There is a lot of dog training material and advice out there on the information superhighway. Unfortunately, not all of the books on display on Amazon are created equal. How do you know what to is useful and what might be wrong or even potentially harmful for your dog?
Here is a breakdown of some of my favorite books (and DVDs) available from highly educated, reliable and evidence-based dog professionals.
Whether you have a new puppy, an aggressive dog, or just want to teach your dog some new party tricks, check out this list.
72? That’s Too Many Books! Where Do I Start?
A quick guide to this list of books – there’s a lot to get through, and we don’t want you to get lost.
- Puppy Books
- General dog behavior information
- Basic training skills
- Building human-dog bond and connection
- Herding breeds and their unique needs
- Dogs that bark, lunge, growl, or bark at other dogs (or people, cars, etc)
- For dogs that are afraid, worried, or scared
- For the multi-dog household (including resource aggression)
- Separation anxiety
- Teaching your dog to come when called
- Dog sports (agility, flyball, rally, obedience)
- Dogs with special needs
- Kids and dogs
- Trick Training
- Aging dogs and end-of-life care
Best Puppy Training Books
- The Puppy Primer by Patricia McConnell
- Best for: applying positive puppy training techniques to everyday life.
- Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right by Dr. Sophia Yin
- Best for: a step-by-step visual guide for puppy training, learning, and creating a strong bond.
- Puppy Start Right by Kenneth Martin
- Best for: all-encompassing information about raising and socializing your puppy.
- Control Unleashed: The Puppy Program by Leslie McDevitt
- Best for: new puppy owners looking for a complete training plan. Although it lacks a bit of flow, it is an excellent guide to all things puppy.
- The Focused Puppy by Deborah Jones and Judy Keller
- Best for: preparing your puppy for everyday life as well as training foundations to become a potential performance dog.
- How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With by Clarice Rutherford
- Best for: learning how a puppy develops and how to properly socialize at each age and stage of life.
- Before and After Getting Your Puppy by Dr. Ian Dunbar
- Best for: easy-to-follow training instructions and is ideal for preparing for your new puppy.
- Puppies: Growth Phases, Mental Development and Activities: The Puppy Class DVD by Turid Rugaas
- Best for: understanding the mental and physical development of your new puppy, and offering sound advice about how to properly introduce your puppy to their new home.
- Creating the Perfect Puppy by Dr. Sophia Yin
- Best for: understanding how to properly handle and socialize your new puppy. Or, use this DVD as a teaching tool for new puppy clients or those raising young puppies during their “sensitive period” (the first 16 weeks of life).
General Information on Dog Behavior, Body Language, and Learning
Would you like to better understand your dog and why they behave they way they do? Maybe you want to know more about how dogs learn, communicate, or experience their world. These resources are great for every dog lover!
- Canine Confidential: Why Dogs Do What They Do by Marc Bekoff
- Best for: learning how to make the best possible life for your dog through understanding and respect.
- Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz
- Best for: providing insight on the inner workings of dogs.
- Canine Body Language; A Photographic Guide Interpreting the Native Language of the Domestic Dog by Brenda Aloff
- Best for: a practical visual guide on how to read and understand dog body language.
- The Domestic Dog by James Serpell
- Best for: understanding why dogs behave the way they do, and their role in a human-centered society.
- How Dogs Work by Raymond Coppinger, Mark Feinstein and Gordon Burghardt
- Best for: understanding the biological and evolutionary components of your dog and their behaviour.
- The Language of Dogs: Understanding Canine Body Language and Other Communication Signals by Sarah Kalnajs
- Best for: extensive footage of an array of canine behaviour and body language examples.
For Teaching Basic Skills and Manners to Dogs of All Ages
Maybe you have a new puppy, or you’ve recently rescued a new dog. Here are some resources for teaching basic manners and skills, such as down, stay, and leash manners, in a positive, fun, respectful and effective way!
