Best Dog Reference Books To Help With Training Your Dog

Since I was young, I have loved to read. I collect books, and one day have a dream of having my own library room, complete with comfortable wing chair nestled by a sun-drenched window, and of course a spot for the dogs. Since I have read so many books on dogs and dog training, I thought I would share some of the books I consider the most helpful (in no particular order) for novice dog owners.  

Before And After You Get Your Puppy- By Dr Ian Dunbar

If you are only able to buy one book, this one would be my pick. It covers everything you need to know about raising a puppy, practically. Many people say that dogs don’t come with instruction manuals, this book is the instruction manual. If you follow the instructions consistently you will have the best chance of raising a wonderful dog. Most of this book can be downloaded for free by clicking the above link.

Schutzhund Obedience Training In Drive- By Sheila Booth

This book is primarily for people who want to compete in canine protection work. However, the reason I am recommending it is because it has its foundation in play. If you want to develop toy and food drive in your dog this is the book for you. It places strong emphasis on taking your time with training and having fun. This book does have chapters in it that the average pet owner is unlikely to need, and it does advocate the use of some harsher training methods. Despite this, it is one of my personal favourites and is ever- present on my bedside table.

Your Ideal Dog- David and Ruth Weston

I love this book for the great pictorial demonstration of basic obedience skills. If you are a visual person you will learn a great deal from this book. The skills contained in this book will have you and your dog working together in a controlled and calm manner. This is the perfect book for anyone who just wants a dog that fits in with their life. It would complement ‘Before And After You Get Your Puppy’.

The Other End Of The Leash- Patricia McConnell

You are your dogs’ handler, and as such you need to be aware of how you can influence your dogs’ behaviour. This book takes a look at us, as humans, and how best to alter the way we think and behave to get the most out of our dogs. This book is probably best for someone who is interested in canine and human psychology.

Click To Calm- Karen Pryor

Karen Pryor is the guru of clicker training. If you have a dog that is very excitable, aggressive, or nervous, this is a great resource. It is the clicker training Bible.

The 100 Silliest Things People Say About Dogs- Alexandra Semyonova

Are you so confused about all the dog training advice you are receiving? Do you want the facts about domestic dog behaviour and training? Then this book would be perfect for you. It is easy to read, from either front to back, or bits and pieces that interest you. Alexandra has been studying domestic dogs, in domestic settings, 24/7 (with the use of cameras), for over ten years.

Really Reliable Recall- Leslie Nelson

Once you have read this book and applied the method you will reap the rewards of a dog that will turn on a dime to come back to you when you call. This book is only a small booklet of about 22 pages, but all of it is gold!

Any Breed Specific Book

I recommend that if you have a pure breed dog (or designer dog), that you purchase a breed-specific book. The information is valuable with regard to history, grooming and health of a particular breed, plus the pictures are often great. However, the behaviour and training aspects of these books are rather poor.

On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals- Turid Rugaas

This is a wonderful resource for people who want to have a better understanding of how their dog is feeling and what is being communicated. I know we cannot get inside a dogs’ head to read their minds, but I believe this book comes close. A short book of 75 pages and easy to read with lots of high-quality colour pictures.

Feeling Outnumbered- Karen B London & Patricia B McConnell

This is THE book if you live in a multi-dog household. It is rather small, at only 45 pages, but give lots of practical advice on living with, and training more than one dog.

I love books, I love dogs- put them together, perfect!

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