7 Best Retriever Training Books that You Should Read

The knowledge given in books and courses can be so much helpful time and again for retriever owners. Both Labrador and Golden Retriever are meant to be trained as hunt dogs.

But you need someone to teach you how to grow a hunt dog. In such case, books can be your reference point. In this article, we shall see the best Retriever training books.

The best retriever training books are Dokken’s Retriever Training, Free’s Training Your Retriever, Dahl’s 10 Minute Retriever. The reasons for them being the top choice are listed below.

With the onset of online training video courses, books are no more a preferred choice for gaining knowledge. However, the information that is already shared in the books is a goldmine to new possibilities for retriever owners. This is the reason I decided to share the list of best books for retriever training.

If you want to train your puppy on your own in the indoors and later on outdoors too, then some sort of complete information that is sorted in a step by step way is what you need.

Videos and articles are good for solving problems that are specific to one single scenario but when you want a complete picture from beginning till the end then books are your best choice.

When it comes to retriever training books, there are multiple options and I have given the best list of training books for your below:

Tom Dokken’s Retriever Training: The Complete Guide to Developing Your Hunting Dog

Are you intent on hunting and training with retrievers? If so, Tom Dokken’s book is the book to look up to. On the whole, the book gives wholesome descriptions of the various strategies of training and hunting with a dog. Accompanying these descriptions are some helpful pictorial illustrations.

Given the greatly simple language in use, this book is truly good for starters and persons who have never attempted hunting before. By reading through, you get to channel the ambitions of your dog only to those areas that really matter. This way, you get to save some bit of time as you train your dog.

At the tail end of the discussions, you may count on the book to inculcate on your dogs the following traits:

  1. Obedience to commands both on and off the leash
  2. Retrieval of the birds to the hands
  3. Stability of the dog to the shots
  4. Quarters and flushes upland game
  5. Finding of the downed birds
  6. Taking hand signals, and so on…

The author boasts of well over 30 years of training retrievers. His past training undertakings have resulted in the conversion of retrievers into upland bird finders, water-fowling companions, hunt test participants, and field trial competitors, to name but a few!

What’s more? He also doubles up as the creator of the renowned Dokken’s Oak Ridge Kennels and Dokken Deadfowl Trainer. These two are located in Northfield, Minnesota. They jointly combine to form the United States’ largest all-breed hunting dog training amenities.

Training Your Retriever by James Lamb Free

Requiring some expert advice with regards to matters caring, training, and selecting a retriever? This is the book to place your bet on. It is not just a book but a compilation also of the comprehensive data which you need to rely on to make your dog better trained for the job.

Its author, Mr. James Lamb Free has been extensively involved in training retrievers. In his many years of service, he has garnered in-depth experience.

You will find much of his wisdom and experience constituting many of the details of this book. These are guaranteed to make you better dog hunter and trainer.

Though meant for wholesome training and approach, this book is particularly suited to those who want kennel dogs. These are dogs which you keep in the kennel much of the time and you only let out periodically. The reason here is that the training is moderately gentle and basic in scope.

By all accounts, this is a truly fantastic book. That is because it comprises many tried-and-true methods of training your working retriever. Constantly using the principles of this book as the basis of training your dog results in hard-charging and a field-ready dog who possess manners that are impeccable.

Though great, the book is not recommended for the little puppy. That is because the training activities, though gentle, are way too harsh for the puppy. They might demoralize the puppy and spoil their psyche to engage in more strenuous undertakings at some other times.

Retriever Training for the Duck Hunter: Robert Milner

Different books have different niches. This one is designed for the practical person who wants a hands-on guide to accompany him right at the training place. It is pretty strong, thick, firm, and durable. These stem from its paltry 1/4 inch thickness which guarantees a longer life.

At its core, the book mainly focuses on the special relationships which the dog owner develops with it. On account of this, it endeavors to guide the dog owner at each step of the journey, from start to finish. Implementing the finer details of the book leads to a rather close and intimate relationship with the canine.

Below is a breakdown of the book’s contents:

  1. Chapter 1: Different Strokes for Different Pups
  2. Chapter 2: Puppies
  3. Chapter 3: Relating to your pup
  4. Chapter 4: When to start training pup
  5. Chapter 5: Obedience
  6. Chapter 6: The Condition Retrieve (Force Fetching)
  7. Chapter 7: Steadying
  8. Chapter 8: Duck Blinds and Hand Signals
  9. Chapter 9: Water Training
  10. Chapter 10: Introduction to Hunting

Though universal in scope and applicability, this book is most suited for the day-old puppy through to around a year old.

The author endeavors to ask and answer those frequently asked questions at the end of each chapter. This way, you get to confront the topic from multiple angles.

It falls short of those advanced topics like the pattern blinds, lining and casting drills, and swim-by. Further, it advises against the use of an electric collar.

Notwithstanding these shortcomings, the book is still a great way of getting started in the field of dog hunting.

Retriever Puppy Training: The Right Start for Hunting by Cherylon Loveland

Retriever Puppy Training showcases a program of basic training. It aims at converting your young retrievers to enthusiastic and effective hunting companions. To do this, it makes use of the step-by-step teaching schedule. This schedule plays a great role in upping the confidence of your puppy.

