Thursday, January 21, 2010

Books every dog owner should have on their bookshelf

DFW asks:

"My girlfriend and I are looking at getting an English bulldog puppy at some point in the nearish future. While she grew up around dogs, I have never owned one. What's a good resource for learning how to be a good dog owner? I'd like to avoid bad habits on my part before they start. The dog would be a pure companion animal."

It doesn't take a lot of effort to learn the basics of good dog ownership.  Here's three books that I think cover the bases of how to establish a good relationship with your dog, understanding your dog (and yourself, too), and to train your dog.  If these are on your shelf, and you make a moderate effort to put them into practice, you've got your bases covered.

 "How to be the Leader of the Pack" by Patricial McConnel 

Super cheap and short. Teaches you how to have your dog's respect without resorting to force. 

The Other End of the Leash 

Also by Patricia McConnell. Also not really a training manual, but a fantastic book on how people and dogs' instincts both clash and work together. It's a great read, and just understanding so much of why both we and dogs act the way we do will make you a better dog owner.

The Power of Positive Dog Training, by Pat Miller

 This is a training book, and probably the best there is at both being accessible by newcomers and also being comprehensive. It's not short (~250 pages), but it's broken into easy to manage sections (training, chewing, housetraining, problem behaviors, etc), and provides a great week-by-week basic obedience syllabus for your puppy that covers all the important commands plus some fun tricks.

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