Recommended dog aggression books, tools and resources

Recommended dog aggression books, tools and resources

We created a resource page that you can always come back to for all your dog behavior and training needs.  So, we have collected a number of recommended books and other resources below that we believe can help make dealing with your dog that much easier. We will continue to update this page, so we recommend you bookmark it for your convenience. Please let us know if you encounter any broken links.  Enjoy!

Disclosure:  Some of our recommended products link to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate, this allows us to earn from qualifying purchases which goes toward our site hosting and maintenance.  However, we never recommend anything to you that we don’t sincerely believe are helpful and useful. Please don’t spend any money unless you feel our recommendations are useful to you.


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Books help you learn!  Here are some of our favourite dog aggression and dog training reads.

Book CoverBook TitleCategoryYou need this ifWhy we recommend it
The Dog Aggression System Every Dog Owner Needs e-book E-book ordered on site.

The book is now available in print and can be purchased on Amazon.

Improving Dog Aggression through training, diet, exercise, environmental enrichment, medical issues, etc.You want to learn more about treating dog aggression or add to your existing knowledge.Not only address behavior modification, but looks at a wide range of things that can be done to treat dog aggression in order to set your dog up to succeed. For example,
  • what signs can you learn to read that will help you recognize when your dog is stressed so that you can act on that before you dog becomes aggressive?
  • How can you develop your dog's ability to control themselves?
  • How does petting your dog help or hurt them?
  • What changes in the diet might help?
  • How can making your dog's life more interesting in a species typical way help?
  • When is medication warranted?
  • When does behavior modification go typically wrong and what you can do to avoid it.

All this and much, much more.Print version is in production. If you would like to buy a print version on this book, please use our contact us form to let us know and we will let you know as soon as it is out.

Manual of Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Dogs and Cats, 1eTreating Animal Behavior Problems through training, medical issuesYou are an advanced learned such as a trainer, veterinarian or veterinary student wanting to more about about behavirial problems from a behaviorial and medical standpointThe veterinarian’s reliable tool for helping clients resolve pet behavior problems
Click to calmImproving aggressive behavior through trainingYou want to learn more about improving dog aggression using clicker trainingEmma Parson's provides step by step training exercises that you can follow and she provides practical suggestions. More than 40 exercises in an easy-to-follow training recipe formatand includes many creative and effective uses of managing behavior through clicker training.
The Power of Positive Dog TrainingDog TrainingIf you are new to dog training or clicker training and would like get teach your dog using clicker trinaingOur favourite dog training book. Pat Miller is a highly experienced dog owner that has written numerous articles. This book is full of great information and easy to understand on positive reinforcement training and is good for beginners as well as anyone interested in getting into clicker training. This book provides a six week step by step course.
Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training, Vol. 1: Adaptation and LearningDog Training, researchYou are an advanced learner and interested in learning more. Suitable for dog trainers hungry to learn more.This book is filled with research both from the writers perspective and historical research. Suitable for the more advanced learner or trainer.
** does NOT recommend Volume three in this series
Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training, Vol. 2: Etiology and Assessment of Behavior Problems - Vol 2Improving and discussing problem behavior in dogs, researchVolume two of this series covers problem behavior in dogs and offers a unique perspective. Suitable for the more advanced learner or trainer.Full of indepth research. Stephen Lindsay has done his homework and if you are dog trainer with a thirst for more knowledge, this book has it all.
We do not recommend vol 3 of this series
Genetics and the Social Behavior of the DogResearch, geneticsIf you are interested in more than dog training, but are also interested in breeding and other dog behavior as it relates to genetics and dogs.The book on genetics. This is an older book but still often referred to for it's research. Suitable for the more advanced learner or trainer. Particularly of benefit to the breeder and those with an involved interest in canine behavior.
The Bark Stops HereImproving barking through dog trainingYou have a dog who barks too muchThis booklet (58 pages) focuses on addressing the underlying causes of barking in order to improve it.
Feeling Outnumbered? How to Manage and Enjoy Your Multi-Dog Household.Feeling Outnumbered? How to Manage and Enjoy Your Multi-Dog Household.Improving tension in multidog householdIf you have a Mulit-dog householdFocuses on using positive reinforcement to teach dogs to be patient rather than pushy. Excellent for the new mulitpple dog owner or any dog owner that has multiple dogs that may be experiencing tension in the home between dogs.
Feisty Fido: Help for the Leash-Reactive DogImproving leash aggression through dog trianingIf you have a dog who displays leash aggressionLeash aggression is very common. Dealing with on leash aggression using positive based techniques.
Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in DogsImproving resource guarding through dog trainingResources guardingAnother book by Jean Donaldson for dogs who respond aggressively over valued items such as toys.
Conquering Ring Nerves: A Step-by-Step Program for All Dog SportsImproving stressFor those dog handlers looking for ways to conquer their own nerves and anxieties while working with dogs.This is an excellent book for anyone involved in treating their aggressive dog. Although this covers sports, many owners dealing with reactive or aggressive dogs have found this to be a truly helpful book in learning how to be calm in order to avoid transmitting our anxieties about their behavior to our dogs.
The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around DogsDog BehaviorIf you are new to dog trianing or want to understand dogs betterThis is a wonderful read that has as much empathy for the human as the dog. It allows us to examine ourselves and our mistakes not only without being made to feel like we need to defend ourselves, but in a way that we can feel encouraged to handle our dogs more effectively.




