The best books about clicker training

5 authors have picked their favorite books about clicker training and why they recommend each book.

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Reaching the Animal Mind

By Karen Pryor,

Book cover of Reaching the Animal Mind: Clicker Training and What It Teaches Us about All Animals

Another winner by Karen Pryor! In this book, Karen talks about the methodology of clicker training and why it is such an important teaching tool. With the sound of an audible signal (the click), we can teach the animal that what he/she did, at that moment in time, is the reason why they are receiving reinforcement. As Bob Bailey once said, “The clicker is used as a scalpel to carve out behavior.” 

Scattered throughout the text are video URLs to demonstrate some of the concepts. For example, a reader can go to the URL and watch a cat do agility!

Whatever canine sport you are in, the clicker can be a valuable tool in your toolbox.

I love this book because, as a dog trainer, I want to use tools that communicate effectively to the dog. This book talks about clicker training and why it can be used to pinpoint…


Who am I?

I’m passionate about these topics is because I'm a world-renowned dog trainer and an elite agility competitor. In both of these activities, I need to know my learning theory as well as how to break behavior into tiny pieces. When counseling canine behavior clients, I teach them these skills as well. My hope is that if they learn how their dog's brains work, they might make more of an effort to teach their dogs more cooperative skills. There are so many activities that people and dogs can share, one such being agility! People love to teach it (form of play) and the dog's confidence grows, as many as the obstacles are introduced.


I wrote...

Click to Calm: Healing the Aggressive Dog

By Emma Parsons,

Book cover of Click to Calm: Healing the Aggressive Dog

What is my book about?

Positive Answers for the Aggressive Dog. The dog that bites. The dog that attacks other dogs. The dog who may not survive his own aggressive behavior. What can be done to help these dogs? When Emma Parsons, canine behavior consultant, discovered that her own dog was aggressive, she developed innovative and effective strategies to calm, alter, and re-shape his reactive displays, and those of her clients' dogs.

The New Click to Calm

By Emma Parsons,

Book cover of The New Click to Calm: Solutions for All Dogs in a Challenging World

This book has saved and helped so many dogs. Having a reactive or aggressive dog is very difficult, in this book you’ll get lots of training advice on how to help your dog. Your dog doesn’t have to have severe issues for you to find this book helpful – it’s so much easier to start training before the problem has escalated. You’ll get advice on calmly escorting your dog away before trouble arises, stopping resource guarding (ex-food guarding), and dealing with dogs barking at the door.


Who am I?

I’m a Swedish dog trainer and author who love training dogs in a fun, positive, and force-free way. I got my first Golden retriever in 2005 and learnt a lot about dog training and especially clicker training. When a friend gave me a dummy I really started to enjoy gun dog training and realized that there weren’t many people who trained gun dogs in a force-free way so I took all my knowledge from my reward-based obedience training and translated it into gun dog training, discussed training methods with a lot of people, held classes in force-free gun dog training and eventually collected all my thoughts and training advice into a book together with my friend Lena Gunnarsson.


I wrote...

Retrieving for All Occasions

By Elsa Blomster, Lena Gunnarsson,

Book cover of Retrieving for All Occasions

What is my book about?

The book is about force free gun dog training. However, it’s not just for gun dogs, any pet dog could find lots of useful ideas on recall, stopping at a distance, walking to heel and training principles that can be used no matter what you want to teach your dog. For people interested in gun dog training you’ll of course also find lots of training advice on how to teach your dog a great delivery to hand, casting, marked retrieves, and so on. Who wouldn’t want to be able to stop their dog 100 meters away – knowing that the dog stops or comes back because it knows that it is more worthwhile to be with their handler than to run off on their own?

For the Love of Cats

By Carol Griglione, Mick McAulife, Tom Colvin

Book cover of For the Love of Cats: The Complete Guide to Selecting, Training, and Caring for Your Rescue Cat

With millions of cats around the world living on the streets or ending up being euthanized in pounds and shelters, simply because they are unwanted, the plight of the rescue cat has come to public attention. Many more people are choosing to ‘Adopt not shop’ and save lives in the process. This is a wonderful book for anyone starting out on the cat adoption journey. It covers everything you need to know about bringing a cat companion into your home and taking responsible care of it. It also includes lots of lovely rescue cat stories. I would give this as a gift to anyone considering adopting a cat and it would also make a great coffee table book for vet surgery waiting areas.


