Animals in Literature

Home » Books about Animals » Our Dogs, Ourselves: How we live with dogs (Young Readers Edition)

Our Dogs, Ourselves: How we live with dogs (Young Readers Edition)

For your students who love dogs, this book is for them! Author Dr. Alexandra Horowitz runs a dog cognition lab studying how pet dogs think and behave. The book explores the connection we share with our dogs, which includes all of the things we do for them, including buying them treats and toys, choosing a name, and making them members of the family. The book also explains some of the welfare issues inherit in the way dogs are selectively breed.

Why use this book?

  • Highlights the bond we share with pets, referred to human-animal bond (or human-dog bond in the case of dogs), and provides a historical look at our relationship with our canine companions.
  • Provides students a glimpse into animal science and how we can learn about the minds of dogs through studying them.
  • Includes up-to-date science on dog’s behavioural needs and preferences.

Animal Welfare Considerations:

  • The book discusses in detail some of the welfare issues associated with dogs, such as health issues that can occur as a result of pure-breeding. It also highlights the behavioural needs that dogs have such as socialization with other dogs, need for olfactory stimulation (sniffing!), and play.
  • The book challenges the practice of spay/neuter for all dogs. It’s best to speak with your veterinarian when a making decision about your particular dog regarding spay/neuter.


  • Throughout the book the author touches on different welfare considerations and issues (i.e.: the importance of allowing dogs to sniff, providing choice, and problems with pure-breeding). Have student select one of these welfare considerations and create an educational awareness piece for classmates, friends and family. This could be a poster, or a social media post.
  • Informational books like this one can help us to learn more about the animals in our care and how to better provide for them. Have students write a reflection on simple things they can do to improve the welfare of their pets.

Additional Resources Related to Book:

Featured Reading

E-news Sign Up

Subscribe to our monthly e-news for activities, ideas and information on integrating humane education into your classroom!