If you have a dog, the chances are that at one point in their lives, you are going to have to train them so they respond to your commands and do what you say. This can seem daunting to a pet owner, especially if your dog is energetic and unpredictable or doesn’t always listen to you. Of course, you can always take your dog to a professional dog trainer and get them to teach your dog, but this can become expensive and it can be difficult to find dog training classes near you. This is where dog training books come in very handy.
Dog training books allow you to learn everything you need to about training your dog, but let you do it at a pace that is right for you and your canine friend. You can work out which techniques are going to be best and work through them slowly. Even better, they don’t cost very much!
Below we have put together a buying guide giving you all the information you need on dog training books, what to look for, and some of our top picks.
Best Dog Training Books – Comparison Table
Why You Need A Dog Training Book
As we mentioned above, if you have a dog, you are probably going to need to train them. Unless you want to take your pup to special dog training classes, dog training books can be just as effective.
Best Training Techniques
One of the best things are about dog training books is that there are so many out there, with so many different training techniques. Therefore, you have a choice of what you want to teach your dog, whether it be just a few tricks or total behavioral management. You can pick the issue you are struggling with your pup, and then look at multiple books to get different perspectives from dog trainers on how to deal with the issue.
By comparing different books you will get an insight into the best training techniques and see what is most likely to work. Of course, all dogs are different and so just because one technique worked for one of the authors, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is going to work on your pup. However, you will then be able to discover which techniques are more likely to work on your doggie, so teaching them behaviors and tricks will become easier over time.
Training At Your Own Pace
Whether you’re training your dog for the first time or have trained multiple dogs in the past, a dog training book will allow you to train at your own pace. You pick the techniques you want to work through with your dog and if they aren’t understanding, you can slow the training down. You can also choose just one trick to work on at a time, and you don’t need to move on to the next one until that one is learnt. With a dog training book there is no rush to get your dog leaning certain tricks and calls within a certain amount of time when they might not be ready, which is a definite advantage over dog training classes.
Having a physical book in your hands also means you can go back over the trick again and again and you don’t need to worry about forgetting it. If you take a dog training class you may end up forgetting the technique the trainer told you after just a few hours, and have no way to go back and relearn it.
Cheaper Than Training Classes
We touched on this previously, but buying a dog training book is a lot cheaper than attending dog training classes. Of course, if you have money to be able to do this, these classes can be great. You and your dog will be under supervision by an expert and they will be able to show you tips and tricks on getting your dog to listen to you and help correct any mistakes you might make. However, these classes are not practical for everyone.
They are expensive and you can often learn all the same techniques at your own pace from a dog training book that only costs a few dollars. With a dog training book you also don’t have to worry about finding a class to attend, or worry about making it to the class every week on time when you already have a busy schedule.
Things To Look For In A Dog Training Book
There are a few things to look for in dog training books to make sure you get the most out of it and training your dog doesn’t feel like hard work.
You should always check the publication date of the book you are buying. It can either work for you or against you. Some best-sellers which were published years ago are still popular today because of their training techniques that are universal and credible, and will work on dogs for years to come after the original publication. However, books that were published more recently have an advantage because they may have more recent information regarding studies on dog psychology and new training techniques that were not around when the old books were published.
Of course, you want the author of the book you buy to have some expertise in their field and be credible. There are some professional dog trainers who are well-known and have books and TV shows, so you will know that they know what they’re talking about can be trusted. However, there are lesser well known authors who still produce credible material and you shouldn’t just dismiss them because they are not as famous. Therefore, you should look at each author and decide whether they have the expertise and credibility you are looking for.
Ease Of Reading
If the book isn’t easy to read or follow, you are never going to want to look at it. If the book uses long, complicated words that only veterinarians are going to understand, it is not going to be very useful for the likes of you and me. You want the book to be set out in a simple format, showing you the steps to achieve certain techniques. There should also be illustrations and pictures to clarify certain, more complicated actions so you can understand everything.
Different dog training books have different purposes and you should work out what you want to achieve before you buy a book. Some books focus on certain specifics of dog training, whereas others cover more general techniques. The type of techniques you use with a puppy are going to be different techniques to ones you use with an older dog, so if the author does not have much experience with puppies, you’ll want to go for a different book. Techniques will also differ based on your dog’s breed, so it all depends on your dog and their needs.
This goes hand in hand with the purpose behind buying a book. If you are training a puppy, you may want to look at easier training techniques because your puppy is still growing and learning. If you have something specific in mind that you want to teach your pup, such as certain tricks, you will need to look for a book with advice on those techniques. You should also look for the source of the training techniques. If the book you buy has simple information with techniques that were developed by other authors, you should look for the books from those authors so you are getting the techniques right from the source. This is important because there are a lot of books out there.
