We lavish so much attention on our beloved doggies. We boggle at them, marvelling at their ability to make us laugh, love and cry. They are our partners in life as we are theirs, clinging to the shell of this fragile planet.
But what do we know about our furry pals – what they really think and feel? The answer is usually ‘lots’ or nada, but which one? Whether pleading for attention, or lying goofy-grinned and splay-legged in a sunbeam, the same quote leaps to mind:
“Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” - Groucho Marx
So here we go: Dudley & Co’s guide to the five best books for helping you, Dear Reader, get inside that canine mind.
01. How to Speak Dog
Stanley Coren, £10.76
First up is Stanley Coren’s How to Speak Dog. Coren is literally a Doctor of Dogs, a real-life dog-whisperer hired by owners to soothe frantic canine minds. This is his latest work – and it’s a doozy. You will emerge with a better grasp of what your dog is telling you, and shocked by a simple truth: that real communication is possible.
02. Inside of a Dog
Alexandra Horowitz, £8.06
Alexandra Horowitz’s Inside of a Dog is a chatty and accessible work that explains, in very human terms, what really makes our lovable loafers tick. Surprising facts and handy little ideas abound: did you know that dogs can literally ‘smell’ time, helping them anticipate your arrival?
03. The Genius of Dogs
Brian Hare, £6.47
The genius of Brian Hare’s The Genius of Dogs is to showcase the mental ingenuity of our furry friends. You think your dog is bright? You have no idea. They are able to adapt to and then reshape their environment, ensuring that we live their lives, not the other way round. It’s why they are so great at outwitting us.
04. Culture Clash
Jean Donaldson, £19.95
For those looking for training tips, here are two standout options. Jean Donaldson has worked as a dog behaviourist for 30 years. In Culture Clash, she strips out the fluff, allowing the book to race along. Her love for her dogs shines through, as does a piercing ability to read their minds.
05. How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend
Finally, a reminder that oldies are goodies. New Skete is a community of German Shepherd-loving monks in upstate New York. Their 1978 work How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend is, hands down, the best training manual for owners. They preach “communication, compassion and communion”, laid out in simple, neat chapters. Read it and you will earn – no kidding – your doggie’s love and undying respect.