Dog Training Books

Recommended Reading List

Agility Success: Training and competing with your dog in the winning zone

Author: Angelica Steinker, M.Ed.
Publisher: Clean Run Productions

Agility SuccessDescription:
Regardless of whether you are competing with the goal of going to the World Agility Championships or earning a clean run in a novice agility class, Agility Success can help you train the mental skills and attitude necessary to do your best in the agility ring and advance toward your goals. Remember that day when you and your dog ran every course clean–that run when everything came together? Imagine having that exhilarating feeling virtually every time you compete. You can. All it takes is practice. Includes the results of interviews with 15 top agility competitors. 152 pages. © 2000 and 2002

Click and Play Agility

Author: Angelica Steinker

Publisher: Courteous Canine, Inc. Publishing

What people are saying about Click and Play Agility:

Click and Play AgilityRob Bitler, Professional dog trainer, agility and flyball competitor: “I found it easy to read and I think that it’s extremely helpful for all levels of competitors. I think everyone could learn something from it. I liked your examples and the diagrams. Also, I thought you did a wonderful job of explaining the theory behind the training. It’s important to have people understand why things work so that you empower them to be able train in the future without having to rely on you all the time.”

Jean Donaldson, author of Culture Clash and Director of the Dog Trainers Academy San Francisco: “This book made me want to immediately start doing agility! A fabulous weaving of learning theory into the latest agility teaching technology. The games and proofing exercises are truly first-rate.”

Brenna Fender, Agility Journalist and avid competitor: “Click and Play Agility is an incredibly thorough book that describes how to train agility by using the clicker. More important is the book’s focus on building and maintaining motivation and attitude by having lots of fun while training in this demanding sport. It has useful information for all trainers of all breeds. Click and Play Agility is a resource that you will use over and over as you train your dog. It contains clear-cut information to help you learn how to teach specific agility behaviors using the clicker. Angelica is an expert at motivating dogs and keeping agility fun for everyone. Agility enthusiasts need this book!”

Dee Ganley, CPDT, CABC: “I love it !! I really LOVE IT !! You’re a master with words and I just love all the pictures and easy to follow directions for teaching the equipment and how to have FUN with your dog. I love the info about the dogs in the pictures and what they are doing they are so clear and tell the story in themselves you can see the joy the dogs are having! As you know I love playing games with my dogs and these are great games even if one never participated in agility they are the games I love teaching my students. You have incorporated in all the self control skill the dog need for today in real life. Fantastic Book. This book is a must have and I will make sure all my students know about it.”

James O’Heare, author of Aggressive Behavior in Dogs and many other behavior books and Director of Cynology College: “Angelica Steinker’s approach is both technologically rich and also extremely innovative in its unique treatment of the use of play in a win / win context. One does not have to sacrifice their relationship with a dog to be a top competitor. Angelica shows you how to be a top competitor and actually improve your relationship with your companion dog. Her unique use of play and underlying win / win philosophy sets her apart.”

Book review: Changing People Changing Dogs by Dee Ganley, CABC, CPDT

Changing People, Changing DogsSome people have gifts. Dee is one of those people, she has taken something amazingly complex and made it easy to understand. Making something complex easy for anyone to understand is a gift. Her book is extremely well organized, easy to read and guides the handler of a difficult dog through the process of behavior modification.

The entire book has a calm feel to it, so Dee not only describes how to help a challenging dog reach a more peaceful state, she actually models it through out the book.

The book is organized into 7 easy to read sections beginning with communication which includes some wonderful pictures of dogs in a variety of emotional states. Dee uses these pictures to educate the reader how dogs use their bodies to communicate. The learning section provides an overview of how dogs learn and what methods the book uses to modify behavior. Dee’s assessment section is not only useful to the pet dog owner but will also help professional trainers assess difficult dogs. Training resources discusses a variety of tools clearly stating what tools are useful and which to avoid and why.

Strategies and techniques discusses training and management ideas that will help a difficult dog attain initially a foundation and finally the self-control that will lead to behavioral change. The final two sections discuss specific cases and the journey. Specific cases help the reader internalize the message of Dee’s book and the journey helps the reader focus on the process of change, since it is only by changing ourselves that we can ultimately change our dogs.

