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There are so many dog training books available, so how do you choose the best book for you? This list of the top-rated dog training books by category is a great place to start.
Here you’ll find top recommendations for a variety of dog training scenarios, including the best general dog training books, the best books for your new puppy, the best book for if you live in an urban environment, the best books for teaching your dog tricks, the best dog training books for kids, the best books for agility training, and the best books of games for dogs. We also discuss what qualifications you should look for in an author, other resources for dog training, and when you should consider hiring a professional trainer.
This article is about the best dog training books, whether you’re a beginner looking for basic training tips, or an experienced dog owner looking for fun activities for you and your dog.
Quick Summary: The Best Dog Training Books
Best Dog Training Book for City-Dwelling Dogs: BKLN Manners: Positive Training Solutions for Your Unruly Urban Dog
Best General Dog Training Books
Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog in 7 Days by Brandon McMillan
What you’ll find in this book are tried-and-true tips for training dogs of every age, breed, and personality. The book begins with the basics of building trust, establishing focus and control, and mastering training techniques, and then moves into what the author calls the 7 common commands, with easy-to-follow steps and visual instructions. You’ll learn how to use treats and toys as rewards during training and how to adjust your approach based on your dog’s energy level. This book also covers solutions to common behavior problems such as barking, chewing, door dashing, and house training issues.
You may recognize author Brandon McMillan from the former CBS television show Lucky Dog, where he was an award-winning host. Additionally, McMillan has trained animals for more than 300 Hollywood productions, as well as personally trained the pets of A-list celebrities. This book includes a look at some of McMillan’s favorite success stories throughout. Available in Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, and Audiobook.
Dog Training for Dummies by Wendy Volhard and Mary Ann Rombold Zeigenfuse, LVT
This book, in its 4th edition, shows you how to select the right training method for your dog, whether you have a puppy, adult, or senior dog. The training methods are based on positive reinforcement, trust, and obedience, so you can strengthen your bond with your dog through communication, understanding, and mutual respect. This book includes step-by-step training instructions so your dog can master basic commands, and also includes helpful information for solving aggression and separation anxiety. Additionally, you can find advice on crate training and tips for socializing your dog, making this a great general information dog training book that’s highly recommended by readers.
Author Wendy Volhard’s contributions to dog training have been internationally recognized, and author Mary Ann Rombold Zeigenfuse, LVT, has been working with dogs and their owners for over 40 years. Available in Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook, and Audio CD.
Best Puppy Training Books
Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right by Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS
This book covers important puppy topics like your puppy’s development, why it’s good to start training at a young age, puppy behavior and interpreting your puppy’s body language, a foolproof potty training program, puppy socialization to other dogs and people, life skills, and more, all while making the process fun for you and your pup.
Author Dr. Sophia Yin served as a behavior expert for shows such as Dogs 101 on Animal Planet, and was also on the executive board for the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, and the Animal Behavior and Training Advisory Committee, and was an international expert on animal behavior and low-stress handling. Available in Paperback and Kindle.
Puppy Training in 7 Easy Steps: Everything You Need to Know to Raise the Perfect Dog by Mark Van Wye
In this step-by-step dog training guide you’ll learn the best ways to prep and puppy-proof your home as you prepare for a new puppy, a complete puppy training guide from the moment you bring your new puppy home, to crate training and potty training, socializing, leash walking, and more, and tips for when training doesn’t go according to plan. You’ll learn all of these things in a way that you and your dog can bond and have fun while learning.
Author Mark Van Wye is CEO of Zoom Room Dog Training, an indoor dog training gym with locations across the United States. Wye believes that dog training with positive reinforcement and learning new tricks is something that should be fun for both dogs and people. His training program is deeply rooted in the scientific literature of animal behavior and positive reinforcement. Available in Paperback, Kindle, Spiral-Bound, Audiobook, and Audio CD.