You will find it quite suitable for launching out with your first retriever. The same is applicable to those who intend to turn their puppies into great hunters in the future. All factors considered also, this program is also good for those young dogs which are above the starting age.

If you are experienced in the field, you need not despair either. This book is also suited for your own use. You may use it as a reference later when handling those otherwise difficult dogs. Below is a breakdown of the core roles and contents of the book:

  1. Puppy selection
  2. Puppy personality types
  3. Basic house manners
  4. The progressive retriever training program
  5. Water retrieves
  6. Blinds
  7. Marks

After successful completion of this book should make your dog hunt readily and effectively. You too will up your dog training skills chiefly by working out all the excuses that the retrievers make use of. Lastly, you will turn your dog into some well-mannered companion of your hunting missions.

By far the best time to utilize the book is in the first year of the retriever. The concepts are very simple, direct to the point and easy to grasp. Moreover, it instills into your retriever, the discipline and skills it requires to become a better hunting companion.

James Spencer, Training Retrievers for the Marshes and Meadows

Never attempted to train a dog before? Why not get hold of this self-explanatory book and make your baby steps more fruitful? Indeed, the entire scope and content of the book are both relatively simple. Even a person who has never attempted to train a dog before will find it worthwhile.

The book helps you to make the most of the factors which determine the best possible outcomes and experiences. Among these are the best training grounds for the job, the correct time to launch out, and the methods needed to start out well. Below are some of the core skills it inculcates:

  1. Puppy Training
  2. Basic Obedience
  3. Single Marked Retrieves
  4. Force-Breaking why and how
  5. Double Marked Retrieves
  6. Basic Blind Retrieve Training
  7. Advanced Marks and Blinds

Deliberate attempts have been made to make the training methods simpler, kinder, and gentler. With regard to this, the book is great for those who desire to do the training on their own.

The steps are so simple and easier to follow through. Your purchase of the book is hence a sure way to save yourself some money too!

Other than the core role of helping you to train your dog, the book also teaches you to make good use of the relationship you have with your dog.

It does so by explaining to you the gentler methods that are more likely to offer you the best of outcomes.  The sum total of all these is excellent retriever training.

John and Amy Dahl and The 10 Minute Retriever

Training your dog ought not to take an eternity. Not when you operate a squeezed schedule and have no luxury of too much time at your disposal. This is the book to look up to. It is straight, direct and to the point. That is why it is christened ‘The 10-Minute Retriever.’

The book lays bare the strategies you need to follow through to achieve the desired ends. These are broken down into 10-minute sessions which are to be implemented on a daily basis.

The breakdown lets you save your time and that of the retriever chiefly by making good use of the latter’s limited attention span.

All factors considered, the book is simple and very easy to follow. This notwithstanding, it is deeply informative still. You will find it a truly treasured passion if you are an absolute beginner. Below is a breakdown of its finer details and contents:

  1. Principles and Equipment
  2. Raising a Retriever Puppy
  3. Field Work with Your Puppy
  4. Puppy Obedience
  5. Formal Obedience
  6. Force-Fetch
  7. Refinement in the Field
  8. Marking
  9. A Brief Introduction to Handling
  10. Field Trials and Hunting Tests

Some of the unique skills you will gain from this book are how to use an electronic collar humanely and effectively, how to set up tests in the field, and how to force fetch. These methods have been noted to grant you firm controls and inculcate good manners to your dog.

With well over 40 years of service, expect to gain from the author that others cannot give. 40 years is definitely too long a duration of time to master all the details and basics of retriever training. The combined skills you will gain will definitely shore up your own experience.

Water Dog by Richard Wolters

Water Dog, written by Richard Wolters is on the whole a classic bestselling training manual. Its contents are mostly suited for the persons who have limited time yet are desirous of training their working retrievers faster and more effectively. That is because its methodology is quick, effective and direct to the point.

Its contents comprise both revolutionary and scientific information regarding your pet’s mental development. In its entirety, the book is a comprehensive step-by-step training manual.

It lacks any extraneous materials which have the tendency to make it bulkier. It covers all you may have to know to make your puppy grow to a mature dog.

The book goes a step further to detail to you the step by step in sequences while training. For this reason, the book demonstrates to you all that you should anticipate from your dog and also what your dog is to expect from you. It is filled with informative content about the right commands too!

Considering its simple and straightforward language, the book simplifies the training and caring of your dog. It also promises to make the two processes full of fun, faster, and a lot easier. You have no other book to look up to if you are intent on instilling some good manners on your retriever.

Its author too is a man of skill and great scholarly attributes. He has served as a fine-arts teacher, atomic scientist, and photographer. All these experiences combine to shape how he views the world as a whole and more so with regards to matters of dog training.

Conclusion on the Best Retriever Training Books

THe approach to training the retriever dogs can vary a lot. This depends on the trainer. Each of the above books gives out the information on the training of retriever dogs from a different perspective. To make it easier for you to pickup the right book, I have given the contents/chapters list.

What you can do is purchase the book that you find suitable and the adapt the knowledge from it as per your training needs.

If you search around, you will find many other books written by other authors on the topic of retriever training. I would conclude that there is no best book for a specific dog. It’s all about collecting pieces of knowledge for specific scenarios and applying it when that scenario comes up in your training sessions.

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