Top 20 Best Dog Training Books

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Dog Training By Meg Marrs 10 min read November 4, 2019 14 Comments

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recommended dog training books

These top 20 best dog training books will help make training your canine a breeze!

recommended dog training books

We selected these dog training books to recommend based on industry expert recommendations and dog training guides that have received exceptional reviews from readers. Enjoy!

Dog Training Books

These dog training books will help you raise your canine right, ensuring a beautiful and healthy friendship.

1. How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend: A Training Manual for Dog Owners

top dog training books

A tremendous top pick when it comes to dog training books, How to be Your Dog’s Best Friend offers expert advice from the New Skete Monks, who have been breeding and raising German Shepherds at their New York monastery for over 20 years! A longtime favorite, this step-by-step dog training guide covers every topic imaginable, including:

  • How to select a dog (Which breed? Boy or girl? Senior canine or puppy?)
  • Where to get your dog
  • Using praise and discipline
  • Raising a dog in the city/country/suburbs
  • Feeding, grooming, and dog fitness
  • Recognizing and correcting behaviorial problems
  • Doggy daycares and professional dog walkers

Plus tons of other dog training info.

TLDR; A favorite of dog-lovers, the New Skete Monks provide a dog training 101 course in this book.

2. The Power of Positive Dog Training

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In this dog training guide book, Pat Miller offers a six-week step-by-step dog training program focused on building a healthy relationship with your pooch by using positive reinforcement. In The Power of Positive Dog Training, you’ll learn about:

  • Observing and understanding your dog’s body language
  • How to start with clicker training and eventually phase out by transitioning to treats
  • Using a diary to track progress and yummy treat ideas

TLDR; Miller makes training your four-legged friend fun and easy.

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3. Before and After Getting Your Puppy: The Positive Approach to Raising a Happy, Healthy, and Well-Behaved Dog

puppy training books

Dr. Ian Dunbar’s dog-training philosophy marked a major milestone when he first got attention in the 1970s. Since then, other dog trainers have followed his lead (wink wink) moving away from harsh leash corrections and instead focusing on toys, training treats, and game reward training.

In Before and After Getting Your Puppy dog training guide, Dr. Dunbar focuses on six core dog development principles:

    • Dog education and preparation
    • Assessing a puppy’s prior socialization and education
  • Completing a socialization program through meeting strange dogs and people

Some readers find the book a bit too harsh and critical of dog owners, who say they felt the book was trying to shame them. However, most readers bark only praises.

TLDR; One of dog training’s top influencers explains doggie development and focuses on treat and toy rewards rather than punishment techniques.

4. Reaching the Animal Mind: Clicker Training and What It Teaches Us About All Animals

dog training techniques

Karen Pryor, the founder of “clicker” training, takes us into the canine brain in Reaching the Animal Mind. Part memoir, part dog training instruction guide, this book explains the science behind the popular clicker training and why it works.

TLDR; Those interested in clicker training should give this one a read.

5. Little Dogs

training little dogs

Little Dogs is a dog training book all about training – you guessed it – little dogs! Smaller dogs have their own unique sets of anxieties and issues.

In this piece of dog training expertise, Deborah Wood teachers owners how to communicate and deal with behavioral problems associated with smaller dogs, as well as some pint-sized games and activities specially designed for the smaller canine.

TLDR; The perfect book for pint-sized canines

 6. 12 Terrible Dog Training Mistakes Owners Make That Ruin Their Dog’s Behavior…And How To Avoid Them

dog training book

Those unprepared for dog ownership often make correction mistakes that can damage their relationship with their canine. Learn how to avoid common behavior correction mistakes and how to create a happy and healthy bond with your buddy in 12 Terrible Dog Training Mistakes, with advice from certified applied animal behaviorist Dr. Suzanne Hetts.

TLDR; Avoid doggie training no-nos and instead ensure a healthy bond with your pet.

