A couple of months ago, I posted the article Four Good Reads For Dog Lovers which contained a list of selections for canine enthusiasts. These additional titles are meant to compliment the list and maybe even replace the Cesar Millan suggestion based on recent animal abuse accusations. As stated previously, seek professional help before implementing any pet behavior modification techniques and consult a vet to ensure your pets aren’t presenting symptoms of a greater ailment.
1. Labrador: The Story of The World’s Favourite Dog by Ben Fogle
Labrador is half history half anecdotal data. Ben covers the basics in terms of breed origination and Kennel Club classification while threading in accounts of his experiences as the owner of a Lab named Inca. If you don’t mind the autobiographical or blogging-esque portion of the book, the read will benefit you. Many have complained the content needed better editing and it can feel repetitive at times but to me, the information was worth the hassle. By the end, the author shares pop culture items based on stories featuring this particular breed and provides good examples of content to sample in this area. Even with its limitations, this book is a great read for those who love labs and the people who adopt or foster them.
2. Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz
Written in a similar delivery to The Other End of the Leash, this book heavily concentrates on the behavioral analysis perspective of canids’ domestication. Redacted in a very academic and erudite style, the book has a lot of “big words” and unique observations about how dogs communicate and socialize within their own species and how they attempt to communicate with their masters. The science and history behind the evolution of our current best friend is well explained and by the end of the book you realize how we have become domesticated by these furry companions as well. If I hadn’t read the other book first, this one would have been a better fit for a first or only read: it contains all the information you need to understand, but not train, dogs as a species and subject worthy of study.
3. What The Dog Knows: Scent, Science and the Amazing Ways Dogs Perceive the World by Cat Warren
Cat Warren uses her experience training her dog Solo, a puppy born to a litter of one, to become a SAR – search and rescue – cadaver dog. Armed with her German Shepherd, a specimen possesing an exquisite nose and boisterous temperament, Warren enlists a cadre of specialist in the working dog and SAR world to shape Solo into the perfect volunteer; eager, quick with a work ethic enviable by most humans. The narrative was designed to intertwine history, scientific research and domestication lore with her accounts of the feats she and her trusty sidekick achieved while helping K9 units to solve missing persons cases and Southern historians’ missing remains cases. By the end of the book, you either want to train your canine companion for this kind of work or you will realize why they wouldn’t be a good fit. The insight provided is more for dog owners’ benefit, especially for those with difficult or unique dogs that need a job to beat boredome; finding them a calling us key to turning a canine troublemaker into a valued member of society. This book is an ideal gift for those who deal with or appreciate working dogs, military or otherwise. It opens your eyes to the beauty of the symbiotic relationship between canines and humankind.
4. The Dog Who Loved Too Much: Tales, Treatments and the Psychology of Dogs by Dr. Nicholas Dodman
By far, this is the best behavioral treatment book I have read in the bunch. Unlike other professionals in the field, Dr. Dodman refrains from making the book about his relationship with a particular dog he owns or adores and rather incorporates stories about his patient’s treatments. He enriches the dialogue by incorporating scientific studies, tests, evidence and behavioral adjustment plans under developement at the time of print (1996). I’m happy to report those techniques are widely employed to this day with great success! You will learn about dogs’ psyche and how human mental health research led to pharmacological advancements that resulted in medications that can been used to treat canines as well. After all, our brains function in similar ways governed by similar if not identical neurotransmitters and neuroreceptors. Our esteemed veterinarian provides insight into the cost and duration of behavioral therapy and explains how in some cases it may not be enough. No false hope is offered, only factual data. As most books do, he recommends owners to address problems early for better success and to always consult and seek professional help. A must read for dog owners of all breeds and age groups.