All of us like to think that we are as good as a professional dog trainer. After all, we know how much our pets love us, and that makes us think that we are doing things right. Unfortunately, most of us do not have that level of skill or competence.
One of the best ways to improve your skills and knowledge is to invest some time in a good book. A lot of people avoid them these days, but they offer a wealth of knowledge that you cannot get anywhere else.
With that in mind, let’s look at six of the best German Shepherd training books that we could find online.
Best Overall Product: “Your German Shepherd Puppy Month by Month” By Liz Palika and Terry Albert
This book is probably the best one that we found, and there are several reasons for that fact. The main thing we like is the way this book is structured.
Instead of trying to divide things by subject, the book is laid out in a simple month-to-month timeline. As such, it provides a framework for each month of your puppy’s training.
Because each month represents a separate chapter, there is no need to read the entire book at once. In fact, that would probably be incorrect.
When you open up the book, you just go to the chapter that matches your puppy’s age, and you will know what to expect. Most reviews seem to agree that the book can be used to make accurate predictions.
This accuracy probably comes from the experts that helped to write the book. Although the primary author doesn’t have all that much professional experience, they sought out people who did.
These included both veterinarians and experienced breeders, giving the reader more than one perspective.
We do wish that this book had a few more pictures, but we can’t complain too much about that. When it comes down to it, the pictures are just window dressing, while the information is the important part.
For those who don’t know a whole lot about what they are doing, this book is an excellent starting point.
- Provides a month-by-month guide
- Provides input from both vets and breeders
- Very good reviews overall
- No need to read everything at once
- Information is very accurate
- The author doesn’t have much professional experience
- Doesn’t have many pictures
Best Budget Product: “Training Your German Shepherd Dog” By Brandy Eggeman and Joan Walker
This one is arranged a little bit differently, but it’s still a great introduction to German Shepherd training. Instead of being arranged on a convenient month-by-month basis, this one is arranged around the subject matter.
Although this does force the reader to spend a little bit more time with their nose in the book, they at least do a good job of categorizing many topics.
This one comes from Barron’s, a company that publishes many good educational books. In fact, their test prep series is one of the most respected of its kind.
They also have an entire series of books on dog training, and this is one of them. It’s always easier to trust a book when it comes from a source that has been helpful in the past.
Although this book has more than one author, its primary author has over 30 years of experience with dogs.
This experience includes plenty of professional experience and lots of work with kennel clubs and other dog-related organizations. When you look more closely at the structure of the book, you can see that it is goal-oriented.
What we mean is that every chapter is aimed at producing a certain result, and they give you plenty of tips for meeting that goal.
We like the fact that this book is filled with attractive and glossy photos. At the same time, most of these pictures are just decoration and add nothing to the informational content.
Still, a more attractive book tends to be more pleasing to the eye, and that can make it easier to read. We do wish that the book taught a wider variety of commands, as German Shepherds are capable of understanding a wide range of them. Still, it makes a great starting point.
- Comes from a well-established source
- Primary author has over 30 years of experience
- Takes a goal-oriented approach
- Offers lots of information for people of all experience levels
- Lots of great photos and historical information
- The subject matter could be organized a little better
- The command list is a little too basic
Runner-Up Product: “German Shepherds For Dummies” By D. Caroline Coile
This product was almost our winner, as it offers a great beginner’s guide to the subject. However, we felt that it wouldn’t be correct to give the top spot to a title with such a specialized focus.
Those who are already very familiar with the breed may not find much new information here, but it still stands as one of the best possible choices.
Like most books in this series, this one uses lots of facts mixed with humor. This might come off as a little bit unprofessional, but it also makes this book far easier to read.
Most reviewers say that they were able to finish this book in a few days, even if they weren’t regular readers. By avoiding a whole lot of complexity and keeping the terms simple, the authors have made something that works for everyone.
This one also offers one of the cheapest and easiest methods of access. If you get this one as an audiobook, you might be able to get it for free!
Even if you can’t take advantage of that offer, it’s nice to know you can learn all of this stuff for less than ten dollars.
Some people complain that this book contains too much general information that isn’t related to German Shepherds specifically.
