Best Puppy Training Books for Your Dog

When you get a puppy you aren’t just buying a dog, you’re picking out your new best friend. He’s just a little guy now and doesn’t know much, but he’ll learn fast and grow even faster. It’s up to you to teach him what he needs to know about earning the coveted title of good dog. After the investment in all the supplies and vaccinations, there probably isn’t a whole lot of money left over for an expensive dog trainer. That’s okay. Training puppies is not a science that requires a hard-earned degree. It just takes the right book. We’re here to tell you about the best puppy training books and why you need one.

Why use training books?

By selecting a book as a training guide, you will have all the expertise of a puppy trainer at your fingertips. These professional trainers have often spent their lives improving their methods and have gathered all the information into one place for you to read. Most books include step-by-step instructions on how to train your dog, as well as useful diagrams and tips for reinforcing good behavior. Many puppy training guides will also offer advice on what to do with an older dog that needs a reminder of the things he’s already learned.

The internet is full of an astonishing amount of information, but much of what is available is confusing, conflicting, or just plain wrong. Anyone can write what they want in an internet article and you never know exactly how they came by the information. Because of this, though you might be tempted to skip the book and just browse online for puppy training tips, you really should consider buying a book. A training manual by a recognized expert in the field will give you the advice you know you can trust, as well as providing a useful resource that you can turn to whenever you are having issues with your dog.

How do puppies learn?

Though they may look like miniature versions of what they will become, puppies are much different than adult dogs. Although dogs are much like humans in that their use of logic increases with age, puppies are shown to learn much faster than their older counterparts. This means your puppy is like a sponge, eager to soak up all the good behaviors you want him to, but also quick to pick up bad behaviors if you aren’t careful. This doesn’t mean that if you adopt an older dog you are stuck with his behaviors, but it is much easier to get a dog started young than it is to go back and retrain.

Like human children, puppies enjoy learning. Their minds are always excited by new experiences and opportunities to earn praise. For this reason, your pup will learn best in situations that are playful and fun. Finding ways to incorporate play into your training will keep your puppy engaged and prevent boredom. Your puppy is more likely to retain information presented in a positive way and incorporate it into good behaviors. Though both puppies and dogs will react strongly to negative learning situations, this is because of fear rather than actual learning and can lead to secretive bad behaviors.

Puppies playing learning

What to consider before buying

Now that you’ve decided to buy a training book for your puppy, there are a few things you should consider before you shop. No two dogs are exactly alike and owners have different requirements for the behaviors they expect from their dog. Some people want a dog that is obedient in all situations while others want a more relaxed relationship with their canine companion. You should consider what you expect from the training as well as what you and your pup will be bringing to the program.

What are the methods used in the book?

All trainers have their own methods of discipline and reward. You should be sure that the methods used in the book are ones that you feel comfortable using on a regular basis to ensure the best training experience. Avoid any book that utilizes physical punishment for bad behavior. If you think it might constitute abuse, it probably does.

Is the book made for puppies?

Though you may be tempted to buy a comprehensive guide to training dogs of all ages, you should consider buying one that only deals with puppies first. Though the bigger guides are useful, the time they spend on the puppy stage is limited. A puppy only guide will be focused on everything you need to know now.

Is it breed specific?

A breed specific guide is not necessarily the most important consideration, but sometimes the best puppy training books offer a special section on your specific dog. This can be helpful with breeds that are known to be particularly stubborn learners or show bad behaviors more prevalently.

Puppies

The Top 8 Puppy Training Books

After some research, we consider these to be the top 8 training books for puppies:

Cesar’s Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding & Correcting Common Dog Problems

You may recognize the author from National Geographic’s popular show, Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan. Using his patented techniques of exercise, discipline and affection, Cesar teaches you to train your dog using psychology so that you can see the world as your dog does. Using his methods, the author promises a contented and well balanced dog while providing a more rewarding connection and better understanding of your canine companion.


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Cesar’s Way costs around $10.

PROS: Cesar Millan is the most sought after dog trainer in the nation and users claim his methods result in a better behaved dog and a more fulfilling relationship with their pet.

CONS: Some readers state that the book is filled with too many stories and anecdotes, making it more of an autobiography than a true training guide. This is also not a book dedicated exclusively to puppies.

The Art of Raising a Puppy (Revised Edition)

The Monks of New Skete offer their advice on training dogs using compassionate methods that gently allow the author to assert dominance over their puppies while exploring the human-canine bond. This book includes photographs throughout and includes what the monks have learned over the last 30 years that they have been raising puppies, specifically German Shepherds. They explore basic techniques for training your puppy that are easy to follow and implement.


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Around $10-$15 is what you’ll pay for this book.

