Choosing the Best Dog Training Books

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Last Updated on March 25, 2022

No matter if your dog is tiny or very large, some training will be required. Some people only want to teach their dogs the basics, while other pet owners want to show off with tons of cool tricks. 

The best dog training books can help you do just that for a fraction of the price of a dog obedience class. We’ll take a look at some of the best options below. 

Cynologist gesturing command to Husky dog

Dog Training Book Buying Guide

Why learn and train your dogs from books

There are countless reasons you should train your dog. When you have a dog, training is not something extra you can do on the side. It is an essential part of responsible dog ownership. 

Jack Russell Terrier dog lying on the grass with the books and a clock

To Save a Dog’s Life

No one expects that their canine will get out and escape. However, this has happened to countless dog owners.

In these situations, a recall command is vital. It could be the difference between an uneventful afternoon and a heartbreaking situation. 

Furthermore, there are other situations where commands can save your dog’s life. For instance, the “leave it” command can prevent your canine from consuming possibly poisonous items.

The “stay” command can prevent your canine from approaching a potentially dangerous dog. There are countless situations where commands can protect you and your canine from danger. 

Overcome Common Problems

On top of occasionally saving your dog’s life, you can also use commands to overcome common problems. The “leave it” command is suitable for keeping your dogs off of visitors.

You can also solve common problems like snatching food off the counter and barking with commands. 

In fact, most minor behavioral problems can be solved with the appropriate command. 

A Well Behaved Dog is a Joy

If your dog is constantly misbehaving, it is easy to get overwhelmed. After all, no one wants a pet that just stresses them out.

Commands can help your canine stay well behaved, making them more of a joy to be around. Everyone wants to enjoy their dog. Training helps make that happen. 

Include Your Dog in More Family Activities

When you can rely on your dog to be well behaved and listen to you, they can easily be included in more family activities.

You can take them on hikes and to parks without having to worry about your dog misbehaving. 

Take Your Dog on Trips

Most of the time, when we leave for a trip, our dogs have to stay behind. If our dogs are well-trained, though, this doesn’t always have to be the case.

With the right commands, your dog can stay well-behaved on trips, which can make the event enjoyable and safe for your family. 

Be Prepared for Emergencies

None of us want to think that emergencies might happen to us, but none of us are immune from them. Whether it is a house fire or car accident, having our dog well-trained is extremely useful during emergencies.

It helps you focus on the tasks at hand and can keep your canine safe. 

Very simple commands like “stay” and “come” are most useful in these situations. Recalls are also essential to ensure that your canine returns to you after or during an emergency. 

To Keep Your Kids Safe

Many dogs can be quite rowdy. If you have children, they can be accidentally knocked over. However, if your dog is properly trained, this shouldn’t happen nearly as much.

Teaching a simple “calm” or “lay down” command is extremely useful in controlling an excited canines. 

Commands that teach attention can also prevent your dog from blocking out their surroundings when they’re excited, which should prevent children from being knocked over. 

Build Your Bond

Training helps you and your canine understand each other better. The first step to any good relationship is understanding – including the relationship you share with your canine.

Plus, training also gives you and your dog a specific activity to do together. 

Raise a Great Member for Doggie Society

Our dogs are always representing their breed and dogs in general. We don’t want our dogs to give their breed or other dogs a bad name, so it is vital that they are well trained. 

To Show Off with Fun tricks

While most training is for practicality, there are plenty of fun tricks for your canine to learn as well. These are fun to train and give you something to show all your friends. Plus, many dogs love performing for their owners.

How a book can help you train your dog

We highly recommend purchasing a dog training book, even if you plan on taking your canine to classes. Books are quite inexpensive, so they are more practical for many people.

Many books will provide you with the “why” behind dog training, which is something you usually don’t get in classes. 

With a book, you can also study and go at your own pace. If there is a specific command or aspect you’re interested in, you can study up on that before moving forward with something else.

In a class setting, you have to stay at the same pace and topic as the rest of your class. If your dog already knows something, things can get a bit redundant. 

