In honor of National Pet Day, we thought we’d focus on books for new pet owners, specifically dog owners. But as we all know, pet day is every day and whether you just got a new puppy or you’re a veteran dog parent, these books can serve as a valuable resource for whatever stage of pet ownership you’re in. Here we’ve compiled a selection of books, audiobooks, and podcasts dedicated to making man’s best friend less likely to pee on your carpet or shred your socks, among other things that you will undoubtedly forgive them for.
Struggling to housebreak your pup or keep them from stealing your stuff? The Dog's Mind offers a strong foundation for training techniques. This book helps you better understand why your dog is acting the way he is — from explaining how dogs function under stress and how they learn to how they relate to you as their owner. While it won’t change your dog’s behavior, it can change how you interpret the behavior, and that alone can lead to a major shift.
If you want results fast, start with this handy guidebook. Author McMillan is a celebrity dog trainer and Emmy-winning star of the CBS show Lucky Dog. He breaks down dog training into seven common commands — sit, stay, down, come, off, heel, and no — and helps even the toughest cases become model pups, and he insists you can do it in a week. McMillan also shares plenty of real life experiences and big challenges, which makes for a fun and engaging read.
If you prefer a reference book that you can flip through to find the exact issue you’re struggling with (your dog took your favorite sock and won’t give it back, for instance), Dog Training For Dummies is that quick-hit guide. It’s a massive volume — 625 pages — that runs through many primary issues that you can find quickly, which is great when time is of the essence.
Donaldson’s training academy has been called the "Harvard for dog trainers and behavioral counselors.” Here, she shares pro-level secrets of dog training. Her book is packed with effective, easy to understand tips for dogs of all ages, including some tips for teaching an old dog new tricks. Because Donaldson is also the bestselling author of The Culture Clash, she respects and appreciates that your dog is a valuable member of the family.
This short, 32-minute audiobook covers the basics of dog training. It’s the ideal pick for someone who wants an overview but doesn’t want to commit to reading a dog-training tome. It’s an excellent starting point, covering the basics of house training, socialization, basic commands, and some tips on how to integrate training into daily life. Start here if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
If you have a new pup, put this podcast on your playlist. Debbie, a trainer with a focus on positive reinforcement, helps you tackle puppy training basics like teaching your dog to stay or quiet loud barks. It also lays out how to actually make time for training practice, and tackles even more health-based questions like if puppies need raw food diets.
Need a quick hit about dog training to remind you of the importance of setting aside time to work with your dog on new tricks and behavior adjustments? Enter the fun podcast Sexier Than A Squirrel: Dog Training That Gets Real Life Results. In it, Tom Mitchell, veterinary behaviorist, and Lauren Langman, international agility competitor and professional dog trainer, talk about a plethora of issues like dealing with pup-to-pup introductions, handling encounters with unpredictable dogs, chewing issues, and how to get your whole family involved with training. The 15-minute podcast comes out weekly, so it’s easy to tune in for quick inspiration.
Even if your dog is well-trained, if he or she isn’t feeling challenged or enriched, you may start to notice some unwanted behaviors popping in. In Canine Enrichment for the Real World, Bender and Strong argue that our dogs need space to explore their natural instincts, whether that means tunneling in the backyard or making a game out of dinnertime. This book will make you look at your interactions with your pup in a whole new light.
Decoding Your Dog: Explaining Common Dog Behaviors and How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones by American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, John Ciribassi and Steve Dale
That’s right, there is actually an American College of Veterinary Behaviorists — and they’re here to help you understand why the heck the UPS guy sends your dog into a barking frenzy, yet the FedEx guy doesn’t bother him at all. This book explains common dog reactions, and helps you feel confident about taking behavioral matters into your own hands: It’s not the dog’s fault he’s reacting the way he is, you may simply not be giving him the right guidance.
Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook by Debra M. Eldredge, DVM, Liisa D. Carlson, DVM, Delbert G. Carlson, DVM and James M. Giffin, MD
You may not need this book right now, but add it to your saved list so you have it on hand in case of an emergency. While it’s tempting to panic when your dog sneezes, this book helps you quickly identify symptoms and next steps to common ailments. It includes tons of photos and illustrations so you can pinpoint how to get them the best care possible. While most dog illnesses and injuries should be dealt with by your vet, knowing a bit more about your dog’s overall body and health will help you better explain issues to the vet, and provide emergency care in the meantime.