books. In no particular order

DUMP DOG – BY SILVIA JAY – is, of course, one of my favorite dog-books. It is mine; it is personal; and it is a great book.

BONES WOULD RAIN FROM THE SKY – BY SUZANNE CLOTHIER – a dog book I pick up over and over again. Suzanne is the real deal when it comes to mindful leadership and respectful treatment. In my opinion Bones is the best human/dog relationship book.

THE OTHER END OF THE LEASH – BY DR PATRICIA MCCONNELL – Patricia McConnell is an ethologist and fuses science and relationship in her dog books. In the Other End… she shares her insights into primal and canine behaviors and how the intrinsic species’ differences can lead to miscommunication and behavior problems.

I had the pleasure to meet Suzanne Clothier and Dr.McConnell. Not only are their dog books excellent, but they apply what they write. To watch them work with problem dogs is inspirational. That congruity between the written word and hands-on demonstration is sadly not the case with every trainer/author.

STRESS IN DOGS – BY MARTINA SCHOLZ AND CLARISSA VON REINHARDT – a dog book that was originally published in Germany. The authors explain that stress in dogs exists, what causes it, the physiological and behavioral consequences and document all that with surveys and studies.

My all time favorite dog books. In no particular order

IF DOGS COULD TALK – BY VILMOS CSANYL – another relationship dog book authored by a pet dog owner and scientist. A great book about dog behavior, the dog brain and canine cognitive ability. The statements made are backed up with interesting studies and observations.

Both dog books, unlike most North American ones, deal with intact, not neutered dogs. That makes them especially interesting for North American readers and dog owners, that are under the impression that it is difficult, if not impossible, to live with a hormonally balanced pet.

CONTROL UNLEASHED – BY LESLIE MC DEVITT – even though this dog book geared towards the agility competitor, it is a worthwhile read for every dog owner. Truly positive, it explains in easy to comprehend ways how to shape desirable behaviors and change reactive dogs’ minds about environmental triggers. One of the best How-To dog books that deals with the real world – rescue dogs that might have issues, not the perfect pick of the litter breeder’s pooch.

CANINE NEUROPSYCHOLOGY – BY JAMES O’HEARE PH.D. – an excellent, easy to understand dog book that explains dogs’ brain structure, hormones and neurotransmitters. There is a chapter dedicated to solutions for hyper/stressed/reactive dogs that includes diet and medication. O’Heare makes it clear that behavior problems can have a real physiological cause.

THE HIDDEN LIFE OF DOGS AND THE SOCIAL LIFE OF DOGS – BY ELIZABETH MARSHALL THOMAS – two, almost legendary relationship dog books. What would dogs be like if not controlled by humans? How do they mate, raise offspring, form social bonds if not coerced and forced by their people into artificial obedience? What do dogs want? All these topics and much more are addressed in Thomas’ dog books. I love them.

I also enjoy, each Advent, Thomas’ dog Christmas story: Certain Poor Shepherds.

DOG LANGUAGE – BY ROGER ABRANTES – probably the best dog book that illustrates dog language and dog communication. If you want to know what your pooch is sayin’ – that’s the book to get.

Most of these dog books, and many more, are available at:

FOUR BEST SELLING DOG BOOKS THAT I, DESPITE THEIR POPULARITY, DID NOT ENJOY THAT MUCH.


CESAR’S WAY AND LEADER OF THE PACK – BY CESAR MILLAN – I’m happy that I am not one of Millan’s dogs. His methods set dog training back some 40 years. The parallels he draws between wolves and dogs are outdated and disputed by scientific studies. Dogs treated like that may seem obedient, but are often shut-down because of fear or, after a six hour workout, simply exhausted. Pet dog owners that follow his advice end up with a superficially well behaved dog at the high price of missing out on a wonderful relationship they could have – one that is based on cooperation and voluntary compliance.

MARLEY AND ME – BY JOHN GROGAN – okay, I laughed! I did enjoy Grogan’s account of the worlds worst dog and also commend him for hanging in there. Many dogs like Marley end up at shelters. The Grogans loved him and included him in the family. What I missed was the fact that the training methods were neither positive, nor was positive reinforcement training considered.

MERLE’S DOOR – BY TED KERASOTE - another dog book I actually enjoyed to read. It is an ode to the dog, brilliantly written and a documents a seemingly reciprocative, wonderful relationship that is almost Disneyish. The reason why the book did not make it into my top ten list is because the primal, prehistoric maleness and wolfness did not resonate with me. I also disagree with some of Kerasote’s conclusions about canine origin/behavior and body language. And, the fact, that the author resorted to a shock collar to solve a problem he had with his always well behaved dog did not sit well with me. Resorting to such punishment with a dog who was so agreeable in every other way made the book, that describes a true and deep human dog partnership and friendship, less believable for me.