Endorsements and Reviews
Reading the reviews of the book is always important and gives you a good indication of whether the book is going to be a good buy or not. If it has positive reviews from many customers then you know it can be trusted. You should also look for books that are endorsed by other companies, especially other companies that relate to canine or pet well-being. If the book you buy is endorsed by one of these companies or in partnership with them, then you also know it can be trusted.
Should I Get A Kindle, Hardcover or Paperback Dog Training Book?
In this day and age, it can be difficult to know what type of book to go for. Electronic devices are so popular and a Kindle can make life so much easier in storing all your books in one place for you. If you are reading multiple dog training books, you don’t have to carry them around with you all the time. Kindle books can be much cheaper too. However, paperback and hardcovers are also great, because then you have a physical copy of the book that you can mark or fold-down pages in to go back to later. The book format you choose really depends on your preferences and what is going to work for you.
If you’re ready to find the right dog training book for you and your doggy, take a look at the best dog training books on Amazon below.
The Best Dog Training Books Reviews
Published in 2016, this book by Zak George “Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution” helps you tailor training to your dog’s unique traits and energy level, leading to quicker results and a much happier pet. This book helps right from the moment you decide to get a pet, helping you decide which dog is going to be right for you before leading into housetraining and basic training. Also included in this book are techniques to handle biting, leash pulling, jumping up, barking, aggression, chewing, and other behavioral issues, as well as cool tricks.
This book is great for those looking for a complete guide on how to care for your dog, as it also includes health care essentials like finding a vet and selecting the right food, and traveling tips and activities to enjoy with your dog.
“The Art of Raising a Puppy” by the Monks of New Skete is an updated version of the classic bestseller that includes the latest developments in canine health. This book, which has sold over 600,000 copies, focuses on dog training, canine behavior and the animal/human bond and it features photographs throughout, along with chapters on play, crating, adopting dogs from shelters and rescue organizations and raising dogs in an urban environment.
Perfect for those looking for complete training right from the puppy stage, the Monks draw on their experience as long-time breeders of German shepherds and as trainers of dogs of all breeds to provide advice that every dog owner needs.
Although this book “How to Housebreak Your Dog in 7 Days” by Shirlee Kalstone is almost 20 years old, it remains one a dog owners favorite. Now revised and updated, this book gives a compact guide for sensible, step-by-step advice on how to housebreak your beloved pet. Whether your dog is a puppy or getting on in their years and whether your goal is to housebreak, paper train or litter train, this book gives an easy-to-follow plan that works with both their innate behavioral instincts and your individual lifestyle.
There are step-by-step programs tailored to both those who live in apartments and home owners, and to people who go to work, versus those who are home all day, as well as schedules for training puppies and re-training adult dogs. It will also help you to identify your dog’s natural behavioral rhythms and use them to your advantage, and teaches you how to cope with housebreaking lapses, marking territory, separation anxiety, and health problems.
If you’ve got kids in the house as well as a puppy, life can be a bit hectic. This book by Colleen Pelar, published in 2012, called “Puppy Training for Kids” introduces boys and girls to the responsibilities and the joys of puppy care, training and companionship. The topics covered inside this book include purchasing puppy supplies and selecting chew toys, housetraining and socializing your puppy, as well as understanding your puppy’s behavior and body language.
There are also techniques for the basics of puppy training to help keep your pup out of trouble and some ideas for fun and games with your dog. It also comes with colorful and engaging photos to keep your kids interested. If your child loves their new canine friend, this is a great gift!
The celebrity dog trainer and Emmy-winning star of the CBS show Lucky Dog Brandon McMillan is the author of this book. Published recently in 2018, McMillan shares his training system to transform any dog — whether they are a spoiled puppy or a scared rescue — into a model doggie in just seven days. McMillan uses the knowledge he has gained working with thousands of dogs of every breed and personality to help you train your dog, beginning with the basics such as building trust, establishing focus and control and mastering training techniques.
He then moves on to training the 7 Common Commands he teaches every dog: SIT, STAY, DOWN, COME, OFF, HEEL, and NO, as well as solutions to common canine behavior problems, including house training issues, door dashing, chewing, barking and mealtime misbehaviors. This book has easy-to-follow steps, illustrative examples, tips and tricks and photographs to demonstrate each technique, too.
“Training the Best Dog Ever”by Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz, published in 2012, gives dog owners a 5 week program that helps to train your dogs using positive reinforcement. Using trust, treats and bonding, the five week training program takes only 10 to 20 minutes of practice a day and works for both puppies and for adult dogs that need to be trained out of bad habits. Illustrated with step-by-step photographs, the book covers hand-feeding, crate and potty training and basic cues, as well as more complex goals such as bite inhibition and water safety. It also shows how to avoid or correct typical behavior problems, including jumping, barking and leash-pulling.
