After adopting our sweet puppy Kaylee last December, I went on something of a puppy-book reading-rampage! I read nine books on dog training over the next couple of months, and while almost all of them were helpful to some degree or another, six of them made a bigger impression on me than the others, and several of them I LOVED. Here are my favorite dog-training / puppy-raising books, in increasing order of favorite-ness:
#6 and #5 Dog Talk: Training Your Dog Through a Canine Point of View and Puppy Preschool by John Ross and Barbara McKinney
Both of these books contain helpful ideas and suggestions, though occasionally they advocate being unnecessarily dominant, so I wouldn't use them as your sole source. They also overlap a good bit, so I would recommend just picking one, and mostly using it like an encyclopedia.... like, "hmmm we're having trouble with those long stays... lets flip that section and see if anything is helpful." I wouldn't bother with reading either of them cover to cover unless this trainer's style really jives with you.
#4 Cesar's Rules: Your Way to Train a Well-Behaved Dog by Cesar Millan
I enjoyed this one and found it helpful, but there was overlap between it and How to Raise the Perfect Dog -- I would read the other one first unless you don't find the memoir style appealing. A quick note about Cesar Millan: he has kind of a cult following because of The Dog Whisperer (which I haven't ever watched btw -- most of the online drama regarding him seems to stem from the show rather than any of his books), but I neither view him as a god nor as imposter... my suggestion is always to benefit from the ideas that make sense for you and your situation, and let the rest go.
#3 30 Days to A Well-Mannered Dog: The Loved Dog Method by Tamar Geller
This and the next two books are all kind of a tie for my favorite books on raising dogs... so I guess you'll just have to read all of them! ;P This book is a day-by-day guide for implementing the ideas and philosophies in The Loved Dog below. SUCH a powerful mindset for relating to your dog and establishing a mutually respectful relationship!
#2 How to Raise the Perfect Dog: From Puppyhood and Beyond by Cesar Millan.
This book is not so much of a book of instruction; it is more of a memoir, taking us step-by-step through the journey of four new dog owners raising their puppies towards a balanced, harmonious adulthood, with Cesar guiding them each step of the way (*jealous*). The title isn't just Cesar trying to sell books through hyperbole -- he really does believe that if you are deliberate and aware when choosing and raising your puppy, you can end up with the "perfect dog" every time. Note the word "choosing" -- you will want to read this book BEFORE bringing your new little four legged family member home, because it includes plenty of tips and instruction for how to determine that the puppy you choose has a budding personality that will mesh well with that of your family and environment (so does Dog Talk and Puppy Preschool, for that matter). Note: the "friendliest" puppy isn't always the one you want.
#1 The Loved Dog: The Playful, Nonviolent Way to Teach Your Dog Good Behavior by Tamar Geller
This book is wonderful! Similarly to the Cesar Milan book above, it is part memoir, part "how to", which makes it very readable from cover to cover. Tamar shares her evolution in thought for relating to dogs, beginning with her observations of the harsh training methods utilized by the Israeli army to her current system of loving, playful, respectful training. These philosophies have, by far, done the most to shape the way I relate to my dog... I am SO glad I came across this author when I did. I highly recommend reading her. *hugs Ms Geller via internet* ;) There is also a DVD showing her methods -- I haven't watched it yet but it is super cheap on Amazon so I will be watching it soon! I suspect it will be a good option if you're short on time or just would like to see the Loved Dog strategies in action.
In case you're curious, here are the other three dog books I read that didn't make the cut, with quick notes about each.
The Everything New Puppy Book, by Carlo DeVito -- An approachable, although not exhaustive, basic book about puppies. A good overview though.
The Dog Whisperer, by Paul Owens -- A helpful foundation of information on raising a dog, but includes some old information and dated approaches (edit: I just discovered that there is an updated edition, so that one might be very worth checking out!)
How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With, by Clarice Rutherford -- I don't recommend this one, the advice was quite dated and overly dominant. I think you'll make it without this one though, you have plenty of other options to pick from! ;P (edit: this one also has multiple editions, so if you do decide to read it just make sure you have the most recent and maybe that would help with the issues I had with it)
If you have an awesome resource for dog training that you think I should check out, please let me know in the comments! I am always interested in learning more... as I was putting this post together I remembered that I had heard really good things about this one too... so it's definitely next on my list!
Since you've read all the way to the bottom you're probably a dog lover, so be sure to check out my Friday Frivolity posts starring hilarious puppehs! You can find those here and here. :)
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