So, you’re the proud owner of a new puppy — or you’re about to be! Either way, congratulations! You’re in for a confusing, frustrating, and rewarding time full of poop, love, and adorableness. Training your puppy is a vital aspect of raising a dog. It helps determine their future temperament and your relationship with them for the rest of their lives.
If you’ve been looking for puppy training books, you know that there are so many out there to choose from, so we picked out the 10 best ones on the subject. We hope that these reviews will help you narrow down your options, and you’ll find the right book for your needs.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites of 2023
|Best Overall||Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution: The Complete Guide||
|Best Value||How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond||
|Premium Choice||Dog Training for Kids: Fun and Easy Ways to Care for Your Furry Friend||
|The Puppy Primer||
|Puppy Training in 7 Easy Steps: Everything You Need to Know||
The 10 Best Puppy Training Books
1. Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution: The Complete Guide to Raising the Perfect Pet With Love — Best Overall
|Formats||Kindle, audiobook, paperback, spiral-bound|
The best overall puppy training book is “Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution.” Zak George is a popular dog trainer who got his start on YouTube and has starred in two shows: Animal Planet’s “SuperFetch” and “Who Let the Dogs Out” on the BBC. His book goes through the entire process of finding the right puppy for you, selecting the right food, and locating a vet. It has all the necessary training techniques that you can expect — how to deal with housebreaking, barking, biting, jumping, and so on. You can read his book in conjunction with his YouTube videos.
The disadvantages of this book are that it isn’t totally focused on puppy training; most of it is devoted to finding a puppy (and if you already have one, this aspect will be pointless). Also, his advice is best for someone completely inexperienced with dogs. If you already have a fair amount of experience and knowledge, you might want to look for a more advanced book.
2. How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond — Best Value
|Formats||Kindle, audiobook, hardcover, paperback|
The best puppy training book for the money is Cesar Millan’s “How to Raise the Perfect Dog.” Cesar is a well-known dog trainer and is famous for his “Dog Whisperer” TV show on National Geographic Channel. His book covers training a puppy but will also take you through your dog’s entire life. It goes over a puppy’s development, housebreaking, nutrition, and how to correct problems before they even become problems. The advice can also be applied to a dog at any other life stage.
However, some people have a problem with Cesar’s training techniques, which has resulted in some controversy. It also isn’t exactly a step-by-step instruction book, so it takes extra reading to get the right instructions.
3. Dog Training for Kids: Fun and Easy Ways to Care for Your Furry Friend — Premium Choice
|Author||Vanessa Estrada Marin|
“Dog Training for Kids” by Vanessa Estrada Marin is a fantastic book to give your kids before bringing home a puppy. If you have children, it’s a great way to get them actively involved in raising and training their new dog. The author runs a New York City facility specializing in dog programming for children, so this is her forté. The book covers basic training, housebreaking, basic commands (like sit and stay), and fun tricks. It will give children confidence and help them form a strong bond with their dog by giving them some control in the training process. It is also great for adults.
Unfortunately, this book is pricey, and some people reported that it fell apart when it arrived.
4. The Puppy Primer
|Author||Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D.|
The Puppy Primer was written by Dr. McConnell, an ethologist and certified applied animal behaviorist who has worked with both cats and dogs for over 25 years. She teaches dog owners about having realistic expectations with their puppies. This means understanding the difference between teaching a puppy to sit and wait for food versus sitting when guests come for a visit! It covers socialization, positive reinforcement, the best and worst ways to play, and basic training. Overall, it doesn’t teach you how to train your dog — it trains you to be a good dog owner and trainer.
The only real disadvantage with this book is that it is relatively basic information. It will work well for beginners, but most people with experience might not learn anything new.
5. Puppy Training in 7 Easy Steps: Everything You Need to Know to Raise the Perfect Dog
|Author||Mark Van Wye|
|Formats||Kindle, audiobook, paperback, spiral-bound|
The author of “Puppy Training in 7 Easy Steps” is the CEO of the Zoom Room, which uses positive reinforcement dog training and has locations across the U.S. The book offers methods that help you understand your puppy’s body language and behavior, which means you’ll be able to figure out why they’re acting a certain way. It teaches everything from housebreaking and socialization to walking on a leash and how to best puppy-proof your place. The instructions are written in a clear and precise manner and are easy to understand and follow.
However, it’s best for beginner dog owners because most of the information is fairly basic. Also, it’s not that in-depth and might be too focused on treats for some trainers.
6. Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog in 7 Days
|Formats||Kindle, audiobook, hardcover, paperback, audio CD|
“Lucky Dog Lessons” by Brandon McMillan uses techniques that will help any dog or puppy, whether from a rescue or a breeder, become a well-adjusted friend in 7 days. Brandon McMillan is known for his “Lucky Dog” show on CBS, where he rescues “unadoptable” dogs and transforms them in a week. It starts with building trust and leads to training basic commands, and it offers solutions to common behavioral problems. It also provides advice on how to train dogs of different sizes.
