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10 Best German Shepherd Training Books in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

german shepherd dog

German Shepherds can make excellent companions. They’re well-known for their trainability and devotion to their owners. Often, they are utilized by police departments and military institutions for this very reason.

However, German Shepherds don’t come trained and ready to go. It takes quite a bit of work to get them where they need to be.

Training is essential for these canines. Otherwise, their territorial instincts can be incorrectly utilized, leading to them being aggressive towards other dogs and strangers.

Classes are vital to their training success. However, reading a book or two wouldn’t hurt either!

Not all German Shepherd training books are made equal, though. Some are better than others. Below, we’ll review some of the best books out there for training German Shepherds. Some of these are more based on theory, while others provide practical applications.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
The Art of Raising a Puppy The Art of Raising a Puppy
  • Feature iconDiscusses adopting adults and puppies
  • Feature iconPractical tips and theoretical information
  • Feature iconIncludes information particularly for urban dwellers
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Your German Shepherd Puppy Month by Month Your German Shepherd Puppy Month by Month
  • Feature iconGrooming and vet topics included
  • Feature iconExercise and nutrition information included
  • Feature iconIncludes discussions on crate training, leash training, and basic commands
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend
  • Feature iconLots of topics covered
  • Feature iconComplete training information
  • Feature iconVersatile for a wide variety of dogs
  • Training Your German Shepherd Dog Training Your German Shepherd Dog
  • Feature iconSuitable for beginners
  • Feature iconDiscusses breaking bad habits
  • Feature iconStep-by-step instructions included
  • German Shepherd Training German Shepherd Training
  • Feature iconStraightforward information
  • Feature iconDiscussions on dog body language
  • Feature iconIncludes basic information on commands
  • The 10 Best German Shepherd Training Books – Reviews & Top Picks 2021

    1. The Art of Raising a Puppy

    The Art of Raising a Puppy

    • Pages: 352

    The Art of Raising a Puppy is written by the Monks of New Skete, who have become some of the foremost authorities on dog training and the animal/human bond. Much of this book is about training the German Shepherd, though it is full of theoretical information as well.

    This book can completely change how you view dogs and raising a puppy. The authors have managed to pack quite a bit of knowledge into this hardback book. It is about more than just training your dog. You’ll learn how to develop the best relationship with your canine as well.

    Chapters include information on playing with your puppy, crate training, raising dogs in an urban area, and the latest developments in canine health.

    Don’t be fooled by the name. This book is also helpful if you’re adopting an adult dog. It includes a chapter that talks about just that!

    If you have to get just one book on training your dog, we recommend this one. It is truly the best overall book for training your German Shepherd.

    Pros
    • Practical tips and theoretical information
    • Discusses adopting adults and puppies
    • Includes information particularly for urban dwellers
    • Information on canine health and canine behavioral theory
    • Written by authorities in the canine training
    Cons
    • Too many specific examples and stories for some readers
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    2. Your German Shepherd Puppy Month by Month – Best Value

    Your German Shepherd Puppy Month by Month

    • Pages: 338

    If you’re adopting a puppy, we highly recommend reading Your German Shepherd Puppy Month by Month. This book goes over how to raise a puppy into a well-adjusted and happy adult dog. It goes over everything you need to know to raise your puppy.

    It discusses a wide range of topics, including crate training and potty training. It also includes topics that aren’t directly related to training. For instance, it discusses in length what to ask a breeder before adopting a puppy and vaccination schedules.

    Socialization is discussed in-depth, which is vital for any book on German Shepherds. It outlines how to teach basic commands, including sit, stay, and come. Leash training is discussed.

    There are significant sections on exercising and feeding your German Shepherd. Grooming topics like bathing schedules are covered, and there is a section on when to take your dog to the vet (and when not to worry about it).

    If you’re looking for a book that covers nearly everything you need to know about training your German Shepherd, this is absolutely the best German Shepherd training book for the money.

    Pros
    • Includes discussions on crate training, leash training, and basic commands
    • Discusses what to do before you adopt your puppy
    • Exercise and nutrition information included
    • Grooming and vet topics included
    Cons
    • May lack the specific information some readers are after
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    3. How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend – Premium Choice

    How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend

    • Pages: 364

    While How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend isn’t specifically about German Shepherds, it is a solid option for those looking to train German Shepherds. The authors are some of the foremost German Shepherd Dog trainers out there (and are also the authors of our number one pick), and much of their information pertains specifically to the breed. However, their tips are written in a way that pertains to all dog breeds.

