Best Dog Training Books: Every Dog Owner Should Read

Is your dog disobedient? Suffering from separation anxiety? Or struggling with potty training? Trust us – we’ve all been in the same situation. But there is a solution and it’s to pick up a dog training book and take a little time out of your day to train your dog.

Sounds easy right? Well, it is! But, the trick is to find the right dog training book that will suit you and your dog.

Product Details

Best Of 2019

Featured Best Dog Training Book 2019

How To Be Your Dog’s Best Friend

  • Time tested and proven strategies
  • Strong focus on developmental stages
  • Wide variety of topics

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Best Puppy Training

Featured Best Puppy Training Book

The Art Of Raising A Puppy

  • Step By Step Easy To Follow
  • Breed Selection, Training And Care
  • Beautiful Photography Throughout

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Best Behavior Modification

Featured Best Dog Behavior Training Book

Decoding Your Dog

  • Effective Science Based Training
  • Thoroughly Covers Every Behaviour
  • Very Interesting Insights Into Behavior

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Best For Kids

Featured Best Dog Training Book For Kids

Puppy Training For Kids

  • Fun And Interactive
  • Easy To Read And Follow
  • Includes Puppy Play/Safety Fundamentals

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Best Trick Training

Featured Best Dog Trick Training Book

101 Dog Tricks

  • The Most Extensive List Of Tricks
  • Explains Different Trick Training Approaches
  • Progresses From Simple To Most Difficult Tricks

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Best Leadership Training

Featured Best Dog Leadership Training Book

How To Behave So Your Dog Behaves

  • Insights Into A Dogs Thinking
  • Learn How Dogs Interpret Human Behavior
  • Easy To Digest, Yet Technical And Thorough 

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Best E-Collar Training

Featured Best E-Collar Dog Training Book

Everything To Know About E-Collar Training

  • When To Use One
  • Why Their Effective
  • How To Use Them

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Best Hunting Training

Featured Best Hunting Dog Training Book

Gun Dog

  • After 50 Years, Remains The Go To Hunting Book
  • Many Professional Hunters Started Here
  • Easy To Follow Step By Step Guidance

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Best Agility Training

Featured Best Dog Agility Training Book

The Beginners Guide To Dog Agility

  • Includes DIY Equipment Guides
  • Strictly Positive Reinforcement based
  • Clickers Advised But Not Essential

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Training your dog will not only have you gaining an obedient canine, it also provides you with an unparalleled opportunity to bond with your four-legged friend.

Whether you’re hoping to house train your new puppy, trick train your old family pet, or find a solution to your dog’s separation anxiety – there are countless books that can offer a solution.

When it comes to training any animal, it’s important to know that one book or training type does not fit all. In fact, over the years, I have had the honor of training with some of the best trainers out there and, through this process, I have learned to pick and choose methods from multiple trainers, in order to curate my very own training program that will fit the personality and drive of each dog.

We don’t think that training a dog from start to finish can be achieved from one book alone, so to help you to achieve a well-rounded dog, we’re showcasing a few of our favorite books in each section and we’ll explain what book to get for each type of dog.

Best Puppy Training Books

When you welcome a new puppy into your home, many new dog owners make the mistake of letting that cute ball of fluff do anything they want. Well, that might be fine now, but wait just a few short months and you’ll wish you started training them the day that they came home!

Puppies are far smarter than they’re given credit for and can start learning potty training, basic obedience, and crate training from around 10 weeks old.

#1 The Art Of Raising A Puppy:

Best For First Time Puppy Owners

  • Book Type: Kindle, audiobook, hardcover, paperback, audio CD
  • Author: The Monks of New Skete
  • Area Of Focus: Everything about puppies

PROS:

  • Covers a wide variety of topics relating to puppies.
  • Written by a collective of dog training monks, so offers varied opinions.
  • Gives the new dog owner a handbook to follow along.
  • Includes plenty of information on the developmental stages.

CONS:

  • Lacks imagery and visual instruction

This in-depth look into everything puppies was written by the famed Monks of Skete. Now, I know what you’re thinking – what are monks doing writing about dogs? While perhaps not the obvious choice for authors of a dog book, when you delve deeper into what makes a good monk — traits like patience and perseverance — you’ll understand what has led them to shine on the world stage as incredible dog trainers.

This book will lead you through the process of bringing a new puppy into your home. Everything from breeding, selecting, evaluating, training, and general puppy care.

