The 8 Best Books for New Dog Owners

The excitement of being a first-time dog owner may also come with anxiety. There are a lot of information to learn before you decide on getting a new puppy.

Some of them will be realized through your own experience, while some will require you mini research. 

To prepare you for dog ownership, try reading these 8 books which are carefully selected and thoroughly reviewed to help you go through the process unruffled.

books and dogs

1. Puppies for Dummies by Sarah Hodgson

The best-selling book by Sarah Hodgson is a complete (yes, complete!) guide for you during your new puppy’s first year. With its wide scope, the book covers all essential things you thought you already knew about raising a furry friend.

Some of them include choosing the right puppy, how to use modern training tools, feeding, and even traveling tips. If you have questions about health emergencies, identifying minor illnesses, chewing problems, moodiness, and even selecting proper food for your dog, Sarah Hodgson could help you!

Most of all, the manual offers basic training steps for your dog to learn how to “sit” and “drop” something. What’s more impressive is how it also recommends making housetraining schedules for you and your pooch.

Puppies for Dummies features an organized layout that makes all the information so easy to understand. Also, despite the brevity, the guide is not as shallow as the other For Dummies Series are.

Its straightforwardness makes it the ideal book for new puppy owners who don’t have much time to read and would much rather focus on the specifics.

Every bit of Sarah Hodgson’s book, from parts 1 to 6 will be applicable to your new puppy and you might be surprised at how helpful and effective they are. You’ll surely return to it as a reference from time to time!

Puppies for Dummies is available in Kindle version and as paperback. 

2. Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz

Sure, you may think you have already mastered the dos and don’ts of raising a dog – you may have lived with one your whole life and grew so fond of it. But raising a new puppy will always make you think that you can be a more responsible and loving pet guardian. After all, as Horowitz quotes Gertrude Stein, “I am I because my little dog knows me”.

This book will make you open your eyes to the most fascinating things about dogs’ senses and mind. Just as we study them, canines are also “anthropologists” among us. The blend of scientific and philosophical yet easy to understand views will leave you in awe, as it talks about the depth of these animals’ emotions like gratitude and kindness.

Interestingly, Alexandra Horowitz also shares personal stories about her and her dog, Pumpernickel. We are 100% certain you’ll become more empathetic towards your dog after reading this book because you’ll finally comprehend the things it does and the reason behind them in its own perspective.

Learning more about dogs, especially how important sniffing is to them, will help you become a better companion as well.

Dogs “see”, “imagine”, and “remember” smells. All these are based on empirical and observational studies. There’s no doubt this book will enlighten you!

Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know can be purchased in Kindle and paperback type. 

3. The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs are Smarter than You Think by Brian Hare

Another illuminating book for new puppy owners is The Genius of Dogs by Brian Hare, whose expertise is in the field of dogs’ cognition or as he calls it, “dognition”. He is also an evolutionary anthropologist and the founder of the Duke Canine Cognition Center.

How do dogs perceive the world? Do they have concepts of guilt? Do they also look for love? Or do they only want you to give them food? These are just some of the questions that the material can answer – thanks to the innovations in cognitive science.

The uniqueness and intelligence of dogs lie in the way they can socialize with humans, unlike other animals. Knowing more about what they think of and why they think of it will help you establish a stronger relationship with your new pup.

Dogs are smarter than you think and that is proven in their social skills which are already in their nature due to their history. For thousands of years, they are getting better and better at reading human minds. In fact, Brian Hare discusses how dogs have become more like human infants than their wolf ancestors.

The book will also teach you how the dog-person relationship provides mutual benefits with regards to the  psychological and social aspects. It will make you love your pet more!

Purchase The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter Than You Think in Kindle or as paperback.

4. The Art of Raising a Puppy by Monks of New Skete

The Monks of New Skete wrote about puppyhood as an artistic experience. Unlike some books about puppies that focus on hard facts, The Art of Raising a Puppy incorporates a spiritual approach in its guide on choosing a dog breed, training to obey, and many more.

The book also features how compassionate and skilled the monks are in their classic way of treating their four-legged friends. For them, the first years of the puppies and how you will interact with them are crucial as to what type of bond you will have in the future.

The authors also discuss how asserting dominance without being a tyrant is possible and actually the type of relationship that dogs look for with their masters. For instance, there will be times you have to discipline them and times you’re not required to do so. For them, the ideal connection is founded on respect and love.

The book, which makes every reader feel like it’s a meditation or prayer book for dogs, is well-thought out. The monks have shown their exemplary wisdom in it – taking note that they have been breeding and raising dogs for more than twenty years now.

Almost all the helpful information they shared on the books; from bringing it home for the first time to having trips to the vet are based on their own experiences.

