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The Best Books For Dog Trainers

Updated on March 23, 2013

Grow professionally with great reads

Books for dog trainers
Books for dog trainers | Source

Great Reads for Aspiring Dog Trainers

If your dream is to become a reputable, professional dog trainer or if you are simply enamored with dogs and everything revolving around them, there are some reads you cannot miss. While these books are more on the technical side, they are a great contribution to the dog training world, and will ultimately add to your knowledge about dogs.

Some books are more technical than others, but most revolve around the topic of ''learning theory''. Learning theory basically tackles the subject of how dogs learn and it is ultimately a fundamental discipline for the dog trainer who wants to excel in their understanding of canines. Dogs indeed learn through different venues: instincts, social facilitation, observation, classical and operant conditioning.

While it is true that dog trainers learn a whole lot through practice, in their day to day interactions with dogs, it also holds true that sometimes theory plays a great role in refining those training skills. These books tackle the basics of learning theory, and some were developed with a trainer's professional business expansion in mind, offering tips on how to start a dog training business and grow professionally.

Top Pick 1) Ex-celerated Learning

My absolute best read that has helped me grow professionally tremendously is without any shadow of doubt Pamela Reid's ''Ex-celerated Learning''. This book may be perhaps a bit too much information for the average dog owner with little time on hand, but those who are eager to learn a bunch about ways dogs learn, will love this book and be hooked. Learning theory is ultimately explained in lay-term words, with ample of examples and fun drawings. I devoured the whole book in less than four days using my highlighter to pinpoint all the main points throughout. For those who do not know Pamela Reid, she is a certified applied animal behaviorist that obtain her specialization in animal learning and behavior from the University of Toronto.

Top Pick 2) Coaching People to Train Their Dogs

Second place comes Terri Ryan's book ''Coaching People to Train Their Dogs''. This book offers a plethora of topics, but best of all, it addresses the fact that as a dog trainer you will be training people more than the dogs. You will read about different types of clients, how to address concerns, and some usual or unusual scenarios. Saying this book is useful, is an understatement. The book first of all is enormous, therefore it makes a tremendous read for those who are upset when they finish reading a book they love too early. I also devoured this book and was extremely happy in learning so much about how to train dogs and people. At a first glance, the book may appear to be expensive, but it is an investment that returns handy many times. Terri Ryan is an amazing dog training class instructor since 1968 and president of Legacy Canine Behavior & Training, Inc., a business started in 1974.

Top Pick 3) Don't Shoot the Dog

This book is a must for the dog trainer or owner who wants to learn how dogs learn. However, this book is very versatile, since many psychological approaches apply to human-kind as well. Karen Pryor, behavioral biologist, pioneering dolphin trainer, and expert on applied operant conditioning, brings her expertise in an engaging read that has a lot to offer. The 10 laws for shaping behaviors, effective methods for stopping unwanted behaviors and much more is tackled in this great book. The new edition offers more up-to-date research and new ideas. Over all, the book is easy to read and explains not-so easy concepts in plain English.

Top Pick 5) The Culture Clash A Revolutionary New Way to Understanding the Relationship Between Humans and Domestic Dogs

Jean Donaldson is a dog trainer and owner of Renaissance Dog Training in Montreal, Canada. She has have earned numerous titles in the sports of obedience, tracking and Flyball. As one of the the most sought after speakers in both the U.S. and Canada Jean Donaldson, brings her expertise in canine topics. Her book does a very good job in outlining the differences between humans and dogs and how society has portrayed dogs in a ''Disney approach''. This book is a great read as it puts readers in a dog's perspective so to better understand behaviors. A nice section on how dogs learn helps any aspiring trainer get a better grasp on learning theory.

Top Pick 6) On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals

Dogs send a variety of subtle signals which Turid Rugaas interprets in this nicely illustrated books. The Norwegian dog trainer and behavior expert deciphers them as ''calming signals'' specifically used to avoid conflict and bring peace. This book is a must for dog trainers so they can better understand signs of stress in dogs and be better capable of understanding body language. The book is also much appreciated by dog owners as well especially those who wish to learn more about their canine companions. More than 30 ''calming signals'' are portrayed in this book. The chance for humans to use calming signals as well, adds a nice, interesting twist to this book.

Top Pick 7) The Other End of the Leash

Applied animal behaviorist and reputable dog trainer with more than twenty years experience, Dr. Patricia McConnell offers a great read with an addicting style that engages readers. This book tackles the dog's mind but in an intriguing matter. Humans are portrayed as dog illiterates and are often ridiculed for their primate-like behaviors. Culture contrasts of two different species are put face-to-face but the end result is a better understanding of why we behave certain ways with dogs and why things do not work out as desired.


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