#2 The Puppy Primer:

Best For Puppy Basics

  • Book Type: Kindle, paperback
  • Author: Patricia McConnell and Brenda Scidmore
  • Area Of Focus: Training instruction, games, hints and trouble shooting

PROS:

  • Step by step and easy to follow along.
  • Explains what to do when things go wrong.
  • A great starting point for the first time dog owner or trainer.
  • Clearly explains when it might be time to seek help from a professional trainer.

CONS:

  • Could be too basic for experienced dog owners.
  • Would be easier to understand if there were photos or illustrations.

The Puppy Primer was written by Patricia McConnell, Ph.D. and author of 13 books, including such gems as For The Love of Dog and Tales of Two Species. Brenda Scidmore is the co-writer, an animal behavior consultant, writer, and family dog trainer.

This book explains training exercises in a tangible and easy-to-follow way, with each chapter focusing on a specific challenge that aligns with the development of your new puppy!

Follow along week by week, perfect the training exercises shown, learn what to do if setbacks occur, and how to overcome them.

Best General Dog Training Books

If you’re sick of your dog ignoring your calls when you’re at the local dog park, or you want him to have better manners around the house, general obedience training is the way to go.

Depending on your dog’s personality, drive, and energy level – this can be an absolute breeze to train, and only take 10 to 15 minutes out of your day!

#1 Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution:

Best For Selecting The Right Dog

  • Book Type: Kindle, audiobook, paperback, MP3 CD
  • Author: Zak George
  • Area Of Focus: Dog selection and care

PROS:

  • Written well, you can even read this just for fun!
  • Broken down into lots of easy-to-follow small sections.
  • Works well when used in conjunction with the author’s YouTube channel.
  • Reads like the puppy version of, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”

CONS:

  • A surprisingly small part of the book focuses on training.
  • Isn’t as helpful as the author’s YouTube channel.

Zak George is the author of this training book and he is a renowned dog trainer, famous for his popular YouTube channel, with a staggering 1.7 million subscribers.

I love his YouTube channel, so expected to love this book, too. Unfortunately, where his videos do a great job by quickly and simply describing training exercises and methods, this book reads more as a guide to selecting a puppy and looking after it.

There isn’t anywhere near as much training information as I had expected and I think I’d rather stick to watching his videos.

#2 Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog in 7 Days:

Best For Dog Training Fundamentals

  • Book Type: Kindle, audiobook, hardcover, paperback, audio CD.
  • Author: Brandon McMillan
  • Area Of Focus: Remedial work, building a bond

PROS:

  • Utilizes gentle training methods.
  • Easy to understand training exercises.
  • A delight to read, with humor injected throughout!
  • Gives examples of rescue cases and their specific training journey.

CONS:

  • Very treat-focused, so might be harder if your dog isn’t ruled by his belly.
  • Doesn’t get into the scientific reasons behind why to use each training method.

Lucky Dog Lessons was written by Brandon McMillan, the Emmy award-winning host of Lucky Dog! He had an upbringing like no other and was raised by parents who worked as wild animal trainers. It was this early influence that led him to use positive reinforcement methods to train animals for TV and film, as well as the personal pets of A-List celebrities.

His approach in this book lends itself especially well to rescue dogs who have had a hard start in life. But it’s not just timid dogs that this training style can work for – any dog exhibiting typical naughty behaviors will benefit from their owner reading this book!

#3 The Power of Positive Dog Training:

Best For Positive Reinforcement

  • Book Type: Kindle, audiobook, hardcover, paperback MP3 CD.
  • Author: Pat Miller
  • Area Of Focus: Positive reinforcement and understanding dog body language.

PROS:

  • Explains how to react to your dog in pretty much any situation.
  • Includes a helpful diary to track progress.
  • Details how to go from clicker or treat training to vocal praise.
  • A helpful book for the novice to experienced owners.

CONS:

  • Some techniques seem to encourage bad behavior.
  • The author can come across as highly judgemental toward any other training technique.

There are many books available for owners to learn the joy of clicker training and using treats-based praise, but while many trainers suggest using this only in the beginning phase of training your dog – few show you how to train your dog on from these stages.

Pat Miller, the author of this book, does just that and, with over 40 years of training experience, numerous publishing credits including the Whole Dog Journal, and serving on the Board of Directors of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers – it’s no surprise that she does it well.