- Clicker Basics for Dogs and Puppies by Carolyn Barney
- Best for: providing an overview of how to properly use the clicker and offers the reader a progression of teaching your dog basic behaviours.
- Beyond the Back Yard: Train Your Dog to Listen Anytime, Anywhere! By Denise Fenzi
- Best for: taking a step beyond teaching your dog basic behaviours to training In the real world full of distractions.
- How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves by Dr. Sophia Yin
- Best for: clearly explaining learning theory in a practical and applicable way.
- The Power of Positive Training by Pat Miller
- Best for: learning about understanding and reacting to your dog’s body language using positive reinforcement training techniques as well as more advanced training concepts.
- Clicker Basics for Dogs and Puppies by Carolyn Barney
5. How 2 Train A __________ by Dr. Patricia Barlow-Irick
- Best for: applying the science of training and learning to ANY animal in yourlife
- Best for: learning how to fix and prevent behaviour problems in your pet.
7. Oh Behave!: Dogs from Pavlov to Premack to Pinker by Jean Donaldson
- Best for: a practical Q & A style training book covering learning theory and positive training methods.
8. My Dog Pulls. What Do I Do? by Turid Rugaas
- Best for: teaching your dog to walk politely on a leash at any age, stage, and for any breed.
- Foundation Training for Every Dog by Brenda Aloff
- Best for: establishing a great relationship with your dog and teaching consistent and reliable behaviours for a solid foundation.
- What Do I do… When My Dog Pulls? By Turid Rugaas
- Best for: teaching leash manners to all dogs of any age, size or breed. A great accompaniment to the similarly titled book.
Dogs in a Human World: the Human-Dog Bond
The human-dog bond is the basis for optimal communication and mutual respect with our furry family members. Dogs have co-evolved with humans, and we have a very special interspecies relationship compared to all other species on this planet.
Learn more about the importance of the human-dog bond, and how you can build and strengthen it.
- The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs by Patricia McConnell
- Best for: Emphasizing how our own behaviour affects our dogs and our ability to communicate with them effectively.
- The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson
- Best for: a classic read on the dog-human relationship and how the way humans behave impacts our dogs and their world.
- Bones Would Rain From the Sky by Suzanne Clothier
- Best for: seeing a dog’s world from their unique perspective and finding a deep connection with your dog.
- The Animals Among Us: How Pets Make Us Human by John Bradshaw
- Best for: understanding the evolution of pets in our lives and in society, and how they have become a part of our family.
- Human/Canine Behavior Connection by Marissa Martino
- Best for: fostering teamwork between human and dog through a mutual connection.
- For The Love of a Dog by Patricia McConnell, PhD
- Best for: understanding how emotions affect behaviour, and how emotions affect our relationship and interactions with other animals.
- Relationship Essentials: The Key to Building the Successful Team by Emily Larlham
- Best for: understanding how trust, communication, connection and allowing your dog the power of choice all work together to build a stronger bond–the basis for successful training.
Herding Breeds and Their Unique Needs
Herding breeds–like collies and heelers–are high energy, quick, and may benefit from some specific mental stimulation and learning some distinct behaviours in order to be calm in a human-centred environment.
- Teach Your Herding Breed to be A Great Companion Dog – From Obsessive to Outstanding by Dawn Antoniak-Mitchell
- Best for: teaching your herding dog how to hone their natural abilities in a modern human world.
- Secrets of the Working Mind: Border Collies: A Breed Apart by Carol Price
- Best for: learning about the inner workings of the Border Collie (BC) and how to keep your BC’s mental balance.
- Collie Psychology; Inside the Collie Mind by Carole Price
- Best for: a complete overview of the BC, from puppyhood to aging, and everything in between.
Dogs that Bark, Lunge or Growl at People or Dogs
Did you know, these aggressive reactions are often a response to feeling fearful or anxious?
Here are some great resources to help you manage your reactive dog, and to shape their emotional response to certain situations.
