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10 Best Books for New Dog Owners – 2024 Reviews & Top Picks

Brooke Billingsley

By Brooke Billingsley

Pretty girl is reading book with shiba inu

If you’re a new dog owner, you likely don’t even know what you don’t know about your dog’s care yet. One of the best ways to prepare for bringing a new dog home for the first time is to read books geared toward dog-owning beginners, ideally before you’ve even brought the dog home. Books are a fantastic resource to help you learn what supplies you’ll need, what to expect when bringing a dog home, and how to train your dog.

To simplify this task, we’ve reviewed the best books we could find that are ideal for new dog owners.

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A Quick Look at Our Favorites of 2024

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
The Ultimate Guide to Raising a Puppy The Ultimate Guide to Raising a Puppy
  • About training and raising a new puppy
  • Puppy growth and development
  • Tips that are growth stage appropriate
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Making Dogs Happy Making Dogs Happy
  • A look into your dog’s thoughts
  • Getting your dog to “good dog” behavior
  • Dog body language cues
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    The New Complete Dog Book The New Complete Dog Book
  • Regularly updated
  • Information on over 200 dog breeds
  • Helps you choose the right dog
  • The Right Dog for You The Right Dog for You
  • Helps you select the right breed
  • Grooming and exercise needs
  • Contains color photos
  • Your German Shepherd Puppy Your German Shepherd Puppy
  • Month by month growth and development
  • Helps your puppy grow into a happy adult
  • Ensure your puppy is developing normally
  • The 10 Best Books for New Dog Owners

    1. The Ultimate Guide to Raising a Puppy – Best Overall

    The Ultimate Guide to Raising a Puppy

    Author: Victoria Stilwell
    Number of pages: 224
    Reader’s age: Adult

    The Ultimate Guide to Raising a Puppy is our top pick as the best overall book for a new dog owner. This book contains information on the training and raising of a new puppy all the way into adulthood. It’s authored by Victoria Stilwell, known for the Animal Planet show It’s Me or the Dog! This book covers everything from housetraining, puppy growth and development stages, and how to choose the right dog for you. Readers of the book have found the training tips extremely beneficial, and the information about development and expectations based on your pup’s age is information you won’t find in many other places.

    It’s primarily geared toward adults looking into bringing home a puppy for the first time, and it’s not an ideal book for children learning about the care of a new dog.

    Pros
    • Contains information about training and raising a new puppy
    • Provides education on puppy growth and development
    • Offers helpful training tips that are growth stage appropriate for your puppy
    • Authored by Victoria Stilwell
    • Helps you select the right dog for your home
    Cons
    • Not a good option for children

    2. Making Dogs Happy – Best Value

    Making Dogs Happy

    Author: Melissa Starling, Paul McGreevy
    Number of pages: 288
    Reader’s age: Adult

    Making Dogs Happy is the best book for a new dog owner for the money. This book is long and packed full of helpful information that gives you a look inside the thoughts of dogs. It offers an idea of what dogs do and don’t want, and it offers to help you get your dog to “good dog!” behavior. It provides detailed explanations of how to read your dog’s body language toward humans and other animals alike, allowing you to have a better understanding of how your dog is feeling. It also contains information about how to select the right dog for your household and how to train your dog.

    This book is geared toward adults, and the reading level and information may be above most children’s heads.

    Pros
    • Best value
    • Gives you a look into your dog’s thoughts
    • Gives training tips on getting your dog to “good dog” behavior
    • Provides education on dog body language cues
    • Can help you select the right dog for your home
    Cons
    • Not a good option for children

    3. The New Complete Dog Book – Premium Choice

    The New Complete Dog Book

    Author: The American Kennel Club
    Number of pages: 920
    Reader’s age: All ages

    The New Complete Dog Book is a book that is updated every year or two by the American Kennel Club. This book can help you get thorough information on over 200 dog breeds, allowing you to better select a dog for your home and lifestyle. The information is comprehensive and presented clearly, although the reading may be a little bit dry. Although the writing may not be on a child’s level, there are over 800 color photos in this book, making it an enjoyable read and a nice coffee table book for all ages.

