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Best Puppy Training Books

The Best Puppy Training Books for 2020

Just so we are clear, our dogs showed no interest whatsoever in reading any of the books, so here’s our take on them. If there is a new puppy in your life, it’s always a good idea (even for experienced dog owners), to refresh their memories.

Below are our 5 best puppy training books. Any one of them is an excellent way to achieve great results in equipping you with all the skills to positively train your pup. If you are fortunate enough to have a puppy class close by, these will be an excellent addition. Socialization is a big part of owning a puppy. It may even be the most important.

It is a pleasure to take a happy friendly dog to your local dog park for their daily exercise. It isn’t so pleasant to own the dog that growls at others, and it is just plain sad to see a fully grown dog at a park with other dogs that doesn’t know how to play. Some dogs are naturally friendly and will love everyone. The dogs that don’t have the chance to make friends early in life, will need training so they have fun when meeting new doggy friends.

Obedience is necessary for your own sanity. No one wants to own the naughty dog, but also for safety reasons. It might protect your little puppy from danger, knowing to sit by a road crossing and wait for a command to cross, or understanding a leave command if he or she wants to sniff the not so nice snake on a camping trip.

Training is most effective when it’s begun early, before any problems develop.  Here are the best puppy training books we love.

All our best puppy training books rely on positive reinforcement methods only. There are some important reasons why.

Why Use Positive Reinforcement Training Methods On Your Puppy?

The basic principle of positive reinforcement training, is that you ignore behaviors that aren’t desired while rewarding behaviors that are. Rewards are often treats, but they don’t have to be. Dogs and puppies can be rewarded with vocal praise, pats, playtime, and other things they enjoy. All dogs love to be told they are a good girl or boy, no matter their age. Positive reinforcement has some great benefits for owners and dogs, including:

It promotes bonding and communication

Positive reinforcement builds trust and understanding between you and your puppy. Instead of using intimidation to discourage unwanted behaviors, which may confuse puppies, simply reward the behaviors you want. Your puppy will have a natural desire to please you. Positive reinforcement helps you and your dog work together in training, instead of against each other.

Can it be practiced by everyone in the family?

Not every family member may be able to safely and effectively practice some traditional training techniques, like leash correction. Some of these techniques require the trainer to be physically strong or verbally stern, and it can be difficult for children. That introduces inconsistencies in training, which makes it less effective. On the other hand, everyone in the family can pet a dog or give a treat, so everyone can  be involved in positive reinforcement.

Works on (virtually) every dog for a huge range of behaviors

Once your dog is attuned to seeking rewards from you, you can apply positive reinforcement in almost any situation. Other dog training techniques may be more situation-specific.   Positive reinforcement works on dogs that are anxious, aggressive, shy, etc.

Positive Dog Training is fun!

When training sessions are positive, dogs quickly begin to view them as a game, which makes training fun for everyone. If a dog is having a good time learning new tricks and behaviors is easy, and you get to enjoy their progress.

Do I Need Other Equipment to Positivley Train a Puppy?

A lot of owners wonder if, in addition to getting a puppy training book, do they need other equipment to effectively train their dog. Here are some of the things you may need to make training easier and your dog more receptive:


Treats are the fastest and easiest way to get a puppy’s attention. But, it’s important to reward your puppy in a variety of ways, and not just with treats. Offer them praise, pats, their favorite toy, a play session, and other things they enjoy as well as treats.

A clicker

Clicker training is an effective technique and a lot of trainers recommend them. A clicker is affordable and easy to incorporate into your training. The only drawback of clicker training a puppy is a 24/7 effort. Particularly in the first weeks, and you may not remember to always, always have the clicker at the ready when your pup is around.

5 Best (3)

Best Puppy Training Books Review

The Art of Raising a Puppy by the Monks of New Skete monastery. Reflects on the lessons and information they have learned over the 30 years of raising dogs in Cambridge, New York. The book gives a lot of insight into puppy behavior and motivation, with stories and examples of how to both train with and bond with a new puppy.