Often, dog classes are just as much about socialization as they are about training. If you only need the training and socialize your dog through other means, you may be better off just purchasing a book. 

How to pick the best dog training books?

There are many styles and types of dog training out there. Some are outdated and a bit cruel, like the “alpha dog” theory of training.

When choosing a book, it is important to figure out what type of training they are using. This helps you avoid using methods that simply don’t work and have been disproven by science. 

Positive reinforcement is one of the most common and more effective methods out there. It is especially suitable to dogs that are food or toy driven. 

Dog getting a delicious treat from the owner

You should also consider the author’s reputation and credibility. This goes beyond just whether you know the author’s name or not. The author’s reputation in the dog training sphere is important. 

The primary purpose of the books should be considered as well. There are some basic dog training books out there, but others focus on a specific trick or problem.

Getting a book for a problem you don’t have isn’t very helpful. 

Also, consider the level of the book. Some are for puppies and new dog owners, while others feature more advanced tricks. Get a book that matches your level. 

Take a look at the ratings and reviews too. This should give you a little bit of an idea on whether or not the book works. However, you also have to consider user error when it comes to some of the negative reviews.

Of course, the book should also be easy to use and follow. You shouldn’t pick up a book you have a hard time understanding. 

What is the best dog training book available?

Beautiful woman playing her Labrador Retriever on the meadow

Best General Dog Training Books

1. Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution: The Complete Guide to Raising the Perfect Pet with Love – Zak George

Zak George's Dog Training Revolution: The Complete Guide to Raising the Perfect Pet with Love

For a general dog training book, this Zac George book is a decent option. It is all about owning a pet – not just about training.

If you’re a new dog owner, it might be particularly helpful. Most long-time owners won’t find anything new here. A lot of the training techniques are focused on potty training. 

2. Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog is 7 Days – Brandon McMillan

Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog in 7 Days

This book is truly about training. It discusses the very basics of training, like using food rewards effectively. It helps you adjust your approach for your specific dog as well. This book is suitable for puppies and adult dogs. 

3. The Power of Positive Dog Training – Pat Miller 

The Power of Positive Dog Training

This book doesn’t focus on specific tricks. Instead, it teaches you the tools you need to properly react to your dog’s body language and train them as effectively as possible.

It discusses things like phasing out the use of food rewards, clicker training, and introducing more advanced training concepts. 

4. How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend: The Classic Training Manual for Dog Owners – The Monks of New Skete 

How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend

Though it is a complete training manual, this book is mostly about working with your dog to make them more well-behaved.

It’s an informal guide on the owning of dogs and helping your dog become a loving member of your family. While the training methods were originally developed for German Shepherds, they’re suitable for all dogs. 

5. Don’t Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training – Karen Pryor

Don't Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training

This book works as a foundation to canine behavior. It helps you figure out why your dogs do what they do so that you can go about changing it.

It focuses on problem behaviors for the most part, which is exactly what most dog owners need. 

The Best Dog Training Books for Puppies

Dog chewing his leather leash

1. Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right – Dr. Sophia Yin

Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right

This book is designed to get your puppy started on the right foot.

It might not be the only training book you need, but it does provide a step-by-step approach to bonding with your puppy, teaching them manners, and learning to communicate effectively.

It includes information on housebreaking and general obedience training. 

2. Before You Get Your Puppy and After You Get Your Puppy – Ian Dunbar

Before You Get Your Puppy

If you’re considering getting a puppy, this book will help you start out right. It helps you raise your puppy into a well-behaved dog.

It uses a lot of games and fun to teach puppies how to behave. Many common problem behaviors are tackled as well. 

3. The Puppy Primer – Patricia B. McConnell and Brenda Scidmore

The Puppy Primer

This book is packed with everything from tips on general training to specific tricks. All the information presented is clear and concise.

It really does make training effective and fun. It teaches you how to have realistic expectations and the importance of training your dogs in many different situations. 

