Recommended Reading


Before you get a dogWe hope to keep adding to this list so be sure to check back!

We recommend all of the books listed below.  These books are based on the latest scientific information about how dogs learn and they take a positive approach to training. Some may be in your local library. If you have trouble finding them there or in your local book store or on-line, try Dogwise. Many are available as e-books.

The books are organized under the following topics:


Before You Get A Dog

Before And After Getting Your Puppy – The Positive Approach To Raising A Happy, Healthy And Well-Behaved Dog by Ian Dunbar, D.V.M., 2004.Golden puppy
Everything you need to know to select the right puppy, as well as all the important lessons a puppy must be taught during its early development.  Read this book before you select your puppy and as your puppy grows up!

The City Dog – The Essential Guide For City Dwellers And Their Dogs, by Sarah Whitehead, 2009
A guide to the types of dogs who are most compatible with city life and small living spaces. Since city dwellings can cause specific stresses for dogs, a personalized socialization program is included to help your dog become comfortable with urban living.

Successful Dog Adoption by Sue Sternberg,2003. 
How to find and adopt a canine companion. Helps potential adopters examine their reasons for adopting a dog and translates those reasons into what to look for in a particular animal.

Now You Have Your Dog!         

Dogs and kidsLiving With Kids And Dogs…Without Losing Your Mind, by Colleen Pelar, 2007.
Clear, realistic advice for parents to help ensure that the relationship between their kids and their dog is safe and enjoyable; helps you to identify behavior problems before someone gets hurt;

Puppy Primer, 2nd Edition, by McConnell, Patricia, Ph.D. and Brenda Scidmore, 2010.
The benefits of positive reinforcement along with the importance of realistic expectations in training your dog.  A great guide for positive-based training classes and for new dog owners doing their own training! Suggestions and tricks finding the right dog for your family,  solving behavioural problems; making sure your dog gets the exercise he needs; avoiding weight gain; preventing dog health problems; saving money with advice on the use of traditional and alternative medications.

Your Dog – The Owner’s Manual – Hundreds Of Secrets, Surprises For Raising A Happy, Healthy Dog, by Marty Becker, D.V.M., 2011.    
Well- known from his appearances on Dr. Oz and Good Morning America television show, this books gives lots of good advice on raising a well-behaved dog, and avoiding the most-common pitfalls of puppy rasing, and promoting a healthy bond with your companion dog.


Training Your Puppy Or Adult Dog

AKC Star Puppy:  A Positive Behavioral Approach To Puppy Training, by Mary Burch, 2013                                                                                     
(A.K.C. stands for American Kennel Club)  Help your puppy become a well-behaved and healthy member of your family and the community. STAR (Socialization, Training, Activity and Responsible Ownership) will help you every step of the way!

Happy Hound – Develop A Great Relationship With Your Adopted Dog Or Puppy, by Susan Daffron,2009.
Learn solutions to everyday problems dog owners face. Unlike breed-specific or veterinary books, Happy Hound is tailored to the special needs and issues related to living with a rescued puppy or dog. You’ll never be left feeling like your dog is “really different” from anything you’ve read. Even though every dog is special, no dog is perfect!

How To Teach A New Dog Old Tricks, by Ian Dunbar, D.V.M., 1996.
easy and effective, dog-friendly techniques for teaching a new puppy old tricks (such as basic manners), or for teaching an older dog that is new to training; training is based on toys, treats, lures and rewards.

The Official Ahimsa Dog Training Manual: A Practical, Force-Free Guide To Problem Solving And Manners, by Grisha Stewart, 2012.
Practical exercises that start from a basic level and work up to the most important behaviors for dogs to know. Learn to solve and prevent a variety of problems, including barking, fear, puppy socialization, house training, aggression, fear, separation anxiety, and pulling on leash. (Ahimsa is a Buddhist doctrine of non-violence.)Timber

Play Together Stay Together – Happy And Healthy Play Between People And Dogs by
Patricia McConnell, Ph.D. and Karen London, 2008.
Play gives your dog mental and physical exercise and builds the bond between the two of you; learn how to read your dog’s play-cues and how to teach him tricks to impress your friends.

Second Hand Dog, by Carol Lea Benjamin, 1988.
An adopted “second hand” dog can make an excellent pet. With sensitivity, patience and basic training you’ll have a first-rate companion; starts out with “How dogs learn;” covers being pack leader, what your new dog needs (tangible and intangible!), some basic training, special circumstances (abused, etc.).

The Toolbox For Building A Great Family Dog, by Terry Ryan, 2010.
Focuses on the family dog including the interactions between kids and dogs, household management strategies, common behavioural problems and training games everyone can enjoy with your dog.

Health and Wellness

The Complete Healthy Dog Handbook, by Betsy Brevitz, D.V.M.,  2009 
NYOC club members have said that they would have to use five reference books to get the information in this one book. It thoroughly discusses more than 100 canine illnesses and includes up to date information on topics ranging from pet food safety to insurance and vaccine protocols. It is a great book to check before you go to the vet to make sure you are not making a needless trip. And then once you get back home you can check it for answers to the questions you forgot to ask. The book has received excellent reviews from the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the AKC Gazette.

