Puppy Training

Jack Stephens, Librarian, Science, Technology & Patents Department,
Boxer pups
from tessa.lapl.org: Valley Times Photo Collection, [1950]

The MarketWatch news portal reported on May 20, National Rescue Dog Day, that pet adoptions had “seen a spike” during the recent nation-wide lockdowns as people sought companionship, a distraction from the news, and a sense of purpose, among other stated reasons. It is reported there that while there had been concern that the pandemic would lead to shelters being overwhelmed by people abandoning their dogs, the reverse has been the case, with a surge in adoptions and foster placements. Many people have stated that they will be spending lots of time at home anyway.

For those who may have adopted a puppy recently—or who may appreciate a bit of inspiration to do so now—below is a selection of recent ebooks on the subject of puppy training. Several are either for kids or very colorful, easy reads, and obviously intended to be read by parents and children together. Others are more in-depth and technical, even for those intending to train dogs for a living. All of the featured titles emphasize that puppy training is a time-intensive process, but time at home is something that many of us still have in abundance.

Puppy Training Reading List

Book cover for Modern Dog Parenting
Modern Dog Parenting
Hodgson, Sarah

The emphasis in this 2016 book is on positive methods of training, using rewards rather than punishment. The back cover blurb states that the author’s training methods “are endorsed by the American Veterinarian Medical Association, the American Humane Society, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, among others.”

Book cover for The Happy Puppy Handbook
The Happy Puppy Handbook
Mattinson, Pippa

This book from a UK zoologist and dog training professional is divided up into three sections: preparing for your puppy, life with your puppy, and problem-solving. The book includes chapter summaries that pull out what the reader should take from each chapter, together with previews of future chapters.

Book cover for The Ultimate Guide to Puppy Care and Training
The Ultimate Guide to Puppy Care and Training
Libby, Tracy

This book by a widely recognized pet-care writer features a large section on puppy health care. The back cover blurb states that the author “has written for Dog Fancy, Dog World, Puppies USA, Dogs USA, Modern Dog, and the AKC Gazette.” The book also features extensive coverage of where to look for a puppy.

Book cover for Akc Star Puppy: A Positive Behavioral Approach to Puppy Training
Akc Star Puppy: A Positive Behavioral Approach to Puppy Training
Burch, Mary R.

The AKC in the title of this book stands for American Kennel Club, and this book is an official publication. The introduction states, “Using scientifically validated behavioral methods, this book provides how-to tips to demonstrate mastery of the twenty skills required for earning the AKC S.T.A.R Puppy certificate and medal.”

Book cover for The American Kennel Club's Train Your Puppy Right
The American Kennel Club's Train Your Puppy Right

Another official publication of the American Kennel Club, this book is more informal than the previous one, with many color glossy photos of puppies. Where the former is perhaps more direct towards individuals who wish to train puppies as a career, the present book is more for families who need a guide to the basics.

Book cover for Brad Pattison's Puppy Book
Brad Pattison's Puppy Book
Pattison, Brad

Canadian animal trainer and “human-being life coach” Brad Pattison’s book advertises itself as “pretty much everything a new dog owner needs to know.” The book has chapters that follow your puppy through its first year of life, from choosing the right breeder and your puppy’s “first day in your pack” to the “juvenile period” on to “your pup’s first year.”

Book cover for Puppy Training for Kids
Puppy Training for Kids
Pelar, Colleen

Actually a book for children ages 9-12 at 96 pages, this book has thorough coverage of supplies, housebreaking, behavior and fun things to do with your puppy. Sidebar features advise parents on guiding their children towards responsible dog ownership. Common mistakes kids make in interacting with dogs are anticipated and cautioned against.

Book cover for The Art of Raising a Puppy
The Art of Raising a Puppy
Monks of New Skete

The Eastern Orthodox Monastery of New Skete in Cambridge, New York have bred and trained German Shepherd dogs for over 40 years. This revision of their popular 1991 book on training puppies opens with a treatment of the early life of a dog week by week, and includes sections on preparation, foundations of dog training, and continues with discussion of communication, play, and feeding.

Book cover for Puppy Training
Puppy Training
McLennan, Bardi

This is another informal guide for new puppy owners, with many color glossy photographs and sidebars to make for light reading. The back cover states that the book is “endorsed and supported by Dog Fancy magazine.” As the guide for kids above, this book would be appropriate to read with one’s children to learn about life with puppies.

Book cover for 51 Puppy Tricks
51 Puppy Tricks
Sundance, Kyra

Another very easy to read book with many huge color glossy close-up photos, many with funny captions, the book is entertaining in itself. The tricks in the book are grouped by type of skill involved and according to their level of difficulty. Step-by-step photo demonstrations are very helpful.

Book cover for Before & After Getting Your Puppy
Before & After Getting Your Puppy
Dunbar, Ian

The British-born author has his veterinary degree and a special honors degree in Physiology & Biochemistry from the Royal Veterinary College and a doctorate in animal behavior from U.C. Berkeley. Dr Dunbar’s positive approach to dog training focused around toys, treats, and games instead of correction and punishment influenced the practice of dog training, including the more recent books in this list.