Books hold so much good information, and when I got into dog training, books are what really got me going. That being said, not all books are created the same. When I look for books, I look for books that are written with a scientific perspective. This means books that are not based on outdated methodologies and perspectives. It has been shown for many, many years that dogs are not pack animals and do not operate in a pack mentality. They do not mean to dominate you or take over your household. There is not need for you to attempt to do so either. Dog training and the relationships we have with our dogs are a two way street and all the suggestions below will portray inormation conducive to building a strong relationship with your. They will not tell ask you to punish your dog, they will not tell you to be the pack leader and they will not suggest any forms of training that will hurt, scare or intimidate your dog.
Whether you are a dog trainer, a dog guardian, or a dog lover, the books below are sure to please. Not all training relatd, these books span from memoirs to ethology to philosophy. Written by highly regarded canine professionals, these books are some of the idustry favorites and classics.
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Without further adieu, lets get down to business.
10. The Education of will by Patricia Mcconnell
The Education of Will is a powerful book guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye of even the most manly of men.... Believe me, I know. While not a book that provides much information on animal behaviour or how to train them, The Education of Will details the life and times of one of the pioneers of modern dog training, Dr. Patricia Mcconnell, all the while paralleling the journey of her undertakings training her reactive boarder collie Willy and the hidden and long forgotten stress and traumas the experience brings bubbling up from her past. I do have to give a content warning on this one as there are some potentially triggering situations and scenarios in the accounts of her early life. If you are going to read it, keep a box of kleenex handy.
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9. Canine Confidential by Mark Beckhof
A renowned ethologist, in Canine Confidential Mark Beckhof details as the subtitle suggests, why dogs do what they do. He describes the applicatoin of his field of study and how we can use it in our daily lives to learn more about our four legged companions. One of the main reasons this book is on my top ten list is because of how strongly Mark advocates for the kind and compassionate treatment of our animals. Dr. Beckhof is a prominent writter on the website Psycologytoday.com and is often writing interesting and entertaining articles.
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8. Wag by Zazie Todd
Zazie Todd is another extraordinary writer on the website Psycologytoday.com and founder of www.companionanimalpsycology.ca . In Wag, the science of make your dog happy, the author portrays ways that we can use the 30+ years of past scientific research to improve our dogs live. If you are an owner, trainer, vet, or dog professional of any kind you will find the content that ranges from puppies, to how dogs learn to end of life care informative and beneificial. While relativley short, this book is powerful and is a ust read for any animal lover.
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7. Our Dogs, Ourselves by Alexandera Horrowittz
Alexandra Horrowitz is one of my favorite writers. All of her books were contenders for this list. But Our Dogs, Ourselves takes a unique and dynamic look into the relationships between dogs and humans and that is the reason I chose it out of any other books of hers. From the way we talk to them to the food we feed them and the multi-billion dollar pet supply industry, the author takes a deep dive into how deeply intertwined our species is with our canine companions and how we have each molded the others life.
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6. Bones Would Rain From the Sky by Suzanne Clothier
Of all the books on this list, Bones Woudl Rain From the Sky is one I have read and reread time and time again. While she is an accomplished trainer, there is little practical training advice in this one. Instead Suzanne provides a comprehensive look int ther views on how animals of all kinds should be treated. Filled wtih personal stories and narratives of her lifes experiences this is another you can't help shed a tear to.
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5. The Other End of the Leash by Patricia Mcconnell
I tried not to include the same author twice on this list, but Patricia Mcconnell is far too good an author, it was hard not to include all her books! Written from the perpective of a certified applied animal behaviourist (one of the few legitimate types of behaviourists. That's right, unless they have done years worth of schooling and have real certifications and degrees to prove if the guy down the street that clames to be the dog whisperer is not a canine behaviourist, he's lying to you), and a professor of zoology, The Other End of the Leash details the knowledge of a true dog expert. With accounts of her exploits interviewing handlers from many different animal species who all speak many different languages, she examines the human end of the leash and how our interactions with our dogs effect them. This book is a wealth of knowledge and will only leave you with a desire to learn more.
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4. The Power of Postive Dog Training by Pat Miller
Whenever someone asks "I'm getting a new puppy or rescue, what book should I get?" this book is on the top of my list and usually the first one I suggest. A very simple and easy to follow training manual, Pat provides step by step instructions that anyone can follow. If you are consistent in following the instrucition in this book your chances of not having a well behaved companion are slim to none.
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3. Meet Your Dog by Kim Brophey
An applied ethologist by trained, writing seems to come second nature to Kim. Using her trademark L.E.G.S (Learning, Environment, Genetics and Self) system Kim Details all the things that make your dog YOUR dog and how those facors make your dog an individual that stands out from your neighbours dog and even your dogs litter mates. As if that weren't enough Kim continues to drop knowledge and outlines the basic functional behaviour of the 10 different speices groups of dogs (hounds, herding, guardian ect.), what to expect in terms of basic temperment and how likely that type of dog will fit into your lifestyle. This book is on my suggested reading list for all my clients and a book I believe all dog guardians should read.
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2. Canine Enrichment for the Real World by Emily Strong and Allie Bender
Enrichment is a crucial part of our dogs lives. For most people this means regular walks, play and toys, occasional treats and trips to the pet store or maybe off leash hikes. Allie and Emily take the idea of enrichment to the next level. From sighths and sounds to a variety of training opportunities to choice and control, the authors take an all out look into all the ways you can enrich your dog's life. Providing tons of ideas, the do's and don'ts, safety information and lots of scientific evidence as well as their own exerience to back it up, this book is they key to making your dogs life as enriched as possible. This is another on my suggested reading list to clients. Pick it up, read it, your dog will thank you!
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1. Don't Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor
I chose this book to be the number one for this list soley because of the profound impact is has had on so many peoples lives. Karen Pryor is the dogmother of clicker training and popularized it in modern dog training as well as the founder of the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Trainers which pumps out scores upon scores of highly skilled and qualified animals trainers (myself included). Don't Shoot the Dog covers many of the topics and techniques covered in the KPA Dog Trainer Professional course in an expose of how you can use the science of postive reinforcement to teach your students, partners, dogs and colleagues in your daily life. Don't shoot the dog is not just a book for pet owners but ffor anyone who interacts with any sort of living bieng and has been described by many as a life changing book.
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