Here are some videos on YouTube that you may also be interested in:

Teaching Your Dog to “Drop”

Teaching your dog how to drop things is a better option that trying to force your dog to open his or her mouth.  The video nicely breaks down a positive way to teach this.

Settle on a mat

Settling on a mat when asked is a really valuable skill for your dog to have. The video requires your dog to have already been trained to respond to the clicker, but this is easy! The video does not actually train your dog to relax, but if you can get your dog to lie down, this will help get you there.

Loose Leash Walking

This free webinar given by trainer Gail Fisher is for owners of all kinds of dogs.  You may wish to walk your aggressive dog with a Gentle Leader or a muzzle, rather than just a plain collar for safety purposes.

Click here to view the webinar.

Tools and Equipment

Tools and equipment to help manage dog aggression

Aggression Management Tools Description
Head Halters on AmazonWhile they don't prevent bites, head-halters can provide you with a lot of control. The dog should be desensitized to wearing one. They are useful tools for dealing with aggressive dogs. The Gentle Leader is probably the most popular and recommended head halter by certified behaviorists and veterinarians. There is a fitting guide on the Gentle Leader site that should be followed, as the fit is very important.Haltis and Snoot loops (see them on Amazon) are other popular brands although they all vary slightly in their design. They are like a horse halter that straps around the nose and neck.

