Best Pet Discipline Books Available: From Cats to Horses

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Discipline involves control obtained by obedience. The word comes from “disciple,” which is someone who follows another person.  The most famous “disciples” followed Jesus Christ.

You can discipline others, including children, animals, and spouses (some might say they are all the same!).  And, you can practice self-discipline, which from personal experience I can tell you might be even harder.  We are often our toughest opponents.  

These days, there are many ways to learn how to discipline, including personal experience, advice from others, and podcasts.  And, there are books.  Lots of books.  We will focus here on disciplining your pets, companion animals, and just plain non-human pals here.

Read All About It

My purpose here is to provide some of the best books out there about discipline.  You can learn more by clicking on the links.

Things I look for: the author’s expertise, the specific subject matter, what others are saying about them, the skillset of the intended audience, and any deficits that might be red flags.


ComPETability: Solving Behavior Problems in Your Multi-Cat Household by Amy Shojai

Amy Shojai is a nationally known authority on pet care and behavior, a certified animal behavior consultant, and a spokesperson for the pet products industry.

Amy Shojai teaches you about cats’ aggression, cat clawing, litter box problems, and more. You’ll find detailed how-to advice focused on the most common cat behavior problems. Ideal for multi-cat families but also useful for owners of a single cat.  

Possible Problems: Some readers felt certain advice provided was not cat-appropriate.  Some felt it was too simplistic.

From the Horse’s Point of View: A Guide to Understanding Horse Behavior and Language with Tips to Help You Communicate More Effectively with Your Horse by Debbie Steglic

Debbie Steglic is a long-time horse trainer.

Debbie Steglic trains horses based on the needs and skills of each individual horse and owner. This book provides her insights into understanding and improving communication between you and your horse.  Provides a gentle approach that is appropriate for beginners. 

Possible Problems: Some readers wanted a better format and more pictures.  

How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend: The Classic Training Manual for Dog Owners by Monks of New Skete

Dogs are our great friends but sometimes need discipline too.  The Monks of New Skete are famous breeders of German shepherds and trainers of dogs of all breeds. Their approach to canine training, developed and refined over four decades, is based on the philosophy that “understanding is the key to communication, compassion, and communion” with your dog.  

Possible Problems: Some readers challenge the science and techniques used.

Also might like by same authors: The Art of Training Your Dog: How to Gently Teach Good Behavior Using an E-Collar (with Marc Goldberg).

How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond by Cesar Millan and Melissa Jo Peltier (Author)

Cesar Millan is a dog behaviorist and Founder of the Dog Psychology Center in Los Angeles. Melissa Jo Peltier is an executive producer and writer of Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan.

This book is based on Cesar Millan’s experiences raising puppies from some of the most popular breeds. It is like having him right there beside you as a personal doggie coach whisperer.  

Possible Problems: Some readers found too much information about picking puppies and doggie psychology as compared to enough “how to” information. 

The Trainable Cat: A Practical Guide to Making Life Happier for You and Your Cat by John Bradshaw and Sarah Ellis

John Bradshaw is the foundation director of the Anthrozoology Institute and author of the New York Times bestsellers Cat Sense and Dog Sense and coauthor of The Trainable Cat.  Sarah Ellis is a feline behavior specialist at the charity International Cat Care

Many think cats cannot be disciplined, especially some cats. It seems almost blasphemous to suggest they can be.  These feline specialists have spent a lot of time showing it is possible.  

Possible Problems: Some people did not like the layout of the book.  Some found the book too dense and too complicated.  Some did not like the use of food to train cats.  

Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution by Zak George with Dina Roth Port

Zak George has starred in Animal Planet’s SuperFetch and BBC’s Who Let the Dogs Out. Dina Roth Port is an award-winning author and freelance journalist

The popular animal show star here provides a guide on how to raise and care for your dog.  This was cited as a “must read” by Dr. Ian Dunbar, veterinarian, animal behaviorist, and founder of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers.  

Possible Problems: Some readers found the book too simplistic and wanted more training-specific information. 

Zoo Animals: Behaviour, Management, and Welfare by Geoff Hosey, Vicky Melfi, and Sheila Pankhurst

The authors are experts on animal behavior and welfare.  

They apply their knowledge to provide a comprehensive guide on raising a variety of mammals and non-mammals in captivity.  The book is both useful for those involved in taking care of zoo animals and those interested in the subject.

Possible Problems: Book is a bit pricey.