Even better, it also shows you how to make your dog comfortable in the world, including knowing how to behave in a vet’s office and how to be at ease around strangers. Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz used to train the White House dog, Bo Obama, and each of Senator Ted Kennedy’s dogs and is known for her no-fail techniques.
This book “101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond with Your Dog” by Kyra Sundance was first published in 2007 and is a NY Times bestseller which has been translated into 40 languages, with over a half-million copies sold worldwide. This book has step-by-step instructions with easy-to-follow color photos of each step. Each trick is rated with a difficulty rating and prerequisites to get you started quickly, too. There are also tips and troubleshooting sections to help with common problems, as well as suggestions of more complicated tricks that build on each new skill.
Kyra Sundance is a world-acclaimed stunt dog show performer and celebrity dog trainer, and relies on positive training methods that help you to build a good relationship with your pup.
“How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond” by Cesar Millan was published in 2010 and helps you to create a good foundation in your dog’s early years for ease later on in life. This book shows you how to create the best environment for a well-balanced dog in order to avoid behavior issues in the future, and shows you how to correct the most common behavior issues for young dogs. It also includes what you should expect from each stage of your puppy’s development as well as quick and easy housebreaking.
You learn how to correct an issue before it becomes a problem and how to get obedience from day one through rules, boundaries, and calm-assertive leadership, as well as how to avoid the most common mistakes owners make raising puppies and young dogs. There is also information on the general well being of your dog, including the essentials of proper nutrition and the importance of vaccinating — and of not over-vaccinating.
Another book by the Monks of New Skete, “How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend” was published in 2002. This expanded edition preserves the best features of the original classic while bringing the book fully up-to-date, giving you a full training manual, right from deciding what dog to get through to dealing with behavioral issues. Covering virtually every aspect of living with and caring for your dog, “How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend” includes tips on selecting a dog, looking at what gender, breed and age you should go for, where to get — and where not to get — a dog, as well as the particular challenges of raising a dog where you live — in the city, country, or suburb.
They also focus on basic training and the proper use of praise and discipline as well as feeding, grooming and ensuring your dog’s physical fitness. You will learn how to recognize and correct behavioral issues within your canine friend and it also gives you techniques for complete care of your pet at every stage of his or her life.
Another book by Cesar Millan, this book titled “Cesar’s Rules: Your Way to Train a Well-Behaved Dog”, published in 2011, shows you how to communicate well with your dog and shares the most effective and humane methods for teaching your dog how to be a happy and well behaved. Cesar Millan is a New York Times bestselling author and shows you all the most popular training techniques, including positive reinforcement and using a clicker, as well as the ways to teach basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, and come.
Millan focuses on the importance of balance, and why a well-trained dog does not necessarily mean a balanced one, and shows you how to use your dog’s own natural inclinations to create better behavior. In this book there is advice, anecdotes, tips, and trouble-shooting techniques, helping you to encourage and honor your dog’s instincts as you train them.
This book by Cesar Millan “Cesar’s Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding & Correcting Common Dog Problems” was published in 2007 and is one of Millan’s earlier books. In this book, he helps you to understand your dog’s psychology and how it is affecting their behavior. Taking you through the basics of dog psychology and behavior, you will learn that what your dog really needs may not be what you’re giving him and how you should relate to him on a canine level.
It also shows why a dog’s natural pack instincts are the key to your happy relationship, and that even if you think your dog might be the problem, it could be your current techniques. There are also tips on choosing the right dog for your family so you can be sure they fit in and the difference between discipline and punishment, ensuring your pup lives a happy (and well-behaved!) life.
“Beyond The Back Yard: Train Your Dog to Listen Anytime, Anywhere!” by Denise Fenzi is designed for pet owners who have already been through basic training with their dog and taught them behaviors such as sit, down, stay and a recall, but want to learn more about how to teach your dog to behave away from home. In this book you will teach your dog how to cooperate off the leash, away from home and with other things going on around them. The book is split into three parts — the first part is educational, providing information about the theory and philosophy of training.
The second part practical, showing you how to get your dog to respond to your cues even when the world is exciting or you don’t have cookies, and the third part is the section that will help you troubleshoot any issues that arise. Denise Fenzi has been training and competing dogs for over 35 years and is well known for her effective and humane techniques for gaining cooperation from all types of dogs.
Published in 2015, this book written by specialists of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists titled “Decoding Your Dog: Explaining Common Dog Behaviors and How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones” helps to decode how dogs think, how they communicate, and how they learn. This book is not necessarily a dog training book but more of an informational read, explaining why your dog shows certain behaviours and the reason behind them.
Combining science with accessible and adaptable real-life examples, this dog behavior guide showcases the latest veterinary-approved positive training methods. Decoding Your Dog will resolve the complaints, answer any questions you may have about your dog, and, ultimately, challenges the way we think about our dogs.
