15 books to a happy dog nerd

Posted on Mar 3, 2016
15 books to a happy dog nerd

Sophophilic, bibliophile… bookworm. Call it what you will, when you love books and love learning, it is a badge you wear proudly.

In honor of World Book Day, I compiled a list of 15 of my all-time favorite books on the subject of dogs (and other creatures). If you have read them, tell me how you like them! If you haven’t, let me know what you think when you do. Have any recommendations for me? I am always looking for my next read 🙂

The list below is in no particular order, and know that these are just 15 out of the immense literary world on the subject constantly growing. These are just “a few” of my favorites, I have plenty more… Enjoy!

  1. Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships with Dogs  by Suzanne Clothier
    Of all the books about dogs, behavior and the human-animal bond, this one is by far the one that has impressed more upon me than most. It is a beautiful book and one that completely changed the way I love and live with my dogs.
  2. Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend by Susan Orlean
    One of my favorite writers (and audio-book readers), Susan Orlean and I share a similar fascination with canine icons of the past. I grew up on Lassie and Rin Tin Tin, and this book is a treasure trove of history, and legend.
  3. Let’s Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship by Gail Caldwell
    If you have ever been lucky to share a love of dogs with a good friend, and have your dogs be friends too, this is a book you might enjoy. I know I treasure it. I have read it three times and I’ll keep going back. It is a love letter to friendship.
  4. For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend by Patrcicia McConnell
    Patricia is one of my favorite authors on dog behavior, period. She is so poignant yet full of humor and good cheer, her books are truly a treat and the infinite wisdom in those pages will benefit you and your dogs.
  5. The Dogs Who Found Me: What I’ve Learned from Pets Who Were Left Behind by Ken Foster
    The stories in this book have stuck with me through the years. Some end in sad tears, but most of them end in tears of joy. I love it because it shows what we are capable of when we allow our hearts to be opened by a worldly creature such as a dog or a cat.
  6. Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz 
    I now have to styles of walking with my dogs thanks to this book. It taught me to look at the world from a dog’s point of view. I go on “sniff walks” with Corbin, stopping, for as long as he chooses, to take in all the scent information a good old dog deserves. It taught me that time is a gift, and so are those walks.
  7. What the Dog Knows: Scent, Science, and the Amazing Ways Dogs Perceive the World by Cat Warren
    With more and more light being shed on canine science and cognition, and more dogs doing incredible things in our culture and society, this is a fascinating read and a perfect choice for the incurably curious about how dogs work.
  8. The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs  by Patricia McConnell
    Along the lines of For the Love of a Dog, this book places the focus on us and what we do or how we behave around dogs. What and how to bring out the best in each other. This is a great read that only left me hungry for more… down the rabbit hole of dog books I went!
  9. The Secret History of Kindness: Learning from How Dogs Learn by Melissa Holbrook Pierson
    Historical accounts can be dry and boring after a few hundred pages, but this is not the case with this book. I am so fascinated by the evolution of training, and this giant compendium does not disappoint. I love that it elegantly makes the case for kindness in all our interactions with all creatures.
  10. Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs by Ted Kerasote
    This book was on my list for a long time before I got to it, but I think I read it at the right time with Corbin reaching his 11th year and Willow blooming into a beautiful adult at 4 years. The sheer amount of research and information, especially in regards to nutrition and vaccinations here left me hoping there will be a next book soon.
  11. Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior by Temple Grandin, Catherine Johnson
    I can’t write a book recommendation list without including Temple Grandin’s Animals in Translation. It is fascinating, impressive, hugely informative and educational and very worth your time if you love or want to know what the world looks like from a unique perspective.
  12. Living with Wolves  by Jim & Jamie Dutcher
    A stunning account of a couple’s close kinship and study of a wolf pack. They also happen to be some of the most beautiful photoggraphs of wolves I have ever seen. The book also has a great National Geographic film that will fill your senses with howls and beautiful sights.
  13. Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet  by John W.S. Bradshaw 
    Just like his other book Dog Sense, this book dows some great work in trying to demistify the perfect little predators that dominate the interwebs. I hope more books like this and others on this list will be released. There is so much to learn about little felines, similar and altogether very different to dogs, and a whole new adventure.
  14. Lassie Come-Home  by Eric Knight
    Lassie Come Home was one of my favorite books, and one of my favorite movies growing up. I grew up with a Collie as a best friend, and to this day, this story reaches every corner of my soul.
  15. The French Cat and The French Dog by Rachael Hale
    Rachel Hale is a great animal photographer. Her studio portraits have graced greeting cards and books for many years, but it is this personal work, The French Cat, followed by The French Dog, that really made me take notice. They are beautiful coffeetable books, and I tend to geek out on things like lighting and scenery whenever I sit down to enjoy them.


Happy World Book Day page-turners! And thank you lovely authors and wordsmiths for giving us a place to escape. Love reading? Have a look at our monthly Currently Digging posts, where I share great reads as well as other edibles, wearables and items for you and your dogs and cats.

The Labs & Co.