Dogs and Dog Training Self-Help Books

Why dogs? Not everyone loves dogs, but dogs love most everyone. Dogs excel at unconditional positive regard, and reward their owners with over-the-top love and touching loyalty.

Following are some favorites about dogs, dog training, dog psychology, and the interaction between dogs and their human masters.

Our dog, Hudson, tells his story. Read about how he found us!

Recommended Self Help Books on Dogs and Dog Training

The Art of Racing in the Rain: A Novel by Garth SteinThe Art of Racing in the Rain: A Novel
Garth Stein

If you've ever wondered what your dog is thinking, Stein's third novel offers an answer. Enzo is a lab terrier mix plucked from a farm outside Seattle to ride shotgun with race car driver Denny Swift as he pursues success on the track and off. Enzo, frustrated by his inability to speak and his lack of opposable thumbs, watches Denny's old racing videos, coins koanlike aphorisms that apply to both driving and life, and hopes for the day when his life as a dog will be over and he can be reborn a man. When Denny hits an extended rough patch, Enzo remains his most steadfast if silent supporter. 2009, Harper Paperbacks

Cesar's Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems by Cesar Millan, Melissa Jo PeltierCesar's Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems
Cesar Millan, Melissa Jo Peltier

This accessible guide helps new and current dog owners better understand the needs of their beloved pets. Cesar Millan explains that dogs are not complicated, just different from humans. They rely on three key elements in their lives: exercise, discipline, and affection (in that order). This self help book teaches owners how to change their pet's unwanted behavior by better understanding their "best friends." 2006, Harmony

Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan - Aggression (DVD) by Cesar MillanDog Whisperer With Cesar Millan - Aggression (DVD)
Cesar Millan

Cesar Millan has an uncanny ability to rehabilitate problem dogs of all shapes and sizes. This DVD focuses on particular techniques for handling aggressive behavior in your pet. DVD Release Date: 2006; Universal Studios

Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan - The Complete First Season (DVD) by Cesar MillanDog Whisperer with Cesar Millan - The Complete First Season (DVD)
Cesar Millan

This successful National Geographic channel series focuses on Cesar Millan as he makes house calls to deal with anxious, obsessive, aggressive, and just plain neurotic dogs. Millan's basic message is reinforced in virtually every case: don't treat your dog like a human; treat him like a dog, and be the alpha dog of your own household/pack. DVD Release Date: 2006; Universal Studios

The Dog Who Loved Too Much: Tales, Treatments, and the Psychology of dogs by Nicholas DodmanThe Dog Who Loved Too Much: Tales, Treatments, and the Psychology of Dogs
Nicholas Dodman

This self help book offers guidance to assess owner/dog relationships and plan rehabilitation programs based on behavior modification and obedience training. Dodman, a veterinarian, relates actual cases from his clinical practice. The book addresses different types of unwanted behavior: aggression, fear of thunderstorms, separation anxiety, compulsive behaviors, house soiling and many more. Dr. Dodman’s approach works wonders with even the most difficult problems. An excellent book utilizing new discoveries in canine behaviorism to help you better understand the complex intelligent mind of your canine companion. 1997, Bantam

The Hidden Life of Dogs by elizabeth Marshall ThomasThe Hidden Life of Dogs
Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

In this beautiful account based on thirty years of living with and observing dogs, wolves and dingoes, anthropologist Elizabeth Marshall Thomas brings us a completely new understanding of dogs. She allows her dogs to roam free while she follows them on her bicycle, observing their behavior. Thomas neither patronized nor diminished her dogs through behavioral techniques. This book is not a primer on dog obedience; rather it is an affecting account of observing dogs as dogs with the over-riding question in Thomas?s mind: what do dogs want most? The surprising answer, to this reader at least, was not food, not sex -- but other dogs. A lovely book filled with insight and compelling stories. 2010, Mariner Books

How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend: The Classic Training Manual for Dog Owners by The Monks of New SketeHow to Be Your Dog's Best Friend: The Classic Training Manual for Dog Owners
The Monks of New Skete

This informal, friendly guide includes a step-by-step training manual as well as a philosophical discussion of the spiritual benefits of owning a dog. Owners are advised to think of themselves as the dog?s alpha figure to train with praise instead of punishment and to beware of becoming the dog?s maid or doorman. Throughout the authors reflect on the deep spiritual connection between humans and dogs. 2002, Little, Brown

Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog by John GroganMarley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog
John Grogan

Marley was a sweet, affectionate puppy who grew into a lovably, naughty, hyperactive dog. With a light touch, the author details how Marley was kicked out of obedience school after humiliating his instructor. Among other misdeeds, he swallowed an eighteen-karat solid gold necklace. Grogan's chronicle of the adventures his family enjoyed with the overly energetic but endearing dog is delivered with big-hearted humor.  2005, William Morrow

Natural Dog Training by Kevin BehanNatural Dog Training
Kevin Behan

Professional dog trainers try this method and are amazed at the results. These techniques are similar to the methods used to train search and rescue dogs, drug enforcement dogs and police dogs. The approach is entirely positive, using positive reinforcement and working with the dog?s natural desires and instincts. The trainer assumes that the dog is eager to please his master and only needs to be shown how. 2009, NDT Press; 2nd edition 

Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs by Caroline KnappPack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs
Caroline Knapp

Reeling from the death of both her parents, a breakup with a long-term boyfriend, and her newly won sobriety after twenty years of alcoholism, Caroline Knapp falls in love with a mixed breed dog she discovers at an animal shelter. Lucille offered Knapp companionship and more: ?consistency, continuity, connection. In a word, love.? In Pack of Two, Knapp explores the partnership between human and dog and the mysteries of the canine mind ? how dogs love, how they think, and how they see human beings. This book pays homage to the wonderful and complex relationship between one woman and her dog. 1999, Dial Press Trade

When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and susan McCarthyWhen Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals
Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and Susan McCarthy

The authors compile hundreds of anecdotes from the published works and field studies of noted scientists to support their belief that animals possess an emotional sensibility not unlike that of humans. Chapters address emotions such as fear, love, grief, compassion and appreciation of beauty. The authors clearly make a moral case for ceasing the exploitation and slaughter of animals. 1996, Delta