The best dog training books that we’ve reviewed below will help you raise the best dog ever! No more naughty biting, chewing, scratching, or needless jumping.
If you’re a first-time dog owner, then there’s a lot of aspects of your new pet’s behavior that’s probably more than a little confusing. Why is he digging up the backyard? Why is he chewing on the rug? And why does she pee on everything in sight?
A comfortable dog crate is often the go-to option for pet owners who just can’t control their dogs; but you’d rather they be out with you, well trained.
It can be a rough transition, especially if you don’t have an experienced friend around to help you. Toss in some dogs that might have behavioral problems like howling, and you have a whole new slew of headaches on your hands.
Thankfully, there’s a wealth of information out there to ease you through the process, and contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t just work for puppies. Dogs of all ages can be trained, and in some cases, older dogs even learn better.
As it turns out, old dogs, really CAN learn new tricks! So the behavior you’ve been putting up with for months, perhaps even ages, is just a few chapters away! With one of the attested to dog training books below, you’ll be showing off your newly trained doggo sooner than you thought.
Top dog training books reviewed
Some may prefer the internet for their research, but for our money, there’s no better reference than a good ol’ fashioned book. In this article, we’ll be running you through a few of our favorites when it comes to raising “good boys!”
#1 – The Art of Raising A Puppy
For over twenty years, one book has reigned supreme when it comes to helping new owners welcome puppies into their homes and lives. At just about 260 pages, this short read is a comprehensive guide to the first few months of your dog’s life that also provides first-hand accounts of relevant case studies to give you some practical knowledge on top of theory.
The second half of the book dives right into care and training tips, which are useful but don’t offer anything earth-shattering for more experienced readers. If you’ve already successfully trained a few dogs you can safely skip this one, but it’s a great beginner’s guide for everyone else.
- Provides practical examples to demonstrate behavior
- Quick and easy read
- Tips are fairly basic, so over time readers might feel the need to graduate to something bigger and better
It’s a classic for a reason, and many customers have found themselves turning to this book when all other methods fail. Many respondents concluded that when used properly early enough in a dog’s life, the transformation in behavior was remarkable, even for more difficult shelter dogs.
While undoubtedly effective, however, some readers complain that the methods in the book are very strict and disciplinary, which aren’t approaches that will appeal to all readers.
#2 – How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond
One of the most prominent specialists when it comes to dog behavior and training, Cesar Millan brings his expertise away from the television and into the literary world with this book.
His stories go in-depth in outlining dog psychology and learning methods through his engaging stories, but while they’re definitely informative, there is a lack of step-by-step instructions to effectively apply these pack-learning principles.
Enthusiasts of the show will get exactly what they expect, but newcomers can learn quite a few good things to improve their relationship with their dog by reading through Cesar’s words.
- Cesar Millan’s credentials are almost unmatched in the field
- Plenty of information about dog psychology to help tailor your training
- Principles are sometimes abstract, so some experience training is recommended to properly apply them
Customers who knew what to expect are overall quite pleased with the contents of this book. It helped many of them properly prepare for new arrivals and provided valuable information about how to both choose a dog, and subsequently understand how they think.
However, the narrative structure of the book does detract from the information for some, and a common complaint is that there aren’t enough training methods to target specific behavior.
#3 – Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution: The Complete Guide to Raising the Perfect Pet with Love
We mentioned earlier that many readers might not appreciate the disciplinary approach in “The Art of Raising A Puppy,” and if you found yourself agreeing, then you might enjoy this fresh title that moves training principles in a different direction.
It’s short but blends some of the content from our prior entries into something that can act as a standalone resource, at least for a little while. This is because it has specific chapters targeted at training rules and solving specific behavioral problems, like dogs that like to jump on people, for example.
- Friendly approach that turns away from disciplinary punishment
- Zak George is an experienced YouTube personality so the contents of the book can be supplemented with free videos online
- A lot of the book is about choosing the right dog, which means those who already have a puppy have less to learn from it
The feedback for this book is overwhelmingly positive, and rightly so. Its main focus is on relationship building through communication which results in mutual trust and respect among owners and pets.
The book is also structured in a very approachable way, which limits confusion. There are a few complaints that veterans of the YouTube channel won’t learn a lot of new information, so it’s advised that prospective buyers start there first.
#4 – Training the Best Dog Ever: A 5 Week Program
Puppies are great, but some people need a resource that can be applied to adult dogs, and this is probably the best option available to those owners. From start to finish, this book is all about training methods that cover everything from the basics like house training to more specialized techniques. That makes this a fantastic resource for owners already familiar with dog psychology and are looking for something a little more tangible to apply to their pet.
- Tons of games, activities, and tricks
- Humane methodology that turns away from strict discipline
- Not as accessible to first-time owners
This book is all about training, and that means feedback is based on results. This book passed that test with flying colors, as almost all customers saw their problems fixed by consistently following the program as outlined. Within a few short weeks, their dogs understood the basics, and it was all achieved through positive reinforcement.
However, because this book is a regimented program, some customers complain that it’s not feasible for owners who work regular hours. This means it may be better suited to multi-parent households who each take training “shifts” while the other is away.
#5 – Decoding Your Dog by American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
We’ve seen tips, stories, and guides, and we finally come to something more scientific. Written by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, this book is all about curbing unwanted behavior. Every chapter goes into why your dog acts in a certain way before giving you tips on how to solve it.
This process means that “Decoding Your Dog” is a fantastic reference guide for when new issues pop up that you’re not quite sure how to deal with. There’s no program to follow, and no fluff. It’s just cause and effect, which makes it applicable to dogs of all breeds and ages.
- Grounded in scientific fact
- Chapters can be consulted individually, making information easy to process
- Tone is less engaging, which can make some chapters a dry read
Many owners appreciate the fact that this book demystifies puzzling behavior to give readers a solid foundation of knowledge about their pet. It has been proven effective for even difficult dogs with traumatic pasts, which means that the principles work on a root level, and not on a case-by-case basis.
The biggest problem with this book though is the fact that many different authors contribute to different chapters. This can make certain parts of the book feel uneven by being more boring or less informative than others.
Off to training the best dog ever!
If you’re getting a dog, you need to train it. You should, plain and simple! It’s daunting, but there are tons of resources to teach you how and none are better than a good book.
Depending on your personal beliefs or the challenges you’re facing, some of these titles will be more effective than others, so take a look at each of them to gauge what would work best. Once you have that down, grab a coffee or tea, find a comfortable spot, and dive right in.