Read the Best Dog Training Books: Ranked and Reviewed

Written by Abby Parks
Updated: November 23, 2022
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Key Points

  • The #1 Best Overall dog training book is Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution: The Complete Guide to Raising the Perfect Pet with Love.
  • Trainers often have radically different approaches to training, even under the general umbrella of “positive reinforcement.”
  • Agility and service dog training is highly specialized and out of the scope of most of these books. But dogs that understand and respond to basic commands will be able to pick up more specialized commands easily.
  • Sometimes, a book won’t suffice and you may need to call in an expert. If your dog is aggressive, guards its food, or engages in other potentially dangerous behavior, don’t hesitate to call a professional trainer for one-on-one assistance.

Dog training is essential, and the right book makes this task easier. These books can help introduce you to new positive training methods, help you learn more advanced techniques from one handy manual, and help you learn how to cope with aggression issues.

Finding the right books, even for basic obedience training, can be a little tricky. There are a lot of trainers with books in print, and the overall quality of their training techniques — and their writing styles — may vary. However, many options can help with everything from training puppies to potty training and even books geared towards kids who want to learn how to train their dog.

We’ve compiled the best options that include dog tricks, agility training, and training for service dogs in addition to the basics. We hope to help you find the best dog training option for your needs. We’ve also addressed some common issues that include the need for positive techniques, essential considerations for more advanced training needs, and when you may require help from an expert.

  1. Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution: The Complete Guide to Raising the Perfect Pet with Love
  2. Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution: The Complete Guide to Raising the Perfect Pet with Love
    • Great reading experience
    • Lots of practical tips
    • Include fun games
    • Written by YouTube star Zak George
    Check Amazon
  3. Training the Best Dog Ever
  4. Training the Best Dog Ever
    • Book about techniques Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz used in training Bo Obama, the former White House dog, as well as each of Ted Kennedy's dogs.
    • Demonstrates program of using positive reinforcement training using trust, treats, no choke collars, bonding, without leash-yanking or reprimanding.
    • 5 week programs consisting of 10-20 minutes a day practice, good for puppies or adult dogs
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  5. How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond
  6. How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond
    • Cesar Millan, the "Dog Whisperer," teaches dog owner how to create the best environment for their dog to avoid bad behavior problems
    • Coaching in how to train up puppies into obedient, loving, loyal adult dogs
    • He shares all kinds of important tips and answers common questions dog owners have
    Check Amazon
  7. The Big Book of Tricks for the Best Dog Ever: A Step-by-Step Guide to 118 Amazing Tricks & Stunts
  8. The Big Book of Tricks for the Best Dog Ever: A Step-by-Step Guide to 118 Amazing Tricks & Stunts
    • Fully illustrated guide with step-by-step instructions to teach your pet118 tricks and stunts
    • Tricks range from beginner level to pro, including classics like fetch, paw shake, roll over, to more advanced like dance routines and frisbee stunts
    • Filmmaking tips to capture your dog's performances on camera
    • Help in discovering your dog’s personality, hidden talents, and reinforce positive behavior
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  9. Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog in 7 Days
  10. Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog in 7 Days
    • Brandon McMillan, star of Lucky Dog and celebrity dog trainer shares methods for training any dog in just seven days
    • Teaches basics like building trust, establishing focus and control, and mastering training techniques
    • Training on the 7 Common Commands he teaches every dog: SIT, STAY, DOWN, COME, OFF, HEEL, and NO
    Check Amazon

The Top Picks for Books for Dog Training: Ranked

#1 Best Overall: Dog Training Revolution: The Complete Guide to Raising the Perfect Pet with Love

Dog Training Revolution: The Complete Guide to Raising the Perfect Pet with Love by Zak George is our overall top choice. This title is available in a wide range of formats from hardcover and paperback to Kindle, audiobook, and spiral-bound editions. One of the things we like best about this book is how it helps you select the right dog for your family. It also covers how to get the dog used to living in your house, in addition to basic potty training for puppies.

The book references YouTube videos that help provide important visuals. We think that the text teaches commands in straightforward ways that made the process easier overall. If you require basic obedience training for your pup, this book is a good way to go.

When researching this manual, we found that it does not address more advanced subjects. So it’s not for strong aggression issues or training for service dogs. However, if you have more modest needs for training your dog, this title is a solid choice.

Pros and Cons of Dog Training Revolution: The Complete Guide to Raising the Perfect Pet with Love

ProsCons
This title is available in a wide range of print and e-book formats.This book does not address advanced training, such as how to handle aggression issues or how to train a service dog.
It features information on how to select the right dog for your family, plus tips on making a dog comfortable living in your home and basic potty training for puppies.
The book references YouTube videos, which is helpful for visual learners.
This text is an excellent basic obedience manual.
Our Top Pick
Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution: The Complete Guide to Raising the Perfect Pet with Love
  • Great reading experience
  • Lots of practical tips
  • Include fun games
  • Written by YouTube star Zak George
Check Amazon

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

Training the Best Dog Ever by Larry Kay and Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz uses positive reinforcement methods. Positive reinforcement is commonly considered among the most humane and effective approaches. Plus, the author is an experienced trainer who has trained former President Barack Obama and the late Senator Ted Kennedy’s dogs, which we feel provides an air of authority.