    This is a premium-priced book, so you should expect to spend a little more to acquire it.

    Pros
    • Regularly updated
    • Includes thorough information on over 200 dog breeds
    • Can help you choose the right dog for your household
    • Very informative
    • Over 800 color photos
    Cons
    • Premium price

    4. The Right Dog for You

    The Right Dog for You

    Author: David Alderton
    Number of pages: 256
    Reader’s age: Adult

    The Right Dog for You is the ideal book if you’re finding yourself stumped on how to select the right dog breed for your home and lifestyle. It offers comprehensive pros and cons of around 120 dog breeds, so you’re sure to find a breed that will work for your home in this book. It also provides breed-specific information, like grooming and exercise needs, which may be overlooked by some people when they are selecting a dog breed.

    Although this book contains pictures, it is not an ideal book for children to learn about different dog breeds. It’s also important to help children understand that they won’t be able to have the final say in the breed of dog that is going to be the best fit for your household.

    Pros
    • Helps you select the right breed for your home and lifestyle
    • Offers comprehensive pros and cons of almost 120 dog breeds
    • Provides breed-specific information like grooming and exercise needs
    • Contains color photos
    Cons
    • Not ideal for children

    5. Your German Shepherd Puppy

    Your German Shepherd Puppy

    Author: Liz Palma, Deb Eldridge DVM, Joanne Olivier
    Number of pages: 352
    Reader’s age: Adult

    Your German Shepherd Puppy is a great option if you’re bringing home a German Shepherd puppy. To make this book even better, Penguin Random House offers multiple books in this series for a variety of dog breeds. Each book covers the month by month growth expectations of your dog’s breed, as well as training expectations, tips, and more. The purpose behind knowing each stage of development your puppy will undergo is that dogs grow and develop quickly, and you want your puppy to grow into a healthy and well-balanced adult.

    This book is not written on a reading level that most children will appreciate, although it might be beneficial for your kids to know what the expectations and changes your puppy may go through each month will be.

    Pros
    • Multiple books in the series to cover various breeds
    • Covers month by month growth and development
    • Discusses ways to help your puppy grow into a healthy and happy adult
    • Helps you ensure your puppy is developing normally
    Cons
    • Not ideal for children to read without adult support

    6. Home Alone – And Happy!

    Home Alone – And Happy!

    Author: Kate Mallatratt
    Number of pages: 96
    Reader’s age: All ages

    Home Alone – And Happy! is a great book for first time dog owners who may be unfamiliar with separation anxiety and boredom in dogs. This book offers training tips and a variety of ways for you to keep your dog entertained, even when you’re not home. This book is a must for anyone who works outside the home. It can be difficult for dogs to adjust to staying home alone all day, and many dogs turn to anxious and destructive behaviors. This book will help you set your new dog up for success, regardless of their age.

    This book retails for a high price for the number of pages in the book. Although the information is beneficial, some might find the price high.

    Pros
    • Provides education on separation anxiety
    • Has ideas for keeping your dog entertained while home alone
    • Helps your dog adjust to staying home alone all day
    • Sets dogs up for success without negative behaviors
    Cons
    • Expensive for the number of pages

    7. Older Dog? No Worries!

    Older Dog – No Worries!

    Author: Sian Ryan
    Number of pages: 72
    Reader’s age: All ages

    Older Dog? No Worries! is a wonderful book if you’re bringing home an older dog for the first time. This book contains training tips for older dogs, as well as exercises and tips to keep your dog in the best physical condition possible. Older dogs still need exercise and play, but their needs may change as they age. This book can help you keep your older dog healthy and active for longer. It also provides ideas on how to adapt your current activities to meet your dog’s new (or new to you) activity needs.

    Although this book provides great information, it may not apply to all older dogs. Ideally, you should discuss with your vet before you begin any new form of exercise with your older dog.

