8 Perfect Books for First-Time Dog Parents

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I am finally a dogmother! After a childhood spent trying to befriend lizards and grasshoppers because I wasn’t allowed to bring home a dog, college days spent chasing errant campuses with packets of cookies Parle-G par excellence (in India), and a few more years of being an aunt to my friend’s dog while resisting the urge to adopt one myself as I worked in an office, my partner and I finally have our own little dog. Her name is Cookie and she is incredibly cute. His personality is a funny mix of fear and curiosity. She keeps us on our toes all day and has completely turned our lazy lifestyle upside down – she’s the best thing that ever happened to us.

Meet Cookie!

If, like me, you are or are going to be a first-time dog parent, I have some book recommendations for you. This list features fictional titles featuring fun doggos to keep you company and excited while you wait to bring your furry baby home. It also includes non-fiction that will help you understand your new family member and develop a happy and lasting rhythm with them. These books could also help you convince an uncertain partner of the absolute necessity of having a dog in your life.

Coverage of

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

In this hilarious game from a book about time-traveling historians, a cat named Princess Arjumand and a bulldog named Cyril are prominent characters. Cyril, the titular dog, is an adorable jester. I’m complete child’s play when it comes to four-legged creatures. The same goes for Ned Henry, the main character who befriends Cyril and his human Terrence on a trip to Victorian times. The scrapes he finds himself in trying to adjust to Victorian life on a boat with a dog are hugely entertaining. This book is proof that life is always better with furry friends, even if they get you attacked by a very angry swan in the middle of the night.

Elatsoe Blanket by Darcie Little Badger

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

The main character of this book is a teenage Lipan Apache who can resurrect the ghosts of dead animals. She has a fabulous ghost dog sidekick named Kirby who protects her as she investigates a murder. There are constant references to his ancestor’s heroic pack of dogs, a symbol of the close bond between humans and their canine companions that has endured over the centuries. The book also comes with beautiful little illustrations of Ravina Cai’s ghost dogs.

Cover of Hyperbole and a half

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

This graphic memoir by Allie Brosh talks about her childhood anecdotes and her experience of depression, but also about her two dogs: the simple dog and the assistance dog. It’s a reminder of how different dog personalities can be, how they react differently to training, and how happy they are even when they’re rather picky – all in a unique and fun package.

book cover of the dog

The dog book edited by Himali Sodhi

It is an anthology of dog essays, with contributors who are dog-loving writers and animal activists from India. Their perspectives are varied – from beloved companion animals to spirited strays in a delicate balance with humans, a wide range of dogs find their place in these trials. The collection is a multifaceted ode to the writers’ relationship with dogs. They write candidly about the mistakes made in caring for their charges, the grief of losing them, and the overwhelming impact they can have on life. What’s even better is that the royalties from the sale of the book are donated to animal welfare organizations.

Book cover of Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz

Interior of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz

This book is a fascinating look at the world from the perspective (or more accurately the nose, as the author puts it) of a dog. This will help you better understand and appreciate your dog, and add some empathy to your interactions with him.

book cover of How Dogs Love Us

How Dogs Love Us by Gregory Berns

All dog parents probably know that their dogs love them. But there is little scientific research to support this belief. Berns, along with her dog Callie, set out to change that. By training dogs to stay calm inside an MRI machine, he tries to look inside a dog’s mind and how they may or may not empathize with their humans. This is an engaging and inspiring read for anyone wondering exactly what their dog might be thinking.

book cover of The Other End of the Leash

The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell

This book focuses on communication between dogs and their humans. It shows how the most emphatic of our messages might get lost in cross-species translation and looks at how our behavior around dogs might be interpreted by them. You will also come away with some practical tips for communicating with your dog, so that together you can form the best dog-hooman couple.

Cover of the book How to behave to make your dog behave

How to Behave to Get Your Dog to Behave by Dr. Sophia Yin

This is the most practical book on the list. Dr. Yin was a pioneer in positive reinforcement training for dogs. In this book, she lays out the theory of scientific and human training and guides readers in applying the theory to their training exercises.

Happy reading and congratulations on your perfect new friend! Can’t get enough of dog books? Check out our dog book archive.

About Herbert L. Leonard

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