Does your dog seem confused about simple commands like "sit" and "stay"? Or does he show signs of separation anxiety when you try to leave for the grocery store? Dog training books can teach you tips and tricks for modifying your pet's behaviors. Or, they can supplement the work you and your dog do with a professional trainer.
Books also let you learn at your own pace and are always there if you need to relearn something you thought you mastered. But with so many dog training books, you may be wondering how to select the best one. Our top 10 list and buying guide will help you see what kind of topics are available and what you need to look for in your next training book. You can start with Zak George's Guide to a Well-Behaved Dog, an excellent guide for all-around training. Keep reading to find out more!
Table of Contents
Learning how to train your dog can be a fun and rewarding experience. But before you buy a dog training book, there are certain factors to consider.
Start by researching certified dog trainers, animal behavioral specialists, or veterinarians who have penned tips based on their expertise. Then look for topics that cover what your dog needs help with. Finally, evaluate the way the book presents the information and whether it's easy to understand the advice.
When deciding what book to buy, see if the author is a well-known and revered dog trainer. The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) provides credentials for dog trainers that go through training and pass knowledge-based exams. Training schools like the Karen Pryor Academy and local trade schools also provide certifications.
You can usually perform an online search about authors to check their educational backgrounds, years of experience, and reviews. Do some research on the author's training style, as some use only positive reinforcement techniques, others use corrective methods, and some use a combination.
Examples of positive reinforcement techniques include praise and treats for performing desired behaviors. Corrective methods are based on negative reinforcement when a dog exhibits undesired behaviors. Examples include saying "no" and giving a slight tug on a leash connected to the dog's collar.
Some books cover all the basics, including commands like "sit" and "stay." These types of books are best for dog owners with a new pet, including rescues that may not have had previous training. Other books are geared toward puppy training. Books that focus on puppy training can help owners avoid problems in the future, by shaping their dog's behavior.
There are also dog training books for specific problem behaviors, such as aggression toward people and other dogs, house training, and separation anxiety. If your dog has the basics down and is having difficulty with an isolated behavior or two, you'll benefit more from books that only discuss how to correct those issues.
If you want to learn certain types of training, like using clickers, some books break down these specific techniques. For example, some dog trainers that use food as a reward system, while others use both clickers and food. Meanwhile, others rely on commands with positive body language.
If you have kids and want them to be involved in the training process, you can look at books that teach kids how to train and form a relationship with your dog. Additionally, there are books that focus on advanced tricks, training service dogs for those with special needs, and training for specific breeds' energy levels and characteristics.
If you're new to dog training, it can help to use a book that has illustrations and images and is written in a simple style. It's best to avoid books with a lot of medical or veterinarian jargon, as this could be distracting and you'll probably have to stop reading to look up the terms to understand what the discussion is about.
If possible, a book with access to online resources, such as videos and virtual demonstrations, can help with understanding and putting the tips into practice. You can also determine if you'd rather have a book written in a "how-to" style with step-by-step guides or one that is written in a more descriptive narrative.
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Guide to a Well-Behaved Dog
All-Around Training for Dog Behavior
How to Raise the Perfect Dog
A Great Guide for Young Dogs and Up
Larry Kay, Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz
Training the Best Dog Ever
Training Advice That Relies on Positive Reinforcement
Kyra Sundance, Chalcy
101 Dog Tricks
Teach Your Dog New Skills
Be Right Back!
Move Past Separation Anxiety
Vanessa Estrada Marin
Dog Training for Kids
An Excellent Guide for Young Owners
Behavior Adjustment Training 2.0
Addresses Aggression and Fear
Lucky Dog Lessons
Tips for Training and Bonding With Rescue Dogs
Monks of New Skete
The Art of Raising a Puppy
Get Training Advice from a Bestseller
American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
Decoding Your Dog
Training Methods From Veterinarians
Zak George's Guide to a Well-Behaved Dog contains instructions for modifying common bothersome behaviors. This includes chewing, showing aggression, and excessive barking. You can apply the book's training tips to dogs of all ages and breeds.
A handful of reviewers felt like the book lacked a bit of detail. Some were fans of the author's YouTube channel and said his videos are more comprehensive. Still, the majority of buyers enjoyed using the tips in the book and found they helped establish good communication and a bond with their pets.
Some problems are harder to correct once dogs establish habits and receive feedback that their behaviors are okay. That's why this book is based on the idea of establishing good behaviors while your pet is young.
Topics like housebreaking a puppy, typical mistakes new pet owners make, and teaching your dog obedience are covered. Other general well-being suggestions for nutrition and vaccination schedules are also discussed.