- Feisty Fido: Help for the Leash Reactive Dog by Patricia McConnell, PhD.
- Best for: changing your dog’s reactive and aggressive response to other dogs or people from out of control to calm and relaxed.
- Behaviour Adjustment Training 2.0: New Practical Techniques for Fear, Frustration and Aggression in Dogs by Grisha Stewart
- Best for: building resilience, confidence and self-reliance by providing dogs the opportunity to learn about people, dogs or anything that triggers your dog to act reactively.
- The Midnight Dog Walkers by Annie Phenix
- Best for: a compassionate approach (towards both dog and owner) to rehabilitating a dog who acts in an aggressive manner. This book covers myths and misconceptions about aggression.
- Scaredy Dog by Ali Brown
- Best for: offering several options to help manage a reactive dog, the best way to address situations that may arise unexpectedly in your dog’s environment. This book makes the concept of training easy for everyone to understand.
- Fired Up, Frantic, and Freaked Out by Laura Baugh.
- Best for: explaining short training sessions and understanding the underlying psychological reasons for fear, anxiety, and aggression in an easy-to-read way.
- The Leash Reactivity Blueprint by Tristan Flynn
- Best for: managing your reactive dog, and teaching handling techniques and training methods for reducing reactivity through guided lessons.
- Dog Aggression: From Fearful, Reactive & Hyperactive to Focused, Happy & Calm by Dr. Sophia Yin
- Best for: a step-by-step plan for improving your dog’s impulse and emotional control to create a dog who is happy and calm.
- Behavior Adjustment Training 2.0 (Complete set) by Grisha Stewart
- Best for: a complete 6 disc step-by-step tutorial for training people and their dogs to deal with reactivity.Great for trainers, professionals, shelter workers and owners.
- Skills for Handling Your Reactive or Hyperactive Dog by Dr. Sophia Yin
- Best for: teaching focus through an interactive series of exercises for you and your reactive dog.
For Dogs that are Afraid, Worried or Scared
Help your dog feel more confident in the face of scary situations.
- From Fearful to Fear Free: A Positive Program to Free Your Dog from Anxiety, Fears and Phobias by Marty Becker
- The Cautious Canine – How to Help Dogs Conquer Their Fears by Patricia McConnell, PhD.
- Best for: understanding how to create a step-by-step plan for your fearful dog.
- Help For Your Fearful Dog by Nicole Wilde
- Best for: understanding stress signals in situations such as thunderstorms, During nail trims or car rides–to name a few–and how to create a safe and stress-free environment.
- Does My Dog Need Prozac? Musings and Sound Advice on Living With a Shy, Anxious, Fearful or Reactive Dog by Debbie Jacobs
- Best for: understanding the challenges that dogs face as they may struggle to become our pets, as well as the struggles of the humans who try to help them.
- Arousal, Anxiety and Fear: Empathy and Understanding & Options for Anxious or Fearful Dogs by Suzanne Clothier
- Best for: shy, fearful or nervous dogs and providing a thorough explanation on how to assess stress levels, provide support and managing your dog’s anxiety.
For the Multi-dog Household
- Keeping the Peace by Nicole Wilde
- Best for: everything from food aggression and guarding, over-arousal leading to conflict, dogs just “not getting along”, and the like. Learn techniques to help you deal with specific situations that may arise with two or more dogs in the same household.
- Fight! A Practical Guide to the Treatment of Dog-Dog Aggression by Jean Donaldson
- Best for: a general concept of common dog-related aggression issues and inappropriate social interactions.
- ComPETability: Solving Behavior Problems in Your Multi-Dog Household by Amy Shojai
- Best for: creating a harmonious household. This books will explain how to deal with and prevent aggression, fights, and tension.
- Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs by Jean Donaldson
- Best for: for dogs who become aggressive and possessive around food, toys, beds or other desired items.
- Dog-Dog Aggression Seminar by Patricia McConnell, PhD.
