dog reading book with owner

Top five: best dog training books

You might prefer a more hands-on approach if you are a first-time puppy owner. But, the best dog training books can have a positive outcome for you and your pup at any stage. Everyone can learn a few tips and tricks when it comes to pet care. Older or younger dogs and any family member can teach your dog by following a book. Plus, dogs love to learn. Teaching your dogs new skills will help to keep them stimulated and engaged. If you are looking for celebrity trainer advice or classic tips, you will find it in the best dog training books.

Best dog training book for a new dog

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

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

If you aren’t following Zak George’s youtube channel, definitely get on that! I have found lots of helpful training advice in his videos. You may have also seen him on his Animal Planet or BBC shows. Zak teaches training with love and respect. He also states that a dog who is well taken care of will be more curious and engaged in their world. He seems easy-going, friendly, and practical. This is a great book for training a new dog and includes tips for all life stages. You might even want to pick it up before you get a dog. There is some helpful information about dog breeds and personalities in this book. Check price here

Pros

  • Available as an ebook, paperback, and audiobook
  • Distills information from all Zak’s youtube videos
  • Youtube channel is #1 for dog training content with over 2.8M subscribers (at the time of writing)
  • Zak emphasizes customizing training to your dog’s unique needs
  • Emphasizes working with your dog’s natural energy levels
  • Focus on sensible and “common sense” training methods
  • Promotes a good relationship between dog and owner

Cons

  • Includes some non-training related content. For example, how to pick a dog, and how to pick a dog name. So, you may want to buy this before getting a dog.

Best dog training book for puppy to adolescence

Best dog training book for puppy to adolescenceBest dog training book for puppy to adolescence

How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond

Cesar Millan is another celebrity trainer. You may recognize him from National Geographic Channel’s “Dog Whisperer”. Cesar Milan has also published dog training books Cesar’s Way, Be the Pack Leader and A Member of the Family. I like that there is an emphasis on how to correct common behavior issues in dogs. There are tips on how to identify these behaviors before they become a problem. The book is not a strict training manual. The intention of it is that dog owners can learn from Cesar’s stories and first-hand experiences. Check price here.

Pros

  • Available as an ebook, paperback, and audiobook
  • Good advice for bringing a new puppy into a home with other dogs

Cons

  • Maybe too advanced for a first-time owner looking to learn some very basic training tips
  • Some controversy as the author’s methods do not focus on positive reinforcement
  • The use of the “pack mentality” approach is controversial

Best dog training from a science-based approach

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Training the Best Dog Ever: A 5-Week Program Using the Power of Positive Reinforcement

I am so happy to see a training book based on positive reinforcement. In the past, I studied a bit of behavior modification and worked with children with special needs. To me, it makes logical sense to turn to science when training our dogs, and even ourselves. Anytime you want to change a habit of your own, try using positive reinforcement. This approach is proven to help you achieve your goal faster. It is as simple as rewarding yourself for practicing a new habit. The same goes for our pets! This book features tips that were used to train Obama’s dog. So if you want your dog to have Whitehouse worthy manners, look no further. Check price here.

Pros

  • Science-backed methods using positive reinforcement
  • The author Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz trained Bo Obama (The Obama’s dog) and each of Senator Ted Kennedy’s dogs
  • Treats, trust, and bonding are the strategies used no harsher methods
  • Includes illustrations
  • Available on Kindle and as a paperback

Cons

  • No audiobook available

Best classic dog training book

q? encoding=UTF&ASIN=&Format= SL &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=&WS=&tag=pupperunivers &language=en USHow to Be Your Dog's Best Friend: The Classic Training Manual for Dog Owners

How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend: The Classic Training Manual for Dog Owners

This training book has been in print since 1978, and has since been updated and revised. The Monks of New Skete (the authors of this book) are well, obviously, Monks. They live in upstate New York where they breed and train German Shepherds. They are famous for their dog training, resulting in very obedient German Shepherds. But you don’t need to be a monk with a German Shepherd to follow this advice. I like that this book talks about how different environments present different challenges. For example, raising a dog in a city is very different than in a very forested area or a farm. This book addresses all life stages, and how to enrich your dog’s life. Check price here.

Pros

  • The Monks of New Skete are considered an authority on German Shepherds, so maybe a great choice if you have or are planning on raising a Shepherd
  • The Monks are totally devoted to good dog training
  • Available on Kindle, paperback, or hardcover
  • The updated version is more modern

Cons

  • Some of the perspectives might be a bit different than mainstream culture
  • Some of the discipline suggested in older versions is outdated, but the book has been updated. So, be sure to buy the latest modern version

Best dog training book for new tricks

q? encoding=UTF&ASIN=&Format= SL &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=&WS=&tag=pupperunivers &language=en US101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond with Your Dog

101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond with Your Dog

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Eyeroll. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. If you are looking for something beyond basic commands this might be a good choice for you. It is also a good option if you are looking for a new training challenge. You can teach your dog new tricks to keep their brain activated. Dogs love having a new challenge. Teaching your dog tricks can also be helpful if your dog is on a weight loss journey. This is a great way to get your dog active, and it will strengthen your bond. Check price here.

Pros

  • Each trick has a difficulty rating so you can start small and work up to bigger challenges
  • Troubleshooting advice for common roadblocks
  • Includes photos
  • Kyra Sundance the author, has a team of stunt dogs that she trained using these methods. She has been featured on Animal Planet, The Tonight Show, and Ellen.

Cons

  • Controversial body prompting is used for some tricks
  • The author mentions “pack mentality”
  • Mostly designed for larger and athletic dogs. These tricks may not work for small breeds

Best dog training book overall:

Out of all these options, my favorite is Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution: The Complete Guide to Raising the Perfect Pet with Love. I am a follower of Zak on youtube, and I have found his videos to be very helpful with my lab mix Thor. I like Zak’s approach and his emphasis on the dog-owner relationship. I don’t generally agree with material that takes a “pack mentality” approach. If you are like me, you don’t want to follow the advice of authors who have this point of view. This is why I found it important to include any mention of discipline. You will notice in my “cons” I have been very careful to include any controversy in each of the books.  I abhor anything related to punishment. Behavior science tells us that rewards are more effective than punishments. I find it very difficult to stomach anything that ever suggests anything beyond a firm “no”. Luckily this is not the case with Zak’s approach. His focus on a positive relationship between dog and dog owner is key. 

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