Are you in the business of teaching? For dog trainers, teaching people effectively is a requirement for a successful dog training career.
These books can improve your communication with all learners. It’s not a list based on teaching as a profession, although I may cover gems on that subject in another post. And just one book, Karen Pryor’s “Don’t Shoot The Dog,” touches on the subject of dog training — and if you’ve read it, you know it isn’t all about training dogs.
This list may change over time. Start with any of these titles, as they are listed in no particular order. If you purchase the books using the links below, I’ll receive a small commission from Amazon.
Books to improve your teaching
A classic for anyone interested in teaching, this book talks about learning theory and applied behavior analysis in a short, digestible format.
A practical, how-to guide on dealing with other people’s behavior. Good teachers can change behavior in a way that the learner enjoys.
This book explores the mechanics of how we learn, some myths surrounding teaching and learning, and what the science says to date.
“Everything you know about dog training is wrong!” Have you ever wanted to say that to a client? Chip and Dan Heath speak a soothing balm to your inner training geek, as they provide multiple examples of changing people’s behavior, for the better.
This book is a must-have for anyone working in a teaching, coaching or consulting capacity. I recommend buying two copies, so you can give one to the next person who asks for your recommendation on how to get through to clients.
Teaching clients to train their dogs might not feel as if it’s high stakes. But even a seemingly straightforward case can become tricky fast, given family dynamics, or a client’s feelings about their dog’s behavior. Needing to discuss lifestyle changes, potential liability, re-homing, euthanasia, or even financial issues can take a consultation into touchy territory.
A short, essential read for anyone who teaches, trains, or manages employees or volunteers.
These conversational techniques work with adults, too! The format of this classic is inviting, with scenarios and cartoon strips that contrast effective and ineffective ways to communicate with youngsters.
Although this book is geared towards managers, its principles are terrific for coaching clients who can’t seem to follow instructions. Use the insights in this book to coach your clients toward taking responsibility for their dog’s behavior.
Should you read other books on teaching?
If you are a dog trainer, I recommend reading as many books about teaching as you can. Ask friends and colleagues in management, HR, education and PR/marketing for recommendations. Explore topics outside of dog training, like training other species, coaching and entrepreneurship. And of course, maintain empathy with your students and sharpen your teaching skills by remaining a lifelong learner.