- Best for: providing an extensive collection of seminars, demonstrations and video footage of dog related aggression and how to best deal with each issue.
- Feeling Outnumbered? How to Manage and Enjoy Your Multi-Dog Household by Patricia McConnell, PhD.
- Best for: dealing with the group mentality of multiple dogs, with respect to everything from tension and conflict to over-excitement, and the best techniques to train in a multi-dog household.
Dogs with Separation Anxiety
Is there hope? Will you ever be able to leave your dog alone without a panic attack?
Check out what some of the leading trainers have to say.
- I’ll Be Home Soon: How to Prevent and Treat Separation Anxiety by Patricia McConnell, PhD.
- Best for: learning to determine whether your dog has separation anxiety or just bad manners and how to deal with both.
- Canine Separation Anxiety Workbook: Training Dogs to Tolerate Being Alone by James O’Heare
- Best for: an interactive workbook for creating a step-by-step plan to train your dog tolerate being left alone.
- Treating Separation Anxiety in Dogs by Malena Demartini – Price
- Best for: trainers, or those who are currently getting professional help for their dog’s separation anxiety. This book provides great information by a leading industry expert on dealing with separation anxiety.
- Don’t Leave Me! Step-by-Step Help for Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety by Nicole Wilde
- Best for: an interactive and customizable format for effective rehabilitation of separation anxiety and barrier frustration.
- Fixing the Unfixable: A New Look at Separation Anxiety by Malena DeMartini and Gina Phairis
- Best for: dog trainers and professionals looking to expand their knowledge of separation anxiety and learning rehabilitation techniques to set your clients up for success.
Teaching Your Dog to Come When Called. No matter what!
Learn to teach your dog a reliable recall for full control and safety.
- Really Reliable Recall by Leslie Nelson
- Best for: teaching your dog to come in emergency situations.
- Rocket Recall by Brad Waggoner and Lisa Waggoner
- Best for: teaching your dog to come in all situations for a safe and predictable off-leash experience.
- Training the Whistle Recall by Pamela Dennison
- Best for: an outlined 5-week program designed to train your dog to come to the sound of a whistle.
- Really Reliable Recall by Leslie Nelson
- Best for: learning how to build trust and ensure safety with a rock-solid recall.
Training Your Dogs for Sports
- Train the Dog in Front of You by Denise Fenzi
- Best for: a customized training plan for training your competition dog bymeeting their individual needs to set them up for success.
- Dog Sports Skills (Series) by Denise Fenzi and Deborah Jones
- Best for: reducing stress in the competition ring, developing a strong relationship, and creating a world-class performance dog.
- In Focus – Beginning Obstacle Skills by Deborah Jones
- Best for: beginners to teach a puppy or novice dog the basics of agility, and to teach them to navigate obstacles on a single cue.
- Building the Canine Athlete – Strength, Stretch, Endurance & Body Awareness Exercises by Chris Zink and Laurie McCauley
- Best for: learning proper stretching, exercise and conditioning techniques for a fit, strong and injury-free canine athlete.
Dogs with Special Needs
- A Deaf Dog Joins the Family by Terrie Hayward
- Best for: learning how to communicate with your deaf dog effectively, and how to set up a safe and inviting home environment for them to navigate.
- Through a Dark Silence by Debbie Bauer
- Best for: caregivers of those dogs who are born both deaf and blind, or are losing these senses due to age or illness.
- Living With a Deaf Dog: A Book of Training Advice, Facts and Resources About Canine Deafness Caused by Genetics, Aging, Illness by Susan Cope Becker
- Best for: a comprehensive guide to learn how to communicate and train your deaf dog safely, kindly, and successfully.
Resources for Children and Dogs
Maybe you have children of your own, or maybe you have nieces and nephews. Maybe your friends have children that would love to meet your dog. Here are some great books for kids to learn how to interact safely with your dog.
