The best Books for Learning about Animal Behavior

Marc Bekoff, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder; has written 18 books. His “Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior,” is a bible for those interested in learning about animal behavior. The book discusses the following topics: 1) How do animals communicate? 2) Do animals feel emotions, for example, empathy or grief? The text is written for the lay public and appeals to students, scholars of animal behavior, animal advocates, and anyone with a love for animals.

Learning about animal behavior will determine whether the owner and the dog have an enjoyable relationship. One of the best books for learning about animal behavior is written by John Fisher, a Canine Behaviorist, who explains how the world appears from the dog’s point of view, why they chew your furniture, etc. He said most people don’t understand dogs, and dogs don’t understand people. We place human values on our dogs which is “silly,” says Fisher, who examines dogs for what they really are. The book is excellent because it shares what you need to know, what motivates, what values are, how the dogs learn, as well as why they do what they do.

Fisher states there are many caring owners who are given bad advice. For example, he shares one author’s opinion on training dogs as follows:

“Use a bamboo cane to hit the dog on the muzzle if he tries to walk in front of you.”

“To get the dog to stop accepting bribes from strangers; put a pin in a piece of meat. Allow the pin to stick out about 1/2 inch. When the dog moves forward, the pin will slightly prick him. You can also use a fork to do the same thing.”

These are just a few of the horrific examples that are explained in this author’s book. He went on to say the book is selling.

Fisher says there are no bad dogs; there are just bad owners! The root problem, in his opinion, is failure to understand the dog’s normal behavior.

Another excellent resource written by a renowned scientist is entitled: “Hope for Animals and Their World,” by Jane Goodall. She is a best-selling author who writes candidly on endangered species: Ferrets, American Crocodiles, and California Candors, etc., that were once on the verge of extinction but are now being regenerated. Goodall says the human-animal coexistence is hopeful. She is Founder of Jane Goodall Institute and has received many awards in science.

A third great resource is “Domestic Animal Behavior and Welfare,” by A. F. Fraser and D. M. Broom. They state the key to good management of animals is to understand their behavior as well as the health of the animal. Animal behavior and wellbeing are core topics in curriculum of Agriculture and Veterinarian students.

The final book on learning about animal behavior is “The Hidden Life of Dogs,” by Elizabeth. It is an easy-read. She concludes with an interesting statement: “Dogs want each other; people are merely substitutes for other canines.”

Each one of these authors have very informative data to share. The authors are quite different in their approach, but you will note they all have the same premise: understanding the behavior of the animal, as well as treating them properly. This does not include abuse! To do this; one has to truly understand the animals behavior as well as their own.