“Think Like Your Dog and Enjoy the Rewards” by Dianna M. Young was published in 2013 and helps you to learn think like your dog and to communicate with them using body language in a way they understand. Written by a professional dog trainer, discusses all areas of training dogs and puppies of all breeds and will help put you inside the head of your canine companion so you can understand the processes that go on there. It can help you improve your relationship with your dog through all the important parts of their life, especially their care and health.
You also learn about puppy training, dog obedience training, with chapters covering on-leash and off-leash training, rewards versus corrections, dog clicker training, welcoming a new dog to your home, how to attain and retain leadership in your human-canine pack, as well as many other important subjects. It is ideal for a new dog owner, or simply the owner of a new dog.
Published in 1999, this is an older book but is still very valuable to dog owners these days. “Family Dog: A Simple and Time-Proven Method” by legendary trainer Richard A. Wolters offers a step-by-step method for completely training your dog, regardless of breed or age — in just sixteen weeks. Whether you’re six or sixty, you can learn to train your dog quickly and effectively, taking only minutes a day, making it the perfect book for everyone in the family. You will discover how to choose the right dog for your family and lifestyle and the fundamentals of training, from housebreaking to basic commands to teaching tricks.
It also explores the key to your dog’s healthy mental development and the benefits of play and relaxation, as well as how to guide your dog through his first critical growth periods, tips on grooming, first-aid and medical advice and the perfect diet. Also great for children, it shows how they should interact with dogs and how you should speak to your dog. It is also illustrated with more than 200 photographs that take you systematically through every phase of training.
Perfect for young children, this book by Vanessa Estrada Marin was published in 2019 and is titled “Dog Training for Kids: Fun and Easy Ways to Care for Your Furry Friend”. Every kid wants a dog, but when you finally give in and get them one, it can be difficult to keep them engaged, especially if the dog doesn’t behave! This book helps your child to train your dog themselves, so they learn the responsibilities that come with owning a dog. It breaks down lessons and tutorials in simple steps and easy-to-follow instructions.
Kids will have everything they need to be caring and responsible dog owners, including basic training lessons such as stopping unnecessary barking, potty training, obedience and leash training and crate training. They’ll also learn basic commands, clever tricks like roll over and high five, and there are super fun games for them to play with their doggo too.
Karen Pryor’s clear and entertaining explanation of behavioral training methods in “Don’t Shoot the Dog: The Art of Teaching and Training” have made this book a bestseller. Published recently in 2019, Pryor explains the underlying principles of behavioral training and reveals how this it can be applied to virtually any common situation, doing it without yelling threats, force, punishment, guilt trips — or shooting the dog!
Not just designed for you to understand your pets, this book also helps with understanding your spouse or moody teenagers and gives you methods on how to deal with any undesirable behavior you might come across. You learn how to “shape” behavior too, making your house, and the people you live with, much happier. Even better, this book does give you advice on dog training, so you learn to control your pup!
“The Power of Positive Dog Training” is a book by Pat Miller, published in 2008. Pat Miller has been a dog trainer for over thirty-five years and she is a leading proponent of force-free dog training techniques. This book shows you ways to get the behavioral results you want from your dog, but using only positive methods that will strengthen your relationship with them and make them generally happier and healthier canines.
You will learn respect and companionship, as well as information on the importance of observing, understanding, and reacting appropriately to your dog’s body language. There are also instructions on how to phase out the use of a clicker and treats to introduce more advanced training concepts and a diary to track progress, suggestions for treats your dog will respond to, and a glossary of training terms.
“Team Dog: How to Train Your Dog — the Navy SEAL Way” is a book published in 2016 that is written by former Navy SEAL Mike Ritland. It teaches all dog owners how to have the close relationship and exceptional training of combat dogs. Ritland has fifteen years worth of experience and helps you to understand the science behind the importance of gaining a dog’s trust and offers great steps for how to achieve any level of obedience, using easy and accessible language that any dog owner can understand.
This guidebook teaches you how to choose the perfect dog for your household and then establish yourself as the “team leader”. You will then learn how to master “command and control” and employ “situational awareness”, so you can get the most out of training your dog and make them a well-behaved member of the family.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on expensive dog training classes when trying to get your pup to perform tricks or respond to their name. With any of the dog training books in the list above, you can train your puppy or adult dog from the comfort of your back yard for a much cheaper price! A dog training book allows you to not only spend time with your pup but teach them at their own pace. You can go back over different commands to make sure they really understand each technique before moving on, too.
Remember to always do your research before buying a dog training book, ensuring it is suited to the age of your dog and their breed, as well as what you want to achieve with them. We know you’ll love any of the dog training books above.