There are no bad dogs, just bad owners. In order to be a good dog owner you need to train your dog to be a well mannered, socialized pup that knows how to listen and behave. Your dog doesn’t need to be as talented as a dog show winner, but he or she still needs to know when to sit or stay and how to act properly when other people are around. If you have a dog, or are planning on getting one, you’ll need to not just be prepared with a veterinarian, a leash and a love for four-legged beasts, you’ll also need a training arsenal.
The first part of your dog training arsenal should be a few good books. Dog training books are a dime a dozen, but you want to make sure you get a few that work, written by the professionals and are easy to follow. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get all you need from just one, either.
For example, we got our husky mix when he was about six months old and he was a completely unfocused mess. We first tried very strict training, hoping to break him of the urge to respond to any and all stimuli that didn’t come from us. Ultimately, this made him frustrated and unhappy, so we pursued more balanced dog training, implementing a reward based system the helped him understand cues better.
There are certainly a few balanced dog training books on the list below, but it’s also advisable to consider a few different sources and come up with a training regimen that best suits your specific dog. It will almost certainly involve some trial and error; there’s no avoiding it. Developing a communication style with your pup takes time and patience, and the more knowledge you bring to the situation, the better the both of you will fare.
Here’s our list of ten of the best dog training books currently available on the market by experts in the field of dog training and obedience.
1. Cesar’s Way Dog Training
Cesar Millan is a popular name when it comes to training dogs and dog behavioral issues. He is an expert and you can find him on television and in many books. Cesar’s Way is a classic and evergreen book on training your dog the right way, Cesar’s Way. If you’ve even seen him on TV you know he has a way with dogs, even the most unruly of them. With this book you can learn how to train your dog the way he has trained many and come out with a well balanced dog that you don’t have to be embarrassed to take out in public.
Naturally, he has more than one book, including How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond and Be the Pack Leader: Use Cesar’s Way to Transform Your Dog . . . and Your Life.
Price: $9.61 for paperback or $11.99 on Kindle
2. The Art of Raising a Puppy
The Monks of New Skete have been raising German Shepherds and training all breeds of dogs for decades. They have two best selling books that aid dog owners, old and new, in raising and training their dogs. A few years ago a new edition of this book was made available, which added more photos and more information, from canine health and behavior to raising a dogs in urban environments.
The Monks of New Skete have at least one other book on dog training, called How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend: The Classic Training Manual for Dog Owners.
Price: $17.58 for hardcover or $12.99 on Kindle
3. Team Dog: How to Train Your Dog — the Navy SEAL Way
Team Dog was released in January of 2015 and is the culmination of 15 years of experience working with dogs for author Mike Ritland. This book teaches you the science behind the importance of gaining your dog’s trust. Using the discipline and consistency of military training, Ritland shows how you can apply similar lessons to your pooch. It’s more than just an adventure in obedience training, but a must have book for anyone that wants the perfect dog for their home and family.
Price: $10.95 in paperback or $11.99 on Kindle
4. Training the Best Dog Ever: A 5-Week Program Using the Power of Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is a popular training method and Training the Best Dog Ever: A 5-Week Program Using the Power of Positive Reinforcement, is a book that utilizes this method to its fullest. Author Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz was the trainer for President Obama’s dog, Bo. She also taught each of Senator Ted Kennedy’s dogs. This is a great step-by-step guide to a happy and well behaved dog.
Price: $9.91 for paperback or $8.61 on Kindle
5. Dog Training For Dummies
There is pretty much a “For Dummies” book for everything. That includes one for dog training. You’ll be happy to know that you don’t actually have to be a dummy to benefit from the training advice this book offers. Dog Training for Dummies will start you right from the beginning with what you need before you bring your dog or puppy home and finishes off with fun tricks to train them after they’ve learned all the basics.
Price: $18.95 for paperback or $12.99 on Kindle
6. 101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond with Your Dog
While dog training typically focuses on the basics of housebreaking and correcting unwanted behavior, going a step further and teaching your dog a variety of tricks helps aid their overall obedience and keeps them engaged. By challenging your dog to learn something new and perform on command, you can keep them stimulated, which will add to the dog’s good behavior.
Kyra Sundance has compiled this book of tricks in varying complexity, including the holy grail of dog training: fetching a beverage from the refrigerator. A well-exercised dog is much less likely to destroy your house or act out, so consider this if you’re looking for activities for your pup.
If 101 is a few too many, Sundance has also released 51 Puppy Tricks: Step-by-Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond with Your Puppy geared toward younger dogs, and 10-Minute Dog Training Games: Quick and Creative Activities for the Busy Dog Owner to entertain your dog on a tight schedule.
Price: $11.94 for paperback or $9.99 on Kindle
7. The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs
For another approach to the issue of dog training, Patricia McConnell turns the eye back on the dog owner. By understanding our natural inclinations to act a certain way around our dogs, owners can adjust their behavior first, setting the stage for proper trainer behavior. This book seeks to explain the whys behind the training, rather than just give you the hand motions and commands you should employ.
Pairing this with another book on this list will give you a broad sense of the psychology of human-dog interaction.
Price: $12.20 for paperback or $11.99 on Kindle
8. Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right
The late Sophia Yin’s tome on the subject of dog training focuses on the early years of the dog’s life, the very beginning of teaching a puppy how to behave. Using the template of seven days, this book also focuses on showing you exactly how to perform each step by including over 400 images. When you first get a puppy, you need to be quick about instilling good manners, but you also want to bond closely so you get the most out of the relationship with your pet. This is a good book for making that happen.
Yin also has a book in the vein of the one above, called How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves.
Price: $19.95 for paperback or $9.99 on Kindle
9. The Dog Listener: Learn How to Communicate with Your Dog for Willing Cooperation
Dogs try to communicate in a variety of nonverbal ways, not unlike babies. They don’t speak English, so they can’t tell you what’s bothering them, which usually leads to them acting out. Using anecdotes of problem dogs that she helped correct, Jan Fennell explains how to bridge the gap and train the perfect pup. The book also includes a 30-day training guide so you can easily utilize the information within. There’s also a puppy version.
Price: $9.85 for paperback or $1.99 on Kindle
10. Decoding Your Dog: Explaining Common Dog Behaviors and How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones
Written by contributors from the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, this book takes a scientific look at the way dogs learn. As this list confirms, there are many methods to training your dog, but as a species, they learn in a consistent way that can be understood through analysis. By helping you understand the fundamental nature of canines, this book will help you decide how you want to train them by providing examples and highlighting what vets think is the best approach.
In the video below, one of the contributing vets suggests purchasing a camera in order to record your dog’s behavior when you aren’t home.
Price: $9.96 for paperback or $2.99 for Kindle
Buy Decoding Your Dog: Explaining Common Dog Behaviors and How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones here.
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