Free Nature Studies: Dogs

Free Nature Studies: Dogs
Free Nature Studies: Dogs

Dogs serve man in a variety of ways, and man does well to care and protect them in return.

We now begin the fourth section of the book, Four-Footed Comrades, which covers dogs, horses, beavers, and sheep.

Read the current chapter online: “Dog Companions”


  • Use this map of Norton Sound to trace the route from Nome to Shaklolik. You’ll find more resources below.
  • Learn about diphtheria at Stanford Children’s Health.
  • Learn about Peary’s trip to the North Pole at You’ll find more resources below.
  • Read about the Red Cross Dogs in World War I.
  • You’ll find books by missionaries Hudson Stuck and Egerton Young in the book section below.
  • Learn about St. Bernards at the American Kennel Club.
  • Collies and border collies were used to herd sheep in Scotland.  Read about both at the American Kennel Club: collies / border collies.
  • Look at the herding breeds of dogs at the American Kennel Club.  Select your favorite.
  • Read Bob, Son of Battle by Alfred Ollivant.
  • Read Greyfriars Bobby by Eleanor Stackhouse Atkinson.
  • Investigate the different terrier breeds of dogs at the American Kennel Club. Which one is your favorite?
  • Learn about wolves at You’ll find more resources below.
  • Make a list of the different habits that dogs have and what they might have been used for before dogs were domesticated.
  • Something to do #1: Read Stickeen by John Muir and the account of Stickeen’s adventure on the glacier in Chapter 15 of Travels in Alaska by John Muir.
  • Something to do #2: Read Isaiah 11:6-9.  To keep the verse in context, read the beginning of Isaiah 11.  What does “then” refer to?  When is the Prince of Peace coming?  Now that we have the verse in context we can answer the author’s question.  If mankind “becomes more tender and loving, will the animals be less fierce and much tamer?”  When will that be the case?  How should man treat animals in the meantime?  Read Proverbs 12:10, for example.
  • Something to do #3: Read “The Story of Gelert” from Welsh Fairy-Tales and Other Stories by P.H. Emerson.  Narrate the story to someone else.
  • Something to do #4: If you have an indoor dog, perhaps you can decorate your dog’s water bowl.
  • Something to do #5: You’ll find a short list of books about dogs below.  Make a dog notebook and include a brief summary of each of the dog books you read along with a picture of the dog featured in the book.
  • Copy and memorize Proverbs 17:17.
  • More about dogs from the Book of Knowledge:

Wild dogs are found from the ice and barren tundra of the Arctic to the southernmost tips of America, Africa and Asia, and even in Australia; in plains, in the depth of Death Valley, the lowest spot on earth, and high on the Himalaya Mountains, almost as high as men have ever reached in their climbing….

…[T]he wild dogs band together; they live and hunt in pairs or family groups, and some kinds, wolves and hunting dogs for instance, unite into great packs when food is scarce. The wild dogs hunt both by stealth and ambush as many cats do, but they may run down their prey by great endurance….

People who have studied wolves find that in intelligence and courage, and in other ways, they show many differences. Many of their habits we should call “good” in men. They are faithful mates, often for years or for life, and the father hunts food for the young ones and helps to take care of them. Fights between mates are virtually unknown and members of a pack work together much like men on a football team….

Dens of these beasts are in natural caves, or if there are no caves they dig holes, often enlarging the burrows of badgers or other diggers. The young are as helpless as puppies and if not hidden safely away might fall victim to any of the other carnivorous mammals, or to certain birds. Even when the cubs are fully haired and able to run they need a safe retreat. There are usually six or eight cubs, born about the end of March or the first part of April….

Before the cubs do any hunting of their own the parents bring animals for food. By the time winter comes the young are large enough to catch most of their own prey, but it is about two years before they are fully grown.

“The Wild Dogs,” The Book of Knowledge

Further Investigation

Informational download at the CDC.

