Millions of us share our lives with a dog. In fact, over forty percent of American households and over twenty percent of UK homes include a dog.
Most of the time we co-exist peacefully. Our dog’s versatility enables them to fit in with the rules and regulations that we set.
But are our expectations of what our dogs should and shouldn’t do realistic?
After all, our dogs have their own ideas of what is acceptable. Rolling on fox poo is perfectly okay in a dog’s view whereas it’s something that we find offensive.
In fact, our dogs do so well at adapting to our way of life that we often only question their behaviour when we disagree with it.
But any successful relationship has give and take. So, is there a way of better understanding our dogs so that we can meet them halfway?
Can we offer our dogs greater freedom to be a dog while still having a non-disruptive member of the family?
How Dogs Experience the World
As we learn more about our dogs and how they experience the world the better our relationships will be.
Scientific interest has grown significantly in the last few decades. With research suggesting that our dog’s emotional life is similar to that of a two-year-old child.
Which means that our dogs experience basic emotions such as happiness, sadness, relief, frustration and fear. All of which help our dogs learn about their surroundings.
As our knowledge grows, we can better interpret our dog’s behaviour and prevent conflict. Greater understanding can help our dog’s from using their last resort (teeth) to get us to understand what they are trying to tell us.
Best Dog Behaviour Books
Fortunately, you don’t need a degree in science to understand your dog. Some great books break down the basics of a dog’s behaviour and provide an entertaining read too.
There are thousands of books on dog training. But books that focus solely on behaviour that are not academic are more difficult to find.
So, we’ve rounded up what we think are the best and that grace our bookshelf.
Suzanne Clothier’s professional career with animals began in 1977. With a wide background of experience, she is well respected speaker, humanitarian and dog trainer. Her Relationship Centered Training (RCT) has been used in various dog related fields including therapy, Veterinary practice as well as many households.
Bones Would Rain from the Sky is easy to read, thoughtful and touching book. The pages encourage us, the reader to listen to, trust and deepen our relationships with our dogs improving our communication.
Clothier challenges us to see every ‘problem’ from our dog’s perspective. This dog’s eye view enables us to resolve issues quickly, without conflict and to both parties satisfaction.
Patricia McConnell is a Zoologist and Certified Applied Animal Behaviourist, (CAAB). A much sought after speaker, her commitment to improving the relationship between people and animals is in everything she does.
The Other End of the Leash is engaging and well written. McConnell weaves true stories throughout the book along with accessible scientific perspectives.
McConnell invites the reader to think about how their dog views their behaviour. The book offers valuable insight into why what we perceive to be bad behaviour is just a case of miscommunication.
Alexandra Horowitz is a scientist studying dog cognition. Teaching at Columbia University she heads the Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab which looks at various aspects of dog cognition such as,
- Effect of nosework on personality
- Olfactory discrimination
- An analysis of the “guilty look” of dogs
Inside of a dog includes the latest research in our understanding of dogs. How dogs detect disease, their skill at smelling our emotions and much more.
Horowitz provides an insight into our dog’s cognitive and perceptual abilities and then invites us to imagine what it’s like to be a dog.
Written by both a scientists and dog lovers point of view this book offers us a canine viewpoint that we rarely consider.
Bruce Fogle is a veterinarian, co-founder and vice-chairman of the charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People as well as a prolific author.
The Dog’s mind is detailed and at times technical. But with Fogle’s experience as a veterinary combined with scientific research makes it a worthwhile read.
The Dog’s mind is an invaluable resource if you are serious about gaining a better understanding of your dog’s behaviour.
He specialises in the use of brain imaging technologies to understand canine and human motivation and decision-making.
How dogs love us is a remarkable story of cooperation between man and dog. It offers us an insight into how our understanding of dogs develops not only through science but also by the interaction between ourselves and our doggy companions.
Best Dog Behaviour Books
We share a unique and extraordinary relationship with our dogs. Despite being different species, we have learned to live together.
Our peaceful cohabitation is much more to do with our dog’s skill in learning to live and understand our world than it has to do with our understanding theirs.
For most dog owners, the behaviour wants, needs and desires of our dogs goes mostly unnoticed. Until that is that we become aware of a behaviour that we don’t like.
If you want to develop a deeper bond with your dog, you need to be more dog. The above books give you a way of doing that.
By understanding what drives our dog’s behaviour, we can consider our dogs more often and improve our relationships.