It is hard to find the best dog training books when you are not an expert in the subject. There are literally thousands of these books out there. A simple search on Amazon for "dog training" in the book section retrieves over 50,000 titles! Unfortunately, many of these books are outdated or give outright wrong and dangerous advice.
I recently did a search for best dog training books recommendations on google and the top pages that appear actually recommend some of the worst books for dog training. I was very discouraged and disappointed but those feelings drove me to write this list for you.
I am not the only one concerned about the amount of bad dog training information out there. In 2017, a group of researchers at the University of Waikato in New Zeland published a research paper on the matter. They searched for the top 5 best seller dog training books, then analyzed if these books gave accurate information. Sadly, only 1 of the 5 books had good information. The rest talked about dominance, punishment and made up terms that had no scientific merit.
Well, lets get the good information out there! Here are the 5 best dog training books and more...
I am Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CCPDT-KA) and also have a Ph.D. in Neuroscience, I have been training dogs (and their owners for over 15 years) and have published over a dozen scientific research articles (although these are related to neuroscience). Those are my credentials and here are the best dog training books to read in my opinion (I honestly have read them all and more!):
I am passionate about dog training and I love to read everything I can about it. I gave you above my top 5 best dog training books, but to be honest, it was really hard to choose because there are many other excellent dog training books out there. So, here are more excellent dog training books....for those of you that find dog training fascinating and can't stop wanting to learn more and more!
Click for Joy! is a book about dog clicker training. It is written in a Q&A format and it's simply wonderful. The book will teach you how to clicker train your dog and at the same time convey in the most beautiful manner how this technique is joyful for both owner and dog.
If you read "Don't Shoot the Dog" and "The Culture Clash" and many of the other books I recommended previously, you will end up with the feeling that your dog is just a robot that only responds to cues like a machine. Input - output. We know dogs are more than that. Bones Would Rain From The Sky is a very special book because it puts emphasis in the human-canine connection and bond. I usually recommend people to read the two books mentioned above and then this one, this trio make the best dog training books! But there is so much more..
Another wonderful book where renowned animal trainer Kathy Sdao writes about the best ways to train your dog but from a partnership point of view. This book is one of those that move the field of positive dog training forward, looking for better ways to communicate with our pets in an ethical way. If you thought you were a positive dog trainer because you are using treats, this book will show you there's still so much more to learn.
This is a new book with a collection of articles written by the best animal and dog trainers out there. The book is about clicker training but has articles about everything, including puppy training, training older dogs, solving behavior problems and treating aggression. Ken Ramirez is a top animal and dog trainer who is also pushing the boundaries of the field. He is known for having trained wild animals in environmental projects and enhancing what we know about our dog's cognitive abilities by teaching them numbers and other concepts.
This book is recommended for all those dog owners that have "stubborn" dogs. There really aren't "stubborn" dogs, in my experience as a dog trainer, most of these dogs simply don't understand their owner. Once the owner learns the best ways to train, these dogs do a 180˚ shift. There are however some dogs and breeds that may be a little harder to train than others because they have a more independent personality. If this is your case, this is an excellent book that will give you practical advice on how to use the right methods for these types of dogs and ... patiently succeed!
I told you about the best dog training books but to complete your understanding of the topic you really need to learn about dog behavior. Most of the time "bad" behaviors in dogs are just "normal" behaviors. Understanding your dog's needs will help you solve a lot of problems, even without actual training techniques. These are excellent books about dog behavior:
Ph.D. Professor John Bradshaw takes us into the world of dogs. He explores dog evolution and explains many alternative theories to explain dog behavior. This book may be a little heavy for some people but the information is really interesting and up to date.
If you ever wondered how your dog sees the world, this is the book for you. Dr. Horowitz explains how dogs perceive the world differently from humans. It's an amazing book full of really interesting information.
I hope you find the information you are looking for and also that you like these best dog training books.
Enjoy reading and learning with your dog!
This article was written by Natalia Rozas, Ph.D. and Certified
Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA #4071465) updated on December 7th, 2023.