#4 How To Be Your Dog’s Best Friend:

Best For A Broad View On How Dog Training Works

  • Book Type: Kindle, hardcover, paperback
  • Author: The Monks of New Skete
  • Area Of Focus: A combination of training techniques and a more spiritual look into why dogs naturally fit in as man’s best friend.

PROS:

  • This is an updated version of their popular 1978 edition.
  • Covers a whole host of topics, from training and grooming to feeding and behavior.
  • Especially useful for owners of German Shepherds.
  • Draws on 30 years of experience.

CONS:

  • This is an old-fashioned book and some techniques should be taken with a pinch of salt.
  • If you’re just looking for a training manual – this likely isn’t the book for you.

A good read for the experienced dog owner who is able to weed out old-fashioned negative training techniques and replace them with positive training.

The Monks of New Skete have done an incredible job of writing a very well thought out explanation of the spiritual connection between man and canine, thus helping the dog owner understand the origins of this connection and how to best tap into that bond while training.

Best Dog Behavior Modification Books

When adopting a rescue dog, you don’t really know what your dog has had to go through. He could have been neglected or mistreated, which will affect his behavior and how readily he trusts humans.

Working on training exercises with a dog that has been through tough times can work absolute wonders, not only for their obedience, but for building their trust and showing them that life can be great if they just follow the rules!

#1 Decoding Your Dog:

Best For Treating Behavior Issues

  • Book Type: Kindle, audiobook, hardcover, paperback, audio CD.
  • Author: American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
  • Area Of Focus: Explaining the science behind dog behavior in an easy to understand way for newbies and experienced dog owners alike.

PROS:

  • Even professional dog trainers can learn something from this book.
  • Helps to explain the dog’s sensory system and how this affects communication methods.
  • For owners of dogs with an unknown history, this can help you fill in the blanks.
  • A great gift for inexperienced friends and family.

CONS:

  • Not the best quality of writing, which makes it harder to stay interested.
  • The author excessively recommends products and devices, which comes across as disingenuous.

Written by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, this book helps break down the science behind why your dog behaves the way he does and how you can best communicate with him – rather than just trying to force him to do as you say.

For dog owners that struggle with their friends, family, or children undermining their training by allowing negative behaviors such as begging from the table, or sitting on the couch, this book could be a great gift to help them to understand the importance of clearly defined rules for your dog.

#2 Dog Training Diaries:

Best For Problem Solving

  • Book Type: Kindle, paperback.
  • Author: Tom Shelby
  • Area Of Focus: Training the owner to train their dog!

PROS:

  • Doesn’t just look at the behavioral problem of the dog, but the owner, too!
  • Written in a friendly and engaging tone that leaves you wanting more.
  • Utilizes different techniques depending on the dog’s personality.
  • Modern Dog Magazine’s Editors Choice Winner 2019.

CONS:

  • If you’re looking for pure information over memoir – this might not be the book for you.
  • Has a focus on very specific areas.

This dog training book by Tom Shelby, a renowned dog trainer who specializes in dogs with behavioral problems, helps owners understand their shortcomings in a friendly, laidback, and absolutely blame-free way.

His years of experience as a dog trainer, K9 search and rescue member, animal rescue center volunteer, and author give Tom a unique insight into what it takes to train a well-mannered dog.

A believer in one size does not fit all, his training is unique to each canine he comes across and, in this book, he teaches you how to take your dog’s past experiences into consideration, as well as his current surroundings and personality, to find a training program that will work for him!

Best Dog Training Books For Kids

Many dog owners don’t think to include their kids in the dog training process, but this is a bad idea and a missed opportunity. Firstly, having rules, such as “no dogs on the furniture”, or “no feeding scraps from the table” – just won’t stick if your kids aren’t following them, too.

Also, not allowing them to get involved is a missed opportunity for your kids to both have fun and learn. Kids learn so much from training and caring for animals and, by having your kids step up and be responsible for training too, your dog will have a far greater level of respect for your kids.

#1 Puppy Training For Kids:

Best For Young Children

  • Book Type: Kindle, paperback
  • Author: Colleen Pelar
  • Area Of Focus: Fun and interactive training for puppies.

PROS:

  • Lists the supplies required for a new puppy, so that kids won’t go overboard in the pet store!
  • Instills a sense of pride over being a responsible dog owner.
  • Training exercises are easy to read and even easier to follow for the youngest of kids.
  • Doesn’t just cover training, but also how to safely play with your new puppy.