4. The Art of Raising a Puppy – Monks of New Skete

The Art of Raising a Puppy

As an international bestseller, this book has a lot going for it. It talks about everything you need to know about raising a new puppy, including training, bonding, and understanding canine behavior.

It truly is one of the better options on the market for books on puppies. 

The Best Dog Training Books to Conquer Challenging Behavior

1. Decoding Your Dog: Explaining Common Dog Behaviors and How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones – American College of Veterinary Behaviorists

Common Dog Behaviors and How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones

Most of our dog’s trouble behaviors are easy to change if you know why they do them.

Just like children, sometimes dogs need to be taught an alternative, suitable behavior to do instead of the trouble one they’re currently doing.

This book helps you figure out the why behind your dog and change unwanted behaviors. 

2. Fired Up, Frantic, and Freaked Out: Training the Crazy Dog from Over the Top to Under Control – Laura VanArendonk Baugh

Training the Crazy Dog from Over the Top to Under Control

Instead of focusing on specific problems, this book helps you make your dog calmer in general.

This helps most dog behavioral problems, so it is great for dogs who have a lot of trouble behaviors. You’re basically killing two birds with one stone with this book. 

3. Cesar’s Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding & Correcting Common Dog Problems – Cesar Millan

Cesar's Way: Understanding & Correcting Common Dog Problems

This book is on our list because it is quite popular. However, it is quite controversial. The author bases his ideas on “alpha dog theory”, which has been disproven decades ago.

There is no science-based information in this book, so we generally don’t recommend it. Furthermore, some of his methods have resulted in injuries to canines, especially smaller ones. 

4. Help For Your Fearful Dog: A Step-by-Step Guide to Helping Your Dog Conquer His Fears – Nicole Wilde

Guide to Helping Your Dog Conquer His Fears

If your dog seems to be fearful, this book can help them be a bit more confident. It’s all about helping your dog overcome common fears, like strangers and other dogs.

Fear is a common driver of problem behaviors, so this book can help your dog become more well behaved as well. 

5. The Cautious Canine: How to Help Dogs Conquer Their Fears – Patricia B. McConnell

The Cautious Canine-How to Help Dogs Conquer Their Fears

As most trouble behaviors are driven by fears, sometimes we need to treat the underlying fear to help the canine.

This book helps you learn how to do desensitization and counter-conditioning, which can effectively help you reduce your dog’s many fears. 

6. The Midnight Dog Walkers: Positive Training and Practical Advice for Living with Reactive and Aggressive Dogs – Annie Phenix 

Training and Practical Advice for Living with Reactive and Aggressive Dogs

For aggressive dogs, this book is all about helping them enjoy calm walks that aren’t anxiety-inducing. It includes a complete training program as well as examples of how it looks in a real-world setting.

This book is positive-reinforcement based and discusses proper socialization, which is key to these fear-based problems. 

Best Dog Training Books for Kids

1. Puppy Training for Kids: Teaching Children the Responsibilities and Joys of Puppy Care, Training, and Companionship – Colleen Pelar

Puppy Training for Kids

If your child wants to take part in the dog-training fun, this is the book to get. It helps them learn how to help housetrain and socialize their new puppy.

There are many fun games included that also help your pooch learn how to behave. For kids who are new to dogs completely, it has a very useful section on dog body language. 

This is a great gift for dog lovers as well. 

Best Dog Trick Training Books

Girl playing with her Beagle dog in autumn park

1. 101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond with Your Dog – Kyra Sundance

Activities to Engage Challenge and Bond with Your Dog

There isn’t always some problem behavior we’re trying to fix. Fun tricks can help us keep our pet engaged, mentally stimulated, and challenged. Plus, it is great fun for us as well.

This book included 101 dog tricks with step-by-step directions. 

Best Dog Leadership Training Books

1. How to Behave so Your Dog Behaves – Dr. Sophia Yin 

How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves

This book explains dog behavior in-depth and helps you understand how your own actions affect how your dog behaves.

