When it comes to dog training books, you want the best. There are thousands of books out there about dog training from all manner of authors, from expert breeders, vets and trainers to Joe Schmoe down the street who has never even owned a dog.
When I wanted to learn about dog training for my (now) three-year-old Collie German, I decided to do some careful research before I ever bought a book. I wanted to find authors who actually knew what they were talking about, and who were experts in a field related to dog training. In other words, I wanted the top dog training books.
I also wanted to find books on dog training with original information and not the same rehashed stuff that I already knew. I was already familiar with dog training and knew a lot of the tools and techniques already. The same information from a book that I was already using wasn’t going to be helpful.
These are some of the books that I have found to be written by authors who know what they are talking about and actually have good information to share. Take a look at these books and see which ones will help you. If you have the budget for them, I would recommend having them all on hand, particularly if you are serious about dog training.
Dog obedience training books aren’t that expensive. In fact, it is hard to find physical copies over $20 and digital books are much less than that. Even the top rated dog training books are fairly reasonable.
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But rating is not the only thing that I have based this recommendation on. The author behind the content and the content itself were important factors but price was part of the process as well. Here are some of the best books for dog training that I have been able to find. These are over $10 but almost always less than $20 and they are excellent reads.
I really hate the phrase “dog whisperer” but you cannot deny that the man on the television with that moniker knows dogs. Cesar Millan knows dogs; that much is obvious to anyone watching his TV show and I really like knowing that the book was written by him.
I kind of dislike that this book seems to be written for the prospective pet owner or one that his just bringing a puppy into the house. In fact, I’ve read several of Cesar’s books and that’s been a consistent problem across the board.
Compartmentalization. He seems to give you just enough information for one specific instance because the rest of what you need to know is in another book of his. But the information in this book is solid.
If you have the budget you should probably have all of Cesar’s books – or at least the ones that pertain to your dog. This one is a definite requirement though.
Okay, so even though I didn’t like the fact that Cesar’s books are a little too compartmentalized, the truth is, they are still some of the best books out there on dog training. Cesar isn’t just a talking head – he actually knows dogs and he deserves the title “dog whisperer,” even if I think it is a terrible name.
With this book, the only thing that I would caution against is assuming that it is a how-to manual for training dogs. The truth is, it is a somewhat esoteric guide to dog psychology, which can make it difficult to use if you just want a quick fix.
The bottom line is that even though you might have to go to another book for quick answers, every dog owner should own this book and read it through at least three times. It’s the difference between trying to understand your dog and actually understanding.
Pat Miller is one of those authors that can write as if they are talking directly to you. I like the fact that she knows her stuff and still writes in such a down-to-earth fashion. Miller has lots of accolades to her credit including serving on the board for the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and she has 30 years of experience behind her which is easy to see from reading her books.
The thing about this book is, it is sort of a back-to-basics for beginners, and it doesn’t go into many more advanced concepts. There are still jewels to be mined here but this is not the book for someone who already knows the basics nor is it a book for someone with an aggressive dog, because the advice isn’t much good unless your dog is already fairly compliant – or at least willing to be.
If you already have the basics, you can skip this one. If you need the basics, this is probably the best one on the market for that purpose.
I know you probably think that I’m obsessed by Cesar Millan by now, having recommended three books by him so far. But the thing about this particular book is how it showcases Millan’s ability to communicate with dogs and understand exactly what is going on in their mind.
This definitely isn’t the book for everyone, and especially not those who are looking for some basic training techniques. This book is for those who truly want to understand their dog and train them hard; teaching you how to make sure that your dog knows that you are the alpha.
If you want to get to know your dog and make sure that he (or she) knows who is in charge this is an invaluable resource
What is really great about this book by Karen Pryor is that it not only contains good information for dog trainers, but it is written in a delightfully funny style that makes it a book that you won’t want to put down.
You could just buy this for entertainment purposes even if you didn’t necessarily want to train a dog. If you do, then you are going to benefit double from this book.
The thing that I don’t like about this book is a very minor detail and something that could easily be turned into a positive by someone other than myself. It is a very general book when it comes to behavior training. In other words, it doesn’t just apply to dogs.
Now, that’s not a bad thing. There are lots of reasons why you might want to know about other animal’s behavior. I just think it could have been targeted towards dogs more.
Simple. Buy it. It’s great.
These books above $10 are some of the best in the business when it comes to dog training books. Some of them you might be able to find in your local library, but the truth is, they are good enough to have your own copy on your shelf at home.
The best dog obedience training books aren’t necessarily the most expensive ones. I have found some really incredible books that are less expensive than the ones on the first list – these unbelievably below $10.
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There are lots of reasons why you might need some or all of these books. Many have essential information that is presented in such a way that anyone can learn how to train and from those experts that you can rely on to have the right information. In addition, these books are recently published, which means that they make use of the latest dog behavior science.
