The Top Books All Dog Owners Should Read

Personally, I love reading, but I’ve never really picked up any dog owner related books despite the fact that I’ve been a dog owner for so many years. For the past year, I’ve been investing my leisure time into reading dog owner related books and I’ve learned a lot. Everything ranging from learning how to communicate with my dog, understanding what my dog wants, and the best tips and tricks for taking good care of my dog.

In this article, I’ll go over some of the top books that all dog owners should read and the ones that I found extremely helpful.

Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know

The answers will surprise and delight you as Alexandra Horowitz, a cognitive scientist, explains how dogs perceive their daily worlds, each other, and that other quirky animal, the human. Horowitz introduces the reader to dogs’ perceptual and cognitive abilities and then draws a picture of what it might be like to be a dog. What’s it like to be able to smell not just every bit of open food in the house but also to smell sadness in humans, or even the passage of time? How does a tiny dog manage to play successfully with a Great Dane? What is it like to hear the bodily vibrations of insects or the hum of a fluorescent light? Why must a person on a bicycle be chased? What’s it like to use your mouth as a hand? In short, what is it like for a dog to experience life from two feet off the ground, amidst the smells of the sidewalk, gazing at our ankles or knees?

Inside of a Dog explains these things and much more. The answers can be surprising—once we set aside our natural inclination to anthropomorphize dogs. Inside of a Dog also contains up-to-the-minute research—on dogs’ detection of disease, the secrets of their tails, and their skill at reading our attention—that Horowitz puts into useful context.

Reaching the Animal Mind: Clicker Training and What It Teaches Us About All Animals

This book is a staple for so many dog trainers, it seems a little obvious to include it in this list. But there’s a reason it’s such a staple: it is a training approach that works, and that builds strong, trusting relationship between a person and a dog. Karen Pryor is the force behind the movement toward clicker training, a form of training that includes using a consistent sound (typically a clicker) plus a treat reward to shape a dog’s behavior. It takes positive reinforcement training to a new level by using the click-sound at the exact moment a dog is doing something right, so that the dog knows exactly the behavior you want to see. Over all, it helps dogs learn what we’re asking from them in a fraction of the time that other training methods usually take. This book explains the science and technique behind clicker training and teaches the reader how to use this method of training for their dogs.

Over all, it helps dogs learn what we’re asking from them in a fraction of the time that other training methods usually take. This book explains the science and technique behind clicker training and teaches the reader how to use this method of training for their dogs.

Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You A Better Friend to Your Pet

Another one of my all-time favorites. It might be helpful to learn all the scientific reasoning behind how wolves and dogs are different (and how we misunderstood wolves and their pack interactions for a very, very long time), why those “alpha dog” approaches aren’t the best way to relate to your dog (and in fact, can even cause more problems), and why alternate approaches like positive reinforcement and reading the body language of a dog as a dog and not a mini wolf do work. While it may use up a lot of space in the book, all that explanation of how dogs and wolves are different ultimately helps us to fully understand why using the “pack mentality” and dominance approach to how one deals with their dog is not appropriate or necessarily productive.

From explaining why positive reinforcement is a more effective (and less damaging) way to control dogs’ behavior than punishment to demonstrating the importance of weighing a dog’s unique personality against stereotypes about its breed, Bradshaw offers extraordinary insight into the question of how we really ought to treat our dogs.

Housetraining For Dummies

I’m normally not a fan of any type of books from “For dummies”, but this one does a good job explaining a lot of housetraining concepts.

Did you know that what you feed your dog can effect help or hinder the housetraining process? I for sure did not.

You’ll also find useful tips and techniques for creating environmentally safe cleaners from natural products found in the home and alternatives you can use if you have a sensitive pet.

  • Features the latest findings on how pet nutrition can influence housetraining success
  • Offers proven housetraining strategies
  • Introduces new methods for housetraining multiple pets at once
  • Reviews new housetraining equipment and products
  • Shows you how to make environmentally safe stain and odor removers from products already in your home
  • Susan McCullough is a columnist for Dog Fancy magazine and the author of several books including Beagles For Dummies and the award-winning Senior Dogs For Dummies

Housetraining can be a difficult and stressful process for both you and your puppy, adult, or senior dog. Housetraining For Dummies 2nd Edition is the resource you need to make it faster and easier for both of you.

Go Dog Go!

Man…this brings me back childhood memories! This is the book that got me started and interested in owning a dog. I use to beg my parents to buy me a dog because of this book.

It’s a simple story with small words and short sentences, perfect for teaching a kid to read. The story is basically about a variety of dogs who all go to a dog party in a tree at the end. Nice and easy for children and a fun bedtime book. If you’re starting a family of dog lovers, this is a great introduction.
Originally created by Dr. Seuss, Beginner Books encourage children to read all by themselves, with simple words and illustrations that give clues to their meaning.

Excellent book to get your kids into dogs in a humorous way.

The Dog Owner’s Manual: Operating Instructions, Troubleshooting Tips, and Advice on Lifetime Maintenance

This is my go-to manual for and my recommended book for any dog owner. It answers hundreds of questions like “why does my dog bark constantly,” “how do I get pet stains out of the carpet” and “what are the stages of puppyhood?” Keep this book on your coffee table. Chances are your dog-owning guests will read a few pages and want a copy of their own. It’s that adorably awesome!

Through step-by-step instructions and helpful schematic diagrams, The Dog Owner’s Manual explores hundreds of frequently asked questions: Which breeds interface best with children? How can I program my model to fetch? And why is its nose always wet? Whatever your concerns, you’ll find the answers right here—courtesy of celebrated veterinarian Dr. David Brunner and acclaimed author Sam Stall. Together, they provide plenty of useful advice for both new and experienced dog owners.


There are a lot of good books for dog owners out there, but these are our recommendations. If you know any other good ones, please list them in the comments below!

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