    This book will help you train your German Shepherd by building a better relationship with them. This book truly is about becoming your dog’s best friend. It is a refined and unique approach to dog training that many reviewers find to be very effective.

    You can apply the information in this book to both adults and puppies. If you’re recently adopted a dog, this book may be a suitable option. If you’re looking to train your current German Shepherd to a higher standard, you can also use this book.

    Some essential topics are covered on top of the usual training information. They discuss choosing a dog for your needs, as well as where to adopt your dog from. Pedigree information is covered, which can be very helpful when you’re adopting a puppy.

    Pros
    • Complete training information
    • Helps you build a relationship with your canine
    • Versatile for a wide variety of dogs
    • Lots of topics covered
    Cons
    • May be a bit too theoretical for some readers
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    4. Training Your German Shepherd Dog

    Training Your German Shepherd Dog

    • Pages: 176

    Training Your German Shepherd Dog is part of a series of books about training different dogs. It is pretty straightforward, making it a good option for those who have never trained dogs before.

    It includes advice specifically about a wide variety of different training topics, including housetraining, verbal commands, and leash training. It also covers information on breaking a dog’s bad habits as humanely and efficiently as possible.

    Much of the knowledge in this book isn’t specific to the German Shepherd. However, many owners may still find this helpful if they don’t have any background knowledge on dog training. It’s a good beginner book that encourages positive leadership and consistent techniques.

    Step-by-step pictures and instructions are included with each command and training tip. This inclusion may be a bit overkill for some owners, but it can be constructive for those that have never trained a dog before.

    Pros
    • Provides basic information on most training topics
    • Step-by-step instructions included
    • Suitable for beginners
    • Discusses breaking bad habits
    Cons
    • Shorter than most books
    • Doesn’t include much specific German Shepherd information – despite the title
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    5. German Shepherd Training

    German Shepherd Training

    • Pages: 167

    While German Shepherd Training may be specifically about German Shepherds, we didn’t find it particularly useful in all circumstances. It provides basic information about choosing a puppy and correcting simple behavioral problems. It may be suitable for new dog owners with little experience with dogs, but much of the information is too basic for advanced and even amateur trainers.

    Basic training commands are covered, including potty training and leash training. There is a chapter on socialization as well, which is essential for all German Shepherds. While much of this information seems to be focused on puppies, it easily pertains to adult dogs.

    These tips and training information aren’t explicitly related to German Shepherds. However, this breed trains similarly to most other breeds – so that’s to be expected. There truthfully isn’t anything you need to know to train a German Shepherd specifically.

    There is a discussion of dog body language and other similar topics as well. Again, much of this information is very basic.

    Pros
    • Includes basic information on commands
    • Straightforward information
    • Discussions on dog body language
    • Includes tips on exercise
    Cons
    • Not much German Shepherd-specific information
    • Very basic topics covered
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    6. Let Dogs Be Dogs

    Let Dogs Be Dogs

    • Pages: 288

    Another book written by the Monks of New Skete, Let Dogs Be Dogs is a ground-breaking book on building a relationship with your dog that works. This book isn’t necessarily about training. It discusses a dog’s behavior and how that affects their training. It goes over how to be a solid and compassionate leader for your canine.

    While this book includes many stories and anecdotal information, it also goes over many case studies and scientific information. If you want to learn how to get along with your dog quickly, you should read this book.

    It isn’t directly about training. However, it does discuss how to fix certain problem behaviors, usually through science and building a better relationship with your dog. This isn’t a basic dog training book, so don’t get it if you’re looking for step-by-step information on crate training.

    We highly recommend it for advanced dog owners and those looking for something a bit less practical. If you’re interested in understanding the why behind specific training techniques, this is a solid option for you.

    Pros
    • Scientific information included
    • Discusses dog behavior
    • Information on fixing problem behaviors
    Cons
    • Not very practical
    • Too many stories for some readers
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    7. Decoding Your Dog

    Decoding Your Dog

    • Pages: 384

    Training your dog is often more about training yourself than actually teaching your canine. If they are set up for success, many dogs do very well, very quickly—however, it’s often our training mistakes and misunderstanding of our dog’s body language that causes issues.

    Decoding Your Dog seeks to reduce these problems by providing dog owners with a clear understanding of their dog’s behavior. When you understand why your German Shepherd is misbehaving, correcting the situation becomes much more straightforward.

    This book doesn’t focus on one particular method. It won’t teach you how to train your German Shepherd; it’ll teach you why training works in the first place.

    The author reviews cutting-edge research in an accessible manner, as well as real-life examples. It showcases what we know about dog behavior, helping pet parents apply it to their canines.

    This book isn’t as practical as other options, though. Someone with experience in dog training will easily take the tips and apply them to their training sessions. Beginners may need a little more hand-holding, which this book doesn’t provide.

    Pros
    • Backed by science
    • Teaches you how to decode dog body language
    • Full of real-life examples
    Cons
    • No practical instructions
    • More theoretical than some readers may like
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    8. From Fearful to Fear Free

    From Fearful to Fear Free

    • Pages: 224

    Many German Shepherds have problems with anxiety. They are known for being aggressive towards new people and dogs, which is usually fear-based. When dogs are scared, they’re bound to act aggressively.

    From Fearful to Fear Free is a book written explicitly for anxious canines. It provides a solution for barking, aggression, and destructive behaviors. Instead of treating the symptom, the book aims to treat the underlying cause. It helps the dog become more confident approaching the world without fear – and therefore exhibit less aggression.

    This book is both practical and theoretical. It provides practical steps to lower your dog’s anxiety while also helping you get to the underlying cause. It discusses anxiety overall, as well as specific stress-inducing events.

    Whether your German Shepherd seems to be anxious all the time or only at the groomer, this book can provide practical strategies to help. Many of the reviews were glowing.

    If you can’t work with a canine behaviorist, this book is the next best thing.

    However, for overall dog training, this book may not be beneficial. It is extremely niche, focusing on anxious German Shepherds only.

    Pros
    • Aims to reduce anxiety – a common cause of German Shepherd aggression
    • Practical tips and step-by-step instructions
    • Discusses overall anxiety and handling specific anxiety-inducing events
    Cons
    • Only discusses fear and anxiety
    • Repetitive
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    9. Before and After Getting Your Puppy

    Before and After Getting Your Puppy

    • Pages: 224

    In Before and After Getting Your Puppy, Dr. Ian Dunbar outlines his positive and fun dog training program. He was one of the first dog trainers to recognize that dogs learn best when less stressed. He designed a program based around toys, treats, and games, which he outlines in this book.

    While this book doesn’t contain information about German Shepherds specifically, it does provide a high-quality training program for dog owners to follow. It outlines teaching your dog basic manners, correcting behavior problems, and working with your dog’s temperament.

    This book is designed to be used with a puppy, so it may be less helpful with an adult dog. It includes puppy milestones, as well as training tips for each stage. The plan is structured but uses a lot of low-stress techniques.

    Biting inhibition, socialization, and other vital training steps are all outlined.

    Pros
    • Clear, structured program
    • Puppy milestones discussed
    • Socialization and similar steps outlined
    Cons
    • For puppies specifically
    • Not German Shepherd specific
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    10. The Happy German Shepherd

    The Happy German Shepherd

    • Pages: 154

    How you raise a dog is essential, especially when it comes to German Shepherds. The Happy German Shepherd is all about raising puppies into adjusted adults.

    It provides a basic overview of training, as well as general care guidelines. You’ll learn how to exercise and feed your puppy as they grow. It also dispels some common myths about puppyhood and introduces valuable tips that new pet owners may not find elsewhere.

    It discusses socializing your puppy, desensitizing your canine to loud noises, and preventing behavior problems.

    However, much of the information in this book is very basic. It assumes that the reader does not know about dogs and training at all. If that’s the level you’re coming in at, then this may be a suitable book. Otherwise, you probably already know much of what’s talked about.

    Not much of the information is about German Shepherds, specifically. It is mostly vague facts and tips that can apply to all puppies. Much of it can also be found through a quick Google search for free.

    These downsides landed this book at the bottom of our list. It isn’t the worst book on the market. But the value just isn’t there.

    Pros
    • Basic training overview
    • Broad range of topics discussed
    • Good information for new dog owners
    Cons
    • Short
    • Vague information
    • Very basic level

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    Buyer’s Guide

    Many things set an excellent German Shepherd training book apart from a great German Shepherd training book. Reading a great book not only provides you with the information you need to train your dog, but it should also help you understand your dog better.

    Selecting a training book for your German Shepherd can seem a bit complicated, especially since you don’t know what you’re getting until you start reading.

    Below, we’ll outline some basic steps to take when searching for the perfect book.

    slope-backed german shepherd with his owner
    Image Credit: MasatoTsuda, Pixabay

    The Importance of Science

    There are a lot of dog training methods out there written by a lot of different people. Anyone can publish a book on dog training, especially in the days of self-publishing.

    Therefore, it is essential to do your due diligence.

    Preferably, you want a book that is backed by science. Look for mentions of clinical studies and scientific information in the book’s description. You don’t just want what some random person happens to think about dog training. You want information and techniques that have been proven to work.

    Of course, there are some very well-known authors as well. However, celebrity dog trainers often do not write books backed by science. They don’t have to use effective techniques; people are going to purchase their books anyway.

    If a book’s only claim to fame is the author’s name, you should look elsewhere.

    Adult vs. Puppies

    It is never too late to train your canine. However, some books are aimed explicitly at puppies. These books often have programs that align with a puppy’s growth and milestones. They may also cover topics that don’t apply to adult dogs, like vaccination schedules.

    If you’re adopting a puppy, you may find these books particularly helpful. If you’re never raised a puppy before, we recommend looking into one of these books.

    However, if you’re adopting an adult dog, you want a book that can be used for all ages. While you can apply what a puppy-centered book teaches to an adult dog, it will contain a lot of information that you don’t need.

    Instead, we recommend selecting a book that doesn’t include puppy-specific information.

    Theoretical vs. Practical

    There are books about why training works, and then there are books with step-by-step instructions on how training works. Both are important and have their place in dog training.

    Every dog is different, so step-by-step instructions don’t work for every canine. Plus, these practical tips often don’t help you develop a better relationship with your dog. Every relationship is unique and requires constant work.

    However, a good relationship with your dog is essential to training success. Without a good relationship, no step-by-step instructions are going to help you.

    It is challenging to adjust step-by-step instructions to your canine without some theoretical understanding.

    If you’re never trained a dog before, we recommend starting with a practical book covering most training topics. After that, read a theoretical book or two. Books full of theory are beneficial for advanced training, but they are also helpful in developing a solid foundation and relationship.

    For those with previous dog training experience, we recommend theoretical books. If you don’t need step-by-step instructions with pictures on how to teach your dog to sit, you’ll likely benefit from one of these theory books.

    smiling woman hugging her german shepherd dog
    Image Credit: Sam Wordley, Shutterstock

    Niche Training vs. Basic Training

    Most German Shepherd training books are about basic dog training. They include information on crate training, socialization, and similar dog training topics. This information will be relevant to all dogs. Every canine will need to know how to walk on a leash, for instance.

    If you have a new puppy or adult, you’ll likely be interested in one of these books. They’ll help you get started on the right foot. Many also have some basic information on countering common behavior problems, especially in puppies.

    However, niche training books can be beneficial in some situations. These don’t cover basic commands and topics, like crate training.

    Instead, they discuss fixing specific problems or helping your canine accomplish certain things. If you have an anxious German Shepherd, there are books out there that will help you tackle their anxiety. (We included one in our reviews!)

    For those with a new dog, niche training books likely won’t be constructive. These books are primarily for canines that have underlying, apparent problems.

    To Schedule or Not to Schedule

    Some training books come with specific plans. For those that focus on puppies, many of these plans are linked to their age. It may inform you to start socialization at four months, for instance. Specific steps may be outlined.

    These programs are designed to be followed in order. You start with the first step, master it, and then move onto the second one.

    For new dog owners and those with puppies, these often work very well. You don’t have to worry about missing something essential. It’ll tell you exactly when to move to the next step, so you won’t have to worry about pushing your dog too soon.

    However, this sort of structured plan doesn’t work for everyone. If you adopt an adult, they’ll likely have a mixture of good and bad manners. You may not have to focus on teaching them basic commands, but they may have separation anxiety.

    These plans are little help in these circumstances. We would recommend purchasing a book without these specific plans in these cases. You can adjust the plans to fit your dog, but sometimes it’s just easier to throw out the plan altogether!

    German shepherd and alaskan malamute mixed breed dog playing in the forest
    Image Credit: BGSmith, Shutterstock

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    Conclusion

    German Shepherds are incredibly trainable. Their devotion to their owner knows no end, and their high intelligence allows them to quickly pick up on new commands.

    However, using the proper training technique is essential to their success. If you train your German Shepherd improperly, you may end up with an anxious and aggressive dog. Their protection instincts can get the best of them!

    We recommend The Art of Raising a Puppy for anyone adopting a German Shepherd. Despite the title, this book does have chapters specifically concerning adopting German Shepherds from the shelter. This book covers everything you need to know about training your dog, including building a solid relationship from the beginning.

    Your German Shepherd Puppy Month by Month is another solid book, though this one applies to puppies. It is most suitable for new dog owners who don’t want to miss anything.

    Hopefully, our reviews helped you choose the best book for your German Shepherd. When possible, we recommend reading widely. You never can know too much about training your German Shepherd.

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    Featured Image Credit: Rob Wee, Pixabay