During my early studies and research I found it difficult sorting through the huge volume of books to find the information I was looking for. Here is a list of some of the books I found most useful early on in my theory work or which I would recommend to other dog owners.
As with all theory work, it is a good idea to read a few different books offering differing views to give a good overall knowledge and understanding of your dog and the problem.
The Science of Consequences: How They Affect Genes, Change the Brain, and Impact Our World by Susan M. Schneider
Although this isn’t a canine specific book, it is still extremely relevant for canine behaviourists as it illustrates the plasticity of the mammalian brain and how this can be encouraged to change habits or behaviours. It is fully referenced and covers many aspects of the science of consequences drawing on a wide range of interdisciplinary areas; animal/human learning, communication, cognition, evolutionary biology, neuroscience and biopsychology. This interesting read brings together the science behind how decisions, experiences, consequences and rewards discussing not only how they shape or cause behaviours, but also how they can be used to effect behavioural changes.
The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson. This book describes in a realistic way how dogs perceive their interactions and lives with us making working with our dog much clearer. She explains how modern thinking makes much more sense than the old style bully type training.
In Defence of Dogs: Why Dogs Need Our Understanding by John Bradshaw. This was one of the first books I read which closely reflected my own views on dogs as domestic companions. This is another book new or would be dog owners should read as it provides a comprehensive and realistic overview of how the domestic dog perceives us and how we, in turn, should perceive and interpret the dog.
Don't Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training by Karen Pryor. This book covers reinforcement and clicker training better than any other book I've read. Karen is the go-to person for clicker training!
The Natural & Everyday Guide to Understanding & Correcting Common Dog Problems by Cesar Milan with Melissa Jo Peltier. Whatever you think of him, this book explains in an easy to read format what it is to own a dog, from the dog's point of view. It offers a good perspective for first time dog owners (just ignore any 'being the Alpha' ideas or domination/submission theory).
Mine! A practical guide to resource guarding in dogs, by Jean Donaldson. A practical positive how-to guide on resource guarding, including food bowls, objects, beds, crates and owners.
The Pit Bull Placebo: The Media, Myths and Politics of Canine Aggression, by Karen Delise. This is a fantastic piece of comprehensive research covering dog attacks on people from the end of the 19th century to the present day. The basic conclusion reached is there always have been attacks on people by dogs, but how the modern sensationalist media presents (or doesn't) the stories can lead certain breeds to become vilified. No longer are the actual or probable reason for the attack considered but only the headline grabbing myths and assumptions are presented. Pitbulls are just the latest dog in a long line of story selling 'devil dogs' created by the media, with Bloodhounds the first and even Newfoundlands fell foul of the media treatment early on!
The Way of the Wolf by L.David Mech. A noted wolf research biologist, 'wolfman' Dr L David Mech has studied wolves and their prey full-time since 1958. In this book Mech focuses on wolf behaviour and biology, offering an overview of the animals' social hierarchy, communication methods, feeding habits, courtship, and reproduction.
Stories; some good canine non-fiction....
The Lost Dogs by Jim Gorant
The Wolf Talk by Shaun Ellis
Dogtown: Tales of Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Redemption by Stefan Bechtel
One Dog at a Time: Saving the Strays of Helmand by Pen Farthing
Cassius, the True Story of a Courageous Police Dog by Gordon Thorburn
Buster's Diaries as Told to Roy Hattersley by Roy Hattersley.
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein