Becker Animal Hospital | Behavior Resources
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Behavior Resources

There are a number of excellent books and training guides available that are intended to teach pet owners how to apply the basic principles of learning and training in a humane, effective, and logical manner.  At the other extreme, many training books and manuals have been written by self-professed experts who advocate techniques that may be scientifically unsound, inappropriate, or inhumane.  Following these techniques will seldom lead to improvement of the problem and might even aggravate some conditions.

The best way to select a book, video or training manual is to seek the guidance or recommendation of a veterinarian, behaviorist, or obedience trainer who you trust and respect.  It can also be useful to assess the background, expertise and, in particular, the education of the author(s).  Be certain that the book you choose covers the training techniques, products, and topics for which you are seeking assistance.  In general the most recent publications will include the most recent advances in behavior, training, and products.  However, some of the older texts are the best resources for obtaining a sound understanding of the psychology of learning and the basic behavior of dogs and cats.  Although, inclusion in the reference list below is not intended to be an endorsement, the publications have been screened and are included based on the following criteria:

The author has a sound knowledge of basic canine and feline behavior.
Training techniques emphasize positive reinforcement, motivation, and shaping rather than punishment.

Correction techniques have been designed to train or encourage the pet to perform an appropriate behavior and set the pet up to succeed, rather than punishing the pet for inappropriate behavior.

Beaver BV (2003) Feline Behavior: A Guide for Veterinarians. 2nd edition.  W. B. Saunders: ST. Louis, MO
Beaver BV (1999) Canine Behavior: A Guide for Veterinarians.  W. B. Saunders, Philadelphia, PA
Bradshaw JWS.  (1992) The behavior of the domestic cat.  C-A-B International.  Oxon, UK.
Bradshaw JWS. The True Nature of the Cat.  Boxtree, London, 1993
Coppinger R, Coppinger L.  (2001). Dogs – a startling new understanding of the origin, behavior and evolution.  Scribner, NY
Dunbar I.  (1999) Dog Behavior.  Howell Book House, NY
Fox M.  Canine Behavior, Charles Thomas, Springfield. IL, 1965
Fox MW. The Dog: It’s Domestication and Behavior.  New York, Garland STM Press, 1978
Houpt, K. (2004) Domestic Animal Behavior for Veterinarians and Animal Scienctists, 4th edition.  Blackwell Publishing: Ames, IA.
Scott JP, Fuller JL. (1965) Dog Behavior.  The Genetic Basis.  University of Chicago Press, Chicago
Serpell, J; Barrett, P (Eds.) (1996) The Domestic Dog: Its Evolution, Behavior and Interactions with People. Cambridge University Press, 268pp.
Thorne, C. (ed.) (1992). The Waltham Book of Dog and Cat Behavior. Pergamon Press: Oxford, 159pp.
Turner DC, Bateson P (editors). (2000) The Domestic Cat, the biology of its behavior, 2nd edition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 244 pp