- Good Dog! Teach Kids About Dog Behavior and Training by Evelyn Pang
- Best for: kids learning from other kids how to clicker train their family dog, communicate and have a better and respectful relationship with their dogs.
- A Kid’s Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog!: A Fun, Interactive, Educational Resource to Help the Whole Family Understand Canine Communication. By Niki Tudge
- Best for: providing an interactive resource to help everyone in the family learn how to read dog body language and how to best interact with the family dog.
- The Blue Dog Interactive CD by The Blue Dog
- Best for: offering interactive games to teach young children how to interact with dogs in a safe and respectful manner. For children 3-6 years of age.
- Super Sniffer Scent Games: A Guide to Having Fun With Your Dog by Debby Kay
- Best for: learning the basics about scent detection, and how scent games can be fun and exciting for your dog.
- The RCT Training Games Kit – Relationship Centred Training (PDF) by Suzanne Clothier
- Best for: printing out interactive game cards. Consists of 24 fun training games for real-life skills at a variety of skill levels.
- 10-Minute Dog Training Games by Kyra Sundance
- Best for: teaching your dog real-life foundation skills in fun and easy to follow game format.
- Mind Games for Dogs by Sarah Whitehead
- Best for: preventing boredom through game-playing by keeping your dog mentally stimulated, focused and happy.
Here are some step-by-step tricks to keep your training fresh and fun.
- 101 Dog Tricks: Step-By-Step Activities to Engage, Challenge and Bond With Your Dog by Kyra Sundance and Chalcy
- Best for: step-by-step instructions for teaching different tricks with varying difficulty levels and “build-on” ideas.
- The Best Dog Tricks on the Planet: 106 Amazing Things Your Dog Can Do on Command by Babette Haggerty
- Best for: teaching your dog tricks to help them stay engaged and moving, and to help improve your communication and relationship.
- Tricks For a Great Bond by Silvia Trkman
- Best for: teaching tricks through shaping–creating easy to follow steps–to achieve dynamic tricks with your dog.
- Tricks to Teach Adult Dogs to Keep Their Brain Active and Healthy by Sue Brown
- Best for: learning to engage your dog in fun and interactive trick training.
For Dogs Who are Aging or Reaching the End of Life:
One of the hardest things we will ever have to endure is caring for and eventually saying goodbye to our elderly dogs. Senior pets are incredibly special. Learn the best ways to care for your dog in her golden years, and how to improve the best quality of life.
- Remember Me? Loving and Caring for a Dog With Canine Cognitive Dysfunction by Eileen Anderson
- Best for: understanding and maintaining the bond you have with your dog when they begin to lose their cognitive capacities.
- My Dog is Dying: What Do I Do? By Wendy Van de Poll
- Best for: offering you emotional support as you deal with your dog’s terminal diagnosis and living through the end of their lives.
- My Dog Has Died: What Do I Do? By Wendy Van de Poll
- Best for: dealing with the unique and difficult grief and bereavement of losing your dog.
- The Gift of a Gray Muzzle: Active Care for Senior Dogs by Kathy Sdao and Lori Stevens
- Best for: learning how to create the best quality of life for your aging dog. This DVD deals with everything from medical concerns, to end of life decisions.
As a trainer and behaviour consultant, I never stop reading and learning. As a dog mom, I always want to improve the life I share with my canine family members.
There is a lot of information out there to sift through, and the biggest challenge that I see many of my clients face, is knowing what information is actually reliable.
This list is a great place to start! Have I missed one of your favourite training books? Let us know what your go-to resources are! If you are experiencing behaviour issues with your dog and need some extra help, we are here for you.
Erin is currently from Alberta, Canada where she works as a canine behaviour consultant. Erin is a CDBC and CPDT-KA, working with all types of dogs with all types of training needs. She has a MSc in Anthrozoology (the study of human and non-human interactions), and is a PhD candidate in the same field. Erin will be relocating to Christchurch, New Zealand at the end of 2018.