We all know dogs are good for us. Dogs can be great companions for you and fabulous playmates for your kids.
But dogs are like people and don’t always display perfect manners. Unsurprising as seven out of ten dogs never receive any behavioural or socialisation training.
Training your dog can be a rewarding but infuriating experience. You cannot expect instant results. Rather it’s all about patience and repetition. And love, lots of love.
But the rewards of dog training are immense. A well-behaved dog contributes to a calmer, less stressful home.
But training is expensive. Thankfully, there are loads of dog training books and dog behaviour books available. We’ve done the footwork and found five of what we think are the best dog training books available.
Each one is different with different techniques and strategies. Enjoy!
Best Dog Training Books – Our Top 5
The author of Total Recall: Perfect Response Training for Puppies and Adult Dogs is Pippa Mattinson, a UK zoologist and dog breeder who in this book and previous books aims to educate her readers on contemporary science based canine training methods.
Training dogs is easiest when they are puppies but Pippa Mattinson offers good advice for training puppies through to older dogs.
The book offers well laid out, intensive learning strategies. Pippa Mattinson details a consistent, common sense, no nonsense approach to training dogs that’s supported by practical strategies and good advice.
Total Recall: Perfect Response Training for Puppies and Adult Dog is set out in a straightforward sequence that asks you, the owner, to identify and understand problems, develop and action a plan, and problem solve.
There are detailed instructions on how to introduce, establish, reinforce and manage the training of your dog.
Success can be achieved even with headstrong, older dogs. Even if it is a simple as improving their recall and getting them to sit on command.
Training your dog is about teaching them good habits or, in the case of older dogs, improving their habits. Pippa Mattinson’s book is a step by step reference guide to doing this and is a standout book amongst the crowded how to train your dog books.
Nigel Reed’s book The Dog Guardian: Your Guide to a Happy, Well Behaved Dog takes a different tact to training your dog.
Nigel Reed is a dog behaviourist. He is as interested in your behaviour around your dog as he is in the dog’s behaviour.
The basic contention of the book is that by adjusting your behaviour, you can have dramatic impacts on your pet’s behaviour.
It’s an original idea, and it’s presented by Nigel Reed in a methodical, easy to follow, concise approach that’s designed to provide dog owners with the confidence and tools to train their dog.
The book acknowledges that dogs can present with a wide variety of problems that need addressing; anxiety, nervousness, hyperactivity, aggression, jumping up and so on.
The Dog Guardian: Your Guide to a Happy, Well Behaved Dog suggests that there are four fundamental components to a happy, well trained dog.
Adopting a holistic approach and simple language, Nigel Reed says that firstly you have to understand what is motivating your dog, what its needs are.
Secondly, you have to be able to understand how it’s feeling at the time.
Thirdly, what is your dog trying to tell you.
Finally, you set the tone and direction in your relationship with your dog. You’re the top dog in the pack! Be a calm, consistent and firm leader in the relationship and the dog will respond in a calm and consistent manner.
That may involve changes in how you act and behave around your dog.
Best Puppy Training Book
No look at the best dog training books would be complete without checking out Steve Mann’s Easy Peasy Puppy Squeezy, released earlier in 2019.
Steven Mann is a dog trainer and behaviourist who runs the Institute of Modern Dog Training. He has a focus on scientific and ethically based dog training methods.
The book offers intuitive advice on how to understand your dog’s body language, how to socialise it, and how to address the less fun but critical issues like toilet training.
Operating on the premise that prevention is better than the cure, Steve Mann offers valuable advice on preventing problems, leading to a calmer, more content dog and dog owner.
His training methods are designed for dogs of all ages and temperaments, including rescue dogs.
Easy Peasy Puppy Squeezy is written with precision, care and humour. Some of it will make you laugh out loud. It explains scientific concepts in layman’s terms. Complex ideas are conveyed in a straightforward manner minus the jargon and technical language that makes some dog training books so hard to understand.
Steve Mann’s training methods are designed to assist and promote good training techniques, leading to a strong and trusting bond between your dog and you.
The book is a highlight in a field full of mediocre advice. It’s a useful and informative reference guide when training your dog that both draws upon and offers a wealth of knowledge.
Zac George brings a very 21st century approach to dog training in his book Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution. He offers the dog owner easy to follow, common sense, emphatic training advice, but with a twist on the traditional take to dog training.
The book covers the fundamentals from even before you become a pet owner. Zac George offers advice on choosing the most appropriate little mutt, health care essentials, house training and basic training.
Also dealt with are behavioural issues such as biting, aggression leash pulling and chewing. I wish I’d read this book a couple of months ago before my puppy chewed my sunglasses case and the expensive sunglasses inside it!
Zac is a bonafide YouTube star and his YouTube clips provide a useful supplementary reference to this book.
The core idea in Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution is that your dog shouldn’t be treated as a pack animal that needs to be curbed. Rather, Zac says dogs are inherently domesticated these days.
Rather than a one size fits all approach, dogs are unique individual creatures – like us.
By using positive reinforcement, a dog owner can train and modify their dog’s behaviour.
It’s all about creating a bond based on love, respect and positive rewards.
Which is great but if there is one drawback to this book, it’s that it’s best suited towards younger dogs and puppies. The advice may not work so well on older, more stubborn dogs.
There are few dog trainers as controversial as Cesar Millan, the dog behaviourist behind California’s Dog Psychology Centre. To some he is an oracle. To others, not so.
But there’s no doubting his expertise and he draws on this fully in his book How to Raise the Perfect Dog.
While the book contains loads of useful advice on practical matters like vaccinating, nutrition, quick and easy house training and what to expect at different stages of your dog’s development, if you’re looking for a step-by-step dog training guide, it may not be for you.
Rather, Cesar Millan’s book utilises his knowledge and experience from training dogs in a professional training environment and in How to Raise the Perfect Dog the author seeks to train you in order for you to train your dog.
This does not necessarily suit every dog owner. Cesar Millan suggests the owner learns to communicate with their dog, adopting certain attitudes and understandings, and learning to know what’s needed in particular situations.
Nonetheless, it’s an informative book full of antidotes and useful tables – great if you are after fast problem solving for particular issues.
There are loads of dog training books out there, but we reckon these are five of the best dog training books around.
It’s just a matter of deciding which one works best for you and your dog.
With some reading, patience, and dedication, your lovable mutt could be the best-behaved dog in the neighbourhood.
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