    Pros
    • Offers training tips for older dogs
    • Helps you find exercises to maintain the physical condition of your older dog
    • Helps support health and longevity
    • Provides ideas on adapting activities to meet your dog’s needs
    Cons
    • Doesn’t apply to all older dogs

    8. No Walks? No Worries!

    No Walks - No Worries!

    Author: Sian Ryan, Helen Zulch
    Number of pages: 96
    Reader’s age: All ages

    No Walks? No Worries! is a book that may not apply to every situation, but it can really come in handy when the situation arises. Sometimes, it becomes necessary for a dog to have limited activity, whether it’s due to an illness or injury or bad weather. When this occurs, it can lead to stress and boredom for your dog, often leading to destructive or anxious behaviors. This book provides training tips and activity ideas for keeping your dog entertained when walks simply aren’t possible.

    Make sure to discuss any activity with your vet before attempting it if your dog is healing from an illness or injury.

    Pros
    • Provides tips and tricks to entertain your dog without walks
    • Good option for recovery from injury or illness or other inability to go for walks
    • Prevents stress and boredom for your dog
    • Can help keep your dog mentally entertained
    Cons
    • May not apply to all situations

    9. The Golden Rules of Positive Puppy Training

    The Golden Rules of Positive Puppy Training

    Author: Jean Cuvelier, Jean-Yves Grall
    Number of pages: 208
    Reader’s age: All ages

    The Golden Rules of Positive Puppy Training is a fun book that contains cartoons, photos, and tons of information. The focus of this book is on providing a positive training environment for your puppy. Negative training experiences can damage your dog’s trust in you and can make some behaviors worse, and this book aims to prevent this from occurring. It’s a good read for all ages, and it offers step by step instructions on a variety of training exercises, including things as simple as housetraining and walking on a leash.

    Children should be supervised when they are working on training exercises with your puppy. Children that become frustrated may unintentionally make training sessions negative and stressful for your pup.

    Pros
    • Contains cartoons and photos
    • Helps you set up a positive training environment
    • Sets you and your puppy up for success
    • Provides step by step training instructions
    Cons
    • May not be ideal for children without adult supervision

    10. Dog Training for Kids

    Dog Training for Kids

    Author: Vanessa Estrada Marin
    Number of pages: 176
    Reader’s age: Children

    Dog Training for Kids is a fun book for children who want to be involved in the training and care of a new dog. This book is written with children in mind, and it’s written on a level that is appropriate for children to read and learn information from. The author, Vanessa Estrada Marin, is a dog trainer who runs a training program for children, so she understands the need for step-by-step instructions that are easy to understand.

    It’s best for children to read this book with an adult so they can discuss the appropriate steps to take to move forward with training a new dog. This is especially important for children who will be training an adult dog that has recently come home for the first time.

    Pros
    • Allows children to be involved in their new dog’s training and care
    • Written on a level appropriate for children
    • Authored by a dog trainer who runs a program for children
    • Step-by-step instructions
    Cons
    • May not be ideal for children without adult supervision

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    Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Book for New Dog Owners

    Choosing the Right Book for Your Needs

    The good news is that you don’t have to pick just one book! Read as many books as you can to feel comfortable bringing your new dog home. However, if you’re looking for one book, consider what subject you feel like you’re lacking the most knowledge on. Some people who have cared for dogs or been raised around dogs may not have questions about dog nutrition or medical care, but grooming needs and training tips may be something they don’t feel confident with. Other people may want to start with basic knowledge of dogs and their care before they move on to breed-specific information, training tips, or home care tips.

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    Conclusion

    These reviews are not an all-inclusive list of the books on the market, but they’re the books we found most beneficial to someone bringing home a new dog. The top pick is The Ultimate Guide to Raising a Puppy, which offers hundreds of pages of information on everything you need to know about the care, training, and selection of a puppy. For a better look inside the minds of dogs, Making Dogs Happy is our favorite pick, with information about dog body language, behavior, and likes and dislikes. For breed-specific information, The New Complete Dog Book is a great resource that is regularly updated by the American Kennel Club.

    See also:


    Featured Image Credit: Silverkblackstock, Shutterstock

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