Specific Topics and Issues

50+ Dog Owner – Complete Dog Parenting For The Baby Boomers And Beyond, by Mary Jane Checchi, 2010.
Aimed at the older adult  dog owner. Topics covered are especially relevant to those over 50 e.g., travel, housing, cost of care, and equipment, as well as the numerous health benefits linked to dog ownership for those with depression, loneliness, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

So Your Dog’s Not Lassie; Tips for Training Difficult Dogs and Independent Breeds, by Betty Fisher and Suzanne Delizio, 1998.
Not all dogs want their owner’s approval! Without force, you can turn your difficult dog into a perfect pet Includes using body language, food, voice, training structure and style to convince your stubborn dog to do what you ask.

Visiting The Dog Park – Having Fun, Staying Safe, by Cheryl Smith, 2007.
How to make your visit to dog parks a positive and safe experience. Includes rules of etiquette, reading your dog’s body language and conflict resolution in the dog park.

Way To Go! – How To Housetrain A Dog Of Any Age, by Patricia McConnell, Ph.D. and Karen London, 2003.
How to housetrain a dog of any age including re-training  a dog which has bad habits.

Stay, please stay

General Reading About Dogs

Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know, by Alexandra Horowitz, 2010.
Introduces the reader to dogs’ perceptual and cognitive abilities and then draws a picture of what it might be like to be a dog; the author’s perspective and observations are enlightening, and allow us to put aside our natural inclination to anthropomorphize, or assign human attributes and intentions to dogs’ behaviours.

The Other End Of The Leash – Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs, by Patricia McConnell, Ph.D., 2002.
Starting with human behaviour, this book shows you how to understand dogs and retrain yourself to communicate with your dog without sending conflicting and confusing messages.

Calming Signals, by Turid Rugaas, Second edition 2006
Dogs have a language for communication with each other, consisting of a large variety of signals using body, face, ears, tail, sounds, movement and expression. Norwegian dog trainer Turid Rugaas is a noted expert on canine body language.  She calls these signals ‘calming signals’.  By studying the signals dogs use with each other, we can learn to understand our dogs better and we can use the signals to improve our ability to communicate with our dogs. You can buy just the book (On Talking Terms with Dogs) or the DVD or a combination of both.  The video footage in the DVD is old and a bit grainy but the DVD makes everything in the book much clearer.

Dog Sports 

Below is just a sampling of dog sports that you and your dog can do together. Watch this site for information on other sports in the future e.g., Disc Dog, Dock Diving, Freestyle (Dancing with Dogs and Heelwork to Music), Lure Coursing, Scent Hurdling, Schutzhund, and more.

General Information For Dog Sports

Canine Sports & Games: Great Ways to Get Your Dog Fit and Have Fun Together! By Kristin Mehus-Roe, 2009.
Basic training and obedience are necessary before beginning any organized sport but beyond that, Kristin Mehus-Roe tells readers how to find the perfect sport for their dog. The book includes how to’s, safety tips, and complete rules on games, competition sports and tests of instinct.

Structure in Action: The Makings of a Durable Dog, Canine Sports & Games: Great Ways to Get Your Dog Fit and Have Fun Together Pat Hastings with Wendy E. Wallace, DVM, CVA & Erin Ann Rouse, 2011.
A valuable reference book for anyone wanting a working or performance dog with a very high activity level. With over 400 visuals, the book details the structural strengths to strive for in breeding programs and the structural issues to be aware of before leading a dog into an active life.


From the Ground Up; Agility Foundation Training for Puppies and Beginner Dogs (A Dogwise Training Manual) by Kim Collins, 2006, reprinted 2010.
Agility is a popular dog sport, involving “obstacles” such as tunnels, weave poles, teeter-totters, and jumps. It requires speed and training for both the handler and dog. Physical conditioning and learning how to guide your dog through an agility course is satisfying and fun.

FlyballFlyball with Legend

The Beginner’s Guide to Flyball, by Lisa Pignetti, 2012.
Covers what you need to know about the exciting dog sport of flyball including equipment, training, troubleshooting, finding a flyball club, attending tournaments. 20% of all royalties go to the National Canine Cancer Foundation.



Ring Ready, Marie Sawford, 2003.
Sawford is a Canadian Obedience Judge and Owner of Companion Dog Training in Puslinch, Ontario. Her book is organized to help you quickly find the right ingredient to help your dog better understand and perform each skill.  Marie Sawford’s problem solving and proofing ideas for all obedience levels enable you to address problems and prepare to trial. (Only available only from Marie’s website,

Rally Obedience

The Ultimate Guide to Rally-O; Rules, Strategies, and Skills for Successful Rally Obedience Competition, by Debra Eldredge, 2011.
Rally-O is a fast-growing dog sport that combines agility and obedience. Whether you’re a beginner or serious competitor, this book will help you gain the skills and confidence.  In Rally-O, each dog-and-handler team follows a course designated by signs. Rally-O emphasizes the positive interaction and close bond between handler and dog…and best of all, it’s fun!


Try Tracking! – The Puppy Tracking Primer by Carolyn Krause, 2005.
A positive approach to teaching your dog to track, suitable for ANY dog… from very young puppies to seniors because tracking comes naturally to dogs;  the perfect to way to spend time together, build your relationship, and challenge both of you mentally and physically.

winter tracking

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