Some reviewers wanted more practical, how-to training advice rather than descriptive narrative. However, the book offered a lot of insight into puppy psychology, which many puppy owners greatly benefited from. It was repeatedly highlighted for being beginner-friendly.
This book contains a five-week program that's designed for dogs of all ages. It also has photographs to illustrate each step. Some of the commands and behaviors the authors discuss include the basics like "sit" and "come here," as well as how to correct leash-pulling.
A few reviewers felt that the positive reinforcement technique was incomplete and that the book only covered basic steps. On the other hand, a lot of reviewers were able to use the tips from this book in combination with advice from other sources. They liked the approach and found it paired well with some use of corrective measures.
Learning a bunch of tricks, from simple to complicated, is the goal of this book. The topics are separated into categories like chores and funny tricks. Teach your pet things like how to fetch the morning paper, dance, and wave goodbye. Each trick has a difficulty rating, and new tricks can build on old ones for a steady progression.
Some reviewers mentioned that the techniques and language in the book were a bit outdated, and that future readers should beware of this. Meanwhile, a bunch of reviewers liked the variety of the tricks and a few liked that there were troubleshooting tips if their dogs didn't seem to understand the commands.
This book concentrates on working through separation anxiety with your dog. The author discusses evidence-based techniques to get your anxious pet used to being left alone. She's a certified dog trainer and has direct experience with pets that have overcome separation anxiety.
A few reviewers found the information about separation anxiety to be repetitive and similar to what they had researched before. Still, many readers thought the information was helpful and easy to understand. They liked that the book had general information as well as detailed steps to try in the journey to overcoming separation anxiety.
This book teaches the younger members of the family how to interact with a dog. The book contains lessons that cover basic and essential commands, such as "stay" and "drop it". Your kids can learn how to help potty train the family dog, teach him or her how to use a crate, and walk on a leash.
The most common complaint was about the book's binding. The pages seemed to come apart easily and fell out. Still, the majority of reviewers thought the directions were easy to understand and said their kids were able to follow them. A few noted their kids could use the book's tips at home and during classes with an obedience trainer.
Written by a certified trainer, this book concentrates on correcting unwanted aggressive behaviors that stem from fear. It also discusses ways to reduce triggers and dogs' reactions to stimuli. Then there are advanced tips included specifically for dog behavior specialists.
A couple of reviewers found the book complicated and difficult to understand. Even so, many readers were able to glean insights from the behavioral explanations in the book. They said it contained great strategies for helping "difficult" dogs improve their behavior.
This book contains training advice for owners who adopt their pets from rescue groups and shelters. As discussed in the book, establishing trust with rescue dogs is one of the first steps to training them. Behavioral problems like chewing, potty training, and escaping are also addressed.
A handful of reviewers thought there were too many stories and too much filler content in the book. However, the majority of readers found the author's compassionate and easy-going approach to be helpful with their own rescue dogs. They liked that the instructions could be implemented quickly.
This book was written by a collective of German Shepard breeders and dog trainers that have worked with a variety of breeds. While it focuses on training puppies, it has been updated to include information crate training and owning dogs in more challenging city environments.
A few reviewers thought the advice in the book was a bit outdated. On the other hand, quite a few readers liked the direction and advice about choosing a puppy and raising it to become an obedient dog. They liked that they were able to gain valuable insights into how dogs see the world and their relationships with humans.
This book was written by veterinarians to help dog owners correct undesired behaviors. It contains training methods and practical examples that vets have used to produce tangible results. The discussion is educational and shows owners how dogs perceive the world and learn new things.
Some reviewers complained that the contents of the book were pretty basic, so it might be more suitable for complete newbies. Still, many reviewers liked that there was solid information on dealing with problematic behaviors, prior trauma in pets, and dogs with unknown histories.
Besides training books that address problematic behaviors, there are books that provide more general advice. Some teach you how to keep your pet healthy and happy. From determining proper feeding schedules to grooming and exercise, you'll learn to give your dog a high quality of life.
You can also find information on concerns and care specific to older dogs. Different dogs age at different rates, usually according to size and breed. However, during your pet's golden years you may need to change their food, treat conditions like arthritis, and learn how to spot the signs that it's time to let go.
Bringing a new dog home can be both exciting and frustrating. You both need time to get used to each other! Here are some additional ideas to get you started on getting your dog settled in.
No. 1: Zak George | Guide to a Well-Behaved Dog | Paperback
No. 2: Cesar Millan | How to Raise the Perfect Dog | Paperback
No. 3: Larry Kay, Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz | Training the Best Dog Ever
No. 4: Kyra Sundance, Chalcy | 101 Dog Tricks | Paperback
No. 5: Julie Naismith | Be Right Back! | Paperback
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