Upon closer inspection, we do find that there is some basis for this criticism. However, the information seems to be accurate as far as we can see.
- A great choice for the absolute beginner
- Lots of behavioral solutions
- Uses humor to break up the monotony
- A quick and easy read
- Audiobook version is cheap or free
- Content is a little generic
- Not that helpful for more experienced owners
Honorable Mention: “German Shepherd Training – The Ultimate Guide to Training Your German Shepherd Puppy” By Brittany Boykin
This one deserves a special mention, even though it wasn’t able to stand out from the pack in any one regard.
Boykin’s guide is very helpful and concise, doing a good job of organizing the information in a way that makes it easy to index.
Like the first book we reviewed, this one divides itself into various steps that have to be followed. As such, you can use it as a workbook instead of using it as a textbook.
This is also a very attractive book with a colorful cover and plenty of plush photography. Everything about this book is simple and accessible, making it a great choice for the novice keeper. It can be read easily within a few hours, so you probably don’t even need to get the audiobook.
This one puts a lot of emphasis on basic commands (like sit, stay, lie down, heel, etc.) and on potty training. As these are two of the most important aspects of dog training, we can’t fault this approach at all.
There is also a very good section on leash training, which is worth reading. It breaks things down in a clear and concise way, much like the rest of the book.
- Convenient Step-Based Approach
- Simply worded but very informative
- Not excessively long
- Puts maximum emphasis on commands and potty training
- The very good leash training section
- A little repetitive at times
- A little more form than function
Alternate Product 1: “The German Shepherd Bible” By Ashley Pearson
This one was written by a veterinary psychologist, and we can see that influence reflected in the book’s content.
The main emphasis of this book is on behavioral problems and how to correct them. Things like separation anxiety, disobedience, and chewing are addressed in great detail.
This one is a little longer than most of the others, and so some people might find it harder to read. Still, this is a better choice for the advanced dog trainer because it contains much more information than a beginner’s guide.
The language used is mostly common and non-technical, but it will require your full attention.
The best thing about this book is the fact that it provides virtually all the information that a German Shepherd owner needs to know.
It may not emphasize all subjects equally, but all the important subjects are covered. If you only buy one book on German Shepherds, this wouldn’t be a bad one to choose.
- Provides a complete tutorial
- Lots of good behavior modification tips
- Language is clear and (mostly)non-technical
- Provides all needed information
- Lots of German-Shepherd-Specific information
- Most of the emphasis is on psychological factors
- Takes a little longer to read
Before we go any further, we should mention one big complaint with this book. The author has no verifiable credentials, and only claims to have about five years of experience with German Shepherds.
Still, this book seems to have resonated with a lot of people. That suggests that Mr. Daigneault learned quickly and that much of his information is correct.
In some ways, this lack of professional candor makes the book more appealing. Everything is written in simple and common speech, making it feel more like a talk with your neighbor.
At the very least, the author has produced a book that covers all the most important information in a way that many people enjoy.
- Covers all the most important topics
- Information is properly up to date
- Written in common and simple speech
- Gives only the info that you need
- Based on personal experience
- The author has no verifiable credentials
Here are a few of the most common questions that we receive on this subject.
Can You Really Learn Everything You Need From A Book?
The simple answer to this question is no. A single book (or even a whole shelf of them) will not be helpful unless you learn how to apply their lessons in a practical way.
At the same time, books can provide you with a lot of helpful information to aid in your practical learning. We definitely recommend that you read some books on this subject if you want to learn more, but don’t think that reading alone will make you an expert.
How Can You Judge The Author Of The Book?
When you are reading an instructional book, it is natural to ask yourself, “who is this person, and why should I listen to their advice?” This is a normal question to ask, but it’s not always easy to get an answer.
Dog-related experience is often not as well-documented as other kinds of experience, so you will have to judge by the content alone.
You want to make sure that your chosen book covers all the relevant subjects. If there is a lot of generalized statements without any specific info, that is a red flag.
A good dog training book should cover as wide a variety of situations as possible, and that is how you can tell that the author has experience. You should also be on the lookout for statements that you know to be false.
How Long Should I Take To Read An Instructional Book?
Some people prefer to zip through a book like this, coming back later to review its lessons. Some others prefer to take their time and fully absorb the lessons of each chapter before moving to the next.