We like the idea of breaking up training into sessions spaced out over multiple weeks so that the dogs and owners don’t get overwhelmed. Also, when it comes to destructive puppies, this program is likely to be very effective.

On the other hand, one concern that we have was treating teaching your dog “no” as a separate lesson when destructive chewers need to learn this command quickly. Additionally, some readers may dislike the authors’ somewhat negative tone regarding some other trainers’ techniques.

Pros and Cons of Training the Best Dog Ever

ProsCons
This book features positive reinforcement training techniques.The “no” command is treated as a separate lesson, which may be an issue if your dog is a destructive chewer.
The author, Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz, trained former President Barack Obama and the late Senator Ted Kennedy’s dogs.The authors’ address other trainers’ methods in a somewhat negative manner.
The sessions are spaced out over multiple weeks, which keeps dogs and their owners from getting overwhelmed.
Best Week-By-Week Program
Training the Best Dog Ever
  • Book about techniques Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz used in training Bo Obama, the former White House dog, as well as each of Ted Kennedy's dogs.
  • Demonstrates program of using positive reinforcement training using trust, treats, no choke collars, bonding, without leash-yanking or reprimanding.
  • 5 week programs consisting of 10-20 minutes a day practice, good for puppies or adult dogs
Check Chewy Check Amazon

How to Raise the Perfect Dog by Cesar Millan and Melissa Jo Peltier is available in Kindle, audiobook, hardcover, and paperback versions. Your dog can learn obedience training using methods promoted by one of the most famous trainers.

We found that this resource is geared towards helping dogs live a more peaceful life at home through reducing common problems like aggression. Many readers will enjoy how much Milan relies on firsthand experience observing pack behavior in dogs growing up.

However, pet parents may be disappointed if they’re expecting step-by-step instructions rather than a “dog psychology” book. Another complaint is that Milan’s methods might be somewhat limited in effectiveness in households without other dogs and an inexperienced owner.

Pros and Cons of How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond

ProsCons
This title is available in a variety of print and e-book formats.This is more of a dog psychology book than a training manual.
The book is geared towards establishing and maintaining a peaceful homelife by reducing common issues such as aggression.
Much of the book is based on Milan’s firsthand observations of pack behavior.
Best by Popular Trainer
How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond
  • Cesar Millan, the "Dog Whisperer," teaches dog owner how to create the best environment for their dog to avoid bad behavior problems
  • Coaching in how to train up puppies into obedient, loving, loyal adult dogs
  • He shares all kinds of important tips and answers common questions dog owners have
Check Amazon

4. Best for Teaching Tricks: The Big Book of Tricks for the Best Dog Ever: A Step-by-Step Guide to 118 Amazing Tricks and Stunts

The Big Book of Tricks for the Best Dog Ever by Larry Kay and Chris Perondi has a primary focus on dog tricks. With the focus on tricks, dogs can get prepared for agility training and similar exciting activities.

Alternately, pet parents looking for something that would teach potty training may feel that this title should not be marketed as a training book. However, the work is well-suited to teaching dog tricks, especially for kids.

Pros and Cons of The Big Book of Tricks for the Best Dog Ever: A Step-by-Step Guide to 118 Amazing Tricks and Stunts

ProsCons
The primary focus of this book is training your dog to do tricks.Buyers who are looking for a book on dog training basics, such as potty training, will be disappointed.
Dogs that have a repertoire of tricks may have an advantage in agility training.
Best for Teaching Tricks
The Big Book of Tricks for the Best Dog Ever: A Step-by-Step Guide to 118 Amazing Tricks & Stunts
  • Fully illustrated guide with step-by-step instructions to teach your pet118 tricks and stunts
  • Tricks range from beginner level to pro, including classics like fetch, paw shake, roll over, to more advanced like dance routines and frisbee stunts
  • Filmmaking tips to capture your dog's performances on camera
  • Help in discovering your dog’s personality, hidden talents, and reinforce positive behavior
Check Chewy Check Amazon

5. Best for Training Your Dog in a Week: Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog in 7 Days

Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog in 7 Days by Brandon McMillan features insights from the star of the famed CBS series. Importantly, much of McMillan’s experience comes from working with shelter dogs previously considered unmanageable.

Certainly, it seems that these techniques could be effective even for tough cases with a lot of behavioral issues. Plus, the insights into different dogs’ behaviors could prove extremely useful.

Though one problem that some readers may find is that some of the commands require extra training equipment that owners may not be as willing to purchase. Therefore, anyone not wanting to purchase these products would need to know what to use as substitutes.

