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Bookworms: Read These Training Books!

Behavior and Training  •   Jasey Day  •   Feb 16, 2017


Do you love curling up with a good book? Do you enjoy learning by reading? Are you a do-it-your-selfer? Then check out these top dog books below. Most of these books are for the general owner, but the last one is for calming down over-excited dogs!


1. “AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy” and “Citizen Canine” by Mary Burch.

Mary Burch created the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and S.T.A.R. (Socialization. Training. Activity. Responsible ownership) programs. This renowned trainer and behavioralist breaks down positive methods to master the basic skills needed to achieve those designations and a balanced dog who behaves well in public and real-life situations. Check out AKC’s online store for more books! Learn more about the valuable CGC and S.T.A.R. programs here.

2. “Puppy Start Right” by Kenneth and Debbie Martin.

This husband and wife team consolidates many key skills and behaviors in just one book. It’s in an easy format and has a great, informal tone. Learn about developmental periods, domestication of dogs, how dogs learn, how to prevent undesired behaviors, how to socialize and housetrain, and how to start training foundation behaviors such as sit, down, leash walking, recalls, targeting, drop, and leave it. If you’re only going to get one book to set the foundation of skills and your relationship with your new dog, this one should be it – this was my favorite dog book to read before I purchased my last puppy.

3. “How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves” and “Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right” by Sophia Yin.

The former is for owners of dogs of all ages, whereas puppy owners may find the second book more helpful - even if you’re past the first 7 days. Yin focuses on reinforcing the behaviors that our dogs are already giving us, as they are learning from us 24-7. Yin provides an easy-to-read tone, great pictures, and step-by-step tips. In the puppy book, she even provides a suggested schedule to help get your pup on track, talks about developmental stages, and also provides ways to “learn to earn.” Yin has puppies offer a sit to “say please” to get a lot of things that they want in life! Yin also breaks down socialization, its importance, and how to get your dog comfortable in new places and even on new types of flooring.

4. “Fired up, Frantic and Freaked Out” by Laura VanArendonk Baugh.

Written in a friendly tone, this books will help you calm your dog when he provides “over the top” behaviors. These behaviors could include excessive barking, frantic motion, panting, and alerting. Some dogs offer those over-the-top behaviors when the doorbell rings, with houseguests, or when in public settings. Not only will you understand your dog better, but you’ll also be given short training assignments (2 minutes!) in which you’ll see progress with each session. Baugh has you track your progress, too, to ensure you don’t make skills too difficult before your dog is truly ready to move on to the next level.


Consider making reading the training book a family event and be sure to get children involved! Have each family member read part of the book, discuss that section of the book, and then implement the training to achieve the skill. You could also assign family members different chapters and have each family member educate the other family members on that portion of the book.

If you’re not a bookworm and would prefer to talk to a trainer, consider signing up for phone training and guidance. The AKC offers the GoodDog! Helpline phone service for one fee for the life of the dog.


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