Five Great Books To Explain Dog Training Better

In this post I am departing somewhat from the training and talking about books. I love those things too, not just dogs.

Being a professional training instructor, one would think that I have hundreds of books on dog. Strangely, I do not. I have found that there are a few really important books that have given me the most and best information and have helped to mold my thinking on dog training.

This doesn’t mean that I have stopped learning – far from it. But now if I want to stay knowledgable on the current developments in dog training, I do most of my learning on line.  This includes online courses and e-books.

The following books are the ones I go back to regularly to re-read to remind myself of certain training concepts. In my opinion, these books are important tools for anyone who has a dog or dogs and wants to be more knowledgable about them and how to live with and train them.

Don’t Shoot The Dog by Karen Pryor

This one is not strictly a dog training book but the ideas of course apply to dogs. It is described in the forward of the book as one that explains how to train anyone. That includes you spouse, children, other pets etc. When it comes right down to it, besides the fact that it describes the technical aspect of training it is kind of about psychology – yours and other people’s. This book is really important to read when learning how to deal with all kinds of living beings.

Excel-erated Learning by Pamela J Reid Ph.D.

This book is about dogs. It describes all of the terminology of training and how best to apply it – and how each work. It is a very thoroughly written book by a doctor of psychology so it definitely has merit.

The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson

The Culture Clash is more of a training book in that it explains how to teach dogs certain behaviours. What it does beyond that is clear up any confusion regarding how humans misunderstand dog and how to train them. A must read for dog people.

The Other End Of the Leash by Patricia B. McConnell

Another book by a Ph.D but an actual animal behaviourist this time so you know that the information is correct and useful. This book is more of a descriptive book and has many interesting and funny stories explaining how dogs and humans act and live together. She uses personal experiences with her own dogs to make this a great read.

Control Unleashed by Leslie McDevitt

This is the most hands on and technical book of all five and is actually a training program, specifically for dogs who are reactive but can be used for any dog who is being trained for dog sports. This book is so useful it’s unbelievable.


You have likely seen most if not all these listed somewhere or heard someone mention them before. They are all popular books among dog training professionals and are often recommended by instructors to their students.

Yes, there are LOTS of other good books on training. When choosing a book on the subject of dogs and dog training or training theory you definitely need to know what you are looking for and what you connect with the best.

All of these books are highly recommended by other reputable professionals in the dog world. The authors of these books are also either highly credentialed or have accomplished a great deal in the world of training, so I feel comfortable recommending them.

Happy Training!

2 thoughts on “Five Great Books To Explain Dog Training Better

  1. Pat B. Miller is noticeable by her absence from your list, but she is a great advocate of positive reinforcement training. We used her a lot when dealing with Ray in his early days with us! We also have Patricia McConnell’s book as noted in your list and, yes, she is excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is understandable since I do not have any of her books! Other good books that are not on my list are by Ian Dunbar and The Original Dog Whisperer, Paul Owens. Glad to hear that you found some help in book form!

      Like

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