CONS:

  • Would be better for kids if it had a step-by-step picture guide.
  • Better suited to younger kids, as it doesn’t explain the reasoning behind the training.

This puppy training book is a great choice for kids who are about to welcome their very first dog into the home. As a young child, it can be hard for them to understand the importance of rules and playing safely for a young puppy, but author Colleen Pelar has done a great job of explaining why and how this should be done in an easy-to-read way.

Especially well-suited to younger kids, we’d recommend picking up a dog training book for kids before you even bring your puppy home and set aside “Doggie Homework Time”, where the whole family can come together and read their dog training books!

This way, the messages have time to really sink in. Otherwise, you run the risk of the information going in and straight back out, as soon as your kids spot their new cute little puppy!

Best Dog Trick Training Books

Most dogs just love having a job and they can get bored once their training is complete, causing them to act out. A great solution to this is to keep their training going! But training your run of the mill “sit”, “stay”, and “lay down” every day isn’t going to provide much mental stimulation. That’s where trick training can save the day!

#1 101 Dog Tricks:

Best For Training Tricks

  • Book Type: Kindle, paperback.
  • Author: Kyra Sundance
  • Area Of Focus: Entirely dog tricks

PROS:

  • An international bestseller!
  • Each trick comes with a difficulty rating, so you know how much work is required going in.
  • The book is split by theme, so it’s easy to flick through and pick out a new trick.
  • Includes sections on how to troubleshoot, if training isn’t going to plan.

CONS:

  • Includes some outdated and negative training practices.
  • Many of the tricks aren’t suitable for smaller dogs.

Do you have a high-energy dog that you can never seem to keep entertained? Mixing the trick ideas from a book like 101 Dog Tricks into your exercise schedule can really help challenge and mentally stimulate your dog.

Written by renowned dog trainer Kyra Sundance, much of the book is incredibly well written and offers great insight into the importance of positive reinforcement. However, in some instances, this doesn’t seem to match up with the training advice given.

Having said that, this book is still a great read and, taking into consideration that Kyra has been in the business for a long time, the fact that some of the advice is outdated is understandable. As long as you’re experienced enough to know how to adapt this book to your own needs, it could be a great addition to your training arsenal.

Best Dog Leadership Training Books

Did you know that a heck of a lot of dogs act out or have behavioral problems because they feel that they are protecting their owners? It’s strange but true and pretty much the only remedy to this problem is showing your dog that you’re the alpha of the pack.

If you want your dog to see you as the alpha, it requires you to have the right body language, reactions, and confidence – something that can be tricky to learn on your own.

#1 How To Behave So Your Dog Behaves:

Best For Understanding The Science Of Dog Behavior

  • Book Type: Kindle, hardcover, paperback.
  • Author: Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS.
  • Area Of Focus: Decoding dog behavior, and understanding how to communicate effectively.

PROS:

  • Focuses on the science behind dog behavior and training.
  • Teaches the owner to see the world as your dog sees it.
  • Explains how dogs interpret human behavior.
  • Written in an easy-to-understand way, while still being in-depth.

CONS:

  • Focuses on the science, thus requiring enough interest to read and not just skim.
  • If you want to just follow training exercises – this might not be the best book for you.

Written by the late Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS. Renowned for her work in animal behavior, she taught on the subject internationally and served as an expert in the field for television shows and with well-known organizations, including the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior and the American Humane Association.

This book looks into the scientific side of dog behavior and explains why dogs act and react in the ways that they do and how you can learn to communicate through effective behavior training.

As you may expect from a scientist in the field, Dr. Yin’s work is in-depth and reads like a thorough study on the subject and that’s what makes this book so unique and valuable – however, this might not suit all dog owner’s learning style.

#2 The Other End Of The Leash:

Best For Understanding Human-Canine Communication

  • Book Type: Kindle, audiobook, hardcover, paperback, audio CD.
  • Author: Patricia McConnel Ph.D.
  • Area Of Focus: An unbiased look into human behavior and what our dogs think of it!

PROS:

  • Looks at human behavior as we would any other species and explains dog reactions.
  • Combines scientific information with real-life examples of training.
  • Actually explains why positive reinforcement is more effective.
  • Talks about the importance of thinking about how you play with your dog.

