5 Must-Read Books When Training A Dog
What dog training books would you find on the shelves of a dog trainer? Rachel Leavy, our resident dog trainer, offers a few suggestions on essential reads for pet parents.
We live in an age of information overload, and this can make it tough when trying to train a new dog. Google can tell us 20 different ways to teach a dog to sit with one quick search. Teaching any dog a new trick requires consistency and the process can be overwhelming to pet parents. Dog behavior is complex, and there is no one way to train a dog, which makes these books a good read. If a dog is exhibiting aggressive or fearful behaviors, a professional is always recommended. Otherwise, these books will give you a good insight into having a happy, well-trained pooch.
101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge and Bond with Your Dog
This book is an amazing, illustrated read that will teach you how to train your dog to do just about anything. It focuses on using positive reinforcement to reward the dog for doing the right thing. From jumping through a hoop to basic commands, this book has it all. It is broken down into baby steps and is easy to navigate. You can pick up 101 Dog Tricks on Amazon for $18.99.
The Culture Clash
Anything written by Jean Donaldson is an amazing read when it comes to dog training and behavior. This book focuses on how dogs’ minds work and as a trainer, I find her writing useful when coming across new behaviors. It’s a different perspective than most books take, emphasizing that the dog’s mind works differently from ours. Some of the anthropomorphizing habits we have toward our pets can actually be harmful, and Donaldson explains this and how to prevent having issues. Instead of getting frustrated with behaviors, Donaldson makes it clear that we need to adjust our methods to fit the needs of the dog. Buy The Culture Clash for $7.71 on Amazon.
Don’t Shoot the Dog: The New Art of Teaching and Training
Karen Pryor is a renowned dog trainer and animal behaviorist and every dog trainer out there has heard her name. I have vigorously read everything she’s ever written. Pryor uses humor to help people understand how to communicate clearly with their dog. She stresses the importance of praise and not punishment, which is something every new dog owner needs to hear. Don’t Shoot the Dog! sells for $17.00.
The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs
One of the biggest gaps between dogs and humans is language. While dogs don’t verbally speak like we do (could you imagine what your dog would say about you?) they certainly have a complex method of communicating. This book focuses on how to communicate with your dog in a way they will understand. Physical stance, tone and other body language aspects are all a part of communication. Dr. McConnell helps to bridge the communication gap and teach us the best way to have a great relationship with our dogs. The Other End of the Leash retails for $16.00.
How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend: The Classic Training Manual for Dog Owners
The Monks of New Skete live my dream life – breeding and training German Shepherds. While I prefer my creature comforts and cannot commit to that type of life, I do find myself envying them. They produce amazingly bred and trained dogs, and this book outlines how to do the same. This book discusses obedience training, fixing problem behaviors and how to give your dog a fulfilling life. How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend sells for $27.
Bonus: Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior
While not about dog training per se, this book is one of my personal favorites. Grandin is an autistic genius who revolutionized the way we think about animals. She is responsible for turning around the slaughter industry. I know, sounds weird, what does this have to do with dog training? The book is a look into the minds of animals from a perspective that none of us have. This book is brilliant and I believe every pet owner should read it to help them understand their animals. Pick up a copy of Animals in Translation through Amazon for $15.95.
Rachel Leavy lives in Rochester, New York with her dog, Maria, and her gecko, Nigel. She has loved animals all her life, and has owned her own dog training and walking company for five years. When she’s not playing with puppies, she can usually be found writing short stories, riding horses or out at a play.