I love reading and below I will add the books that I have read so far which I can recommend. If you purchase a book throug the links on my website you will support the costs for keeping this website up and running. Many thanks for the support!
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If you are interested in human behavior, especially on a biological and neurological level, then I can highly recommend reading this book. Robert Sapolsky has an 'easy to read and follow' writing style, explaining complex subjects in a very clear and understandable way with a great sense of humor (seriously, I laughed out loud numerous times while reading this book).
We humans are great at analyzing and understanding behavior, but can we really predict behavior? This book dives deep into the many factors that can influence human behavior (hormones, upbringing, culture, genetics, etc). It actually made me question the existance of free will. You can order the book here.
This book is a must read for any dog professional who wants to form an well informed opinion about dog aggression and dog bite incidents. It is packed with information on aggression (how do you separate fact from fiction, the influence of media, the research that has been done up till now, etc..). It is a great guide for understanding aggression in dogs, preventing aggression and applying the best safety measures. It also explains how, if incidents do occur, you will need to assess the situation, context and all animals involved individually. You can order the book here.
A very interesting read! Why do humans keep pets? Are there really health benefits? How about social benefits? Is there really a link between animal abuse and domestic violance? Why are humans so interested in other species of animals? Are there cultural differences in how we treat and keep pets? This books provides you insights on these topics and many more. You can order the book here.
What makes this book excellent is that Kim Brophey introduces ten breed groups which make SO much more sense than the breed groups that I once had to learn about. Truely understand the tasks that dogs were selected for/bred to do and you will retrieve an important piece of the puzzle that may be influencing your dog's behavior (or may change your expectations). I also love the concept that she calls L.E.G.S. (Learning, Environment, Genetics and Self) through which she explains the many other factors that need to be taken into account if you would like to analyze dog behavior, which can be complex. You can order the book here.
This is one of my favorite study books on behavior of companion animals. It explains the psychobiological approach and why understanding the strong influence of emotions is essential if you want to understand behavior. It also covers many common behavior problems in dogs and cats, including the latest knowledge on pheromones and their usage within behavioral therapy. You can order the book here.
Although this book focusses on humans, it also explains how most of what we know about the human brain comes from studying other animals. Because fear is such a common underlying emotion that drives problematic dog behavior, this is an extremely interesting and valuable read for any dog professional. Understanding how fear and anxiety could work within the brain and reading about the many different forms of memory and survival circuits may help you understand those fearful dogs. You can order the book here.
This was an important referance book during my study of companion animal behavior and welfare. I do not agree with all that is written in here in regards to how to tackle behavior problems (some is very valuable, some is outdated), but I do think this is a must have for any dog professional to have on the shelf. It also includes a thorough chapter on pharmacology which is very valuable if you want to have some basic understanding of the medical treatment of behavior. You can order the book here.
This is a very interesting book in regards to safeguarding welfare for animals. Marian Stamp Dawkings really challenges you to rethink the arguments that most people use in order to speak up for animal welfare. Do we really need to address ideas that are not yet being backed up by science in order to change our attitudes towards animals? What is consciousness and is this ability needed in order for animals to be able to feel? If you are interested in animal welfare I believe this is a must-read book. You can order the book here.
I consider this to be an extremely valuable resource for anyone who works with dogs and/or cats, evidence based. Karen Overall covers a wide range of background information and behavior problems while offering information on how to best diagnose and treat these problems. She also debunks common myths and includes many references. You can order the book here.
This is a very valuable book if you would like to learn more about the anatomy, movement an muscles of dogs. Prevention, management and treatment of movement disorders are discussed and it contains many coloured photographs, images and diagrams. You can order the book here.
Allthough this book is becoming old (and perhaps a little outdated), I still consider it to be a valuable book to have on the shelf. It covers many behavior problems, offering practical advice. It also shows the clear link between behavior and the physical health of dogs and cats. You can order the book here.
Because I don't only work with dogs, but also with humans, I have a high fascination for understanding human behavior as well. I can highly recommend reading this book of Lisa Feldman Barrett in which she describes how emotions may be at work in our brains. The role of upbrining, culture, language and even the place where you live can have a huge impact on how you describe and experience your emotions. Absolutely fascinating! You can order the book here.
Jaak Panksepp is a pioneer in the field of animal emotions. His research offers insights to survival circuits within the mammal brain, something we humans share with all other mammals. He covers what he calls 'systems' which he discovered within the brains. These systems are now widely being used by many who work with animals, incorporating emotions and their strong impacton animal behavior. It is not an easy read, quite complex and a bit old (1996), but I do recommend reading it. You can order the book here.
I love this book by Karen Pryor. She has a great story telling writing style and this book is filled with inspirational training ideas and stories that will blow your mind. From teaching a fish in a bowl to swim through a hoop to teaching mini horses to guide the blind. It seems anything can be taught to any type of animal by using the right type of training criteria. After reading this book you will definitely want to train animals. You can order the book here.
Another valuable resource to have on your book shelf, even though it may have become a little bit outdated. It is filled with valuable insights and evidence based information on the behavior and welfare needs of dogs and cats. You can order the book here.
If you are highly interested (and perhaps a bit of a geek) when it comes to reading the latest research based theories on emotions, what they are and how they influence behavior, then I can recommend diving deep into this book. It is packed with interesting information (loaded with references) and offers insights and evidence based theories on all that involves emotions. You can order the book here.
Alexandra Horowitz takes you on a journey discouvering the world of smell that our dogs live in. It is a joy to read and you not only start to understand your dog's nose better, you also start to wonder about your own sense of smell and how the nose works in providing information. You can order the book here.
Everything you need to know about stress and how stress influences the body is explained in this book. Robert Sapolsky has a great (and funny) writing style. Though the book is aimed at understanding what stress can do to humans, most of the explained processes count for all mammals, including dogs. This is an extremely valuable and interesting read. You can order the book here.
John Bradshaw shares the lates science on how the domestic dog evolved, offering insights which will make you a better companion to your dog. One important insight is that dogs do not want to control others, they would like a sense of control over their own experiences and life, just like me and you. You can order the book here.
It is so valuable when experts are willing to share their treatment strategies. Thank you, Malena DeMartini-Price for sharing! Though I personally prefer to talk about 'seperation related problems', which do not always have to involve anxiety (most of my cases involve a state of panic, rather than a state of fear), I still find this book very valuable and I do recommend it as it contains a step by step guide for treating these type of problems. I may use a slightly different approach (i.e., I have found that desensitizing all departure cues is not always necessary and I rarely use crates or baby gates), but the most valuable part of this book is: creating predictability for the dog. In my opinion, this is the most important part of treatment, making a departure predictable and making sure the prediction is a clear message of safety for the dog. You can order the book here.
If you work with, or share your life with dogs that show explosive/reactive behavior (fear and or frustration driven aggression) towards triggers (dogs, humans or other beings), then this book is for you. Behavior Adjustment Training works on empowering the dog, offering the dog choice, freedom of movement, while also staying safe and gradually (at the dog's own pace) teaching the dog new, more appropriate and more healthy coping skills in the presence of triggers (the right amount of distance and being able to read your dog's body language is crucial and explained in this book). With B.A.T. the dog is mostly teaching itself and learning at it's own pace, while you are there to guide and help out if needed. You can order the book here.
Based in the Netherlands, Westbeemster
Dog Welfare & Behaviour consultant