Robert Edwin Peary: Arctic Explorer
Information at

Canine Behavior
Understanding some dog behaviors and how to deal with them at The Dog Owner’s Guide at

Be a Responsible Dog Owner
Information at the AKC explaining what your new dog will need from you.

Tips on Basic Care for Your Dog
2-page download at the AKC.

Canine Courtesy
Having a dog carries responsibilities. Tips at the AKC.

Dog Breed Selector
Whether you are looking for a new pet, adding a dog breed to your dog notebook, or just investigating a dog you recently read about, you’ll find everything you need to know about the breed at Purina.


Wolves and Dogs: Fact and Fiction
Interactive site from NOVA.

The Dog Listener
Free 20-page activity book aimed at teaching children how to be safe around dogs at the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Bailey’s Responsible Dog Owner’s Coloring Book
8-page coloring book at the AKC with tips for dog owners.

Responsible Dog Owner’s Checklist
Basic instructions aimed at children at the AKC.

Dog Training and Advice
Tips at Purina for training your dog in basic commands. Use the right sidebar to see all of the dog obedience advice and commands.

Build a Dog House
Beginner level plans and guide at Lowes.

Pet ID Tag
Make your pet an ID tag with these helps at

Homemade Dog Biscuits
Make a special treat for Fido with these instructions at


War Dogs of the World War by John I. Anderson
Free public domain title with short biographies of a few famous WWI dogs.

“Robert Edwin Peary: Discoverer of the North Pole”
Chapter from Famous Discoverers and Explorers of America by Charles Haven Ladd Johnston.

Ten Thousand Miles With a Dog Sled by Hudson Stuck
Missionary mentioned above.

My Dogs in the Northland by Egerton R. Young
Missionary mentioned above.

Your Puppy Your Dog

Your Puppy, Your Dog by Pat Storer
Subtitled “A Kid’s Guide to Raising a Happy, Healthy Dog,” this title provides a great starting point for the young.  Covers selection, feeding, training, health and other topics.  From Storey Publishing.

How Smart is Your Dog

How Smart is Your Dog: 30 Fun Science Activities with Your Pet by D. Caroline Coile
Another family favorite, this is one way to get to know your pet.  (Healthy respect for the dog is included.)  Covers anatomy, the five senses, and other dog behaviors.


Fandex Family Field Guides: Dogs by Steven Aronson
Handy chunky guide for little hands to help them identify the various dog breeds.  A fun favorite that includes the history and a description of the breed.

Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds

Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds by D. Caroline Coile
For the student with an avid dog interest, this book is the best of the best when it comes to dog breed books.  Concise, but accurate, covering the history, appearance, temperament, and health issues.  Includes an at-a-glance chart to help you determine if a particular breed is right for you.  Also includes an extensive glossary that helps you understand dog world lingo.

Five True Dog Stories

Five True Dog Stories by Margaret Davidson
For the younger reader, these true stories include Balto and Barry the St. Bernard. 

Landseer’s Dogs and Their Stories ~ Free
Free public domain book looking at the dog art of Sir Edwin Landseer.

(You’ll find more dog book ideas on our Iditarod Unit Study page.)

Unit Studies & Lesson Plans
The Iditarod: A Unit Study

Iditarod: A Unit Study
Our own unit on the famous dog-sled race.

Dog Heroes Unit Study

Printables & Notebooking Pages

Alaska State Map
To mark the trail from Nome to Shaklolik.

The Seven Groups
Chart showing dogs grouped by the types of jobs they perform.

Responsible Dog Owner Coloring Book
9-page download for kids from the AKC.

Drawing & Writing Notebooking Paper {Free Download}
Paper with lines on bottom and room on top for illustrating that can be used to create a dog notebook.

Animal Report Form
Record the fast facts on this free form at Highland Heritage.

Dogs Notebooking Pages
Simple pages for copywork, narrations, and wrapping up.

Enjoy the complete series:
Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World