There are lots of great books that you can read to learn more about working with fearful dogs. The more you know about and understand fear-based behavior, the better able you’ll be to successfully help your dog. This list is far from complete, and I welcome any suggestions for additions to it. You can find most of them at Dogwise.com.
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The Cautious Canine by Patricia McConnell-How to help dogs conquer their fears with desensitization and counter conditioning. Step by step method can be used for any problem behavior that is motivated by fear – even for people!
Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas– One of the all time best selling books is now in its second edition with three additional chapters, color photos and descriptive captions. Turid Rugaas is a noted expert on canine body language, notably “calming signals” which are signals dogs give to other dogs and humans to denote stress and to attempt to defuse situations that otherwise might result in fights or aggression.
Dogs are from Neptune by Jean Donaldson– Candid answers to urgent questions about aggression and other aspects of dog behavior, from the author of best seller, Culture Clash. Includes case histories and guidelines for dealing with: aggression toward strangers; resource guarding; dog-dog aggression; behavior problems such as counter surfing, barking, mouthiness during play, mounting, stool eating; obedience problems such as off leash control, stay breaking, recall off distractions, pulling; and fear and anxiety problems. Uses positive reinforcement methods: clickers, food treats, praise, and recommends Gentle Leader in certain cases.
Bringing Light to Shadow by Pam Dennison– Learn how difficult it is, even for a professional dog trainer, to handle a dog with a past – and a temper too. From the diary of a trainer who refused to give up while using positive, no-force training methods. Every dog trainer will enjoy reading this fascinating story.
Help For Your Fearful Dog by Nicole Wilde– A comprehensive guide to the treatment of canine anxiety, fears, and phobias. Chock full of photographs and illustrations and written in a down-to-earth, humorous style.
Scaredy Dog by Ali Brown-This book helps dog owners and trainers to understand the reactive dog and help him change for the better. All training methods and classroom techniques are non-force and based on developing a working relationship with your dog. Easy to read and understand.
Focus Not Fear-Training Insights From A Reactive Dog Class by Ali Brown-Using innovative techniques, Ali Brown details her successful methods for professional dog trainers ready to take on the challenge of rehabilitating reactive dogs.
Control Unleashed by Leslie McDevitt-Learn how to turn stress to confidence and distraction to focus using methods that are 110% positive. Leslie McDevitt’s versatile 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, an instructor trying to figure out how to help dogs in your classes, or an instructor who wants to design a special program just for stressed out dogs, this book is for you.
FOR GENERAL TRAINING
The Power of Positive Training by Pat Miller– Demonstrates how you can train your dog, have fun, and build a lasting relationship at the same time. Walk away from punishment-based training methods and learn how you can reward your dog to obtain and reinforce the behaviors you could only dream about achieving. When you apply the training methods in this book and follow the unique six-week training program, your dog will learn to think and to choose proper behavior. You and your dog can become an unbeatable team, capable of addressing any challenge you may encounter.
Click for Joy! by Melissa Alexander– Won the Dog Writer’s Association of America’s Award, Best Training & Behavior Book of 2003! Clear and accurate answers for over one hundred commonly asked questions about clicker training in one essential reference. Packed with information experienced trainers and newcomers alike can put to use immediately.
Don’t Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor – One of our best selling teaching and training books. Not exclusively a dog training book – author is famous as an early dolphin trainer. Outlines 8 methods for putting an end to all kinds of undesirable behavior without yelling, threats, force, punishment, guilt trips – or shooting the dog; the 10 laws of shaping behavior through affection training; how to combat your own addictions to alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, overeating or whatever; how to deal with such difficult problems as a moody spouse, an impossible teen, or an aged parent; PLUS housetraining the dog, improving your tennis game, keeping the cat off the table, and much, much more! New revised edition has new chapter, “Clicker Training, A New Technique.” This covers the use of clickers in dog training, why it works, and how it has caught on. There is little or no practical application here, so we recommend Karen’s CLICKER TRAINING FOR DOGS
Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson– New Expanded Edition! The book that has shaped modern thinking about canine behavior and the relationship between dogs and humans has been revised. Dogs are NOT humans. Dogs ARE clever and complex creatures that humans need to take the time to understand in order live together successfully. You must read this book because your dog cannot!
