Owning a dog is a wonderful thing, but it can also be a big responsibility. Not only do you need to provide your dog with a high-quality diet, but you also need to take him to the vet to keep him healthy.
Another responsibility you have as a dog owner is training your dog. Dog training requires time, patience, and consistency. If you’ve never owned a dog before, you may not know where to start and you might unwittingly reinforce undesired behaviors. The best way to learn how to train your pet properly is to read a dog training book.
A dog training book will walk you through the process of housetraining your dog, of teaching basic obedience, and reinforcing desired behaviors. Every dog training book is different and there are several different theories for dog training, so take the time to survey your options and pick one that you think will be going to work well for you and your dog.
Keep reading to learn more about the basics of dog training and how to choose a dog training book. You’ll also see our reviews of the top 10 best dog training books.
Here are our top 10 picks for the best Best Dog Training Books:
#10 Help for Your Fearful Dog – A Step-by-Step Guide to Helping Your Dog Conquer His Fears
Pros: Easy to read and follow, looks at 15 common dog fears, great for dogs that suffer from anxiety or fear, useful and practical information
Cons: May not work as well for puppies, could have gone into greater detail for some issues
#9 Before and After Getting Your Puppy by Dr. Ian Dunbar
Pros: Definitive guide for every stage of puppyhood, simple and easy to use information, positive approach to training
Cons: May be repetitive for experienced dog owners, may not work as well for adult dogs
#8 Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right by Dr. Sophia Yin
Pros: Easy-to-follow guide for new puppy parents, explores and solves common problems, creates a firm foundation for later training
Cons: May be too simplistic for some dog owners, only good for the first few weeks
#7 101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond with Your Dog
Pros: Teaches you how to train your dog to do tricks, helps you build a bond with your dog, simple and easy to follow guide
Cons: Not enough intermediate steps for some dogs, instructions could be more detailed
#6 It’s Me or the Dog: How to Have the Perfect Pet by Victoria Stilwell
Pros: Comprehensive guide for new puppy owners, practical and useful information, simple intuitive instructions and photographs
Cons: Methods may rely too heavily on treats, somewhat basic
#5 How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves by Dr. Sophia Yin
Pros: Scientifically sound and practical concepts, useful and applicable information, up-to-date observations of dog behavior
Cons: Uses a lot of scientific language, may be too in-depth for average dog owner
#4 The Power of Positive Dog Training by Pat Miller
Pros: Provides practical and useful information, detailed instructions for training, glossary of training terms
Cons: Aimed more at adult dogs than puppies, much of the content is common sense
#3 The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell
Pros: Takes a new look at how humans interact with dogs, a fresh new perspective on training, draws on professional and personal experience
Cons: No specific advice for training, more anecdotes and observations than instructions
#2 The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson
Pros: Helps dog owners understand their dogs better, full of useful tips, dog-friendly dog training
Cons: Uses a fair bit of technical terminology, somewhat repetitive
#1 Don’t Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor
Pros: Teaches the basics of clicker training, tips for ending undesirable behaviors, entertaining and easy to read
Cons: Writing is somewhat repetitive, some content may be outdated
Getting Ready to Train Your Dog
When you bring home a fresh puppy, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement. You spend all of your time cuddlwithing your puppy and playing with him, so you might forget that you also have responsibilities as a dog owner – training your dog is one of them.
Though training your dog may sound like work, it is well worth it in the end. Think about this – if your pet is properly trained, you can give him a command and expect him to follow it. Not only does this give you control over his behavior, but it can help keep him safe in situations where he willn’t recognize the danger. It also makes less frustration for you in the long run.
Keep reading to learn why it is important to train your dog and to get a preview of common dog training methods. After you have an understanding of the different dog training methods that are out there, you can choose which method is certainly right for you. From there, you can start shopping for dog training books to teach you how to use your desired method effectively.
Why Is It Important to Train YOUR PET?
Dog training doesn’t have to be a major undertaking. If you start early and are consistent, your puppy will learn quickly and having a foundation of obedience coaching to build on will ensure that your dog grows up into a disciplined adult dog.
Here are some of the other reasons it is important to train your dog:
- It teaches your dog discipline.
- It helps you strengthen your bond with your dog.
- It can be a fun activity for you and your dog.
- It gives you greater control over your dog’s behavior.
- It can encourage desirable behavior and discourage undesirable behavior.
- It provides enrichment and mental stimulation for your dog.
- It helps build confidence in your dog.
- It makes less work and frustration for you over time.
Now that you understand the importance of training your dog, how do you do it? There are many different training methods out there and every performg trainer has their own version. It is up to you to decide how you want to train your pet and then find a dog teaching book to help you do it.
Popular Dog Training Methods
Before you can buy a dog training book, you should have some idea what you’re looking for. There are a wide variety of different dog training methods out there, so you’ll need to decide which one is right for you personally and your dog.
Once you choose a dog trtheining method, you can then find the perfect book to walk you through the process. Here is an overview of some popular dog training methods:
- Dominance Training – Also known as alpha dog training, dominance training is based on a dog’s instinctual pack mentality and involves creating a relationship of submission and dominance. Basically, you teach your dog to see the family as his pack and you designate yourself the leader of the pack. This the training method used by Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer.
- Positive Reinforcement – Widely regarded as one of the most effective methods of dog training, positive reinforcement involves rewarding your dog for desired behaviors in order to encourage him to repeat them. With this type of training you should teach your dog what behavior you want him to perform and reward him for doing it. Most canines learn very quickly with this instruction method.
- Science-Based Training – This training method involves cultivating an understanding of your dog’s nature and learning how to reinforce or discourage different behaviors based on scientific methods. Many people who use this method incorporate other ways of training and focus on building a relationship with their dog for a customized training experience.
- Clicker Training – This type of training is founded on the theory of operant conditioning and it is usually used in conjunction with positive reinforcement teaching. The idea is that you use a clicker to help your dog identify the desired behavior and then you issue the reward to reinforce it. If your dog knows what behavior you need him to perform, he will be able to associate it with the command and reward more quickly for a faster training experience.
- Electronic Training – This method of training is typically used to discourage undesirable behaviors rather than to reinforce desired behaviors. Electronic training involves the use of a collar that issues a shock or a spray of citronella when the dog performs an undesired behavior.
- Mirror Training – Dogs learn by observation, and this method of training involves providing your dog with a role model of good behavior for him to mimic. One way is to use a human as a model, prawill being him for good becomehavior and scolding him for undesired actions. You may also introduce a rival to compete for resources which your pet can mimic.
Another method of dog training that works well for some dogs is called relationship-based training. This not a specific training method but a combination of different methods with a focus on building a relationship together with your dog. The idea is that by forming a relationship with your canine, you can encourage desired behaviors and learn to communicate with your dog.
Outside of actually training your dog, you should also be aware that your pet will learn on a daily basis. The way you treat your dog teaches him a lot, as does the end up beinghaviors you allow or discourage. Some dogs are more difficult to train than others, so deciding on the best instruction method is very important. Once you choose a method, commit to it and do the work to train your dog.
Now that you have a better understanding of how dog training works, you’re ready to choose a dog training book and get started! If you’re still not sure where to start, try one of the best dog training books we’ve reviewed above. Written by Kyra Sundance and Chalcy, this book is a simple guide for building on essential cues like “sit” and “stay” to develop more disciplined and entertaining tricks like “bring me a beer.