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When you adopt a new dog, it can feel overwhelming. One great way to learn more about dogs and training them is to read books about the topic.
Most of the best dog training books that have shown the best results are ones that focus on understanding and communicating with the dog. Well-behaved and well-trained dogs have a strong bond with their owner. The best books discuss how to build that bond.
This article will go over the best books on the market for dog training. We have organized the article by the top dog training books, the best books for training puppies, and the best books for teaching tricks and commands. We will also discuss some great online resources for dog training and we will talk about how you can find a great local trainer if the books aren’t cutting it.
I have owned and loved dogs my entire life. I have read plenty of dog training books and read a lot of material about dogs in general. I believe that the best foundation for dog training is respect and communication. We have curated a list of the top dog training books. Many of them focus on building a relationship with your dog so that the rest of your training is as effective as possible. Let’s get started!
Top Dog Training Books
This first section will discuss the top general dog training books. If you look hard enough, you can find dog training books that are very specific to certain topics or teaching certain things to your dog. While most of those books are great and have solid information, that is not where you want to start.
We are starting this article with books that discuss the behaviors of dogs and humans. These books talk about how you can form a bond with your dog, how you can understand and communicate with them, and how we can understand how our actions are affecting our dogs.
These books will provide the base knowledge that you will need to effectively train and bond with your dog.
Cesar’s Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems by Cesar Millan with Melissa Jo Peltier
This book focuses on how to understand dogs and what we can do to make them happy. Rather than using traditional training methods, Cesar focuses on dog psychology to build a relationship with dogs. The recommendation that Cesar makes in his book is to focus on exercise, discipline, and affection, in that order. When you do this with your dog, you will have a happy dog that knows and loves you.
To put Cesar’s work into practice, you would first focus on giving your dog plenty of exercise. This can be in the form of long walks and runs, trips to the dog park, and playing with toys. A tired dog is a well-behaved dog. Then, you will want to focus on discipline in the form of a strict routine that you follow every day. Your routine should include times for eating, bathroom breaks, playing, and exercise. Finally, you will want to give your dog plenty of affection, especially when they are doing behaviors that you want them to repeat.
In his book, Cesar will also give readers some information about common behavioral issues in dogs and how they can be corrected while keeping the dog’s psychology in mind.
Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution: The Complete Guide by Zak George
This book serves as a complete guide for training your dog. Zak George is an experienced dog trainer and has put together a book that walks readers through the entire process of training a dog and correcting unwanted behaviors.
This book starts with discussing how to choose the right dog for you and your family. He will walk you through both breed and behavioral information that will help you find the perfect dog. He will then discuss basic training and house training, as well as correcting bad behaviors.
Aside from training tips, this book will also provide some tips for caring for your dog and some fun activities that you can do together with your dog.
Don’t Shoot the Dog! The New Art of Teaching and Training by Karen Pryor
This is a dog training book that again, focuses on behavior. One fun thing about this book is that it can be applied to other areas of life besides dog training. The intention of the book was for readers to use the information to better understand and train their dogs. However, many readers have found it useful in other relationships in their lives.
This book focuses on the behaviors of both humans and dogs and how we interact with each other. When talking about dog training, this book focuses heavily on positive reinforcement. This is when you reward good behaviors and ignore bad behaviors. This is a technique that is known to be effective for dog training.
The Other End Of The Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs by Patricia B. McConnell
This book, rather than trying to give the reader steps for dog training, focuses on what we can do as humans to help our dogs be well-behaved and happy. The author reminds us that humans and dogs are completely different species, so we must both make efforts to meet in the middle as far as communication is concerned.
The author explains that our dogs can pick up on even minor changes to our voices, which helps them to understand us better. She explains that we can use this information to be better communicators with our dogs. We should be conscious of how our voice sounds when we are communicating with our dogs, and how we can change it to communicate certain emotions better.
This book just focuses on the basics of building a relationship with our dogs by starting with the humans that are on the other end of the leash.
The Culture Clash: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding the Relationship Between Humans and Domestic Dogs by Jean Donaldson
This is yet another book that focuses on behavior and the relationships between humans and dogs. The author discusses the true personalities of dogs and how our interactions with them can shape their training. She talks about how dogs think differently than humans, so we need to think more like dogs if we want to properly train them. We need to understand how they interpret situations and react to various interactions.
The author heavily recommends the positive reinforcement training method. By pairing that with the behavioral knowledge that she discusses, readers can have great communication with their dogs and train them well.