With all head-halters, muzzles, and harnesses, using shaping through clicker training can be really helpful to encourage the dog to willingly put their head or legs in and desensitize them to wearing it. Head-halters are not appropriate for every dog or every situation.
Basket Muzzles on AmazonBasket muzzles that allow the dog to easily pant and breath as well as drink are considered the most humane muzzles to use for dogs. However the fit and brand will depend on the shape of the dogs head. Choose a version that allows clear air flow. Muzzles should only be used when you absolutely cannot avoid the dog's triggers. You might want to check our article on muzzles first before purchases. Controlling Dog Aggression with a Muzzle
Gates on AmazonIndoor metal gates can be used to separate dogs from other dogs or people inside the home. Many people use baby gates, but caution should be exercised since many gates can be jumped over or destroyed. From experience we suggest a metal gate over a wooden or plastic gate so dogs can't chew through it. It is also possible to open some of these gates with one hand which is valuable. Your dog may not be accustomed to jumping gates, but if motivated enough, they may try it.
This allows the dog to be able to see you so they don't feel as socially isolated. On the other hand, if you are separating dogs that are aggressive towards each other, it's probably best that they can't see each other, so using some kind of material to block sight (such as a blanket) may help.
Window Cling on AmazonWindow clings or film are sheets of plastic that let in light, but provide privacy. Some are simply applied by using water and a flat plastic surface to smooth out the bubbles, which make them easy to apply and remove. This can be useful for those dogs who bark a lot and/or tend to be hyper vigilant with whatever may be going on outside, from people walking by to the wind blowing around debris.
Word of caution however, restricting the ability to see outside may be also restricting some important stimulation for those dogs. Those dogs who are left home alone during the work day and do not get that worked up by what may be outside may benefit be seeing outside.
You need to use your best judgment. The important consideration is to what degree your dog is able to relax. Some dogs can never relax knowing there may be something outside. For those dogs who find it challenging to relax, or who tend to bark incessantly at everything that goes by or when the wind blows, it may be of some help. Search online to find them in your area.
Drag Line on AmazonDrag lines are essential lightweight leashes with no handle that can be dragged around by your pet. It allows them to range free, but gives you the opportunity of picking up the leash.

This helps leash training. It is also handy for dogs that are aggressive towards their owners as it helps you to guide your dog away if need be without getting your hands close to their mouth. You can find draglines in a variety of places, but you can also purchase a lightweight cat leash and cut the handle to avoid getting it snagged on your furniture.
Animal Deterrents on AmazonUsed to be called Direct Stop, but is now called Spray Shield Animal Deterrent Spray. Hopefully you will never have to use this, but sometimes you will want to keep an off leash dog from approaching yours if your dog is aggressive, or interrupt a pending dog fight. It does not cause pain, but dogs don't like the smell. You can get this from a variety of suppliers, including
Break Sticks on AmazonSounds worse than they are, but this can be slid in the gap behind the teeth to pry open a dog's jaws that may be holding on very tightly without breaking the dog's teeth. Generally they are used with breeds whose bite style is to bite and hold opposed to multiple biting. Those breeds that are not likely to hold, may turn and bite you if you use a break stick. Hopefully, you will never need to use one of these!
Snarum Noose on AmazonThese can be harmful if not used correctly, and not cheap! But this tool will allow you to catch a dog without getting your hands too close to their mouth.
Do Not Pet tshirt for dogsDo Not Pet Shirt For DogsOne of the challenges dog owners face is keeping people and their dogs away from their own when they are working with them. This shirt uses a universal stop sign that people instantly understand placed where most people are focusing - on the dog.

Here are some additional tools and equipment that can help you with dog training.

Dog Training ToolsLinkDescription
PetSafe Easy Walk Harness. This one is for a large dog, but they come in different sizes and colors.There are many of different dog harnesses, but we really like this one. It's easy to put on and it doesn't cause very much chaffing. It does not take to long for your dog to get used to either. Unlike traditional harnesses, the chest strap rests low across the breastbone, not on the delicate tracheal area, so your dog does not choke or gag.

Here is a YouTube video demonstrating how to put it on that was online as of the time of writing this:
PetSafe Treat & Train Remote Reward Dog TrainerThe original remote control treat dispenser designed be a veterinary behaviourist years ago and continually improved since.
These are on the pricey side, but come highly recommended by a number of trainers and behaviorists. Formerly, the Manners Minder is a remote control feeding tray for dogs and includes a training DVD. This can be used to teach a dog to run to a remote location or reward them when they are away from you. This can valuable for those dogs who tend to bark at people coming through the door.

One creative trainer used the manners minder to help people her dog not to bark in her apartment building even when she wasn't there! You can read about it here: A Creative Way to Improve Dog Barking. Genius!
Attmu 7 Pack Pet Training Clicker with Wrist Strap, Dog Training Clicker SetUsing a sound marker, such as a whistle or a clicker has a long history in being used to train marine animals (after all, you can't put a collar around a dolphin) and is now used to train all sorts of animals. It is one of the most effective ways to train dogs in a way that is fun and stimulating for both dog and owner. The practice is being used to train horses, cats, birds, and even wild animals in captivity in order to get them to accept medical injections. Clickers are inexpensive and can be found in many pet shops now.

