Many dog training books still start with the maxim that you as a owner should establish clear obedience rules, define boundaries and assert yourself as the leader of the pack.
A newer, more efficient and dog-friendly approach considers that perfect obedience is not possible without bonding with your puppy first.
Building a meaningful bond with your dog start with choosing a dog personality that fits with your own personality. Many dog-human relationships fail, not because of inadequate dog training, but simply because the dog breed or dog personality does not fit with the life style or temperament of the dog's owner. A low energy and passive person will clash with a dominant and demanding dog.
The author of the first book we have selected spends a good amount of time explaining how one's level of activity and lifestyle should match the dog's level of activity and temperament. Particularly if you are gone all day and don't have energy for an active dog, you'll be happier with an older dog. She makes a great case for adopting older dogs, which can perfectly adapt to a new home at any age.
Most of the books on this page are based on positive reinforcement methods of training and operant conditioning, i.e. setting up lots of situations where the dog can succeed, catching your dog doing things right and responding in a manner that reinforces that behavior.
The rewarding part of using positive reinforcement is that you, as an owner, are no longer looking for things that your dog is doing wrong, but instead, are actively looking for all the good things your dog does!
Imagine Life with a Well-Behaved Dog: A 3-Step Positive Dog-Training Program
by Julie A. Bjelland
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (March 30, 2010)
Julie Bjelland talks about 'structure' and 'communication' rather than 'rules' and 'boundaries' as do the classic dog training books. She offers all the information you need to make your dog confident, secure and able to understand and follow rules. More information:
Bonding with Your Dog: A Trainer's Secrets for Building a Better Relationship
by Victoria Schade
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Howell Book House; 1 edition (2009)
This book reveals that a successful relationship between you and your dog isn't about establishing yourself as the pack leader, but about building a meaningful bond. The author explains how this bond forms the core of the entire relationship between you and your dog; if it's lacking, it's the primary source of any frustration you may be having with your dog. More information:
More Dog behavior books:
Bonding with your Dog
(Building a meaningful bond with your Puppy)
101 Dog Tricks:
Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond with Your Dog
by Kyra Sundance
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Quarry Books (April 1, 2007)
Brain Games for Dogs:
Fun Ways to Build a Strong Bond with Your Dog and Provide It with Vital Mental Stimulation
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Firefly Books (2010)
The author explains the importance of mental stimulation to help build a strong bond between a dog and its owner. She also explains how to use hand signals and incorporate mental challenges and learning into everyday activities.
Positive Reinforcement: Training Dogs in the Real World
by Brenda Aloff
Paperback: 207 pages
Publisher: TFH Publications (August 2001)
The author makes it clear that all dogs are trainable if you know how to communicate with them clearly using the most gentle and effective way.
Operant conditioning is a specific type of learning whereby behaviors are altered or changed primarily by manipulating the consequences that follow them.
30 Days to a Well-Mannered Dog: The Loved Dog Method
by Tamar Geller
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Gallery; 1 edition (October 12, 2010)
The Culture Clash: A Revolutionary New Way to Understanding the Relationship Between Humans and Domestic Dogs
by Jean Donaldson
The Culture Clash is very distinct from other, main-stream dog training books. The book offers an engagingly-written set of essays on positive-reinforcement, operant-conditioning dog training. The idea is to create the right setting for your dog to succeed, and then rewarding for correct behavior rather than punishing it for mistakes.
The Art of Raising a Puppy
by the Monks of New Skete
Paperback: 274 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1st edition (1991)
The monks of New Skete have been breeding and training dogs at their New York monastery for more than 20 years. Their philosophy of raising dogs accentuates the essential human-canine bond, whereby owners must learn to understand a dog's instincts, needs, and behavior.
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Raising, Housebreaking and Training
Cesar's Way :
The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems
by Cesar Millan, Melissa Jo Peltier
The Well-Connected Dog:
A Guide to Canine Acupressure
by Amy Snow
This well-researched book presents the traditional theory in an easily digestible way. The basic principles are explained in a way that is easy to understand and apply, even for beginners.
So Your Dogs Not Lassie: Tips for Training Difficult Dogs and Independent Breeds
by Betty Fisher, Suzanne Delzio
Paperback: 281 p. Publisher: HarperResource; 1st ed (1998)
Contrary to what is usually written, not all dogs want to earn their
owner's approval. This book focuses on free-thinking, very
independent, highly energetic, distractable or dominant dogs.
The first few chapters cover dog behavior, equipment & logistics, becoming alpha of your "pack", body language, rewards, and treats. For the specific exercises, the author uses her own bulldogs as examples and explains exactly how to teach your dog the exercise, the steps to reaching the end result (ex. basic heeling to competition level heeling), and some common problems you might encounter.