Handbook of Behavior Problems of the Dog and Cat

Note: The featured image in this post corresponds to the third edition of the book, although I own and have reviewed the second edition. Images have been obtained from Amazon and are copyright of Saunders.

I got this book many years ago, following a recommended books list after I finished my dog-training and behaviour modification course. Although I haven’t used it much, since I haven’t had the opportunity to work professionally as a dog trainer or a behaviour expert, I can recognise the effort and the valuable information contained in it.

Overall, I think this book is great. It contains a description of potentially disruptive behaviours of both dogs and cats, and their causes and possible treatments. As the title implies, it’s more a handbook or reference book than a book to be read back to back. The first chapters give an overview of the development of cats and dogs, and explain different behaviour-modification techniques as well as available tools to prevent problems. After this, the remaining chapters are devoted to the different behavioural issues and how they can be tackled.

Be aware, though, that this is not a book for pet owners. Its mainly written for vets and other professionals that work at veterinary clinics. It’s a scientific book, full of references at the end of every chapter. Despite this, it’s easy to read, especially if you’re already familiar with the topic of pet behaviour (words like counterconditioning, desensitisation, operational conditioning, flooding, etc. should ring a bell).

One of the things that I like the most about it is that, at the end of the book, it includes several reference sheets and forms that can be used by vets to diagnose behaviour problems to be given to owners to help them with their pets.

Editions and Prices

I own the second edition, published in 2003, but there is a third edition available, titled Behavior Problems of the Dog and Cat (they dropped the Handbook of part) published in 2012. Although structurally they are very similar, the third edition includes contributions from other vets and scientists, and some of the chapters have been restructured. Moreover, photos are now in colour.

In terms of price, this is not a cheap book. It sells for about €80, $80 or £70. However, if you’re willing to sacrifice the newest content, you can get the second edition (second hand) for half the price. There is also an e-book version (in PUB or PDF format) which sells for about €10 cheaper. Although e-books have their advantages (they take no physical space, it’s easier to search for terms), I think that I’d get the paper version, as there is very little difference in price between the two.

Although I’m very fond of the second edition of the book, I’d recommend getting the third one if you have the money and you are a professional, as it will reference any new relevant discoveries or information that didn’t make it into the second. Note that the third edition of the book has dropped the “Handbook of” part from the title, and can be found by searching for Behavior Problems of the Dog and Cat.

3rd Edition Reference

Landsberg, Gary M Hunthausen, Wayne, Ackerman, Lowell. Behavior Problems of the Dog and Cat. Edinburgh ; New York :Saunders, 2012.

2nd Edition Reference

Landsberg, Gary M Hunthausen, Wayne, Ackerman, Lowell. Handbook Of Behavior Problems of the Dog and Cat. Edinburgh ; New York :Saunders, 2003.


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