If you are looking for the best dog training book or course out there that you can use as a guide in training your dog, you have come to the right place. There are many many of these courses and books available, and it is often not clear which books are the real deal and which are just hype and fluff.
I have picked out here the very best dog training books / courses that I like a lot, and have put down my personal assessment of these, complete with the pros and cons of each. Hopefully you will find these helpful in choosing the one that is right for you. Most of these best dog training books also offer a free chapter or sample lesson, which is a good place to begin, so that you don't waste your money purchasing products that don't work for you.
Secrets to Dog Training
This top-rated dog training course is truly one of the best.
The Pawsitives: I am not kidding when I say this is a comprehensive course. There is a very detailed book, as well as a video. The book is divided into 3 levels, starting with whether dog ownership is right for you and how to choose a puppy, going on to basic commands and problems with behavior, and then to more advanced training and bonding with your dog. Also, one of the big strengths of going with this course is access to a very active forum, focused on dog training and behavior problems -- very useful indeed. One last point I'll squeeze in here is that various dog behavioral problems are addressed in depth here. One thing that I think is really useful is the free 6 day course that they offer -- that's a great way to find out if this is really the course for you, without wasting any money if it isn't!
The Negatives: This course really provides a lot of information, so it can be somewhat time consuming to get through the whole book. However, it is very well organized, and so it easily possible to focus on sections that are of interest to you.
The Bottom Line: If you are interested in a truly comprehensive course for training your dog, or are interested in addressing specific problem behaviors, this is the course for you.
Dove Cresswell's Puppy Training & Dog Training Online
This multi-media course is designed and conducted by famous Hollywood trainer Dove Cresswell. She has trained pet stars for several movies, TV shows and commercials.
The Pawsitives: The lessons are crisp and short, and are narrated in a lively voice. This is great because if you are really busy and don't have the time to read through a lot of pages at a time, you can listen to one quick lesson at a time and try it out with your Golden. Also, because these lessons include audio, you can hear how the inflections of the voice should be when using a particular command. (These inflections actually end up being pretty important in your interactions with your dog). The lessons also include several in-context pictures, which are a helpful accompaniment to the audio lessons. In addition, you can send emails to Dove directly if you have any specific questions.
The Negatives: This course is not as comprehensive as some of the other courses I have seen.
The Bottom Line: Quick Multi-media lessons which are great for people who don't have a tremendous amount of time to train their dog.
This dog training book is written by Sharda Baker, who has scoured all the dog training books out there, and talked to as many dog trainers as she could.
The Pawsitives: This e-book is certainly very comprehensive. Every problem that I could think of -- from housetraining to dealing with separation anxiety, from walking on a leash to dealing with aggression, from the "come" command to dealing with travel related issues -- was addressed in this book. Each topic is well described, and the steps to take are clearly outlined. Private e-mail consultation is also available to deal with specific issues. To top it all, this course is very reasonably priced, and is a really good deal.
The Negatives: This book is not written by a "professional" dog trainer. But I think a self-taught trainer who could put together such a comprehensive program is no worse than someone who may have fancier credentials!
The Bottom Line: A reasonably priced and extremely comprehensive course.
Clickertraining - The 4 Secrets of Becoming a Supertrainer
This dog training book is written by Norwegian clicker trainers Morten Egtvedt and Cecilie Koeste. With their flat-coated retrievers, Morten and Cecilie have been top competitors in obedience and tracking. They have qualified for the Norwegian Championships many times with a bronsemedal as their best result. Morten and Ceci also have 18 years of experience with training search and rescue dogs.
The Pawsitives: The clicker method of training is one which strengthens the bond between the owner and the dog. The book discusses how any desired behavior can be marked with a click, which is a consistent and immediate marker, and which the dog clearly understands. By planning lessons properly, your Golden Retriever can be taught pretty much any behavior of which he is capable. And most importantly, all of this is done by positive reinforcement alone, without the use of punishments.
The Negatives: The clicker method of training is very different from conventional dog training, and requires somewhat of a methodology shift. If you have been practicing conventional training with your dog, both you and he may take some time to understand some new methods of communication.
The Bottom Line: I would highly recommend this for anyone who wants to strengthen further the bond with their Golden, who is willing to invest some time and effort to do this, and who wants to teach their dog amazing behaviors such as fetching a beer from the fridge!