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10 Best Dog Training Books 2020

Getting a puppy or new dog is an exciting time, however it also comes with a lot of responsibility. In order for your dog to fit into your home it is important to start training while they’re relatively young. Of course old dogs can learn new learn tricks, despite the famous idiom, though it may take them longer to solidify the concept of each command. For this reason, training books and classes are a great way to teach your dog desirable behaviors as well as let them socialize and work off that puppy energy with other dogs.

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Whether you’re interested in teaching your dog basic commands, agility tricks, hunting techniques or manners, there are plenty of books available. We understand that it may be a bit overwhelming to pick the best dog training book and are here to help you. To begin, we’ve compiled a table of the top 10 best dog training books currently on the market.

Top 10 Best Dog Training Books Chart

PictureNamePriceRating (1-5)
PictureNamePriceRating (1-5)
1. The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs$4.7
2. Canine Body Language: A Photographic Guide Interpreting the Native Language of the Domestic Dog$$$$4.7
3. The Beginner's Guide to Dog Agility$$4.7
4. 101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond with Your Dog$$4.6
5. The Art of Raising a Puppy (Revised Edition)$$$4.6
6. Cesar Millan's Short Guide to a Happy Dog: 98 Essential Tips and Techniques$$4.6
7. How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With$$4.6
8. The Puppy Primer$$4.6
9. Water Dog: Revolutionary Rapid Training Method$4.6
10. How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend: The Classic Training Manual for Dog Owners$$$4.4

Tips to Remember When Training Your Dog

  • Consistency. Be consistent in the demands that you give your dog. Whether you live alone, with friends, a spouse or family make sure that everyone is working together and using the same commands for each desired behavior. If one person commands that the dog lay down by saying “down” and another by saying “lay” the dog will become confused about what is wanted.
  • Provide Reinforcement. In order to encourage the appropriate behavior, correct responses by your dog must be reinforced every time they occur. If acknowledged inconsistently your dog will again be unsure of how to respond to your commands. Positively reinforcing behaviors will increase their frequency.
  • Be Affectionate. Be enthusiastic when your dog behaves correctly as well as well when greeting them at the door or lounging around. Since your dog is extremely dependent on you, developing a positive relationship with them is important.
  • Be In Tune with Your Dog. Its more of a necessity for your dog to obey basic commands, however pay attention to your dog’s body language if trying to teach them more advanced strategies including agility or hunting. If the dog does not like the activity you may need to find a more enjoyable way to work with them. For example, turn your activity into a game. However if they still seem disinterested it may be time to reassess.
  • Be Realistic. Just as in humans, dogs have a learning curve as well. Try not to get too impatient when potty training or working on basic commands or leash work as it will take time for your dog to learn. If you do not see improvement within an 8-week period it may be time to try an in-person training course.

3 Best Dog Training Books Reviews

1. The Other End of the Leash

This is rated the best dog training book currently available and is an overall great read for both new dog owners as well as those that have had dogs their whole life. The author, Dr. Patricia McConnell has years of experience as an animal behaviorist and focuses on interactions and their meanings between humans and canines.

Patricia’s book allowed me to more fully connect with my dog, Beau, by making me more aware of the impact of my behavior and tone of voice on Beau’s actions. For example, greeting him at the door with a higher pitched and happier tone puts him into a tail wagging, happy-crying frenzy, whereas greeting him unenthusiastically might not even encourage him to get out of bed.

She also introduces interesting ideas about asserting dominance over your pet. As popularly believed, many dog owners attempt to “show their dog who’s boss”. Dr. McConnell explains why this attitude can be overall detrimental to your relationship with your pet and is largely unnecessary. She also mentions that rough games, such as wrestling, can lead to aggression problems down the line.

Dr. Patricia McConnell did an excellent job with this best-selling book by focusing on the importance of the human-dog relationship, tone of voice, equality and aggression.

2. Canine Body Language

Brenda Aloff, the author of this top-notch book, focuses instead on the body language of dogs. Her main emphases include body movement, expressions and vicinity to people and objects. This book will help you more fully understand how your dog is feeling at all times, as well as learn to recognize their subtle body cues.

Since my dog attends doggy daycare while I’m at work, I found this book particularly helpful when attempting to figure out his relationships with the other dogs there. Beau has always been extremely excited about other dogs, almost overwhelmed in social situations, but this Canine Body Language book helped answer my questions and allow me to work out the most appropriate social situation for my dog.

Overall this book does a fantastic job of explaining canine body language and its meaning in both social situations as well as at home.

3. The Beginner’s Guide to Dog Agility

This book, by Laurie Leach, concentrates on teaching your dog all the skills necessary to successfully compete in agility sports. She also provides insight into how to keep both you and your dog motivated and willing to work hard.  These motivational tools include praise, clicks and even small treats.

The Beginner’s Guide to Dog Agility is highly-rated because of its step-by-step instructions that follow the progression of agility from pre-agility training through learning new techniques and to competition. This book also teaches dog owners how to create their own agility obstacles.

Finally, this book emphasizes the importance of the bond between human and dog during this long and hard process and encourages the formation of stable bonds.

Laurie Leach’s book is a thorough explanation of what agility is, how to prepare for agility training, registration and participation in local and national shows and building your own agility obstacles.  Most importantly, she also discusses the importance of owner-dog relationships, as did the two previously reviewed books.