Any clicker will probably do, but if you have a dog that is sound sensitive and they tend to startle easily with the clicker, you might want to try a quiet clicker, such as the Karen Pryor i-Click Dog Training Clicker
Dog Training Food TubeFeeding tubes are similar to a toothpaste tube, except you can fill it with your own choice of food for your dog such as spreadable cheese, ground meat and gravy, etc. When you need to reward the dog, simply let the dog lick the end. We've used these for dogs that snatch treats and tend to bite fingers accidentally (especially those excitable dogs). It also is good for those of you who work with your dogs in colder climates and prefer to keep your gloves on!
CAUTION Dog Collars Color and LeashesWe at have yet to use these but we think these are a great idea, too. A colored leash gets people's attention. There is actually a number of leashes, collars and harnesses on Amazon that you might consider such the "no dogs" leash or the "working" dog leash (even green "Friendly" leashes and collars for those of you who own friendly pit-bulls, German Shepherds, Doberman's etc.).
Terylene Dog Training Treat BagThese are great. When you are using a clicker and holding a leash, you may find that you need to have a treat pouch that is easy to get treats out of. We've tried a few different ones and so far the kind that have a stay-open hinge top that pops open and stays open allows easy access for treats, yet at the same time snaps easily closed with a pat comes out on top for easy of use and convenience. Simply snap it around your waist and you are ready to go. But be careful your dog doesn't learn to pay attention only when you are wearing it. It helps to stash treat around the house so your dog never learns when he or she can ignore you.
PointerTarget stick are not essential, but they can be used to train dogs to do many things, including loose leash walking. It works by teaching the dog to "target", i.e. touch the end of the pole. This way you can teach your dog to follow it, and as they learn you can slowly fade out the stick by making it shorter and shorter. Here is a video example of using a target stick with a dog.

There are a variety of them around, so have a look. You could even use a simple piece of dowling. This one allows you carry it around easily as well as extend or shorten as needed which is handy when you start to fade it out during training.
Affordable Agility in the BagNow you do dog agility training at home! One of the challenges owners of aggressive dogs have is how to exercise their dogs when their dogs don't like other dogs. Agility can be both great exercise for both body and mind while increasing the bond between owner and dog. In addition agility can be a great activity for older tweens and teens to participate in. There are a number of different pieces you can get on Amazon. You can also build some of these things yourself. There is a how-to on wikiHow How to Build a Dog Agility Course.

You might find this book The Beginner's Guide to Dog Agility helpful as well.

The one linked here is about $195 when we posted it, but we recommend one of the cheaper starter kits if you are just beginning. They may not last very long, but you will be able to tell if it's something you might enjoy before spending more.
Stand back Dog Training ShirtWe had this shirt specially designed for working with aggressive and anxious dogs. Available in black, white, red and gold. We also have a "Keep Away" shirt for those people who want people to stay far away.

Check it out in our Shop

Finding an Expert

You might be interested in the article Who Can Help? that discussed the different types of professionals that might help you treat your dog.

Online Canine professional associations, including member directories and information




Veterinary Colleges

You may also be able to find veterinarians who specialize in behaviour or veterinary behavior clinics at some schools of veterinary medicine. Check the wikipedia page on this for a list of schools of veterinary medicine.

Helpful Links

These handouts are in the public domain, but are included here for your convenience.

Dr. Karen Overall’s Deference Protocol

This protocol is similar to our SAW protocol, although ours places slightly more emphasis on waiting as part of developing self-control.

Download the deferment protocol here. You will need an app to unzip the file.