Who am I?

Belinda Alexandra is the author of nine bestselling novels and a non-fiction book on the relationship between women and cats, The Divine Feline: A chic cat lady’s guide to woman’s best friend. An ardent cat-lover and rescuer, she is a patron of the World League for the Protection of Animals in Australia and lives in Sydney with her three black cats – Valentino, Versace, and Gucci.


I wrote...

The Divine Feline: A Chic Cat Lady's Guide to Woman's Best Friend

By Belinda Alexandra,

Book cover of The Divine Feline: A Chic Cat Lady's Guide to Woman's Best Friend

What is my book about?

Cats and women share many traits: beauty, elegance, sensitivity, affectionate natures, a knack for nurturing, and a love of the luxurious. Cats also embody the feminine dark side, with a tendency towards neurosis and fear of change. Then there are the qualities that a cat possesses which women long to emulate: fighting fiercely to protect herself, never saying yes when she means no, and being unafraid to claim the best seat in the house for herself.

Cats are loyal to those who love them but couldn't give a toss about what others think. They don't suffer self-esteem issues or worry if they're overweight. And then, there is that enviable air of mystery, that slinky walk... oh to be a cat They're the ultimate totem of female strength.

Belinda Alexandra, writer and ardent cat lover, makes no apology for celebrating the special bond between women and their cats. In The Divine Feline, she details her own experiences with cats, describing the relationship between women and cats throughout history and solving some behavioural and philosophical issues in a whimsical and practical way. Viva la cat lady!

Agility Right from the Start

By Eva Bertilsson, Emelie Johnson Vegh,

Book cover of Agility Right from the Start

If you want to train and compete in agility, this is the book for you. Using positive, reward-based methods the authors teach you how to teach your dog everything it needs to know when it comes to agility. And of course, you’ll also learn lots of training techniques that you can use to teach your dog other things as well.


Who am I?

I’m a Swedish dog trainer and author who love training dogs in a fun, positive, and force-free way. I got my first Golden retriever in 2005 and learnt a lot about dog training and especially clicker training. When a friend gave me a dummy I really started to enjoy gun dog training and realized that there weren’t many people who trained gun dogs in a force-free way so I took all my knowledge from my reward-based obedience training and translated it into gun dog training, discussed training methods with a lot of people, held classes in force-free gun dog training and eventually collected all my thoughts and training advice into a book together with my friend Lena Gunnarsson.


I wrote...

Retrieving for All Occasions

By Elsa Blomster, Lena Gunnarsson,

Book cover of Retrieving for All Occasions

What is my book about?

The book is about force free gun dog training. However, it’s not just for gun dogs, any pet dog could find lots of useful ideas on recall, stopping at a distance, walking to heel and training principles that can be used no matter what you want to teach your dog. For people interested in gun dog training you’ll of course also find lots of training advice on how to teach your dog a great delivery to hand, casting, marked retrieves, and so on. Who wouldn’t want to be able to stop their dog 100 meters away – knowing that the dog stops or comes back because it knows that it is more worthwhile to be with their handler than to run off on their own?

The Dog Whisperer

By Paul Owens,

Book cover of The Dog Whisperer: A Compassionate, Nonviolent Approach to Dog Training

The original dog whisperer, Paul Owens, teaches dog parents how to positively train their dogs according to how dogs learn. He uses a humane, science-based approach, and includes breathing exercises people can do when stressed so that they can teach their dog in a calm way. The Dog Whisperer goes over how to teach and train your dog during distractions and context learning, as well as introduces readers to clicker training, shaping behaviors and target training. This is a good book on humane, positive training to have on the shelf.


Who am I?

For 19 years, I have been professionally helping dog and cat parents resolve dog and cat behavioral problems in a humane and kind way. I follow science-based, gentle techniques when working with animals and teach clients how to remedy dog and cat behavior problems without the use of aversives such as shock or choke collars, physical prompting, shake cans, squirt bottles, leash corrections, or scolding.


