If you want the best clicker training books to help you train your dog, I’ve got you covered.
Today, we’re going to talk a bit about the concept of clicker training.
Then, I’ll give you my top five book recommendations for both new and seasoned dog parents!
Grab a cup of coffee and let’s get started!
What is Clicker Training
Before we dive into the best clicker training books, let’s very quickly cover what it is in case your not entirely familiar with it.
I’m not going to delve into great detail on the pros and cons of clicker training, as we’ve discussed that in the past.
Basically, clicker training is reward training method that uses “clicks” to clue your dog into what you expect from him.
Reward training is exactly what it sounds like: your dog’s successes are rewarded, usually with yummy treats!
While you can reward train without a clicker, it does help speed the process up a bit.
Your dog learns the magical formula of “click, trick, treat.” Of course, it’s not just used for teaching tricks, but “click, do what my human wants me to do, treat” didn’t sound as cool!
If you want to learn more about the benefits, I suggest checking out this article by dog training expert Karen Pryor.
Now that we know why you would want to clicker train, let’s take a look at some books that will help you learn how to do it!
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Top 5 Clicker Training Books
Do a quick search on Amazon and you’ll find dozens of clicker training books. So many, in fact, that’s it’s hard to decide which to start with!
Don’t worry, I did the research for you.
Below are my top five recommendations that cover clicker training in a way that’s easy for new dog parents to understand, yet detailed enough to take you beyond the basics.
1. Getting Started: Clicker Training for Dogs
Since I mentioned Karen Pryor above, it seems fitting that I start with one of her books on the subject. She has a bunch, but I like this one because it’s available on Kindle.
As the name implies, it’s also an excellent place to start for those who are brand new to clicker training. Features include:
- Step-by-step photos of methods and training tips discussed in the book
- Tips on choosing and delivering the reward
- Fun clicker training games, including 101 Things to do with a Box
- Tips for training alone, with a partner, or in a group
At just 74 pages, it’s a short read, but it’s packed with all the basics you could need.
Karen Pryor is often credited with developing clicker training. While that’s not really true (the history dates back to at least 1946), she is one of the foremost authorities on the topic.
2. Clicker Training for Obedience
Although Clicker Training for Obedience is geared more towards preparing a dog for competitions and shows, the concepts apply to all dog parents.
- Complete course on training a working dog through positive methods
- Clear and engaging lessons filled with plenty of anecdotes from the author’s own experiences
- Full-color photographs to help guide you in your own clicker training journey
I like this one because, at about 220+ pages, it’s a bit meatier than Pryor’s “Getting Started” yet still gets right to the point.
Honestly, I’m not a fan of books that pad the pages with long anecdotal stories. Short ones, sure, but when a book is 75% “let me tell you about Bill,” I end up skimming.
3. Click to Calm: Healing the Aggressive Dog
Click to Calm is a little different than the first two book because it focuses on correcting negative behaviors like aggression in a positive way.
- Expert advice from a dog behaviorist who developed the method after discovering that her own dog was aggressive
- Tips on how to desensitize your dog to other dogs and situations that lead to aggression
- Guide to using your own body language to help signal your dog to stay calm
If you have a dog that attacks other dogs (or worse, is prone to biting people), this book may just very well save a life…including his!
4. Reaching the Animal Mind
Another book by Pryor, this one is less a guide to clicker training and more about the science behind it. Still, it’s an interesting and helpful read!
- Stories about Pryor’s interactions with dogs and other animals
- Why clicker training works
- Step-by-step basic instructions on getting started with clicker training
I know I said I’m not a fan of anecdotal stories, but in this case I don’t mind them since the book is more of a “why” than a “how-to.”
For people like me know want to know why something works and not just how to do it, this is definitely a must-read clicker training book!
5. 101 Dog Tricks
Although this one isn’t specifically a clicker training book, it’s a fantastic guide for things to teach your dog with your clicker once he’s mastered the basics!
- New York Times bestseller with step-by-step instructions covering, you guessed it, 101 different tricks
- Beautiful full-color photos of each step
- Tricks range from super simple ones like “sit” or “fetch” to really neat ones like “Tidy You Your Toys” and even “Get a Soda from the Fridge”
Trick training is a fabulous way to bond with your dog and reinforce other lessons learned during your basic clicker training routine, which is why it’s on this list!
Although there are dozens of other clicker training books out there, these cover the most important aspects (plus a few “just for fun” ones).
Each one serves a different purpose, so grab them all for a well-rounded reward training library!
However, if you can only afford to start with just one right now, I’d go with Getting Started by Karen Pryor. The title says it all.
What are your thoughts on these best clicker training books for dogs? Share below!