Dr. Karen Overall’s Relaxation Protocol

The protocol is a step by step outline for teaching your dog to remain relaxed under a variety of non-threatening situations. If your dog can’t complete these reliably, then you are not ready to proceed to Targeted Behavior Modification (see the book for more information).

Download the relaxation protocol here. You will need an app to unzip the file.

Dr. Lore I Haug desensitizing for Muzzles and Head-halters

It is a good idea to get your dog used to wearing a muzzle if your dog is ever in a situation where he or she has the potential to bite. In addition, head halters can really go a long way towards helping some dog owners get better control of dogs that may have the tendency to pull or lunge.

Download the desensitization for head halters and muzzles here:  ATM_Desensitization_muzzle

Check out our page on how to select the right muzzle for your dog.

Dr. Lore I Haug desensitizing for Vet visits

Not only are these two documents useful on their own (all aggressive dogs should be accustomed to wearing either a muzzle or head -halter), but they are excellent examples of the step by step process used in desensitization.

Download desensitizing for Vet visits here. You will need an app to unzip the file.

AVSAB American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior Position Statements

The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) is a group of veterinarians and research professionals who share an interest in understanding behavior in animals.  They have published position statements on the following:

  • Dominance Position Statement
  • Punishment Position Statement
  • Puppy Socialization Position Statement

AVSAB Position Statements & Handouts (for the public) can be accessed here

Environmental Enrichment

You might be interested in reading more about environment enrichment and how it can help dogs here.

Environmental Enrichment Tools Description
Affordable Agility in the BagNow you can do dog agility training at home! One of the challenges owners of aggressive dogs have is how to exercise their dogs when their dogs don't like other dogs. Agility can be both great exercise for both body and mind while increasing the bond between owner and dog. Agility can be a great activity for older tweens and teens to participate in. There are a number of different pieces you can get on Amazon. You can also build some of these things yourself. There is a how-to on wikiHow How to Build a Dog Agility Course

You might find this book The Beginner's Guide to Dog Agility helpful as well.
KONG Classic Dog Toy, Large, RedKong toys have been long known for their durability, their crazy bounces and the fact that you can fill them up with a variety of foods, or even freeze them with frozen liquid. Now there is a greater variety of them than ever.
Flirt Pole Dog Exercise ToysGood for exercising your dog in your back yard or garden when you can't get them out for a walk. There are a variety fo these available.
OurPets Buster Food Cube Interactive Dog Toy, Large (Colors Vary)These are also good food puzzles toys for dogs. There are a variety of food puzzles available now. We suggest you feed as much of your dogs meals in these as possible to keep their minds busy an content. You should get a variety of different kinds of food puzzles and switch them up frequently to keep your dog interested.
The Company of Animals Boomer Ball, Large. You can find the original Boomer balls used for zoo animal's enrichment here:Boomer BallsThese were intially created for environmental enrichment for zoos. We found these were the only toys our pitbulls could not destroy. They come in different styles, but the classic version is hard plastic with holes at either end. You fill these up with something like kibble in a ball too big for them to get their jaws around. They roll it around delighting in the food that comes out of it. You may also find hard balls on Amazon as well, but we have never used them. Amazon Boomer type balls


Breeding Research – 20 Year Study

Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog book, last updated inn 1998 the landmark research project on dog behavior and how it relates to breeding.  Based on over 20 years of work, this academic book is a must have for anyone seriously interested in dog breeds, dog training or dog behavior.





Behaviorial Assessments by Breed

The Canine Behavioural Assessment & Research Questionnaire can provide you with standardized evaluations of canine temperament and behavior.

DNA testing for dogs

Understanding the predominant breeds in your mixed-breed dog can be useful both for health and behavior reasons.  To learn more about genetic testing check out our articles Health and Your Mixed-breed Dog: Can Science Predict Future Problems?

Wisdom Panel DNA Test for dogs is considered the best DNA test on the market.

Amazon typically has the lowest prices to buy the Wisdom Panel DNA test for dogs which is considered to be the most comprehensive and reliable on the market.