I wrote...

Training Your Dog the Humane Way: Simple Teaching Tips for Resolving Problem Behaviors and Raising a Happy Dog

By Alana Stevenson,

Book cover of Training Your Dog the Humane Way: Simple Teaching Tips for Resolving Problem Behaviors and Raising a Happy Dog

What is my book about?

In Training Your Dog the Humane Way, animal behavior specialist, Alana Stevenson provides dog owners with a simple, accessible guide to the most effective positive dog training techniques available. Alana presents easy-to-follow methods and advice for teaching dogs and resolving behavior problems in a humane way. She provides solutions for such problems as house-soiling, play-biting, separation anxiety, fear of strangers, aggression, lunging while on a leash, and car sickness.

Readers learn the most effective way to teach their dogs — through kindness and benevolent leadership.

Classical Dressage

By Anja Beran,

Book cover of Classical Dressage

Clicker training shows you how to train. Now, what are you going to train? Let the beautiful photos in Anja Beran’s book on Classical Dressage inspire you. Anja Beran loves horses and that’s reflected in her desire to share her deep understanding of Classical Dressage.

We need images of beautiful horses being correctly ridden in good balance. Classical Dressage sits at the core of all good riding programs. Balance matters because it helps keep your horse sound no matter your riding goals. We are indeed lucky to have someone as gifted as Anja Beran sharing this work with us.


Who am I?

In 1998 I launched the rapidly growing field of clicker training for horses with the publication of Clicker Training for Your Horse, the first reference for clicker training in the horse world. When you come across a training method that is as kind, safe, effective, and fun as clicker training, it’s not something you want to keep to yourself. Clicker training needs to be shared and that’s what I have been doing for almost thirty years. Through my books, DVDs, clinics, online courses, conference presentations, blogs, and podcasts, I have been teaching people how to clicker train their horses. Together we are changing the way horses are trained.


I wrote...

The Click That Teaches: A Step-By-Step Guide in Pictures

By Alexandra Kurland,

Book cover of The Click That Teaches: A Step-By-Step Guide in Pictures

What is my book about?

There’s more to training than simply getting a job done. How you teach matters. Kind, effective, and horse-friendly, this comprehensive training guide will take you from basic handling to advanced training. The step-by-step lessons are easy to follow. They create a road map for developing a superstar performer and a great equine friend. This is the resource you are looking for to help you train well.  

Don't Shoot the Dog

By Karen Pryor,

Book cover of Don't Shoot the Dog: The Art of Teaching and Training

One of the best books for training horses isn’t even a book about horses - at least not directly. Karen Pryor’s classic text translates the complexities of learning theory into clear, understandable language. Don’t Shoot the Dog introduced us to clicker training and started a revolution in animal training. It’s a fun read that will transform your training. It certainly transformed mine.  

I read Don’t Shoot the Dog for the first time in 1993. This is the book that sent me out to the barn with treats in my pockets to ask my horse what he thought about clicker training.  His answer - he loved it! Don’t Shoot The Dog set me on my clicker training journey.  It was and still is a must-read book.


Who am I?

In 1998 I launched the rapidly growing field of clicker training for horses with the publication of Clicker Training for Your Horse, the first reference for clicker training in the horse world. When you come across a training method that is as kind, safe, effective, and fun as clicker training, it’s not something you want to keep to yourself. Clicker training needs to be shared and that’s what I have been doing for almost thirty years. Through my books, DVDs, clinics, online courses, conference presentations, blogs, and podcasts, I have been teaching people how to clicker train their horses. Together we are changing the way horses are trained.


I wrote...

The Click That Teaches: A Step-By-Step Guide in Pictures

By Alexandra Kurland,

Book cover of The Click That Teaches: A Step-By-Step Guide in Pictures

What is my book about?

There’s more to training than simply getting a job done. How you teach matters. Kind, effective, and horse-friendly, this comprehensive training guide will take you from basic handling to advanced training. The step-by-step lessons are easy to follow. They create a road map for developing a superstar performer and a great equine friend. This is the resource you are looking for to help you train well.  

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