In most cases, this is just a matter of personal preference. The only advice we can offer here is to read and learn at a pace that feels natural to you.
Best German Shepherd Dog Training Book Buyer’s Guide
As we said before, you should always be on the lookout for false statements when reading an instructional book.
Unfortunately, these sorts of books are not always written by qualified experts. If the editor doesn’t have enough knowledge to notice, many inaccuracies can find their way into print.
For this purpose, we want to give you some general information about German Shepherds.
This is meant to serve as a comparison point so that you can tell a well-informed author from a poser. As such, we will be limiting ourselves to those facts upon which most experts agree.
Although this one doesn’t relate to training, it will help you to evaluate your author. If someone can’t even get the physical traits of the animal correct, they are probably wrong about other things as well. To get a concrete idea of what those traits are, let’s look at the AKC’s complete list of standards for this breed.
We can see that a dog of this kind should stand about 24-26 inches tall if male and 22-24 inches if female. Other kennel clubs might have slightly different standards, but an expert should at least be within the ballpark.
When it comes to weight, the story is very similar. Males should be between 66-88 pounds while females range from 49-71 pounds.
It is also worth noting that a purebred German Shepherd must have a black nose. Any other color will be disqualified. All-white coloration, cropped ears, floppy ears, and docked tails are also considered to be non-German Shepherd traits.
This factor is a little bit harder to evaluate because it will vary among individuals quite a bit. Still, all German Shepherds tend to exhibit common behavior patterns, and an expert will surely know these patterns.
The most common of these is a mixture of fearlessness and calm. This breed is not normally known for aggression, but they are not the kind of dog to slink away in fear when you yell at them, either.
The German Shepherd also tends to be a little bit more aloof. Like the wolves they resemble, they won’t necessarily take up with people right away.
It can take a little longer to create a bond of friendship with a German Shepherd, but the effort is well worth making.
That brings us to another essential behavioral quality of the German Shepherd: A firm determination to protect their master and pack.
The AKC breed standards that we looked at earlier should be helpful again. On the subject of temperament, this breed is supposed to be outgoing and energetic.
Timidity or nervousness are not considered to be typical of the breed, and can even cause disqualification at a dog show. Of course, excessive aggression is also a disqualifier.
According to most sources, the German Shepherd dog has existed in Germany for many centuries. However, it wasn’t until the 19th century that the breed was refined into the dog we see today.
A German cavalry officer named Max Von Stephanitz made it his life’s work to refine this breed into the finest working dog on the planet.
By crossing the different breeds of working dogs that were common in the northern and central parts of the country, Von Stephanitz and his peers may have achieved this goal.
Technically, the first German Shepherd was a dog named Horand. Stephanitz found this remarkable animal at a dog show and found him to be the perfect example.
Horand, then known as Hektor, had the exact mix of intelligence, loyalty, strength, and tenacity that Stephanitz wanted. As such, he was bred to the finest stock (including several wolf mixes) and produced the breed that we know today.
Grooming helps to make any dog a little happier. The German Shepherd has a double coat, which means that they have two layers of fur.
Thankfully, they are still somewhat easy to brush. About 30 minutes to an hour per week is enough to do the job.
These dogs tend to shed a lot, and that will make frequent grooming less necessary. This breed does not require frequent baths, so don’t be confused by its long hair. One bath every 4-5 months is sufficient.
One task that is very important is nail trimming. Any expert on the breed should mention this task, as it has to be done often.
This breed will tend to grow extremely long nails without regular trimming, and that is very uncomfortable for the dog.
Ear cleaning is also more important for this breed due to the fact that their ears stand erect. It is easier for dirt and debris to get into those canals, so give them a gentle swab with a Q-tip at grooming time.
We hope that this article has given you a better idea about how you can choose the best book for your needs.
It’s always hard to shop for books because you never really know how good (or bad) the product might be. Still, a little bit of homework can make the choice an easy one.
So, which one of these books is the best? We cannot really say. The needs of every reader are different, and everyone has different levels of reading proficiency.
As such, we urge you to look carefully and consider what you need from that book. Apart from that, we hope that you will return soon to read more of our work.