Get The Art of Raising a Puppy in hardbound type from Amazon. 

5. How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend by Monks of New Skete

Another book by the clever monks of New Skete now talks about the later stages of the dog and not so much on puppyhood anymore. Aside from discussing these pets’ characteristics and raising tips, it also emphasizes you as the owner and the trainer.

The authors of this book state that “understanding is the key to communication, compassion, and communion”.  An example of exercising this is in the way you give positive reinforcements for dogs’ good deeds and different levels of disciplines for erroneous ones.

Some may think that their method of correcting dogs, which is through minimal force, is a little out of style already but it’s undeniable that it still works for the majority and maybe even for you! Despite some disputes, the authors were still able to draw attention to myths regarding house training.

The monks of New Skete will also teach you how the spiritual outlook can be applied in feeding, grooming, and maintaining the health of your dog. The book amazingly reveals how, in your day-to-day life with your dog, there is a depth in your relationship that you tend to overlook sometimes.

In particular, it suggests seeing your dog as a reflection of yourself. It also recommends using eye contact for communication.

The lengthy 321-page How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend by Monks of New Skete can be purchased in Kindle. 

6. How To Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond by Cesar Millan

How To Raise the Perfect Dog is one of the many dog training manuals out there which has surprisingly good reviews. It’s not just a book for future puppy owners, but also for those who already have dogs in their household.

The famous and visionary National Geographic star and founder of Dog Psychology Center in California, Cesar Millan, says it’s indeed possible to raise the perfect dog as long as its former years are well-founded and stable.

By well-founded and stable, the author means having a proper environment where good nutrition, vaccination, enough playing, and all other aspects are met. This is because it affects how the dog is going to behave in the near future.

All of these will be talked about in chapters dedicated to picking the right puppy, conditioning, training, and socializing puppies to humans. Cesar Millan also has his own manner of correcting puppies which he discusses in the book.

The book is very insightful and reliable because the Dog Whisperer also shares stories about how he used his methods in different dogs, especially those in Mexico. You’ll feel at ease knowing you’re raising a puppy based on his legendary teachings.

How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond highlights puppyhood and adolescence more than the later stages. But you’ll definitely carry the rich information even until your dog’s adulthood. The book is available in Kindle and Audiobook for free with your Audible trial.

7. The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson

The Culture Clash is unquestionably a book that created a revolutionary way of understanding and socializing with dogs. This book which was first published in 1996 gave birth to a modern era of dog training and ownership.

It is one of the first few reliable dog resources with logical explanations about your doggo’s behavior.

Jean Donaldson eradicated all the Hollywood fluff or the Disneyfication about dogs, denied mass media’s misconceptions about them, focused a little on their anatomy, and elucidated cultural differences between dogs and humans. Here, she does not deem these four-legged companions as adorable creatures with human characteristics or attitudes.

Consisting of seven chapters, the Culture Clash also manifested a balance of how-tos and research-backed information you need to know of. As an example, the author states that dogs can be stubborn not because they want to be dominant but because of communication barrier between the two different species.

Also, they don’t have ideas of right and wrong; just safe and dangerous. She absolutely knows what she’s talking about – making the book such a page-turner.

It is no wonder how this book became a Maxwell Award Winner for the Best Dog Training Book, voted number 1 Best Book by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, and produced a new generation of trainers who can ensure better and deeper dog-human relationships.

Get Culture Clash from Amazon. 

8. Puppy Sleep Training: The Exhausted Puppy Owner’s Nighttime Survival Guide by Rebecca Setler

You might just quickly grab this book because of the super adorable puppy in the cover, but you will surely not regret this purchase. This resource by Rebecca Setler covers an unusual scope about puppy raising tips and that is sleeping.

It’s a book for owners with puppies that like to bug them while they’re sleeping. Puppy Sleep Training will show you how to get your pet to have good night slumber.

It’s odd how nocturnal puppies are a common issue yet only a few books that tackle such topic are available. Thankfully, Rebecca Setler discusses how often puppies should sleep in a day, what you should expect on its first night home, prevention of pooping and peeing overnight, whether you should prepare food and water overnight, why it’s barking or crying during bedtime, and so much more!

According to the author who is also a professional dog trainer, the best way to take your puppy to bed is to tire it out at first then put it in a crate to sleep, except for the first few nights when you need to be near your pet. Also, let it empty out in the evening and leave no food and water overnight to avoid midnight potty trips.

The book is also an effective guide for adult dogs you have just adopted that need to re-adjust their sleeping schedules. The Puppy Sleep Training – The Exhausted Puppy Owner’s Nighttime Survival Guide is available in Kindle version. 

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