PROS: This manual is specifically for training puppies and readers state it is thorough and the photographs are beautiful.

CONS: Some reviewers report that the majority of the book is dedicated to puppies from birth to 8 weeks old, before the time that most puppies are bought.

101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond with Your Dog

Trick training is an excellent way to bond with your dog and build a lasting relationship while also challenging him mentally and physically. This book offers ways to encourage creative learning that will prevent boredom and assist with integrating your puppy into the family. There is a step-by-step guide to each trick, accompanied by pictures to assist in your training. The author is a celebrity dog trainer and stunt show dog performer.


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The price of this book is a little over $10.

PROS: This book offers new and unique opportunities to teach your puppy tricks. Trick training will satisfy the play part of your puppy training routine.

CONS: This book is not aimed specifically at training puppies and is more about teaching tricks than basic training.

The Puppy Primer

This book is a favorite amongst professional trainers and includes expanded sections and special topics such as helping puppies conquer their fears and how to stop unwanted behavior. The techniques taught in this manual utilize positive training methods and encourage realistic expectations. This training book was written with both first time owners and professionals seeking techniques for puppy training, in mind.


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Like many of the others, this book costs around the $10 mark.

PROS: This is a manual written just for puppies and reviewers liked the way it was set up with weekly goals and progressive exercises.

CONS: Some readers felt the book offered little in the way of new information or techniques for those familiar with puppy training.

The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs

This book is unique in that it focuses on the way human behavior affects the behavior of our four-legged friends. Rather than trying to understand dog behavior, this manual teaches us the ways that our tone of voice and actions can help a dog better understand what we want from them. In a change of pace from other dog training techniques, Dr. Patricia McConnell shows why gaining dominance over your dog is the wrong approach and instead encourages a role of benevolent leadership.


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This training book is priced at approximately $10-15.

PROS: This manual teaches us what we do that confuses our dogs during training and shows us how to correct it. It’s a unique take on dog training from what is generally taught.

CONS: This book focuses more on our behavior and less on how to train a dog. It is also not targeted specifically for just puppies.

Fired Up, Frantic, and Freaked Out: Training the Crazy Dog from Over the Top to Under Control

Laura VanArendonk Baugh is an internationally known dog trainer who writes with a conversational tone that is easy to understand and brings humor to the subject of training dogs with anxiety and other emotional issues. This book includes easy to follow training instructions in a step-by-step manner to calm your dog using their natural brain chemistry. You will learn how aggression, fear and excitement all stem from the same place in dog behavior and how to reduce and correct behaviors based on anxiety.


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This book costs around $10.

PROS: Readers love the easy tone of this book and have found it very helpful in dealing with dogs who suffer from anxiety and excitability.

CONS: This book focuses primarily on older dogs who suffer from specific behavioral problems and doesn’t have a lot to offer in the way of basic puppy training.

Training the Best Dog Ever: A 5-Week Program Using the Power of Positive Reinforcement

Best known for training President Obama’s dog Bo, author Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz offers her personal techniques for training your dog using positive reinforcement based on trust and treats as opposed to reprimanding. The techniques are based on bonding and compassionate training to produce the best dog ever. This book covers basic cues as well as covering more complex goals. The five week training program is good for both puppies and older dogs, requiring only 10-20 minutes of practice each day.


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This book costs around $10.

PROS: This book is illustrated with photos that cover step-by-step instructions on training your dog and readers state it is easy to follow and enjoyable to read.

CONS: This book is not specifically for training puppies and some readers report there is little problem solving or trouble shooting included.

Puppies For Dummies

A name you know and trust, the For Dummies series brings you a manual for how to train your puppy, written by professional dog trainer Sarah Hodgson. This extensive book covers everything you need to know, including training with positive reinforcement, buying appropriate tools and toys for training, and even a guide to the best puppy foods and treats. It includes up to date sections on doggy daycare, new designer breeds of dogs, and travelling with your pup. Using positive reinforcement techniques, Sarah walks you through everything you need to know to raise an obedient, playful dog.


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This book costs around $10-$15.

PROS: Reviewers like this book for its thorough approach and sections on new breeds. It is focused on only puppies and their training needs.

CONS: Some readers felt the book was too basic and didn’t offer much for people who have owned a puppy in the past.

Conclusion

Whether you are getting your very first puppy, or adding another canine companion to a household of pets, you will want one of the best dog training books you can find. Puppies learn as fast as they grow and what they pick up now can affect their behavior and interaction with you for years to come. Whether you prefer a strict, no-nonsense guide that teaches you step-by-step how to get your puppy to behave, or a more psychological approach that studies the human-canine bond and how you can achieve results by thinking like your dog, a puppy training book will give you the assistance you need in raising a dog that is well-behaved and happy.

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