Communication is the key to everyday life. Our ability to transfer thought and meaning through different means – language, writing, signs, etc. is the basis of our survival. The same applies to your life with a four legged companion. You don’t speak the same language, you even aren’t the same species yet with some careful observation and patience you can learn to recognize each others moods and signals. Luckily for us there are some excellent experts that devoted their lives to better our understanding and are willing to share their knowledge with the rest of us.
The truth is that there isn’t anybody that can know everything there is to know about this wast subject and therein lies the motivation to find out as much as we can from as many sources as possible. Our beloved pets deserve to be understood better and it’s up to us to try and bridge the inter-species gap.
I’d like to recommend you some excellent books that helped me a great deal in better understanding my Jack Russell Kala. These books about positive training, dog psychology, behavior and posturing are essential if you want to better your relationship. After going through these reads I had a much better grasp of my own behavior and different ways it affects my dear Jack Russell.
Before all, I wholeheartedly recommend all works by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D. She tackles complicated subjects of inter-species communication in a compelling way making them an excellent read for experienced dog guardians and beginners alike.
1. The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs
This book by Patricia B. McConnell starts from a simple yet often overlooked premise – humans as primates and dogs as canines evolutionary developed radically different means of communication. It goes on to show how our own behavior affects our canine friends and how small changes in our voice and posture can have a big influence on our dog’s understanding.
2. For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend
Another great book from the same author delves into an important trait that we share with our dogs – rich emotional tapestry that influences our behavior. This book teaches us how to better observe, decipher and understand our pets emotional states and act accordingly.
3. Before and After Getting Your Puppy
Is an essential manual for implementing positive training techniques in educating, socializing and raising your puppy written by the pioneer of positive reinforcement Dr. Ian Dunbar. Get it now on Amazon.
4. Train Your Dog Positively
This excellent guide written by the famous Victoria Stilwell is a must read for all dog lovers. In it you’ll find out how dogs perceive the world around them and how to address many problem behaviors accordingly in a positive, force-free manner. Buy it from Amazon.
5. Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know
One of the most common pitfalls of our understanding of dogs happens simply because we identify with them so much. We often feel so close to them that we start anthropomorphizing their behavior and forget that they really are a whole different species. This book dispels our misconceptions and explains how dogs perceive the world around them on a daily basis.
6. How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves
Is another good read that uses a scientific and above all practical approach to explain dog behavior and how to influence it for the better.
7. Reaching the Animal Mind: Clicker Training and What It Teaches Us About All Animals
Those of you that want to try clicker training techniques should absolutely read this comprehensive manual. It’s a practical guide written by one of the pioneers of no-punishment animal training – Karen Pryor.
8. Terrier-centric Dog Training: From Tenacious to Tremendous
Us proud guardians of Jack Russel Terriers know very well that dealing with terriers is in a whole other ballpark than dealing with many other dog breeds. Their boundless energy, intelligence, inquisitive nature and often strong hunting instincts can at times be overwhelming. That’s why I recommend you this amazing guide where you’ll find awesome tips for training and socializing your favorite four-legged buddy.
9. Play Together, Stay Together
One of the most important things about developing and maintaining a good relationship is spending quality time together. JRT are especially prone to boredom and love challenges that stimulate their brains and bodies. Playing, training and learning tricks are awesomely fun ways to bond with your pet and teach them some useful skills in the process. For some dogs (and humans) play doesn’t always come as a natural and relaxed activity in which all can enjoy. If you’re having trouble inventing new ways to have fun all day (and year round) you should absolutely check it out.
10. 101 Dog Tricks
In this fabulous beautifully illustrated manual you’ll find step-by-step instructions that will show you how to teach various tricks to your dog. Starting from the most basic and gradually building to ever more complex tasks it presents a bunch of ideas for a whole lot of fun for the both of you.
These 10 great books on dog behavior, training and bonding are an excellent read not only for those of you that have just recently started in the marvelous world of dog companionship but also for all you that want to know ever more about our faithful, yet sometimes strangely puzzling, companions.
I’m always on a lookout for a good dog book so if you have any suggestions and favorites share them in the comments below.