How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves by Dr. Sophia Yin
This book is yet another in this list that focuses on behavior. The author starts the book by looking at dogs and their normal behavior. She looks at how dogs were domesticated over time and how that affects the behavior of modern dogs. She then discusses how dogs interact with each other, and then how they interact with humans.
The author walks the reader through how to apply behavioral training with their dog. The information in this book is based on science and research.
Top Books for Training Puppies
The books that we have already discussed are not necessarily geared toward puppies. While the information in those books would certainly help you train a new puppy, they are not specific to puppies. When training a puppy, you have to know all of the basic dog training information as well as anything related to puppies specifically.
When you adopt an older dog, they might have already lived in a home before, and at the very least they have had some time to explore the world and learn some things. When you adopt a puppy, they are not only learning how to fit into your routine, but they are learning everything about the world around them as well.
The following books are written to specifically help people raise and train puppies.
Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right by Dr. Sophia Yin
When you bring a new puppy home, you have to start training them in addition to showing them how to be a dog. This book walks you through seven days of activities to do with your new puppy that will help them learn about the world around them and get started on their training as well.
The book starts with discussing the development of your puppy before you adopt them and how you can use that information to train them more effectively. It will also discuss how to prepare yourself and your home for a new puppy. You should pick up this book before bringing home your new puppy.
Later chapters in this book discuss potty training, socialization, and preparing your puppy for further training.
The Puppy Primer by Patricia B. McConnell and Brenda Scidmore
This book is a thorough guide for training a new puppy. The author focuses on positive reinforcement while still maintaining realistic expectations. Many people might not realize how much time and dedication it takes to train a dog, especially a puppy. This book does a great job of letting the reader know what to expect from their puppy in the first few weeks as far as training goes.
The book goes through a ton of topics including basic training, correcting unwanted behaviors, the best ways to play, and what to do when your puppy enters adolescence. This book prepares puppy owners for all of the ups and downs and chaotic times that happen when you adopt a new puppy.
Top Books for Teaching Tricks and Commands
In this next section, we will discuss the best books for teaching tricks and commands. Most people that have owned a dog have gone through the process of crate training and house training. Many dogs also know basic commands like sit, down, or come.
However, not all dog owners go through the process of fully training their dogs with complex tricks or commands. Even seasoned dog owners might benefit from a book that walks you through the process of teaching tricks and complex commands.
101 Dog Tricks: Step-by-Step Activities by Kyra Sundance
This is a fun book that simply walks you through the process of how to teach your dog 101 tricks. Each trick is indicated with a difficulty level so that you can start with easier ones and work your way up. The author also included tips for each trick and common problems with learning each one.
This book teaches tricks like getting the newspaper, cleaning up toys, the moonwalk, waving goodbye, and so much more. This book is a great option for anyone wanting to take up the challenge of teaching their dog complex and fun tricks.
Training Your Own Service Dog by Lelah Sullivan
Unfortunately, fully trained service dogs are expensive. Many people would benefit from having a service dog that they can take with them everywhere, but it is not possible to meet that need at the moment. This book walks dog owners through the process of training a service dog at home.
This book will guide you through teaching your dog the basics that they need to become a service dog, including obedience and having manners while in public. Most service dogs will need additional, specialized training to meet the needs of their handler. However, this book will help get your dog to the place they need to be to get that specialized training.
Best Online Resources for Dog Training
Even though there are so many great options out there for books that can help with dog training, some people prefer to digitally access their training materials. The internet has so much information about dog training, that you will be able to find great resources in no time.
One of the best resources for dog information and dog training is the American Kennel Club. They are a great source of information about breeds, and the educational part of their website offers a lot of training advice.
Online sources might also be a great way to find specific information if you need it. You might not know whether any given book will discuss a particular problem you are having with your dog, yet you can type your question into a search engine and be met with advice that is specific to your situation.
How to Find a Local Dog Trainer
In some cases, reading through advice in books and online isn’t enough to train a dog. Some dogs have behavioral issues that need to be professionally managed. Most cities will have institutions that offer dog training. Some dog trainings are done without the owners, and you will send the dog away for their training sessions. Others are done with the owners in the class.
When looking for a local trainer, start your search online. You can search for a list of dog training businesses in your area and read reviews to find one that you like. Make sure you find a trainer that focuses on positive reinforcement. The most important part of finding a trainer is making sure that they are certified. Look for an up-to-date certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT).