Top 10 Books Every Dog Lover Should Read

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Whether you’re a first time dog parent or seasoned training professional, I consider these books to be the cornerstone of the modern framework for understanding how dogs behave, think, learn and communicate. From learning to train your dog through understanding and managing or resolving your own dog’s problematic behaviors, these books cover it all and then some. All of the books featured are books from my personal shelf that I have read and can endorse as essential to any aspiring canine enthusiast (unless otherwise noted).

1. The Other End of The Leash by Patricia McConnell

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This book shares a captivating perspective on our relationship with dogs, focusing on our human behavior rather than that of our canine companions.

This book will teach you how to use your voice so that your dog is more likely to comply, why ‘dominating’ your dog is a bad idea and how rough play can lead to behavioral issues.

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2. Canine Body Language by Brenda Aloff

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After reading this book, you will never look at dogs the same way again!

This will teach you the basics of canine communication. That is, what to look for and how to interpret your dog’s expressions (and other peoples’ dogs!). Learning this second language will help you to keep your dog safe by being able to observe, analyze and implement measures to prevent problematic behavior.

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3. Before and After Getting Your Puppy by Ian Dunbar

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From basic training through socialization, Dr. Dunbar covers it all.

By reading this book, you will learn how to raise a well mannered puppy and become prepared for your many adventures ahead together.

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4. Don’t Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor


Undoubtedly the most popular book among professional trainers of all time!

Karen Pryor explains behavior in terms that even the non-psychologist can benefit from. Not just for your dog but for humans, too! Having trouble getting your kids to eat their vegetables? Then this book is for you!

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5. Power of Positive Training by Pat Miller

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Dog training doesn’t have to be boring!

Pat Miller demonstrates how you can not only have fun while training your dog but also build a lasting bond simultaneously. Walk away from punishment-based methods and, in as little as six weeks, you and your dog can become an unstoppable team!

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6. Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson

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Get ready to have your mind blown!

This book will change the way you interact with your dog and begin to shift your perception of positive dog training. There’s so much good information in this book that I don’t even know how to begin summarizing it. It’s a must read that includes over 30 years of insights from the founder and former director of the San Francisco SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers.

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7. The Thinking Dog: Crossover to Clicker Training by Gail Fisher

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I wasn’t always a clicker trainer myself but this book sealed the deal.

This book taught me that there is much more to dog training and bonding with our dogs than using food and voice alone. If you think you have a good relationship with your dog now, just wait until the light bulb turns on after reading this book! You will be surprised how much you didn’t really know about dog training.

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8. Train Your Dog Positively by Victoria Stilwell

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From the U.K. to the U.S., Victoria Stilwell is the world’s most influential leader of dog training, starring on hit shows like Animal Planet’s It’s Me or The Dog and CBS’s Greatest American Dog.

In this book, she covers everything from debunking dominance theory to tackling extreme problem behavior, such as jumping, barking, pulling, resource guarding, stool eating, aggression, submissive urination, separation anxiety, phobias and a lot more.

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9. Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz

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Go inside the mind of your dog to understand why they do what they do!

This book provides insights to canine behavior from a cognitive psychology perspective. Although it’s not a training book, you will realize how much you didn’t actually know about the minds of dogs! As a bestseller, this book makes a fantastic gift, too.

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10. Really Reliable Recall by Leslie Nelson

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I could have chosen a number of books for #10 but ultimately I decided on this one.

Why? More than anything, every dog parent wants (and needs!) a strong recall cue. Coming when called will help keep your dog safe, save you from embarrassment and help you demonstrate responsible dog parenting practices in public to encourage others to do the same.

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