The book teaches a variety of techniques that focus on positive reinforcement only and is worth re-reading for every new puppy in your life. This book is a classic bestseller with gorgeous photos and moving stories about dogs and human relationships.


  • Focus on bonding and creating a positive environment for the puppy
  • Great explanation of puppy behaviors and development stages


  • Lacking some specific, how-to training techniques, so it's not an all-in-one puppy training book

Brandon McMillan is a celebrity dog trainer who’s CBS show Lucky Dog has won an Emmy award. In Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog in 7 Days, he teaches his system for how to train even difficult dogs in just 7 days.

With his experience training thousands of dogs, McMillan shares how to build a trusting relationship with a dog. Training them in his 7 Common Commands: sit, stay, down, come, off, heel, and no. 

Then he talks about overcoming common dog behavior problems, tips and tricks. Full of illustrative examples, heartwarming stories and behind-the-scenes insights into his show.


  • Teaches basic commands with positive reinforcement only
  • Practical techniques that are thoroughly explained and illustrated
  • Great for people who are fans of the show, but familiarity with Brandon and the show isn't necessary


  • Book contains a lot of references to McMillan’s other products and training tools, which feels sometimes like you have to buy more things to train a dog

Author Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz was a dog trainer, famous for training the dogs of Senator Kennedy and then the White House dog, Bo Obama. A dog living in the White House needs exceptional training. Sylvia-Stasiewicz’s methods focus on positive reinforcement and bonding properly with your pet. Her techniques are meant to preserve the spirit and personality of the dog, rather than make dogs unnaturally docile and passive. But still being able to correct behavioral  problems.

The book includes specific, hands-on techniques and examples. It also has helpful features like a checklist of things to have before bringing your new dog home. The book has training logs so you can track the training process. After the first 5 weeks of foundational training, she introduces extra games and techniques you can teach your dog including stopping your dog from jumping up.  In these advanced lessons, Dawn recommends that you need a clicker.

The book is well-organized and easy to read, with proven effective dog training methods. It was awarded by the Dog Writers Association of America  “Best Training and Behavior Book” and is recommended by the American Kennel Club


  • Positive reinforcement only, with effective techniques
  • Basic training and skills don't require a clicker
  • Lots of helpful information for new dog owners
  • Has adult dog training techniques as well


  • Some people find their copies of this book have missing or out-of-order pages and chapters

Kaelin Munkelwitz studied animal science and is the founder of a dog training center in California. Over the years, she has become the premier dog trainer to celebrities, influencers and ranked on Forbes’ Magazine “30 under 30” list.

In The Puppy Training Handbook, she distills all her experience into a book. Packed with simple, clear, effective positive techniques for training a puppy.

The book is easy to read and the instructions are easy to follow. Her methods don’t require a clicker, and are fast and effective.


  • The book is fast to read, easy to follow, and has effective lessons
  • Methods rely on positive reinforcement and don't require a clicker
  • Sections address how to correct specific behavior issues


  • The book has some editing problems that make it confusing, and sometimes refers to videos which aren't included in the text

Author Brandon White doesn’t share any personal background or expertise that forms the basis for this book. focusing solely on puppy psychology, training tips, and problem-solving techniques. It’s well-organized, and is helpful for a first-time dog owner, with information about nutrition, treats, and other dog basics.


  • Has a lot of basic, fundamental information about dogs and puppies
  • Easy to read


  • Not many first-hand experiences or anecdotes; it's all general advice and information

Our Pick

Our pick for the best puppy training book is Training the Best Dog Ever. The love-based approach to training dogs and puppies, is filled with practical, real-world experiences and solutions. It is a well written book that will guide you through the formative months teaching puppies their manners and little tricks.

Her methods work on puppies, adult dogs, and for re-training previously trained dogs. The program takes just 5 weeks, and covers everything from potty training to socializing. The system doesn’t require a clicker to be effective, and it’s been proven effective even in the high-stress environment of the White House.  The book is available in Kindle or paperback and has (as time of writing) 4.5 star average rating with over 500 reviews.