The premise is simple – ignore the behaviors you don’t like and reinforce the ones you do. For those who want something a bit more in-depth than other options, this is a great book. 

2. The Other End of the Leash – Patricia McConnell 

The Other End of the Leash

Patricia has been a dog trainer for more than twenty years. This book is full of science-backed dog behavior and tips to help you learn how to communicate with your dog.

It discusses why “alpha dog” theory can cause more harm than good, why rough and tumbles play should be frowned upon, and how to examine your dog’s personality.

 3. Be the Pack Leader – Cesar Millan

Cesar's Way to Transform Your Dog and Your Life

This book is decently popular, but there is a reason it is at the bottom of our list. It uses outdated theories on dominance and submission, which has long been disproven.

While it is popular, there probably isn’t much here for owners who want actual results. Plus, the tactics are a bit cruel. 

Best Dog E-Collar Training Books

1. Everything You Need To Know: E-Collar Training – Larry Krohn

Everything you need to know about E Collar Training

This book is a quick reference for how to properly use an e collar. It is designed for you to incorporate it into your dog’s existing training. This book is best for semi-trained dogs who need another tool in their pocket.

2. E-Collar Training For Pet Dogs – Ted Efthymiadis 

E-Collar Training for Pet Dogs

For a safe and effective way to use an e-collar, this is the book to get. It is written to give you complete instructions on how to use your e-collar effectively.

This book is best for dogs with a bit of training, as it focuses on more advanced concepts.

Best Dog Hunting Training Books

1. Gun Dog: Revolutionary Rapid Training Method – Richard A. Wolters

Gun Dog: Revolutionary Rapid Training Method

This book is for those who are trying to train a hunting dog. It provides a step-by-step series on how to completely train your dog for bird hunting.

On top of teaching your dog how to hunt properly, it also trains your dog to be a lovely family pet. 

2. Game Dog: The Hunter’s Retriever – Richard A. Wolters 

Game Dog: The Hunter’s Retriever

This is another solid hunting dog book. It has concise information on training dogs for bird retrieval.

While not all readers will want to use this method 100%, this book includes many great hints, tricks, and tools to help your dog learn to hunt and behave. 

3. Water Dog: Revolutionary Rapid Training Method – Richard A. Wolters

Water Dog: Revolutionary Rapid Training Method

Water dog is the next book in the Richard Wolters’ series. As you might suggest, it trains your dog to be a working retriever very quickly.

It discusses the scientific development of your canine and covers step-by-step training suggestions. 

4. Training Your Pointing Dog for Hunting & Home – Richard Weaver 

Training Your Pointing Dog for Hunting & Home

This book puts a lot of focus on helping your hunting dog behave at home and on the field. It is complete with training schedules and advice on everything from new puppies to advanced training.

It also helps you choose the right dog for your hunting style and personality. 

Best Dog Agility Training Books

1. The Beginners Guide To Dog Agility – Laurie Leach

The Beginner's Guide to Dog Agility

For those new to agility, this is a great starting book. It includes detailed advice on everything from how agility competitions work to pre-agility training. .

A step-by-step guide is included, as is information on improving your relationship with your pooch. 

2. Agility Right From The Start – Eva Bertilsson and Emelie Johnson Vegh

Agility Right From The Start

This book helps you train your dog for agility and the home. It is written to be used with puppies. You should begin using this book when your canine is a puppy.

Though they can’t compete until later, it helps lay down the foundation they need. 

Don’t miss: The A to Z of Dog Agility Training

What dog training book should I get?

Cynologist training the Husky dog to lay down with just a hand gesture

If you’re just looking for a book to help your dog behave, head to our section on general training books.

These books are great for beginners and those that just want to prevent problems from occurring. They usually cover basic training information, like housetraining. 

For more specific problems, the section on conquering troubled behaviors probably has something for you. There are many books that cover a variety of issues.

Purchase the one that is best for your specific canine and covers the problems you’re having. 

If there is something very specific you want to train your dog in, choose a book from one of the appropriate sections above.

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