There are lots of great dog books out there, these are just some that I’ve found useful.
The first one I bought, before my first puppy, was The Perfect Puppy by Gwen Bailey. It answers a lot of basic questions about things like house-breaking and avoiding biting and aggression. It’s a very reassuring book for new puppy owners and covers just about every problem that may come up. There’s even a socialisation programme right at the back, because exposing puppies to new people and places is vital for producing a confident dog. I didn’t read it cover to cover but dipped into the relevant parts and it was good to have on hand as a reference. There are lots of great photos in there – one of the puppies used is a Huskie who used to visit GMH Park.
An interesting free resource is a pdf by Dr Sophia Yin – Lucy Learns to Earn. This is a set of instructions written for her father to train his new puppy. It is well illustrated and gives a step-by-step guide to potty training, crate training and basic good manners. The ideas are expanded in her book Perfect Puppy in 7 Days (Kindle edition) along with information on puppy body language and how they develop before they come home with you.
On days when bad weather makes dog walks less appealing, a good way to engage with your dog and tire her out is to teach a trick or two. 101 Dog Tricks by Kyra Sundance shows you how to train a wide range of tricks and tells you what to do when things don’t go to plan. You may not need to be told how to get your dog to shake hands, and she’ll probably never need to imitate a hockey goalie, but your dog will learn something you can both be proud of.
A classic of dog training theory and practise is Karen Pryor’s Don’t Shoot The Dog. It provides a thorough explanation of behavioural training that can be used to train animals or people. The book isn’t very big, but it’s densely packed with information about operant conditioning and how dogs (and people) learn. I keep going back to re-read bits because there’s such a lot to take in. All of the jargon of modern dog training is explained along with the mechanics of how to go about changing your dog’s behaviour. It’s just a pity that my copy met a flask of hot coffee in the bottom of my bag before I got a chance to read much of it.
These are some of the first books I bought – along with Sue Ailby’s manuals mentioned in an earlier post. I’ll post up a few more when I have time.