What I like about this book could probably fill an entire page, but let’s just say that I love how it focuses on kindness and positivity to train dogs – without mentioning tools like corrective collars or crates.
Don’t get me wrong, I think those training tools have their place, but it is nice to see that Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz believes that dogs can be trained without them; and she knows what she’s talking about after being the official presidential dog trainer under Barack Obama.
The thing that I don’t like about this book is that it promises you that you will get the results you want in five weeks. Even though it is mentioned that every dog is different, I don’t think there is enough flexibility built into the plan because take it from someone who knows – some dogs aren’t going change their behavior in just five weeks.
Still, I would buy it. It’s a terrific book that you can use as a reference. Even try out the plan and see if it works.
Here is what is cool about this book. It is jam-packed with tricks that you can teach your dog. These are tricks that the ordinary person wouldn’t even have thought of teaching much less knew how to actually teach the trick. This is an invaluable reference guide for anyone who wants to learn how to be a better trainer and have more tricks at their fingertips.
The only thing that I would say that is a downside with this book is that it sort of skips over the dog behavior part of the equation and concentrates on the tricks. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you are looking for a more in-depth behavior guide, this book is probably not going to be what you want.
This book is still totally worth owning. Every dog trainer should have one and even people who just love dogs should buy it and read it.
I do like how comprehensive this book is when discussing dog behavior. It is quite obvious that these guys really know dogs and there is some really good information contained within. I think that this is one of the great dog training books of the 20th century and may even continue to hold up well into the century were only a bit of the way through so far.
This book is a little too old-fashioned for me. That could just be a matter of personal preference but the writing style and the outdated information is just too stuffy and old for my personal taste. Remember, there is still an amazing amount of good information in here though.
If you have budgetary restrictions and you need to skip one or two of the books on this list, I humbly nominate this one. Otherwise, go ahead and get it and mine the good stuff.
This is another book by the Monks of New Skete. Based upon my previous review, you might not think that I particularly care for these books but the truth is, even though I think that they are pretty old-fashioned, they are still some of the best books on the market when it comes to dog training.
I dislike the same thing that I mentioned with the previous review, although quite a bit less because this book is a little newer. I still think it’s a bit stuffy and old-fashioned, but don’t get me wrong – I am including it in these recommendations because I think that it is a vital book on dog training that you can’t live without.
Get this book and keep it on your shelf, just like the last one.
I probably would have included this book on the list even before it got a makeover and expanded on some of the topics that were a bit shallow the first time around. But even if that were still the case (which it isn’t), this book has an incredible amount of information and it is all the latest information that breeders, trainers and vets agree upon.
If this book has a flaw I would say that it is the fact that it sort of follows the trends and doesn’t have enough of a separate identity. The author knows what she is talking about and she is definitely an expert; I’m not disputing that. But some of the included stuff is a little too trendy for me and it hasn’t been around long enough to pass the sticking test.
Invaluable information. If you have a puppy, buy this book.
Okay, so the thing that I like most about this book was how it told the stories of the Navy SEALS and the dogs that they train. I was able to understand better how these dogs viewed the soldiers and what was driving their behavior.
There is a lot of great information in this book about the science driving dog behavior and some training techniques that you can go ahead and use for yourself. If you want to train your dog like the Navy trains their best dogs, then this book will certainly help you do that.
But what is best about this book is also sort of its undoing. That’s the problem – most people don’t want to train their dogs like Navy SEAL dogs; they simply want to curb bad behavior, potty train a puppy or get Bruno to obey simple commands.
That’s not really what this book gives you. It is more of a celebration of dogs and the Navy way of training them. There are lots of techniques in here for training but it is tough relating them to the normal world of dogs.
If you have any interest in the whole Navy SEAL dog subject, then you should get this book. If you want a simple training manual, feel free to skip this one.
In one of the earlier reviews on this list, I was complaining about a book being old-fashioned and “stuffy.” Now, I am going to have to eat my words it seems because this book on dog training is highly recommended and it was first published in 1976.
Now, it is important to note that this is a specialized book. This is a book for taming your dog rather than a book on training your dog. People with really aggressive dogs that have trouble learning may need to utilize some of the techniques here but most people won’t.
I really have a problem with the non-humane treatments that are listed here. This is only a certain percentage of the techniques, but they still shouldn’t be in a book because we know now that there are better ways of training aggressive dogs. Some of these techniques amount to little less than torture.
For the discerning individual who is really, really have a problem with an aggressive dog, I would recommend this as a last resort.
With the price of these books so low, there is no reason not to get them and have them on your shelf. They are some of the best books for under $10 period, not to mention some of the best books ever written on dog training. I own most of these books (I think I owned all once but I can’t find a couple of them) and I would gladly buy them again if I needed that info.