CONS:

  • Would be easier to understand examples used in the book if there were photos or illustrations.
  • Tends to focus on the author’s dogs and doesn’t help the reader understand which exercises to use for their own dog as much as you would hope.

This is a very thorough and interesting book from Patricia McConnell Ph.D., which looks into human behavior subjectively, not as though we are the ultimate species, which is rather refreshing. This helps the reader to have a better understanding when the author begins to look at canine behavior.

While this book does have a strong scientific influence, there are many real-life examples of behavioral experiences, which helps to break up the hardcore information.

If you have an overbearing mother in law who just loves to tell you how to parent your fur baby, why not be a doll and buy her this as a delightful birthday present? Sure, it’s a little passive aggressive, but if she does flip through the pages and learn a thing or two, you may find that your backseat dog training finally stops.

Best Dog E-Collar Training Books

There has been a rapid rise in electronic dog collar use, but without knowing how to correctly use these devices, it’s possible to do more harm than good. Therefore, understanding the principles behind the method before you put an electronic collar on your dog, is an absolute must.

#1 Everything You Need To Know About E-Collar Training:

Best For E-Collar Training

  • Book Type: Kindle, paperback.
  • Author: Larry Krohn
  • Area Of Focus: Training aggressive dogs.

PROS:

  • Authored by one of the top dog aggression specialists in the world.
  • Follows a philosophy of raising your dog, not training it to do as it is told.
  • Simply written and easy to follow.
  • For owners that feel as though an E-Collar is their last resort, following this book rather than going for it alone offers a far better understanding of how to use the collar.

CONS:

  • Some of the terms used in the book aren’t explained, which can be confusing.
  • Tends to give examples rather than explaining step by step how to use.

This book could be a lifesaver for many dogs. The unfortunate reality is that many dog owners inadvertently train their dogs to be bad. This isn’t deliberate, but it comes from bad habits and a lack of rules.

Many owners feel overwhelmed by their fully-grown, untrained dog and many of these dogs end up being surrendered or abandoned. While your dog can sometimes feel like a lost cause or untrainable – it could be worth reading this book and following the training methods before you resort to giving your dog away.

This book is especially well suited to overly aggressive dogs and, with the author’s decades of experience, he helps to guide you safely through the process of re-training your aggressive canine.

#2 E-Collar Training For Pet Dogs:

Best For E-Collar Basics

  • Book Type: Kindle, audiobook, paperback.
  • Author: Ted Efthymiadis
  • Area Of Focus: Learning how to begin using an electric/static shock collar.

PROS:

  • Comes with a free video training series.
  • Answers your frequently asked questions on electric collar use.
  • Tips help to figure out solutions to dog training problems quickly.
  • Full of useful information – makes for a great book for those who don’t love reading.

CONS:

  • Only covers the basics of E-Collar use.
  • A pretty short book that doesn’t take long to read from cover to cover.

Ted Efthymiadis does a great job in explaining to the dog owner how to first delve into the usage of E-Collar training. Ideal for the nervous owner who wants to utilize positive reinforcement but is worried about how the electric collar may impact this, the author includes a free video training series to show you exactly how to use this device safely.

Efthymiadis helps to guide you step by step through the processes of deciding whether an electric collar is the right choice for you and your dog, fitting the collar correctly, and knowing how to find the right setting to train your dog.

Once you’ve got the hang of the collar usage, Ted will explain how to use your new training aid to overcome common behavior issues, such as pulling on the leash or stealing food.

Best Dog Hunting Training Books

We all know that there are many dog breeds that have a name ending in “Retriever”, but you might not realize this means that most retrievers were bred to, you guessed it – retrieve.

For these breeds, the instinct, drive, and enthusiasm to retrieve is as strong as it was in their hunting dog ancestors. But, with guns and wild animals around, it’s important to train your dog before you begin to hunt together.

#1 Gun Dog: Revolutionary Rapid Training Method:

Best For Dog Hunting Training

  • Book Type: Hardcover
  • Author: Richard A. Wolters
  • Area Of Focus: Showing the average owner how to train their own hunting dog.

PROS:

  • Step by step and highly informative.
  • Shows the training process with photos for easier understanding.
  • The author helps the reader understand canine mental development and how it affects training.
  • Much of the information provided in this book will also work for training a dog that you don’t intend on hunting with.

