With Blue Monday having just passed and the short, cold days of January ahead of us, it's the perfect time of year to curl up with your snugglebuddy (that's your dog) and catch up on some reading.
There are some great dog-themed books out at the moment. Here are my top three picks:
1. Dog Days by Andrew Cotter
Do you remember during lockdown (don't ask me which one!) there were all those hilarious YouTube videos of labradors Olive and Mabel? You don't? Seriously? Check them out here if not!
Right. Are you sitting nicely? Good. Let's discover exactly what happened after two superstar Labradors chewed up the lockdown internet and found it really quite tasty.
He's not kept a diary for decades but here, in DOG DAYS, Andrew Cotter draws inspiration from the great Samuel Pepys; like him, he bears witness to the extraordinary everyday as the world tilts on its axis in our own unsettling era.
And so, with Olive and Mabel at his side - actually, dawdling in the long grass or sleeping upside down - Andrew takes a clear-eyed, often hilarious walk through a year that encompasses all of life from the crushingly mundane to the decidedly odd.
Followed by whispers of 'Is that really Olive and Mabel?' – not to mention the occasional Hollywood approach – the three of them pad around literary festivals, breakfast TV, live radio and even an appearance on Good Morning America. Slightly bemused by their fame, Andrew not only pitches up in the iconic Mastermind chair, but makes a return to sports broadcasting to find that it has become rather strange as well.
But, always, his pair of utterly endearing, endlessly optimistic and eternally hungry canine companions show just how precious our time is. Especially our time spent in the devoted company of dogs. For fans new and old, this witty, insightful account of a year like no other is an unmissable treat.
Dog Days is available on Amazon for £10 (hardcover) or £6.54 (Kindle). It is definitely next on my to-read list.
2. Test Your Dog by Rachel Federman
How clever is your canine companion? Are they a Bark Twain or an Aldous Husky, a Winston Furchill or just barking mad?
Keep ahead of the pack with Test Your Dog, the perfect book for dog lovers everywhere showing how to measure your dog's intelligence in a series of easy and fun tests.
Does your dog respond to hand gestures? How about facial signals? Can he perform tricks both inside and outside? Now you can find out just how smart your dog really is by giving them the Dog IQ Test.
With three fun quizzes designed to measure your dog's communication skills, social behaviour, motor skills and memory, you'll finally discover if your dog is really a canine Einstein.
Test Your Dog also comes complete with guidelines on analysing your dog's score, tips for improving your dog's IQ and amusing illustrations throughout.
3. Doggie Language - A Dog Lover's Guide to Understanding Your Best Friend - Lili Chin
If you're relatively new to owning a dog, you might wonder how they communicate. This is a subject that is really close to my heart - honestly, if you don't know about dog language, learn it! It really will revolutionise the way you see your dog. If you can understand when he is a bit worried, by noticing some of the more subtle signals, then you can really help to make his life a bit easier and gain immense trust in the process.
Misreading doggie body language makes life challenging for dogs and their humans. This small but mighty book is your perfect illustrated guide to seeing and understanding the subtle visual cues and interpreting the behaviours used by your beloved pup to express how they’re feeling. The more we notice and listen to what our dogs are trying to tell us, the more we can improve our relationship with our best friends, helping them to feel safe and happy.
- Original illustrations help you compare similar facial expressions, body language and gestures
- Interpret your dog's cues and learn how your dog uses his ears, eyes, mouth, tail and posture to communicate with you
- Spot the signals your dog is trying to give you to tell you they're stressed or conflicted
That's my top three! Have you got any great dog-related books that you can recommend?