Searching for meaningful dog training advice on the internet makes it nearly impossible to know whether what you’ve found is science-based knowledge shared by a certified professional dog trainer or the uninformed methods of a self-taught dog whisperer. It’s just one reason why thoroughly researched dog training books are the most trustworthy source for learning about dog behaviour.
These days training books are plentiful, as available in e-book or audio formats as they are in hard copies. As a professional dog trainer, these 19 dog training books, which run the gamut from starting a puppy off right to teaching new skills to tackling behaviour challenges, are the ones I most recommend to my clients.
This is one of the best introductions to positive-reinforcement training out there. It’s a slim volume, but one jam-packed with insight into how dogs think (Can I eat it? Can I pee on it? What’s in it for me?) and how to communicate in order to change their behaviour from the undesirable to the desirable.
Included in the book are a number of exercises on how to teach beginner, intermediate, and advanced versions of basic cues like “stay” and “come.”
Don’t Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor
Written by the champion of clicker training, this book on positive-reinforcement training is entertaining and easy to read. Pryor illustrates that the principles for shaping a dog’s behaviour work for any animal—from messy roommates to swimming dolphins—whether you use a clicker or not.
The Other End of the lead by Patricia McConnell
This beautifully written book is full of anecdotes that help to decipher why we act the way we do around dogs, and how changing our own behaviour can help to change theirs. A great read with a lot of wisdom for dog owners looking to build a partnership with their pet.
The Power of Positive Dog Training by Pat Miller
Pat Miller takes the guesswork out of dog training with a unique six-week program to build impulse control and help your dog make positive choices.
How to Behave so Your Dog Behaves by Dr. Sophia Yin
The well-respected veterinary behaviourist Sophia Yin walks readers through the science on dog learning and behaviour. The book digs into key theoretical concepts in easy-to-understand language and shows you how to apply them to training a beautifully behaved pup.
It’s Me or the Dog: How to Have the Perfect Pet by Victoria Stilwell
A comprehensive guide to raising a healthy, happy, and well-trained dog. Stilwell walks you through the best approaches to nutrition, exercise, communication, and play.
Dog Language by Roger Abrantes
This encyclopedia-style book translates dog body language and facial expressions to help you better understand and communicate with your pup.
101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond with Your Dog by Kyra Sundance and Chalcy
A simple guide to building essential cues like ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ and entertaining tricks like “bring me a beer” and “take a bow.” Endless fun for a rainy day!
Excel-erated Learning by Pamela Reid
An advanced guide for breaking down the science of dog learning and behaviour acquisition. Though Reid’s book is geared towards dog trainers, Excel-erated Learning is helpful for anyone looking to take their dog’s abilities, and their own, to the next level.
Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right by Dr. Sophia Yin
A simple must-have guide for all new puppy parents. Yin uses pictures and “how-to” exercises to help you get your pup started out on the right foot.
Before You Get Your Puppy and After You Get Your Puppy by Ian Dunbar
A positive-reinforcement training pioneer, Dunbar wrote this puppy book to provide a structured but humorous look at how to shape a happy, healthy, and well-behaved dog.
Broken down into six developmental deadlines, including socialization, bite inhibition, and house training, this is a great guide to DIY puppy training.
The Puppy Primer by Patricia B. McConnell and Brenda Scidmore
This comprehensive book is full of fun, easy-to-follow exercises, helpful hints, and troubleshooting tips for raising a puppy using science-based positive-reinforcement methods.
Help For Your Fearful Dog: A Step-by-Step Guide to Helping Your Dog Conquer His Fears by Nicole Wilde
An easy-to-follow guide for anyone whose dog is experiencing fear or anxiety. Wilde looks at 15 common dog fears including fear of strangers, fear of other dogs, and fear of riding in the car, and offers step-by-step guides to de-sensitizing and counter-conditioning your way to greater confidence.
The Cautious Canine: How to Help Dogs Conquer Their Fears by Patricia B. McConnell
Patricia McConnell demystifies the concepts of desensitization and counter-conditioning that can help a fearful dog to overcome their anxiety. This book will help you to identify your dog’s triggers and create a step-by-step plan to improve your dog’s quality of life.
Fired Up, Frantic, and Freaked Out: Training the Crazy Dog from Over the Top to Under Control by Laura VanArendonk Baugh
This easy-to-read book about full of detailed advice for bringing calm to the exhausted families of over-aroused dogs. This book is especially meant to tackle in-home issues such as greeting guests with mat work and clicker training.
The Midnight Dog Walkers: Positive Training and Practical Advice for Living with Reactive and Aggressive Dogs by Annie Phenix
This book is packed with practical examples, anecdotes, and tips on how to rehabilitate a reactive or lead aggressive dog using force-free, positive methods.
Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs by Jean Donaldson
A practical guide to tackling the innate behaviour of guarding desirable resources like food, toys, favorite places, and people. Donaldson walks you through the origins of resource guarding, how it presents in doggy behaviour and exercises for working through it.
Treating Separation Anxiety in Dogs by Malena DeMartini-Price
Tackling one of the stickiest behaviour challenges, DeMartini-Price lays out a methodology she’s developed over the last decade that has helped hundreds of dogs overcome the panic they feel when left alone. The book breaks down in simple terms why dogs develop separation anxiety and provides detailed step-by-step exercises on how to solve it.
Fight! A Practical Guide to the Treatment of Dog-Dog Aggression by Jean Donaldson
This book approaches a challenging topic in a transparent way, offering practical advice for dogs that don’t play well with others. A good starting point for understanding why your dog is aggressive and how to improve their relationships with their own kind.