On the downside, it is a long book with a large amount to read — parts of it are stories from McMillan’s own life. Also, many of his training techniques involve the use of different equipment that you’ll need to purchase.
7. The Art of Raising a Puppy
|Author||Monks of New Skete|
|Formats||Kindle, audiobook, hardcover, paperback|
“The Art of Raising a Puppy” was written by The Monks of New Skete, who are actual monks who have been breeding German Shepherds and training all breeds of dogs for about 30 years. This book is more than just a training book — it takes you from how to find a puppy to training, socialization, and general care. They stress the importance of building a strong bond with your dog.
However, this is a long book that doesn’t provide much actionable training, though it does have plenty of stories. It also goes into great detail about gestation and the development of young litters, which most puppy owners don’t need to know.
8. Training the Best Dog Ever: A 5-Week Program Using the Power of Positive Reinforcement
|Author||Larry Kay and Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz|
“Training the Best Dog Ever” was written by Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz. She was an experienced trainer who worked with many dogs, including former White House dog, Bo Obama, and Senator Ted Kennedy’s dogs. Unfortunately, she passed away shortly before this book was published.
The book is designed to work in five weeks with just 10 to 20 minutes of working with your dog every day. It’s designed to help puppies or adult dogs with bad behaviors and habits and goes through basic and complex training. It can also help dogs feel more confident and comfortable overall while out in the world.
The flaws with this book include that it is on the long side and contains many of her own stories, making for an overly long read. Also, the information is a little disorganized because it tends to jump all over the place.
9. Puppy Training: How to Housebreak Your Puppy in Just 7 Days!
|Formats||Kindle, audiobook, paperback|
“Puppy Training: How to Housebreak Your Puppy in Just 7 Days” by Ken Phillips is a great book for those struggling with housebreaking their puppy. Here’s an entire book devoted to the subject! It provides clear, step-by-step instructions that should work, even if you have a full-time job. It covers tips to help with housebreaking quickly and issues like there still being accidents after you’ve repeatedly taken your puppy outside. It also goes over the psychology of your puppy, which will help you better understand them.
However, the book covers a large amount of fairly basic information, which will work well for beginners but not so much for experienced dog owners. Also, not every puppy will be successfully housebroken in 7 days.
10. Puppies for Dummies
“Puppies for Dummies” by Sarah Hodgson covers everything puppy-related and more than just training. It covers positive reinforcement, using redirection for problem behaviors, and puppy psychology. It goes over socialization, keeping your puppy in good health, and how to train your puppy toward good behavior. This book should help even if you’re just thinking about getting a puppy.
However, some of the problems with this book are that it is a bit inconsistent at times. Some instructions are detailed, while the author tends to gloss over others. It also seems to need another round of editing because it contains various typos and grammatical issues.
There are a few things that you should be aware of before you choose your puppy training book. Our buyer’s guide is meant to give you some food for thought.
Not any one book will work for every puppy and owner. Some books and techniques will work perfectly for your neighbor and not necessarily for you. Your puppy’s breed is a factor, as is their background. Additionally, not every dog owner will agree with the methods of every dog trainer. Take your time reading through reviews, and look at the synopsis and sample chapters if you can. Just because one book tells you to do something, that doesn’t mean you are required to follow those specific techniques if it doesn’t feel right to you.
Owning a dog can give you so many different experiences and stories. Most puppy training books will be full of stories. These can be helpful because you’ll realize that you’re not alone with specific puppy quirks or problems (or successes). But don’t let a long book full of stories put you off if that’s not what you’re looking for. You can skim those sections if you want to get to the “meat” of the training, as long as the techniques are good ones.
The author is everything. Not every dog owner will agree with the author’s training techniques. Many popular authors don’t have any qualifications or actual training certificates, but they do have experience and what works for them (and usually working with celebrities gets them out there). Don’t get swept away by popularity, though. The most important thing will always be your puppy and whether someone’s instructions actually help you both.
Our pick for the best overall puppy training book is Zak George’s “Dog Training Revolution,” which has great information on training your puppy. It also highlights YouTube videos that you can watch to help round out the book’s information! Cesar Millan’s “How to Raise the Perfect Dog” is well-priced and is designed to train puppies and even take you through your dog’s entire life. Finally, “The Puppy Primer” by Dr. McConnell will teach you to have realistic expectations of your puppy. Plus, she’s one of the few authors out there who is educated and certified in dog training.
We hope that our reviews have helped you figure out which book will best serve your purposes. The right book can help you build a strong bond with your puppy and ensure that that bond will last a lifetime.
Featured Image Credit: Piqsels