Dogs are one of the most popular house pets in the entire world.
And everyone who gets a dog has the same question: what is the best way to train our dog?
Fortunately, there are many talented and dedicated dog trainers.
We are also fortunate that many of them have shared their skills and wisdom in their books.
So now the question becomes: what is the best dog training book for me and my dog?
Here’s our choice for the 5 best dog training books.
Don’t worry that some of these books were written a few years ago. They all contain the tricks and tips you can use today to successfully train your dog.
101 Dog Tricks by Kyra Sundance and Chalcy
In the Introduction, Kyra Sundance writes, “Trick training … offers a way to bond with your dog as you strive toward common goals and delight in your successes.”
In other words, teaching your dog tricks helps you go beyond the basic obedience commands of sit and stay.
First you, as a dog owner, will have to learn how to teach your dog. Kyra outlines these steps at the beginning of 101 Dog Tricks. You’ll also need to have the proper expectations about how quickly your dog can learn.
Then you will have to make sure your dog knows the basic commands of sit, down, come, and stay.
From there you can begin teaching your dog many tricks. Everything in 101 Dog Tricks is grouped by activity, skill level required, and sport.
101 Dog Tricks features plenty of photographs. For each trick the authors give step-by-step instructions and a troubleshooting guide.
You’ll find that teaching your dog new tricks can make dog training more fun and lighthearted than just focusing on obedience.
Good Owners, Great Dogs by Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson
Brian Kilcommons was a student of Barbara Woodhouse, one of the best known dog trainers in the world.
Good Owners, Great Dogs is divided into four parts.
Part 1 covers the basics of why people want to have a dog, choosing a dog for you and your family, and what tools you’ll need to train your dog.
Puppyhood is the subject of Part 2. Besides the standard things you would expect (housebreaking, puppy development, and socialization) there is a section on preventing bad habits.
I think it’s super important to do everything you can to keep your puppy from falling into bad habits.
Part 3 is all about adult dogs.
Part 4 is the most important and longest part of Good Owners, Great Dogs. The authors tackle 25 dog behavioral problems.
Some of the problems discussed are chewing, excessive barking, digging, being a finicky eater, and aggression.
Brian Kilcommons’ goal is that you should teach your dog obedience in a firm, sensible, and humane (no hitting) way. First you will learn how to be a good dog owner, then you will be able to properly train your dog.
How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With by Clarice Rutherford and David H Neil
If you’re planning on getting a puppy or already have one, you need this book.
How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With is your step-by-step guide to raising a puppy to become a well-mannered dog.
Because this book only discusses puppies, it can dive into lots of detail about puppy development.
For example, the authors explain how your puppy will act at each age, the training methods you should use at each age, and how to correct a puppy gently without being cruel.
The authors are successful in making this book easy to understand. The obedience training taught in How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With is based on using positive reinforcement with compassion.
You will find this book especially helpful when it discusses crate training, housebreaking, and preventing dominance and aggression problems.
How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With is a must for anyone bringing a puppy into their family.
The Power of Positive Dog Training by Pat Miller
Pat Miller begins her book with a chilling fact: 96% of the dogs that were given up by their owners and sent to shelters had not received any obedience training.
And, as we all know, many of the dogs in shelters are eventually put to death. 🙁
She then writes: “Great dogs don’t happen by accident. When you see an owner playing in the park with a dog who is playful and exuberant, yet at the same time attentive, responsive, and obedient, you can be sure that the owner has spent lots of quality time with his dog.”
Pat Miller bases her training methods on 4 pillars:
1. Every person and critter repeats behaviors that are rewarding.
I’m sure we can all see this in our own lives.
2. Your dog already has the skills to be obedient.
Training your dog means getting the dog to obey voice commands and hand signals. Your dog already knows how to sit and how to come. A trained dog will do these actions at the right time.
3. Each cue (voice command or hand signal) must mean only one thing.
A dog cannot understand that words can have more than one meaning. That means everyone in the family must be using words and hand signals in the same way.
4. Teach your dog what to do. Don’t teach him what not to do.
You keep a dog from doing certain things by rewarding the behavior you want.
Building on these principles, Pat Miller explains the theory of her approach to dog training.
As a result, you, the dog owner, can apply the theory when your dog presents you with new or different behavioral issues. Then you can choose an effective strategy to deal with the problem.
The Power of Positive Dog Training is well organized and gives dog owners practical advice on training dogs in a positive way. The book contains a good introduction to clicker training, as well as advice on how to prevent or remedy behavioral problems.
You’ll love its step-by-step instructions and discussion of common questions and problems and how to solve them.
Team Dog: How to Train Your Dog–the Navy SEAL Way by Mike Titland and Gary Brozek
I don’t know how many dog trainers started out as Navy SEALs, but Mike Titland did just that.
Mike left the Navy after 12 years. He then started a company to train dogs to work with the SEALs and other security clients.
Let’s clear up one thing right away. Mike is not interested in teaching you how to turn your dog into one that could work with the SEALs.
As he points out, for the most part, Military Working Dogs are too athletic and aggressive to make suitable house pets.
Mike’s modest goal is to teach dog owners how to effectively train and control their dogs.
Mike sprinkles his book with military jargon, often to emphasize the preferred relationship between dog and owner. In Mike’s view, the owner must be the “team leader” and must exercise proper “command and control.”
Mike writes about how to select the right dog for your circumstances. Once you have picked out the dog, then you must create a proper bond with him.
The basis of that human-dog bond is trust. The dog owner must gain the dog’s trust.
Once your dog trusts you, you can train him to achieve great things.
The Best Dog Training Books
There you have it, 5 of the best dog training books available today.
Of course, there are many other good books out there.
However, there are also some books that are not so good. So, be careful in choosing which dog training books to add to your library.
I’m a big fan of books and think you can learn lots from them.
However, sometimes it’s easier to learn by watching videos created by an expert dog trainer. Adrienne Farricelli is a professional CPDT-KA certified dog trainer. She has put her knowledge about dog behavior into her course Brain Training for Dogs. Her course explains how to deal with all sorts of behavior problems from A to Z.