Dog Behavior Books

Why do dogs do the things that they do? These books seek to understand the canine mind and explore dog psychology.

 7. The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs

best dog training books

Patricia McConnell takes the focus away from the dog and instead examines how human interaction with canines can affect the owner/pet relationship in The Other End of the Leash.

We treat our dogs like family, but we’re still two different species living under one roof, and there is often tons of miscommunication and misinterpretation by both parties. Learn how everything from your voice to how you play can affect your relationship with your pet. An animal behaviorist with 20 years under her belt, Dr. McConnell provides a guide showing how humans can behave to have better, more positive interactions with their dogs.

Whether prepping for your canine good citizen test, or simply looking to improve communication with your canine, there’s plenty of valuable info in here for dog owners.

TLDR; A dog behavior book helping strengthen the owner/pet relationship.

8. Canine Body Language: A Photographic Guide Interpreting the Native Language of the Domestic Dog


Small physical reactions in dogs can mean big things, but these subtle cues can often be difficult for two-legged humans to see. Brenda Aloff’s guide, Canine Body Language, helps owners learn how to detect non-verbal language in their canine companions through a rich collection of photos. You’ll come across photos and accompanying descriptions of dogs in many different positions, with human-canine interactions and dog-dog interactions.

TLDR; a photo-oriented guide book to detecting dog body language

9. Cesar Millan’s Short Guide to a Happy Dog: 98 Essential Tips and Techniques

cesar millan dog training book

As possibly the most famous dog trainer around, you won’t want to pass up Cesar Millan’s dog training guide, Short Guide to a Happy Dog. Get advice straight from the Dog Whisperer as he explore dog psychology, explain dog behaviors, how to create a healthy balance and boundaries for your canine, how to correct common misbehaviors, how to choose the right dog for your family and lifestyle, and more!

TLDR; The famous Dog Whisperer explains how to raise a happy hound.

 10. Don’t Shoot the Dog

dog training book reviews

In print for over 20 years, Don’t Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor delves deep into the doggie psyche. While not considered a dog training manual in the classical sense (no step-by-step do this, then that), Pryor’s book offers much more, exploring the principles of behavior and how to change canine behavior for the better.

TLDR; All about dog behavior modification.

11. The Culture Clash

how to train your dog books

In The Culture Clash, dog training veteran Jean Donaldson explores the inherent differences between man and dog. Dogs must be taught how to adjust their natural instincts and behaviors in order to integrate into human households and culture. However, when dogs fail to make this not-always-easy adjustment, the consequences can be disastrous.

This book will provide you with a rich understanding of canine behavior and help you decipher why dogs do the things that they do. Woof!

TLDR; Learn which human behaviors are intrinsically difficult for dogs to adapt to, and how to help them adjust to the two-legged world.

Dog Trick Books

These dog trick training books will have your dog fetching the paper and picking up toys on command in no time!

12. 101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond with Your Dog

dog training trick books

This international bestseller, 101 Dog Tricks, offers step-by-step instructions for each trick, complete with photos. Tricks are rated based on difficulty and pre-reqs. Trick training offers a healthy challenge for your dog, helps strengthen the owner-canine bond, and gives you an awesome way to impress guests!

Have your hand (or paw) at the basics like shake and lying on the dog bed, or hit up the black diamonds with tricks like Tidy Up Your Toys and Get a Soda from the Fridge (use with caution!).

We can’t say for sure how long it will take you to get through ALL these tricks, but you’re sure to have tons of fun in the process!

TLDR; Step-by-step strategies for teaching your dog every trick from “shake hands” to “get the newspaper.”

13. The Beginner’s Guide to Dog Agility

dog training books

Keeping your dog challenged is essential to raising a happy hound. For some dogs, agility training can be a great outlet and can help you develop your connection with your favorite canine. Training your dog to listen better to your veral directional commands can also be helpful for canicross and skijoring training.

