Top 5 Reference Books For Dog Owners


Books for Dog OwnersWhilst many of us opt for a quick search engine over a reference book these days as a quick fix for those niggling questions like ‘Who won Crufts in 2005?’, there are definitely times when a good book, written by a knowledgeable expert is the preferred option. Detailed issues regarding dogs require the right kind of approach, which isn’t always covered by a quick Google. Here are our top five books for responsible dog owners that cover everything from nutrition to behaviour.

  1. Total Recall – Pippa Mattinson – The author is the director of the Gundog Trust and founder of the UK’s graded training scheme for gundogs. As well as a degree in zoology, she has over thirty years’ experience in training dogs. This book deals primarily with one of the most common problems in dog obedience – the dog that won’t return when called. However, reviewers of the book describe it as having a thorough background in general dog behaviour and improving obedience making ‘Total Recall’ a good all rounder for the bookshelf to consult on most aspects of dog training.
  2. Happy Puppy Handbook – Pippa Mattinson – So well regarded is Pippa Mattinson that two of her books have made it into our top five. The Happy Puppy Handbook is a comprehensive guide to owning a puppy, covering everything from socialising to toilet training. It includes vital information on feeding a puppy, nutritional guides and what to do about upset stomachs and other problems. A great book to help you put good foundations in place leading to a strong relationship long term.
  3. Brain Games for Dogs – Claire Arrowsmith – Claire also holds a degree in zoology and additionally has a masters in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare. She is a member of the APBC (the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors), runs her own behavioural consultancy and has worked with both rescue animals and hearing dogs for deaf people. Claire knows better than anyone that at the root of many behavioural problems is a bored animal and that mental stimulation is as important as physical exercise for a healthy dog.
  4. The Perfect Puppy – Gwen Bailey – A trustee for Battersea Dogs’ Home, Gwen Bailey has been instrumental in encouraging the use of dog behaviour knowledge when rehoming dogs. This has drastically reduced the number of dogs who are passed from home to home due to behavioural issues remaining unaddressed. ‘The Perfect Puppy’ is another bookshelf staple on the journey to raising a happy, healthy, well-adjusted dog. It contains heaps of up-to-date information on behaviour studies and concentrates on a ‘prevention is better than cure’ approach to owning a dog.
  5. The Good Dog Diet – Anna Patfield – An eBook, so one for your virtual bookshelf, but an essential book nevertheless. Rather than recommending a particular diet, Anna Patfield’s book is basically a guide to the essential elements of a dog’s diet and the sources of these elements. She informs the reader with biological and physiological facts and dispels some dog food myths, leaving the decision-making to the dog owner.

Finally, I’m going to take the liberty of adding a sixth book, because some people reading this may not yet be dog owners, or they’re involved in the pet trade in some way. If that’s you, I would heartily recommend the easily-obtained The Complete Dog Breed Book from Dorling Kindersley. As a reference title, a guide to breeds that you may not know and a straightforward introduction to the world of dogs, it’s hard to beat.

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