Top Scent Dog Training Books and Websites 2017

Shopping for the holiday season? You can never have too many scent dog training books, right? Here’s a list of our favorite canine books and websites you might enjoy:

Nosework & Scent Discrimination

  • Canine Olfaction Science and Law (Advances in Forensic Science, Medicine, Conservation, and Environmental Remediation), Ed. Tadeusz, J. et al. is my favorite scent textbook, updated to 2016. In 500 pages it delves into fine detail on diverse scent training disciplines, with detailed scientific references for all:
    • Anatomy, physiology, chemistry, and evolutionary biology of olfaction
    • Scent aerodynamics and odor plume structure in varying environmental conditions
    • Pros and cons of scent detection by many animal species
    • Selecting, training and testing reliable scent dogs
    • Issues encountered with bombs, narcotics, cadavers, bugs, and environmental conservation detection
  • The Foundation of Nosework with Andrew Ramsey (video) is available online such as Thanks Andrew for your inspiration! This video covers the stages from teaching the dog where to go (to the source of target odor) and what to do what they get there (including leash pressure to train the dog to indicate by freezing like a statue with focused attention and nose as close to source as possible).
  • Dave Kroyer covers how to train an independent indication at a distance, and many other tips on scent detection, including many free tips online at If you ever have a chance to work with Karen Kroyer at a nosework seminar, I highly recommend her.

Canine Learning Theory

  • Excel-Erated Learning: Explaining in Plain English How Dogs Learn and How Best to Teach Them, Pamela J. Reid. This is a concise book I have read several times and is always sitting on my desk. In particular, check out the discussion of how best to teach discrimination, and reinforcement schedules. If you want to learn about the science underpinning clicker training, this book is fantastic.

Dog Behavior

  • Canine Behavior – Insights and Answers, by Bonnie Beaver, DVM

While books tend to lag behind cutting edge research, this reference is a good starting point, written in a style that’s fairly accessible for curious dog trainers. For example, many behavioral challenges (such as barking) arise from natural tendencies as dog’s respond to living in a modern world, which should underpin the solutions to addressing those challenges successfully, inform how you approach dog training, and suggest ideas for future reading.

 Puppy Training

  • Living with Kids and Dogs (Without Losing Your Mind: A Parent’s Guide to Controlling the Chaos, V2) is a very practical guide to training basic manners for young puppies and safely supervising interactions between dogs and children. Including many helpful photographs, this book is a solid introduction to identifying the warning signs in a dog’s body language that predict trouble so you can intervene and help everyone to be successful.
  • Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution (free on YouTube) has many excellent videos such as how to stop your puppy from biting, jumping up, training the recall, fetch and many more. Zak is fun. He clearly demonstrates how you can overcome challenges by showing the dog what you want him or her to do, and rewarding small, easily achievable steps.
  • The Puppy Primer by Patricia McConnell and Brenda Scidmore explains how to teach your puppy basic manners in an easy to follow, approachable way.
  • Crate Games for Self-Control and Motivation (video) by Susan Garrett available online at–motivation-dvd.htm shows a fun way to quickly teach your dog to love his crate and use that black and white boundary to teach a solid understanding of when he should stay and when he should go. While oriented at agility training, this technique is a must for anyone who wants to travel safely with their dog and not have to worry about the dog jumping out of an empty door, and will simultaneously help to improve your skills as a dog trainer.

Obedience Training

  • Janice Gunn not only inspires with her perfect obedience performances, but is also a genuine pleasure as a teacher and offers several helpful videos on puppy, click to retrieve, and competitive obedience training. If you want your dog to indicate scent at a distance, a solid obedience foundation is a massive head start.

Fetching & Hunting

  • Positive Gun Dogs: Clicker Training for Sports Breeds by Jim Barry (Author), Mary Emmen (Author), Susan Smith (Author) covers a rewards-based approach to training the components of training a successful hunting dog. For example, instead of walking several steps away and having a puppy break his stay, a first step that even a puppy can succeed at is to simply shift your weight, then build upon that foundation up to out of sight stays. Additionally, it breaks down how to use a clicker to train the dog to retrieve.

What’s your favorite scent dog training book or website? Drop us a comment below.

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