Melissa’s Top 10 Dog Training Books

Melissa's Top 10 Training Books

By: Melissa Kolmar, CPDT-KA

There are a TON of dog training books out there covering every topic and philosophy you can think of. These are my top ten!

By Sue Brown, MNM, CDBC, CPDT-KA
Book Description: You love your dog, and he does behave well some of the time. But at times your patience and sanity are put to the test! Your dog is not a bad dog, but he can behave like a juvenile delinquent at times. While we think of juvenile delinquents as adolescents or teenagers, juvenile delinquent dogs can be any age: puppies, adolescents, adults and sometimes even seniors. Whether your dog is an adolescent or just an adolescent at heart, this book is for you.


  • Develop and monitor realistic expectations with our Goals and Expectations Worksheet
  • Determine whether your dog’s needs are being met
  • Use management to prevent bad behaviors
  • Most effectively communicate with and train your dog so he listens to you
  • Get a well-behaved dog who makes good choices
  • Properly socialize your dog
  • Resolve ANY behavior problem by using our Problem Solving Model along with detailed instructions for 24 of the most common dog behavior problems


2. Control Unleashed: Creating a Focused and Confident Dog
By Leslie McDevitt, MLA, CDBC, CPDT
Book Description: Learn how to turn stress to confidence and distraction to focus using methods that are 110% positive. Leslie McDevitt’s versatile Control Unleashed program is designed to help “dogs with issues” learn how to relax, focus, and work off-leash reliably in either stimulating or stressful situations. Whether you’re training a challenging dog on your own, an instructor trying to figure out how to help dogs in your classes, or an instructor who wants to design a special program just for stressed out dogs, this book is for you. Who needs Control Unleashed? Dogs that are uncomfortable or unable to work off lead around other dogs Dog that are easily distracted and have difficulty concentrating Dogs that are reactive or easily aroused Dogs that are anxious or stressed and shut down Dog that are unable to control their impulses when excited This training program can change your dog’s life!


3. Making Dogs Happy: A Guide to How They Think, What They Do (and Don’t) Want, and Getting to “Good Dog!” Behavior
By Dr. Melissa Starling and Professor Paul McGreevy
Book Description: “Why does my dog do that?” It’s a question every dog owner has asked—whether their best friend is growling at an unseen foe, or rolling in an objectionable scent. Now, world-leading canine experts and fellow dog-lovers Melissa Starling and Paul McGreevy are here with all the answers:

  • How dogs use body language to communicate (with both people and other dogs)
  • What motivates dogs (and what doesn’t)
  • Rules for canine contentment (for example, most dogs don’t enjoy hugging)
  • Subtle signs of discomfort, stress, and fear (like lip licking)
  • And even how to choose the furry companion that’s right for you.

In Making Dogs Happy, you’ll learn to see the world as your dog does— full of goals to pursue, resources to guard, and stressors to avoid. Using that knowledge, you’ll be able to communicate with (and train) your dog so that they’re the happiest hound on the block. Decode your dog’s emotions and behaviors—and be the best dog parent you can be.

By Pat Miller, CPDT-KA
Book Description: A renowned dog trainer gives you the positive training tools you need to share a lifetime of fun, companionship, and respect with your dog. Plus, you’ll get: information on the importance of observing, understanding, and reacting appropriately to your dog’s body language; instructions on how to phase out the use of a clicker and treats to introduce more advanced training concepts; a diary to track progress; suggestions for treats your dog will respond to; and a glossary of training terms.
Book Description: In this updated edition, Paul Owens and Norma Eckroate offer more in-depth training with additional notes, tips, and problem-solving to make training even easier! In addition to the bestselling nonviolent training features that made the prior edition a classic, this second edition includes:
  • Updated material on the power of non-force training
  • Information on the newest, most effective gear for all levels of training
  • A new tricks section that will provide fun for both you and your dog

With guidance from The Dog Whisperer, 2nd Edition, you’ll learn compassionate training methods for even the most sensitive dogs. This revolutionary, humane, and logical approach to raising and teaching promises to make training your dog the most positive experience possible.


6. Click to Calm: Healing the Aggressive Dog
By Emma Parsons, KPA CTP, APDT, CDBC

Book Description: Positive Answers for the Aggressive Dog. The dog that bites. The dog that attacks other dogs. The dog who may not survive his own aggressive behavior. What can be done to help these dogs? When Emma Parsons, canine behavior consultant, discovered that her own dog was aggressive, she developed innovative and effective strategies to calm, alter, and re-shape his reactive displays, and those of her clients’ dogs.

* desensitize your dog to approaching strange dogs 
* grab your dog’s collar without getting bitten 
* teach dogs to perform canine calming signals on cue 
* use your own body language when under stress as a cue for your dog to remain calm


7. Don’t Shoot the Dog: The New Art of Teaching and Training 
By Karen Pryor, one of the founders of clicker training

Book Description: Karen Pryor clearly explains the underlying principles of behavioral training and through numerous fascinating examples reveals how this art can be applied to virtually any common situation.  And best of all, she tells how to do it without yelling threats, force, punishment, guilt trips–or shooting the dog. 8 methods for putting an end to all kinds of undesirable behavior. The 10 laws of “shaping” behavior–for results without strain  or pain through “affection training.” How to combat your own addictions to alcohol,  drugs, cigarettes, overheating or whatever, how to deal with such difficult problems as a moody spouse, an impossible teen, or an aged parent.
Book Description: The days of using a rolled-up newspaper to punish a potty mistake are long gone. Modern dog training relies on the thoughtful application of the science of learning to teach your dog while you build a lifelong bond. Better Together: The Collected Wisdom of Modern Dog Trainers is a comprehensive collection of both practical and inspirational advice from some of the best trainers in the world. Learn the methods of modern dog training through more than 60 articles from 28 experts, specially selected by world-renowned trainer Ken Ramirez. Better Together addresses the most common, the most vexing, and the most important challenges faced by pet owners today—from nuisance barking to reactivity—without the use of force or punishment. Re-imagine what your dog can learn. Whether you are a first-time dog owner or a seasoned trainer, Better Together is the indispensable guide to make both you and your dog happy, smart, and confident. Topics and trainers you’ll find in Better Together include: • Benefits of modern training—Ken Ramirez • Principles of modern training—Kathy Sdao • Getting started —Karen Pryor • House training—Debbie Martin • Polite greetings—Laura VanArendonk Baugh • Relaxation—Nan Arthur • Reactivity—Emma Parsons • Resource guarding —Hannah Branigan • and many more!
Book Description: The story of one woman’s evolution in thinking about how we live with dogs, train dogs and ultimately learn from dogs. Refreshingly honest about herself and with thought-provoking challenges to modern “do more” dog training.
Book Description: With BAT 2.0, trainer/author Grisha Stewart has completely overhauled Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT) to create a new efficient and practical tool for dog reactivity. BAT 2.0 builds resilience and self-reliance by giving dogs safe opportunities to learn about people, dogs, or other “triggers.” Clear enough for all readers to follow, this book also includes technical tips and bonus chapters just for dog behavior professionals.

Learn how to:

  • Rehabilitate aggression, frustration, and fear.
  • Use survival skills to prevent reactivity on walks and at home.
  • Use a long line to safely maximize your dog’s freedom of movement.
  • Apply Grisha’s BAT philosophy to all dogs and puppies…and get your life back!