We love books. And we love dogs.
This summer has been…well, if not the summer of our discontent, certainly arduous and fraught. But being at home this much has given some of us the time and space to crack open a book, sit back in the patio chair and read, read, read. Just as we give our dogs the enrichment they need to live a healthy and whole life, we give ourselves delicious, glorious, and fascinating books. Since your bookshelf—despite groaning under the weight of all those unread volumes—is almost certainly begging for even more volumes (isn’t there a spot beside the cookbook for dog treats that your aunt gave you last year?), we asked Academy graduates and students to weigh in. What are they reading? What do they recommend?
Being the generous, clever and curious types they are, they delivered, and they delivered in droves. What follows is their list of recommended reading for these turbulent times. Head to your library or local book store, stock up on these gems, and get ready to dig in.
Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy by Zazie Todd
“This is must read for all dog owners new and experienced. Wag makes the science of animal learning approachable and easy to understand with real life action items on how to incorporate ideas into everyday life. And the science is woven together with touching, personal stories and accounts.” Kate LaSala of Rescued By Training in Greenwich CT
“I highly recommend reading “Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy” by Zazie Todd this summer! Wag is a must read for any dog lovers, whether you’re a dog guardian or professional. The book shares the latest science on everything dog, so we can ensure that we’re providing the best possible care to them. It’s an enjoyable and informative read, and you (and your dog) will love it!” Emily Tronetti of Coexistence Consulting in Bellevue, WA
The Science of Consequences: How They Affect Genes, Change the Brain, and Impact Our World Book by Susan M. Schneider
“I’m reading Susan M. Schneider’s, The Science of Consequences. It’s a fascinating read that covers planaria to people and how we all work to control outcomes. It’s not just for dog trainers, but for everyone who is interested in the rules that govern our lives.” Kristine Adams of Woof Wisdom in Tacoma, WA.
Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz
“While it’s not new this year, I recommend ‘Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know’ by Alexandra Horowitz. It’s informative, easy to read, and at times quite funny. It made me look at dogs differently – and, given the number of dogs I work with and books I read, that’s not a common achievement. I hope you enjoy it like I did.” Tim Steele of Behavior Matters Academy in Sacramento, CA
Be Right Back: How to Overcome Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety by Julie Naismith
“Be Right Back is a very clear to guide that includes helpful information for puppies, newly adopted dogs and dogs already exhibiting signs of separation anxiety. The author’s writing style is very personable and the instructions are very clearly laid out. I wish everyone would read this book to help counteract the many myths and unhelpful information out there, so more people could empathize with and help both owners and dogs suffering from separation anxiety.” Jessica Ring of My Fantastic Friend in Ellicott City, Maryland, USA
The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery
“Fun, informative and delightful tales of a woman’s quest to understand the inner workings of Octopi and how their behaviors give humans an insight into their cognitive capabilities.” Tiffany Score of Compassionate Connection Dog Training of Hohenfels, Germany
Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History by Dan Flores
“Excellent book about the survival story of coyotes. Despite campaigns of annihilation (poison, gases, helicopters, engineers epidemics, etc.) against them, they didn’t just survive, but thrived. It’s a deep history in terms of natural and environment factors that influence the coyote population. The coyote is the stuff of legends. And this book captures that essence perfectly.” Noel Heraty, Academy student.
Canine Enrichment for the Real World by Allie Bender and Emily Strong
“My summer reading list recommendation is ‘Canine Enrichment for the Real World’ by Allie Bender and Emily Strong. This book is practical and specific, yet also provides a larger philosophical and scientific framework which will deepen the relationship you have with your dogs and your understanding of them. The authors use clear, accessible language to create a fun read with easy to implement activities, without sacrificing scientific accuracy or meticulous research.” Eden Halbert of Sierra Dogs in Placerville, California
Social, Civil, and Savvy by Laura VanArendonk Baugh
“For a much more thorough look at puppy socialization and how to do it right, don’t miss ‘Social, Civil, and Savvy’ by Laura VanArendonk Baugh. Read it once before your puppy comes home. Read it again as you’re raising your baby dog. Read it a third time just for fun!” Jennifer Malawey in San Francisco, CA
The Moral Animal by Robert Wright
“It is essentially an examination of human behavior as evolutionary adaptations, as vehicles for genes to get themselves into the next generation. I read all the things that have been recommended in webinars and this has been one of the best so far. Not too hard to use this lens to examine canine behavior.” Mary Katherine Smith, Academy student
Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds by Bernd Heinrich
“Bernd Heinrich’s lyrical nature writing interwoven with scientific field work of his subject, the raven, is both moving and fascinating. Heinrich’s skill at observation is a lesson for all of us who have or work with animals. Favorite quote, p. 342: ‘I suspect that the great gulf of discontinuity that exists between us and all other animals is … ultimately less a matter of consciousness than of culture.’” Barbara Delrow, Academy student
Pitbull: The Battle over an American Icon by Bronwen Dickey
“Pitbull: The Battle over an American Icon by Bronwen Dickey is a curiously timely read, as the history of how pitbulls are viewed in America is deeply intertwined with issues of race and class. It is well researched and enlightening to see the history of various breeds being demonized at different times.” Kayla Block of Understanding Dog Training in Sacramento, CA
Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You A Better Friend to Your Pet by John Bradshaw
“I’m finishing up Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You A Better Friend to Your Pet by John Bradshaw. Published in 2012 and gifted to me that year by a best friend, I finally started it up when I applied to the Academy! I am KICKING MYSELF for not finishing it until now. From the ‘new’ research on genealogy of all that is dog to a great, leveled explanation for cross-over training into the R+ realm, it’s been a fun and fascinating read chock full of citations as well as silly anecdotes from John.” Steph Haddad, Academy student, of Good Sit Dogwalking and Petsitting Services in Mountain View, CA
The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk W. Johnson
“I totally recommend The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk W. Johnson. A true story about natural history, evolution, a museum heist, fly fishing and one man’s obsession with rare feathers that comes together in an unbelievable mash up that is definitely stranger than fiction. It’s eye opening, mind blowing, fun and ticks along at a great pace. It’s the perfect book for reading at the beach!” Emily Priestley, Academy student, of Wild at Heart Dogs in Comox BC