I predict this book will become a classic must read among dog training professionals and pet dog handlers. Dee thank you for sharing your gift with the world.

Dee’s book is currently available through

Book Review: Empowerment Training by James O’Heare

Empowerment trainingEmpowerment Training is a stellar summary of operant and respondent conditioning research. The book describes ideal training which will result in an empowered learner. Empowerment training is fundamental to all learning since without the ideal attitude any behavior is simply less useful and less likely to occur. Pet trainers world-wide applaud O’Heare for this important work. Both dog sport enthusiasts and professional trainers would greatly benefit from reading this book. An empowered learner will perform reliably, accurately and with enthusiasm. As usual, O’Heare is all inclusive and academically accurate. Empowerment training is in short, good training without violence or force. Courteous Canine, Inc. staff uses Empowerment Training in all of it’s classes. Visit information about our training methods here.

Book Review: Structure in Action: The Makings of a Durable Dog by Pat Hastings

Structure in Action: The Makings of a Durable DogPat Hastings has done it again. This book is destined to become a classic among dog lovers worldwide. Pat along with co-authors Wendy Wallace, a veterinarian, and Erin Ann Rouse have created an educational masterpiece that takes the reader to each body part of a dog providing detailed information on how structural issues affect a dog’s ability to perform.

Trainers inclined to use physical corrections in their training need take note of how many structural issues are able to cause performance problems. Starting with teeth which may cause problems with tugging, carrying objects or catching objects, the functional journey of the dog’s body begins. While Pat is very sensitive to the differences of individual breed standards she is clearly on the dog’s side explaining that function should always be a priority for any dog.

A clear description of why a scissor bite is important to the dog’s function of grabbing, chewing and biting, is followed by in depth discussions of 11 different problems that can occur with a dog’s teeth. In addition, missing teeth, extra teeth, retained teeth and slow erupting teeth are discussed.

The shape of a dog’s eye is discussed and a tight eye is recommended for dogs engaging in functional activities. Tight refers to the skin around the eye, its opposite being a lose eye. Dog’s with lose eye’s risk the eye ball being exposed to grass or other debris.

A dog’s nose, is explained, needs to have nostrils that are large and allow for ample intake of air. Ears are discussed in terms of function and pictures of a rare breed that is actually able to close his ears to keep out cold wind is featured. Next neck structure is discussed with particular attention paid to jumping and being able to have the muscles to carry objects.

The next three chapters discuss body, including bone, topline. From chest to tail set it is all there and all of it is discussed in detail with clear and logical descriptions. Front and rear assembly, fundamentally important are addressed in their own respective chapters. The concluding chapter ties all the information together and ends with a section clearly explaining that perfection is illusive, but that it should be strived for. The book ends with a helpful appendix and index.

If you breed dogs– this book is in your library. If you train dogs– this book is part of your education. And if you just love dogs, read this book and help dogs live better quality lives by drawing attention to the fact that all dogs deserve to move freely so that the world may be a joyful place.

Control Unleashed® Clean Run Productions LLC

Control UnleashedSubtitle: Creating a Focused and Confident Dog
Author: Leslie McDevitt, MLA, CDBC, CPDT
Format: Paperback
Length: 226 pages
Release Date: 2007

Learn how to turn stress to confidence and distraction to focus using methods that are 110% positive. Leslie McDevitt’s 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 or an instructor trying to figure out how to help dogs in your classes, this book is for you.

Who needs Control Unleashed®?

  • Future performance dogs that need to learn self-control as part of their foundation training
  • 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

Lesson plans for a seven-week class are included for instructors who want to run their own Control Unleashed® classes. Rather than using traditional attention and control techniques that often fail in highly charged performance situations, Control Unleashed® uses a creative and sensible series of training games that can be customized to the needs of each particular dog. The Control Unleashed® program also stresses the importance of balancing attention and control work with letting your dog “be a dog.”

Chill out Fido! How to calm your dog

Author: Nan Arthur
Publisher: Dogwise Publishing
Edition: 2009 Paperback, 189 pages