Ackerman, L., Landsberg, G. and Hunthausen, W. (eds) (1996). Cat Behavior and Training: Veterinary Advice for Owners. TFH Publications: Neptune, NJ.
Ackerman, L., Landsberg, G. and Hunthausen, W. (eds) (1996). Dog Behavior and Training: Veterinary Advice for Owners. TFH Publications: Neptune, NJ.
Bailey, G.  (1995). The Perfect Puppy: How to Raise a Problem Free Dog, Hamlyn, London.
Bohnenkamp G. (1990). Manners for the modern dog. James and Kenneth Publishers, Berkeley, CA.
Bohnenkamp G. (1991). From the Cat’s Point of View, Perfect Paws, Inc., Belmont, CA.
Bohnenkamp G. (1994). Help! My Dog Has An Attitude, Perfect Paws, Inc., Belmont, CA.
Campbell, W (1999). Behavior Problems in Dogs.  3rd edition.  BehaviorRx systems.  Grants Pass, OR.
Campbell W. (1995). Owners Guide to Better Behavior in Dogs.  Alpine Publications, Loveland, CO.
Davidson D, Manning P. (1997). Canadian Dog Owner’s Manual. Toronto, MacMillan Canada.
Delzio S, Ribarich C. (1999) Felinestein.  Pampering the Genius in Your Cat.  Harper Perennial, NY
Dodman, N. (1996). The Dog Who Loved too Much. Bantam, NY.
Dodman, N.  (1997). The Cat Who Cried for Help.  Bantam, NY.
Dodman N. (1999). Dogs Behaving Badly.  An A-to-Z Guide to Understanding and Curing Behavioral Problems in Dogs.  Bantam, NY.
Donaldson J, (1996) The Culture Clash. James and Kenneth Publishers, Berkley, CA
Donaldson J, (1998) Dogs are from Neptune, Laser Media Productions, Montreal, Quebec
Dunbar, I. (1998). Dog Behavior: An Owner’s Guide to a Happy Healthy Pet, Hungry Minds, Inc.
Estep D, Hetts S.  Help! I’m barking and I can’t be quiet: a pet parenting guide.
Fisher, J. (ed) (1993). The Behavior of Dogs and Cats. Stanley Paul: London.
Fogle, B. (1990). The Dog’s Mind. Viking Penguin Inc.: New York.
Fogle, B. (1992). The Cat’s Mind. Howell Book House: New York.
Fox MW.  (1996). Superdog.  Raising the perfect canine companion.  Howell Book House, NY.
Heath S.  (1993). Why does my cat…?  Souvenir Press, London.
Hetts S, Estep D.  Raising a behaviorally healthy puppy: a pet parenting guide.
Horwitz D, Landsberg G.  Lifelearn CD of client behavior handouts (83 titles), Lifelearn, Guelph, ON, 800-375-7994.
Hunthausen W, Landsberg G.  AAHA client behavior handouts (10 titles), AAHA press, Denver, CO.
Kilcommons, B. and Wilson, S. (1994). Child-Proofing Your Dog. Warner Books: New York.
Marder, A. (1994). Your Healthy Pet: A Practical Guide to Choosing and Raising Happier, Healthier Dogs and Cats. Rodale Press: Emmaus, PA, 216pp.
Neville P.  (1991). Do Cats Need Shrinks? Contemporary Books, Chicago.
Neville P. (1992). Do Dogs Need Shrinks? Citadel Press, NY.
Pryor, K. (1999). Don’t Shoot the Dog: The New Art of Teaching and Training. Revised edition.  Bantam Doubleday Dell, 202 pp.
Rafe, S. (1990). Your New Baby and Bowser. Denlinger Publications: Fairfax, VA.
Ryan, T. (1990). Puppy Primer. Legacy: Pullman, WA.
Ryan, T. (1994). The Toolbox for Remodeling Problem Dogs. Legacy: Pullman, WA, 26pp.
Reid P. (1996).  Excel-erated Learning, James and Kenneth, Berkley.
Schwartz S. (1996). No more myths. Howell Book House, NY.
Schwartz S (2002) Dr. Cookie’s Guide to Living Happily with your Cat.  St. Martins Griffin, NY
Scidmore, Brenda and McConnell, Patricia. (1996). Puppy Primer, Order from Dog’s Best Friend, Ltd., PO Box 447, Black Earth, WI  53515, 608-767-2435.
Seksel K.  (2001) Training your cat.  Hyland House Publishing, Brunswick, Victoria, Australia 
Sternberg S.  (2003) Successful Dog Adoption. Howell Book House, Indianapolis, IN 
Volhard J. (1994). Canine Good Citizen, Howell Book House.
Weston D, Ross ER. (1992). Dog problems: the gentle modern cure.  Howell Book House, NY.
Weston D. (1990). Dog training.  Howell Schwartz S. No More Myths.  Howell Book House, New York, 1990Book House, NY.
Wright JC, Lashnits JW. (1994). Is your Cat Crazy?  MacMillan, NY.