Best Dog Training Book for City-Dwelling Dogs
BKLN Manners TM: Positive Training Solutions for Your Unruly Urban Dog by Kate Naito, CPDT-KA, MS
“Solve City Dog Issues like Barking, Knocking People Over, Leash-Walking, and Naughty Behavior When Alone.” This book focuses on the unique challenges that urban dog owners face, such as navigating crowded streets, preventing your dog from picking up discarded food and trash from the ground, knocking people over, preventing strangers from approaching your dog, and more solutions for your problems both indoors and outdoors. The book is easy to digest, being written in a problem-and-solution format.
Author Kate Naito, CPDT-KA, MS is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer as well as a AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, and studied dog training and behavior at CATCH Canine Trainers Academy. Available in Paperback and Kindle.
Best Books For Dog Tricks
The Big Book of Tricks for the Best Dog Ever: A Step-by-Step Guide to 118 Amazing Tricks and Stunts by Larry Kay and Chris Perondi
This fully-illustrated guide includes hundreds of step-by-step photos teaching you 118 tricks and stunts, which makes it one of the lengthier dog training books on the list at 320 pages (they didn’t call it The Big Book of Tricks for nothing!). The book starts with beginner-level dog tricks like roll over, fetch, jump over, and guessing which hand, then advances to intermediate tricks like touching a target, ringing a bell, and opening and closing a door, and advances to pro tricks, like carrying an object to a mark, hiding their head, jumping rope, and so much more.
Author Larry Kay is an award-winning writer who is “Leader of the Pack” at Positively Woof, which celebrates the bond between humans and animals. Kay has written other dog training books, and for dog magazines, DVDs, and documentaries. Author Chris Perondi runs Stunt Dog Productions and the Stunt Dog Academy in California and has a team of canine performers that has been featured on many television shows like The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Today Show, to name a few. Available in Hardcover, Paperback, and Kindle.
Super Dog Tricks: Make Your Dog a Super Dog with Step by Step Tricks and Training Tips by Sara Carson
Another great option for dog training books focused on tricks, whether you have a puppy or an older dog, as seen on America’s Got Talent. Besides basics like crate training and leash walking, you’ll learn a variety of tricks — from the classics sit, down, stay, and paw — to more impressive tricks like crossing paws, turning lights on and off, taking a selfie, crawling, putting toys away, and more. You’ll be guided through easy-to-follow directions and photos. If you’re familiar with the choreographed routines author Sara Carson is famous for, there is a home version of the routine included in this book that you can customize to your liking.
Carson’s career began in Ontario, Canada, where she ran a successful dog training facility, working with hundreds of dogs and their owners. In addition to America’s Got Talent, Carson has been on The Late Show with David Letterman and other shows on The CW and Nickelodeon, as well as in halftime shows at NFL and NBA games. Carson has won many awards and is considered one of the top international trick dog trainers. Available in Paperback and Kindle.
Best Dog Training Books for Kids
Dog Training for Kids: Fun and Easy Ways to Take Care of Your Furry Friend by Vanessa Estrada Marin
If you’re looking for dog training books for kids, this is a great option. The book breaks down training lessons in easy-to-follow steps. Training includes basic lessons like house training, obedience training, leash training, crate training, and more. It also covers the essential commands like sit, stay, and drop it, followed by fun commands like roll over, high-five, and leap. Additionally, there are fun games like playing frisbee, hide-and-seek, and an obstacle course. Through training, your child will create a lasting bond with their dog.
Author Vanessa Estrada Marin is the director at Frolic, a facility in New York City that specializes in dog-centric programming for kids. Marin was previously an adoption center manager at an animal rescue. Available in Paperback and Kindle.
This is the kids version of the popular book for adults, 101 Dog Tricks. The kids version not only includes dog tricks, but also dog-themed arts and crafts projects such as a paw-print ornament using your dog’s paw print, and painted portraits of your pet. Your dog should be able to learn many of the tricks in 10 minutes, which is helpful for kids’ short attention spans. Examples of dog tricks are hoop jumping, hide-and-seek, and putting toys away. The instructions are shown with step-by-step photographs showing real kids doing the activities, which will help boost your child’s confidence that they can successfully accomplish the tricks. The publisher recommends this book for ages 5 and up.
Author Kyra Sundance is a world-renowned dog trainer with decades of experience, and is professionally ranked in competitive dog sports. Sundance is also a professional set trainer for movie dogs, so you may have seen her or her dogs on television or in movies. Available in Paperback and Kindle.
