When searching for a dog training book, it is important to narrow down your choice to type of training and specifics of what behaviors you want to create. For example:
If you are a newbie in the dog world, it’s impossible to know what your needs are. The famous line “what you don’t know, you never knew” fits perfectly in this situation. What you don’t want at this stage of your dog training career, is something specific to either breed or advanced behaviors.
What you are looking for is a general training book that describes:
1) Some background about dogs in general
2) Some information on dog behavior basics and temperament (in both puppies and dogs). There really is not a lot of difference between the two
3) A complete explanation of Operant Conditioning a/k/a Clicker Training
4) A detailed explanation of how to apply what you just read about Operant Conditioning into practice (i.e. treats, timing, reinforcements, etc…)
5) A step by step of how to physically train the basic obedience behaviors with examples and illustrations
6) Most importantly — and something that most books don’t cover, Is troubleshooting. (What if your dog has not read the book, and is not on the same page, cooperating with the training?)
Unfortunately, since you can’t pick it up and page through it, it is difficult to know via the internet if a certain book is the best choice for your newbie needs. Therefore, all that remains for you is to pack up and take a trip to your local bookstore, where you can thumb through to your heart’s content and discard all the books that don’t fit the above criteria .
Life is a bit different once you have done some training and the above rudiments are under your belt. Now we can be more selective and specific about our reading material. We can let our interests fly toward any of the various doggie pursuits (i.e. Agility, Flyball, Schutzhund, etc. etc. etc.) Or, we can find literature centered on handling the myriad of individual problems everyone faces training their dog. For example, you just can’t get your dog to go potty outside. Well, there are dozens of books in print to cover that one area alone. Or how about hunters working on the retrieve? Or go after a specific training technique like Positive Reinforcement Training. How about the books dedicated to the research and study of individual breeds? The list of dog related subjects can go on forever.
Once a person is bitten by the Dog Bug, (in any of the dog sports) the goal is to acquire as much information as possible, about their subject. Therefore, you would be hard-pressed to find any dedicated dog fancier, who doesn’t have at least a small fortune tied up in books.
One of the tricks to finding appropriate reading material for study and practice, is to follow a certain author who adheres to the same principles and values you hold as a trainer. You can also check out the reviews of books in just about any of the Dog Publications, or online.
Hopefully, this little tutorial will help point you in the general direction towards finding the best dog training books for both you and your dog. Just remember, don’t break the bank expanding your collection.