Pros and Cons of Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog in 7 Days

ProsCons
This book features insights from Brandon McMillan’s TV show Lucky Dog, which focuses largely on shelter dogs that were considered to be unmanageable.Some of the commands require extra training equipment that readers may not be willing to purchase.
These techniques could be valuable for pet parents working with dogs that have behavioral issues.
Best for Training Dog in a Week
Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog in 7 Days
  • Brandon McMillan, star of Lucky Dog and celebrity dog trainer shares methods for training any dog in just seven days
  • Teaches basics like building trust, establishing focus and control, and mastering training techniques
  • Training on the 7 Common Commands he teaches every dog: SIT, STAY, DOWN, COME, OFF, HEEL, and NO
Check Amazon

The Need for Positive Training Techniques

Positive, as opposed to punitive, training makes a favorable difference for most dogs. Canines have minds of their own and need to learn to accept your leadership. However, you need to avoid harsh punishments, which can confuse your dog and contribute to aggression.

Essential Considerations for More Advanced Training Needs

Agility training and training for service dogs share one important factor: Your dog needs solid foundations in obedience training first. Once your dog knows the basics, it will master more advanced commands relatively easily. Patience is key with all breeds.

When You May Require Help from an Expert

There are some situations, such as extremely aggressive dogs, that may require expert help. In these types of situations, an expert may help ensure that everything goes smoothly with your dog’s training.

Dog Training Books: Pros and Cons

ProsCons
They usually feature a format that makes training your dog easier, even for new owners and children.
Trainers have differing, even incompatible, views on some issues that may confuse readers.
Most modern training books recommend additional resources like videos.
They’re often available in Kindle and audiobook formats.

Our Criteria

We really appreciated how many of these books were available in Kindle format, as well as paperback and hardcover. For training to be manageable and as positive an experience as possible, the manual that you use needs to be accessible. Multiple formats help make that accessibility possible.

Many of these books have lessons timed for certain intervals, and we like the overwhelming use of positive techniques. However, we did note that some methods that promise training within a certain number of days or weeks may not take special circumstances, such as breed, background, or behavioral issues, into consideration.

Ideally, you should know what you’re getting into as much as possible with a given dog breed before you ever get the dog. Certain breeds have extremely variable behaviors and personalities. For example, it’s important to note where the breed tends to stand on the spectrum between stubborn vs. agreeable, energetic vs. calm, attentive vs. distractible, docile vs. potentially aggressive, etc.

This determines the starting point for how easy or challenging training will be. Knowing about the origins and tendencies of your dog’s breed will also help you understand where their behaviors stem from. Then, you can better predict how your dog will respond to certain things, and cater your training approach to his or her individual personality.

Also be aware that it’s significantly easier to train a dog when it is very young. Puppies are still learning about their environment. Thus, they are far more adaptable than adult/senior dogs who are accustomed to their conditions and habits. It’s still possible and beneficial to train adult dogs. But you should know that the longer a dog exhibits certain behaviors (especially unchecked), the more challenging and time-consuming it’ll probably be to replace unwanted behaviors with positive ones.

Therefore, consistency will be one of the biggest factors in whether or not any training will be effective. This is true whether you’re hiring professional help, going by the book, or looking up tips online as needed and figuring it out on your own.

If you want your dog to listen and engage in better behaviors, it’ll take some effort and self-discipline on the owners’ end. Since you’re willing and ready to commit to training your dog, here are the top five dog training books for a great start.

Up Next…

  • Best Martingale Collar — Overwhelmingly, leash manners are one of the biggest dog training challenges. Luckily, this is an effective and humane teaching tool.
  • The Best No-Pull Dog Harness — Another great way to improve behavior on walks — because your dog desperately needs the mental and physical exercise!
  • Puppy Training Crates — Crating a puppy isn’t mean or cruel. Rather, the crate is a safe, comfy place to learn self-regulation and potty training.
  • The Best Snuffle Mat for Dogs — Behavior improvements often happen when you give your dog a fun game, challenging job, or stimulating task!
About the Author

Abby Parks has authored a fiction novel, theatrical plays, short stories, poems, and song lyrics. She's recorded two albums of her original songs, and is a multi-instrumentalist. She has managed a website for folk music and written articles on singer-songwriters, folk bands, and other things folk-music oriented. She's also a radio DJ for a folk music show. As well as having been a pet-parent to rabbits, birds, dogs, and cats, Abby loves seeking sightings of animals in the wild, and has witnessed some more exotic ones such as: Puffins in the Farne Islands, Southern Pudu on the island of Chiloe (Chile), Penguins in the wild, and countless wild animals in the Rocky Mountains (Big Horn Sheep, Mountain Goats, Moose, Elk, Marmots, Beavers).

Read the Best Dog Training Books: Ranked and Reviewed FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are the seven basic dog commands?

The seven basic dog commands are as follows: sit, stay, come, no, down, off, and heel.

What is the best dog training method?

The best type of training method is positive reinforcement, which focuses on rewarding good behavior over punishing bad behavior.

What is the easiest trick to teach a dog?

“Shaking hands” is one of the easiest tricks because it draws on some dogs’ natural inclinations to offer a paw when looking for treats.

What is the best age to train a dog?

Dogs train most easily when training starts as early as eight weeks, but dogs of any age can be trained.

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