Mine by Jean Donaldson– A practical how-to guide on resource guarding/aggression – food bowl, object, bed, crate, owner, etc. – in dogs. From the popular author of Culture Clash, Dogs Are From Neptune.
Bones Would Rain From The Sky by Suzanne Clothier– If you started life as a child who loved dogs more than anything else in the world and grew to an adult with the same love, then this new book by Suzanne Clothier belongs at the top of your list! Suzanne talks about her childhood with dogs and her relationship with them, and the differences between training and having a real relationship with your dog. She talks about specific dogs and situations, what she learned from them, and how they have changed her attitude towards dogs and towards training. The dogs you’ll meet and the lessons they teach may make you want to start over with your dogs and develop a better relationship. At the very least you will come away from this special book with a different attitude towards your canine companions and a new understanding of training and relationships.
The Rosetta Bone by Cheryl Smith-2004 Dog Writers Assn. of America Writing Competition Winner, Best Training & Behavior book! Packed with unique insights and gentle training advice, provides average dog owners with the know-how they need to decipher canine meanings, communicate effectively, increase training success, and share a deeper bond.
Parenting Your Dog by Trish King-Analyzes each stage of a dog’s physical, mental, and emotional development in great detail; includes sections on puppyhood, adolescence, adulthood and aging, plus problem behavior. Sets forth numerous similarities between child parenting and dog parenting, with an emphasis on understanding the canine psyche and postitive, reward-based learning. Offers numerous tips and guidelines detailing how dogs can adjust to and become part of the family dynamic. Formatted for quick reference.
The Other End Of The Leash by Patricia McConnell-When humans communicate with dogs, a lot can get lost in the translation. Focusing on human behavior, Dr. McConnell teaches readers how to retrain themselves to speak consistently in a language dogs understand and avoid sending conflicting and confusing messages.
For The Love Of The Dog by Patricia McConnell-Sure to be another bestseller, Trish McConnell’s latest book takes a look at canine emotions and body language. Like all her books, this one is written in a way that the average dog owner can follow but brings the latest scientific information that trainers and dog enthusiasts can use. Learn about similarities and surprising differences between the canine and human brains and how current scientific studies have led the author to conclude without a doubt that dogs share a profound emotional life with us. A must-read for ALL dog lovers.
When Pigs Fly by Jane Killion Some breeds of dogs and mixes have a reputation as “impossible” to train. Hounds, terriers, and other breeds are often called pig-headed and even untrainable. Learn these “Pigs Fly” methods and take advantage of the natural strengths of these independent and intelligent dogs. Help your dog become a wonderful companion or a formidable canine athlete. Clicker and reward-based training that is fun to use.
FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ON DOGS
Dominance: Fact or Fiction? by Barry Eaton-New revised and expanded edition! Recent research has resulted in new theories as to how our pet dogs perceive us humans, particularly in a dog/owner relationship. There have been a number of books and papers that have started to dispel the idea that our dogs, given the chance, would try to raise their status in their human “pack.” The purpose of this booklet is to pull the new research and theories together, and combined with the author’s own ideas on the subject, produce an overview of an alternative view of dominance. In other words, do some dogs really want to raise their status within a human pack? Is it fact or fiction? It is possible that the end result may raise as many question as it answers, but we need to open our minds and consider that perhaps there is an alternative view to the pack hierarchy rules and that dogs are not really plotting to overthrow mankind!
Dogs: A Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior, and Evolution by Ray and Lorna Coppinger– Explores how dog breeds have evolved into their unique shapes and behaviors. Concentrating on five types of dogs – household dogs, village dogs, livestock guarding dogs, sled dogs, and herding dogs – examines canine companions from a unique biological viewpoint.
Clinical Behavioral Medicine For Small Animals by Karen Overall– Diagnostic and treatment approaches for the major classes of behavioral problems of the dog and cat. Recommends and actively demonstrates use of head halter in treatment