CONS:

  • The book is very old and, as such, tends to focus on old school negative reinforcement methods.
  • Not a good choice for the inexperienced dog owner, as you will need to adapt training methods to bring them up to date.

Have you ever wondered how some people were able to take their highly energetic and somewhat rambunctious canine and turn them into the kind of dog that you can safely take on a weekend hunting trip? Well, wonder no more!

Richard A. Wolters, the author of this book, has written many a book that focuses on teaching the owner how to train their dog for a specific sport or skill and he doesn’t let us down with this one, focused on hunting.

From learning the terminology and common commands to learning the ins and outs of what a dog needs to fit hunting requirements – he guides you through, step by step.

#2 Game Dog: The Hunter’s Retriever:

Best For Training Retrievers

  • Book Type: Hardcover
  • Author: Richard A. Wolters
  • Area Of Focus: Teaching your dog to retrieve waterfowl.

PROS:

  • Focuses on efficient training.
  • Takes the dogs mental development into consideration.
  • Guides you from puppy selection to hunt ready.
  • Explains how to work with multiple dogs concurrently.

CONS:

  • This book was written many moons ago and focuses on dominating your dog.
  • Many of the methods used have since been proven to be less effective than newer methods.

From the same author of our previously reviewed book, Richard A. Wolters certainly had a knack for training working dogs!

In this book, he focuses on training retrievers to retrieve fowl. Not only showing the step-by-step training process, which, in itself, is incredibly handy – Richard goes even further, helping you to choose the right puppy for the job, take them through basic training, and ultimately achieve a level of skill that will enable you to head out hunting with your canine companion in tow.

Whether you’re an avid hunter or have simply found yourself to be the owner of an incredibly smart retriever that needs a job, this book could be a great read for you!

#3 Training Your Pointing Dog For Hunting And Home:

Best For Pointing Dogs

  • Book Type: Kindle, hardcover, paperback.
  • Author: Richard Weaver
  • Area Of Focus: Training the pointer as a multipurpose canine.

PROS:

  • Puts dog happiness first.
  • There’s an emphasis on early training for best results.
  • Written by an expert in the field, having written for several publications on the topic.
  • A great guide for an owner new to pointing breeds.

CONS:

  • The book doesn’t go into as much detail as an absolute novice might need.
  • Would be much easier to follow if diagrams accompanied the explanations.

Many dog owners enjoy a fun weekend away hunting, but this doesn’t mean they are willing to sacrifice the bond that they have with their family pet to turn it into a purely working dog.

Through this book, Dick Weaver shows you how you can have the best of both worlds – with a Pointer that will be useful on the field, but can also come home to the kids and play frisbee in the backyard!

#4 Water Dog: Revolutionary Rapid Training Method:

Best For Water Work

  • Book Type: Hardcover
  • Author: Richard A. Wolters
  • Area Of Focus: Training water breeds to retrieve waterfowl.

PROS:

  • A quick training program.
  • Explains how to make retrieving into a game that your dog will love.
  • Doesn’t just show you how to train for water work, but for listening, too.
  • If used from the beginning, it can result in an incredibly well-mannered pooch!
  • Explains how considering canine behavior plays a big role in successful training.

CONS:

  • While this book is very interesting, much of this is not acceptable training in this day and age, making it only suitable for knowledgable owners and trainers who are able to pick out the useful sections and discard the bad training methods.
  • This book is about 50 years old and suggests using corporal punishment, which is not OK.

The third book on our list from the author, Richard A. Wolters put together this book to help the owners of water dogs to learn how to tap into that instinct to retrieve and ensure that your dog stays safe in the process.

From selecting a puppy with the right traits for the job to training with decoys and ultimately taking your dog out hunting – this book will run through the process of quickly training your dog to be competent in the sport.

Best Dog Agility Training Books

Are you the proud owner of a bouncing ball of energy? Not quite sure how to tire your dog out? Agility is a fun, action-packed, and social solution. Set up a course at home, or join your local agility club! Not only will your dog have the time of his life, but it will likely mean that you end up with a much better-behaved dog, too!

#1 The Beginners Guide To Dog Agility:

Best For Dog Agility

  • Book Type: Kindle, paperback.
  • Author: Laurie Leach
  • Area Of Focus: Taking the keen owner and dog, to agility ninjas!