Learn step-by-step strategies in The Beginner’s Guide to Dog Agility to begin agility training with your dog. Tons of fun and bounding to ensue!

TLDR; Agility tricks to teach your pooch

 Dog Hunting Books

Learn how to train your hunting hound with these widely recommended dog hunting books.

14. Water Dog: Revolutionary Rapid Training Method

good dog training books

This oldie but goodie is a favorite of Lab lovers. In Water Dog, Richard Wolters caters to the labrador retriever mindset, exploring the lab’s inherent, desperate desire to retrieve and how to raise a Lab right. Cited by readers as the “Bible of Retriever Training,” this is definitely one worth checking out. It’s also considered one of the best hunting dog training books, along with its companion, Gun Dog.

TLDR; A labor of Labrador love

15. Game Dog: The Hunter’s Retriever for Upland Birds and Waterfowl

hunting dog books

Gun Dog is a step-by-step guide by Richard Wolters, showing you how to raise your pup as a friend, companion, and hunting buddy.

TLDR; How to raise a hunting dog.

Learn to Be a Dog Trainer Books

If you think you might want to be a professional dog trainer, these books are a good place to start.

16. So You Want to Be a Dog Trainer: A Step-By-Step Guide

dog trainer books

Thinking about becoming a dog trainer? In So You Want to Be a Dog Trainer?, trainer Nicole Wilde covers everything you need to know to start off on your dog training career! Learn:

    • Different types of dog training
    • How to get an education in dog training
    • How to set up your dog training business and advertise
    • Must-have tools and products
    • How to teach group dog training classes vs. in-home classes
  • + more!

TLDR; A top pick for aspiring professional dog trainers.

17. The Koehler Method of Dog Training

koehler dog training

The Koehler dog training method is based around the concept that dogs chooses its actions based on previous experiences and expectations of reward or punishment. The dog will eventually learn which decisions have positive outcomes, and will then repeat those actions. Sound intriguing? Check out The Koehler Method of Dog Training!

TLDR; A classic dog training manual about dog decision making.

Puppy Training Books

Puppies are the cutest! However, those furballs can get into trouble if not raised right. Learn how to raise a happy, healthy puppy with these puppy training guide books!

 18. Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right

puppy training book
This step-by-step puppy playbook teaches owners how to get off on the right paw with their puppy pal. In Perfect Puppy in 7 Days, Dr. Yin covers important topics like:
    • Potty-training
    • Socialization
    • Puppy manners
  • Plus much more!

While claiming you can create a perfect puppy in 7 days is quite a claim, readers back up this bold promise with 5 star ratings. Readers especially love the 400 photos and illustrations present in this book.

TLDR; Puppy training 101 in just 7 days, complete with photos!

 19. The Art of Raising a Puppy: New Skete Monks

greatest dog training books

Need advice on training your puppy? Look no further than the New Skete Monks.

They distill their expert advice in How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend as well as this book, The Art of Raising a Puppy, dedicated specifically to handling puppyhood.

The monks explain that the key to understanding dog is to successfully train him. Join the monks as they take you through the first three months of a puppy’s life through observations of one specific litter of monastery puppies. Journey with them from the birth of these puppies to their first 12 weeks, with photos documenting these exciting first weeks and records about important puppy milestones and training opportunities.

TLDR; Experienced dog-training monks show you how to raise your puppy and create a human-canine bond that will last a lifetime!

Need more dog training help? Check out our post detailing the best free dog training videos on the web! along with our top dog training podcast recommendations!

We also have a larger guide to cheap dog training resources if you’re trying to train your pooch on a budget.

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Written by

Meg Marrs

Meg Marrs is the Founder and Director of Marketing at K9 of Mine. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!


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Pets Promenade

Thanks for sharing this information about best dog training books. Dog training is not a easy task!!! I think that blog helpful to everyone for pet training. Nice blog …Keep it up…………..