See our handout on pet selection

Askew HR. (2003). Treatment of behavior problems in dogs and cats.  A guide for the small animal veterinarians.  2nd ed. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, UK.
Beaver, B. V. (1994). The Veterinarian’s Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior. Iowa State University Press: Ames, IA.
Dodman NH, Shuster L. (1997).  Psychopharmacology of Animal Behavior Disorders. Blackwell Science Inc., Malden, MA. 332 pp. 
Hart BL, Hart LA. (1985). Canine and Feline Behavioral Therapy, Lea & Febiger, Philadelphia.
Hetts SA. (1999). Pet Behavior Protocols. What to Say, What to Do, When to Refer.  AAHA Press, Denver.
Horwitz H, Heath S, Mills D.  BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Behavioral Medicine.  2003, British Small Animal Veterinary Association, Gloucester, UK.
Houpt KA (editor). (1997). Progress in Companion Animal Behavior.  Veterinary Clinics of North America Small Animal Practice, 27 (3), 427-697.
Houpt K, Virga V.  (2003)  Update on Clinical Veterinary Behavior.  Veterinary Clinics of North America Small Animal Practice, 33 (2), 185-453. 
Jackson J, Anderson RK, Line S (2001). Early learning for Puppies to Socialize and Promote Good Behavior.  A Program Guide for Veterinary Clinics, Canine Trainers and Humane Societies.  Premier Pet Products, Richmond, VA.
Keltner NL, Folks DG. (2001). Psychotropic Drugs, 3rd edition, Mosby, St. Louis.
Landsberg G, Hunthausen W, Ackerman L (2003). Handbook of Behavior Problems of the Dog and Cat, 2nd edition, Saunders,  Edinburgh, UK
Landsberg GM, Head E.  (2004) Aging and effects on behavior.  Geriatrics and Gerontology of the Dog and Cat, 2nd ed.  Hoskins JD (ed), Saunders, St. Louis, 29-42
Landsberg GM, Horwitz D. (2003) Behavior of Dogs and Cats, Lifelearn, Guelph,
Lindsay, S. R. (2000). Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training, Vol. 1: Adaptation and Learning. Iowa State University Press, 410pp.                    
Lindsay, S. R. (2001). Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training, Volume Two: Etiology and Assessment. Iowa State University Press, 304pp.
Mills DS, Heath SE, Harrington LJ.  (1997). Proceedings of the first international conference on veterinary behavioral medicine.  Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, Herts, UK.
Overall K, Mills DS, Heath SE, Horwitz D. (editors) (2001). Proceedings of the third international congress on veterinary behavioral medicine. Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, Herts, UK.
Overall, K. (1997). Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Small Animals. Mosby, St. Louis.
Reid PJ.  (1996). Excelerated Learning.  James and Kenneth Publishers, Oakland, CA.
Schwartz, S. (1997). Instructions for Veterinary Clients: Canine and Feline Behavior Problems. 2nd edition, Mosby, St. Louis.
Seksel K et al (eds).  2003 Proceedings of the 4th International Veterinary Behavior Meeting, Caloundra, Australia, Post Graduate Foundation in Veterinary Science, University of Sydney.  
Tilley LP, Smith FWK, (editors) (2004) The 5-Minute Veterinary Consult Canine and Feline 3rd Edition, Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, MD
Voith VL, Borchelt PL. (editors) (1996). Readings in Companion Animal Behavior, Trenton, NJ, Veterinary Learning Systems, 236 pp.
American Animal Hospital Association:  Behavior Pamphlets for Dog and Cat Owners (14 titles), AAHA, Denver, CO.
Clicker training:,
Dunbar Ian, Sirius Puppy Training. Video.  James & Kenneth Publishers. Berkeley, CA, 1987.
Hetts S, Estep DQ, Grant D.  Canine Behavior: Observing and Interpreting Canine Body Postures.  (DVD or VHS format) Produced by Animal Care Training, Inc.,
Hunthausen W. Learning to be safe with animals.  Dogs, Cats, and Kids (Video).  Pet Love. Partnership, LP P.O. Box 11331, Chicago, IL, 60611-0331, 800-784-0979.

American Animal Hospital Association –
American College of Veterinary Behaviorists –
American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior –
Animal Behavior Society –
Applied Ethology –
Association of Pet Behavior Counsellors –
Association of Pet Dog Trainers,
Association for Pet Loss & Bereavement –
Association for the Study of Animal Behavior –
BehaviorRx – Pet Behavior Resources –
Canadian Association of Pet Dog Trainers –
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association –
Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior –
Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society –
CENSHARE – Center to Study Human Animal Relationships and Environment (University of Minnesota) –
Companion Animal Behaviour Therapy Study Group –
Delta Society –
European Society of Veterinary Clinical Ethology –
Human Animal Bond Association of Canada –
International Society for Applied Ethology –
International Society for Anthrozoology –
National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors,
Purdue Center for the Human Animal Bond –
Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians –
UC Davis Center for Animals in Society –
UC Davis Veterinary College –
Veterinary Information Network –