PROS:

  • Uses positive reinforcement and correction-free training.
  • Shows the reader how clicker training can be especially beneficial.
  • Has information on how to build your own agility equipment.
  • Runs through exercises for each of the main pieces of agility equipment.

CONS:

  • Better suited to the owner who plans on competing, not just messing around at home.
  • Emphasis on using a clicker to train, so might not suit those using another method of training.

Have you ever watched the agility section of that famous English dog show, Crufts? We all have! And, let’s be honest, it looks like a bunch of fun. So, if you’re struggling to find a way to use up your dog’s energy – or just want to take up an activity that can allow you and your dog to have some fun together, agility training could be exactly what you’re looking for.

The author, Laurie Leach, is not only a national competitor in the USA dog agility circuit, she has also competed in obedience trials and raced sled dogs. Her expertise in training high-energy dogs for fun sports has also meant that she has spoken at numerous doggie events.

Her passion and expertise for the sport shine through and, in this book, you can expect to find helpful step by step training that can take you from newbie to a skilled competitive agility handler!

#2 Agility Right From The Start:

Runner Up Best For Dog Agility

  • Book Type: Kindle, paperback.
  • Author: Eva Bertilsson and Emelie Johnson Vegh
  • Area Of Focus: An agility program to take you to the top.

PROS:

  • With each chapter, your love for the sport of agility will grow!
  • A step-by-step approach that is both simple, yet well explained.
  • The authors don’t just tell you what to do, they explain why it’s the best thing to do.
  • Focuses on not only positive, but fun training to keep your dog enthused.

CONS:

  • Better suited to those familiar with dog training to at least an intermediate level.
  • Poor quality images make it harder to understand the training instructions.

Eva Bertilsson and Emelie Johnson Vegh are two names that are well-known in the agility world, especially in Europe. In this book, they both detail the steps, training practices, and overall program that allowed them to reach the highest levels of success.

For the dog owner looking to get into or improve in the competitive agility arena – this book could be a great start. In it, the authors’ contagious enthusiasm for the sport of agility shines through and they don’t only leave the reader raring to go – but also teach you how to build that same enthusiasm in the sport for your dog.

One of the greatest benefits that this training program offers — other than the chance to take the agility world by storm — is the bond it helps to build between human and dog, something that no dog owner should ever ignore, or take for granted.

Why Learn And Train Your Dogs From Books

To Save a Dog’s Life

If you can increase your knowledge of dog training, you can rescue or adopt a more challenging canine. And, in all seriousness, this could save a dog from being put to sleep.

Overcome Common Problems

Having a dog with separation anxiety, problems with potty training, or one that misbehaves at the dog park is a problem and small problems can soon become big problems, if they’re left to fester.

A Well Behaved Dog is a Joy

Have you ever been to visit a friend that has the worst-behaved dog of all time? I have! It’s easy to get used to a bad situation and learn to ignore problems, but wouldn’t you rather put the work in and have a joyful household?

Include Your Dog in More Family Activities

Not confident enough in your dog to allow him to come hiking with you on the weekend? That’s such a pity, not only for your poor pooch who is left behind at home – but for you, too. When you brought your dog home, didn’t you envision being able to take him anywhere?

Almost every single dog can be trained to be a joy and, having personally re-trained many dogs that were initially a nightmare, I can say that I’m qualified to make that statement!

Take Your Dog on Trips

Do you worry that your dog is just too naughty to come along on that road trip you have planned? Training your dog to adjust his behavior does take work, but if you put in that work – it will mean that your dog can come on those road trips and make them an even more enjoyable family experience.

Be Prepared for Emergencies

Does your dog hate to have his paws touched? Refuse to go into the crate? Or won’t always come to the call? Each of these problems could lead to seriously dangerous issues, from fights at the dog park, or emergency trips to the vet. Don’t wait until an emergency happens – take the time to put the training in, today.

To Keep Your Kids Safe

When your puppy runs into the kids it’s no big deal, heck, it can even be funny! But, wait for another six months and what was once cute could now knock your kids off their feet.

One of the biggest mistakes that dog owners with kids make is not training their puppy from the get-go and, I hate to break it to you, this is one of the top reasons that dogs are given away or surrendered. This is 100% avoidable, 100% fixable, and 100% the owner’s fault if it becomes a problem – don’t let yourself fall into the same situation.

