Good Books On Positive Training Techniques

New titles on positive training offer instruction and encouragement.


As the holidays approach, many of us are on the lookout for gift ideas. Good books are always a great and easy choice for your dog-loving friends, especially (in my view) good books about positive training techniques and theories based on sound scientific principles of behavior and learning.

The training field is now producing a steady stream of books that offer instruction and guidance, and many of them appear to promote dog-friendly training methods. But you can’t always judge a book by its cover! It’s more than disappointing to order a promising volume with a “positive” title, only to discover that hidden within the pages are suggestions to jerk on collars, glare into your dog’s eyes, and worse.

Unfortunately for the average dog owner, many of the best books are either published by small houses or self-published, which means they may never appear on the shelves of large chain bookstores. We rely heavily on a specialty distributor, DogWise (at 800-776-2665 or, to learn about and order dog books.

Here are eight of our favorite new books (from 2001 or 2002) about behavior or gentle, dog-friendly training. All of these books are free of training methods that are based on force or intimidation. We’ve also included a guide to help you decide which of your friends each of the books is best suited for:

N = Novice Dog Owner. Good, simple, basic training and care information.

I = Intermediate Dog Owner. Beyond basic; still easy for the lay reader to follow.

P = Professional, Aspiring Professional, or Advanced Dog Owner. Presents more technical information and/or requires more serious commitment to dog training.

Note that some books may be appropriate for two or even all three categories.