Jenny H

I am disturbed by such a hodge-podge of recommended books.
Apart from CM ( don’t touch him with a barge pole!) the Monks of New Skete book is only of historical interest. As is Koehler.
I haven’t read the Hunting books so cannot really comment on them. BUT I have heard a lot of complaints by people about the older methods of training gun dogs.

susan hurley

Cesar Millan? Seriously? The biggest con artist in the industry, not to mention he’s an ACTOR. He has no knowledge of canine behavior, and his approach is one of fear and intimidation. Do your dog a favor and boycott this monster.

Meg Marrs

It’s fine to disagree with his philosophy (many do – not sure I agree myself), but to say he has no knowledge of canine behavior is an unfair statement IMO. Many people prescribe to Cesar Millan’s practices and are quite successful training their dogs!

susan hurley

Having several highly qualified canine behaviorists in my family, I respectfully disagree. His ‘knowledge” is scripted. His success rate is irrelevant when it involves aggression and fear. “Many people” are conned into thinking he has skills simply because he’s on TV. My point is that there are far better methods for anyone who actually loves their pets. There is a large movement by the qualified training community to shut this man down. That is, if he doesn’t get his face ripped off by a dog who has had enough.

Marti Wiseman

Th The HUGE problem with CM (aside from the fact that his methods are based on intimidation is that he has absolutely ZERO background in the SCIENCE of canine behavior and learning. Worse, he eschews that very same science. Guts and instinct do not an educator make. The many videos showing him provoking dog bites begs the question of how many owners have gotten bitten when applying his forced-compliance methods.

Jenny H

I absolutely agree with Susan Hurley! I bought his first book out of ‘satiable cursiosity’. I found quite a lot of good advice in it — BUT, it was spoiled by far too much (dog training) ptomaine.
If you are a training instructor/consultant then by all means buy and read at least one of his books — you need to know what you are dealing with when your clients decide he is ‘wonderful/ and have followed his ‘advice’.


Can anyone recommend a good book on tracking? I’ve a 22 months GSD and we are doing a 15 min cold 1 km track but could do with some home work before I move on!



NiCole Macedo-Phillips

These sound like awesome books to help us train our dogs; however I recently was researching information on the internet and there was a book referring to think like a dog, not a human. Fascinating information stressing the overall importance of establishing that you become the alpha dog immediately from the moment your dog/or puppy arrives home. That your dog learns not through fear or yelling, but through calm, consistent commands taught daily. The information was unique as it said that a dog that jumps up on you is demonstrating that it is the aloha dog, so this must be stopped immediately with firm but gentle strategies given.
I am definitely going to look into this book, as it appreared to be an easy read, and easy to use the methods suggested!
The premise is to stop thinking that our dog understands human feelings. As an example we get a new dog home which we have rescued and smother ot with hugs, etc., rather than taking the dog directly for a long walk to settle down their fears and help ease the bonding and welcoming process!
The book explains that while we hig one another being human and identify this as comforting; in contrast a rescue dog which has been caged will see this as being trapped, and not an act which should be done until you have time to bond with your dog!
Within a few days, etc., the pats on the head with a positive affirmation of,”good boy,” can develop into a more affectionate hug once thr dog knows you are in charge!
Although I may have described this as somewhat of a controlling style; it honestly was an awesome article!


Great stuff Nicole, thanks for sharing the info!


I love the book titles. I cant wait to read any of them. Those books will help me get more focused in training my dogs. Good job for having a wonderful post.


Thanks so much Jackie!


I haven’t read most of those books you mentioned, but I have read The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell and highly recommend it. It just makes so much sense and I found it really helpful as far as understanding dogs in general and working on a training plan for my own dog.


Thanks for the input Lindsay – I actually haven’t read that one myself. I will be sure to read it now! Sounds really interesting.

It’s sometimes hard to figure out which philosophies on dog training are best considering there are quite a few variations. Seems like McConnell has it right though!


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