Build Your Bond

If you’re welcoming a slightly older dog into your home, it can be hard to gain their trust and develop a strong bond, and that’s where training exercises come in! Even if you have welcomed the most obedient dog into your household – utilizing training exercises and positive reinforcement can help your dog to feel like part of the family.

Raise a Great Member of Doggie Society

For some of us, our dogs are like our furry little kids. They make our family feel complete, bring you mass amounts of joy, and you want nothing but the best for them! One of the best ways to set your furbaby up for a great life is to ensure that he’s a well-mannered, well-socialized, and well-trained dog.

To Show Off With Fun Tricks

Have you ever fallen down the rabbit hole of “dog trick” YouTube videos? I have, on many occasions. And every time I think to myself, “Wow, I want to teach my girl that trick”, but I rarely get around to it.

Why not buy yourself a trick training book and set yourself the goal of completing one training chapter each week? And, if you do, make sure that you film it and pop it on YouTube for my next procrastination session!

Frequently Asked Questions

Dog training seems cruel. Is it?

If you use positive reinforcement methods, dog training is entirely kind, humane, and something that I would happily be subject to myself — and that’s the true test of a training method. Negative reinforcement, certain training aids, and even some training exercises can be incredibly stressful for certain dogs and, whether you’re training an exercise from a book or learning at an obedience school, it’s up to you, as your dog’s guardian to say no to any exercise you deem cruel. A good dog trainer will commend you for following your gut and putting your dog’s welfare as priority number one, even if they think that the exercise is a sheer delight.

My dog is too old to learn new tricks. Isn’t he?

Oh no, he isn’t! A dog of pretty much any age can learn new commands, remedial training exercises, and tricks. It might take a little more time and require different training methods, but if you’re prepared to put in the work, you can have your old dog showing off his new talents in no time!

I’ve tried training my dog already, but it doesn’t work. What should I do?

It’s great to hear you’ve already made an attempt and I want to say – don’t give up! Some training methods or exercises fall flat with certain dogs and some dogs can be quite a challenge. In fact, I had a whole year of failed daily training with one girlie until I finally found the method that clicked for her – so be patient and you’ll get there!

Why can’t I just send him to a dog trainer?

You can definitely send your dog to a dog trainer, but as training builds such an incredible bond dog between dog and handler – you will be missing out on so much if you don’t put the work in, yourself.

Isn’t my puppy too young to start training?

If your puppy is old enough to come home with you, he’s old enough to be trained! You can start with the basics, like potty training and crate training, from as young as eight weeks and then work your way up to obedience from 10 weeks.

I don’t want to give my dog treats, so I can’t train him. Right?

You don’t need to feed your dog treats to train him. In fact, for dogs prone to weight gain or those with medical conditions – feeding treats excessively can be dangerous, so we recommend using treats only in the very beginning stages of training and, even then, in moderation.

My dog doesn’t like treats or toys, so training doesn’t work. What can I do?

That definitely gives you a little more of a challenge, but it doesn’t make training impossible. Find what your dog does love, whether it’s going for a walk, being told that he’s a good boy, or being let out into the backyard. You can then use this as his reward during training!

I don’t have time to train my dog. What should I do?

I feel your pain, life can be painfully busy! But you might be relieved to hear that in less than an hour per week for three weeks, you could have a perfectly trained pooch – it’s all about consistency.

My dog is great the way he is. Does he need training?

I’m so happy to hear that you have an obedient dog and he might not need any training at all! Having said that, training doesn’t always have to be done out of necessity, but as a fun activity to keep your dog mentally stimulated!

I’m not interested in training. What can I do?

Some people don’t have an interest in animal behavior and training, and that’s A-OK. But, as the owner or potential owner of a dog, you need to know that it’s your responsibility to raise your dog to be well behaved and that requires some level of training. Try to find an entertaining dog training book that will keep your interest. Some training literature can be so boring it makes me want to switch careers – but, then again, some can be downright entertaining, insightful, and inspiring!

Final Thoughts

Training your dog can sound like a chore, but once you get started, you’ll likely fall in love with it! Seeing the progress your dog makes every day and knowing it’s because of the hard work that you put in – can give you a feeling of immense pride!

Not to mention, having a well-trained dog is an absolute joy and isn’t that why we all wanted to get a dog in the first place – to fill our lives with more joy?

So, pick your book and start reading! Set yourself rough goals to help you to stick to the challenge and we’d love to hear from you in the comments below, telling us which book worked the best for you and your dog.

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