Best Dog Agility Training Books
Agility Right from the Start: The Ultimate Training Guide to America’s Fastest Growing Dog Sport by Eva Bertilsson and Emelie Johnson Vegh
Whether you’re interested in having fun with your dog in your backyard or competing in international competitions, this clicker book covers it all. With over 600 instructional photos, you’ll learn to create a partnership with your dog while learning expert handling skills and reward systems that make learning faster for your dog. You’ll shave seconds off your course times and see more success with less frustration.
Authors Eva Bertilsson and Emelie Johnson Vegh live in Sweden and work together to help people acquire knowledge and skills in science-based, modern, humane, and empowering teaching strategies for the benefit of learners of all species. Bertilsson has experience with dog agility, obedience, and other dog sports, and has been working to improve behavior management practices in the animal-care industry. Vegh has been training dogs since she was a teenager. Available in Paperback and Kindle.
The Beginner’s Guide to Dog Agility by Laurie Leach
Whether you’re looking to compete in agility competitions or are just looking for a fun hobby for you and your pup, this dog agility training book shares information on pre-agility training, step-by-step agility training techniques, how to use a clicker as a motivational tool, and detailed advice on correction-free training. Additionally, you will learn how to make your own agility obstacles, and for those who want to compete, learn how to officially enter agility trials.
Author Laurie Leach is an agility competitor at the national level, and has also competed in obedience trials. Available in Paperback and Kindle.
Best Books of Games for Dogs
Play Your Way to Good Manners: Getting the Best Behavior from Your Dog Through Sports, Games, and Tricks by Kate Naito, CPDT-KA, MS and Sarah Westcott, CPDT-KSA
This unique approach uses play and games as a way to train your dog using 80 exciting tricks, sports moves, and interactive games. Your dog will learn impulse control, polite leash walking, controlled interactions around guests and children, and quick recall. Your dog will enjoy learning fun games that will burn energy while encouraging good manners.
Authors Sarah Wescott and Kate Naito are Certified Professional Dog Trainers and are the founder and Manners Program Director at Doggie Academy. Available in Paperback.
Brain Games for Dogs: Fun Ways to Build a Strong Bond with Your Dog and Provide It with Vital Mental Stimulation by Claire Arrowsmith
The final book on our list of the best dog training books, this book teaches you fun ways to provide mental stimulation for your dog. Did you know that when it comes to your dog’s health and happiness, mental activity is just as important as physical exercise? The activities in this book include color photos and step-by-step instructions, and are labeled whether they’re a solo or group activity, where it can be played, the level of difficulty, if it involves toys, and more. You’ll use only reward-based training methods and these activities will help strengthen your bond with your dog. Some examples of games are find the treat, hide and seek, a mini agility course, and roll over.
Author Claire Arrowsmith is a zoologist and applied animal behaviorist and has conducted research in animal rescue, dog aggression, and behavioral consultations. She is the principal practitioner for the Pet Behavior Centre. Available in Paperback.
This selection of the top dog training books is compiled with consideration to top ratings, customer satisfaction, and taking positive reviews and negative reviews into account. As always, it’s a good practice to do your own research as well.
What qualifications should you look for regarding dog training?
Whether you’re looking to purchase a book to help you train your dog or are looking for a professional dog trainer to help you reach your goals, it’s recommended to know what qualifications the author or dog trainer has. You’ll want to look for methods that use positive reinforcement training, and make sure you’re comfortable with the trainer’s approach, whether you’re working with a dog training book or a dog trainer. For more information on choosing a dog trainer, check out the AKC’s guide here.
When researching the best dog training books, you’ll want to know if the author is an expert in this area or is certified in dog training and/or animal behavior. You’ll also want to make sure you understand which topics are covered in the book to make sure it aligns with the goals you have for your dog’s training.
It can be helpful to have dog training books on hand as an easy reference while working with your dog, as consistency is an important aspect to training. You may also want to try training on your own using a book before hiring a trainer if budget is a concern.
Which of these dog training books sounds the most interesting to you? Let us know in the comments.