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Don't Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training

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Originally published entitled: Don't shoot the dog!: how to improve yourself and others through behavioral training, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984. Originally published entitled: Don't shoot the dog!: how to improve yourself and others through behavioral training, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984.


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Originally published entitled: Don't shoot the dog!: how to improve yourself and others through behavioral training, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984. Originally published entitled: Don't shoot the dog!: how to improve yourself and others through behavioral training, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984.

30 review for Don't Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training

  1. 5 out of 5

    ☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣

    A self-help manual on how to train: - yourself - your kids - your pets - and everyone else. Main takeouts: - behaviouristic nifty trickies - positive reinforcement - other fun ideas for efficiency and general living Of-freaking-course, all of this should be taken with a spponful of salt but, then, to what the same wouldn't apply? A self-help manual on how to train: - yourself - your kids - your pets - and everyone else. Main takeouts: - behaviouristic nifty trickies - positive reinforcement - other fun ideas for efficiency and general living Of-freaking-course, all of this should be taken with a spponful of salt but, then, to what the same wouldn't apply?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    A fabulous and easy-to-understand book about how to best use behaviorism. What is behaviorism? Essentially, the study of human and animal behavior - so this book sheds light on the most effective principles to use if you want to better the way you act. You can apply these concepts to so many areas, ranging from bolstering your health to training your dog. One of the most important takeaways: use positive reinforcement, not punishment. While our society prefers punishment in many ways (e.g., the A fabulous and easy-to-understand book about how to best use behaviorism. What is behaviorism? Essentially, the study of human and animal behavior - so this book sheds light on the most effective principles to use if you want to better the way you act. You can apply these concepts to so many areas, ranging from bolstering your health to training your dog. One of the most important takeaways: use positive reinforcement, not punishment. While our society prefers punishment in many ways (e.g., the mass incarceration in the US, how we expel kids from schools, etc.), research has shown its ineffectiveness, because it often shames people and makes them less productive. Positive reinforcement, or praising people for performing the desired behavior, has been linked to many more favorable outcomes. Overall, recommended if you are interested in psychology or why humans act the way they do. Clear, concise, and in large part optimistic, Karen Pryor has written a wonderful book about behaviorism with Don't Shoot the Dog!.

  3. 4 out of 5

    MaritaBeth Caruthers

    On my recent, wonderful trip to Sacramento, I was fortunate in learning many new things and meeting many fabulous new people. One of those folks was a dear friend of Kyrana’s, named Laurel, who is an educator, currently working on a graduate degree in counseling. She is a delightful woman I am now proud to know, and I enjoyed many a thought-provoking conversation with her throughout the week, on a number of different subjects. One of the books she was reading (it turned out it was Kyrana’s copy o On my recent, wonderful trip to Sacramento, I was fortunate in learning many new things and meeting many fabulous new people. One of those folks was a dear friend of Kyrana’s, named Laurel, who is an educator, currently working on a graduate degree in counseling. She is a delightful woman I am now proud to know, and I enjoyed many a thought-provoking conversation with her throughout the week, on a number of different subjects. One of the books she was reading (it turned out it was Kyrana’s copy of the book, so both of them are huge fans of it), and not for the first time, was this book entitled, Don’t Shoot the Dog! The New Art of Teaching and Training. Kyrana had learned to love the book when working as a wild animal handler and trainer. Written by Karen Pryor, one of the trainers who put clicker training on the map, this is an amazingly intelligent, well-written study on behavior training and communication. It is a scholarly work in that it references psychology and concepts that the author assumes her reader already understands. But, it is still approachable and easy enough to read that it makes the techniques she is teaching, accessible and attainable for just about any reader. I was instantly attracted to the title, because I so strongly believe that there are really no bad dogs (or children, for that matter) just bad owners and parents. I am an avid disciple of Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer, and I have even given some thought to a new career as a dog (and owner) trainer. I believe that with the right communication, discipline, motivation and appreciation, dogs of all breeds can be loyal, well-behaved companions, and children can be prevented from running like wild animals through restaurants! I could write reams just on that latter subject! But, I digress. I was well and truly hooked, once I realized that the concepts of clicker training and positive reinforcement were being taught to teachers and school counselors! Finally! the pendulum of discipline and control swings back toward sanity! So, I began reading, and before the week was out, I had purchased my own copy and transferred my bookmark. In this classic bestseller, Pryor outlines and explains, giving easily understood and useful examples, the various types of behavior modification methods and when each one is or isn’t appropriate. She presents eight methods of ending undesirable behavior from furniture-clawing cats to sloppy roommates. The ten laws of “shaping” behavior are listed and fully explained—methods of creating the behavior you want without ever raising a voice or a hand. For me, the book casts the word “manipulation” in the benign, neutral light it deserves. After all, the primary meaning of the word is “to manage skillfully and effectively”—something I know I strive to do. It offers up interesting anecdotes not just about dog training, or children in classrooms, but about dolphins and elephants and cats and department managers. And, there is the undeniable aspect of all this, that we train ourselves on a daily basis, too. We train ourselves how to eat, exercise, sleep—how to spend our time. We train ourselves how to deal with people. And, in the words of another well-known psychologist, Dr. Phil—”we teach people how to treat us.” Why not get a better handle on what we’re teaching?! This book stands to benefit, not only dog owners and trainers … not only teachers and parents … but anyone who ever hopes to get other people (or themselves) to behave in a certain way—employees, co-workers, bosses, customers, contractors … restaurant servers and bartenders … the guys who pick up your trash — in short, it can benefit you. I have read the whole thing, and will likely read it again. I hope Kyle will read it. I have recommended it to others, as well. I can’t promise to remember everything I’ve learned, but I can promise I’ll know what book to reference when I come up against an interpersonal relationship that isn’t working, or a behavioral problem with my dogs. So, take a look at Don’t Shoot the Dog! Even if you aren’t into “self-help books.” ;-) Opening sentence: This book is about how to train anyone—human or animal, young or old, oneself or others—to do anything that can and should be done. ~MB

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nichole Martin

    I train dogs, completely positive reinforcement training. I owe a lot of what I do to Karen Pryor and people who worked to make positive reinforcement training what it is today. The book is well written, easy to read despite Pryor's usage of scientific terms. Which I enjoy, because I think it makes the reader stronger in knowledge by the end of the book. The most well-done aspect of the book is Chapter 5. It contains tables of various situations to represent each method of "training." This makes I train dogs, completely positive reinforcement training. I owe a lot of what I do to Karen Pryor and people who worked to make positive reinforcement training what it is today. The book is well written, easy to read despite Pryor's usage of scientific terms. Which I enjoy, because I think it makes the reader stronger in knowledge by the end of the book. The most well-done aspect of the book is Chapter 5. It contains tables of various situations to represent each method of "training." This makes it easy to follow how one would use each technique, and makes it easier to extrapolate to real-world situations. I will say, though, that this book was tainted by a few passages that grated. One especially where Pryor discusses a cat she had that peed on the stove burners every night. If the burners were covered, the cat peed on the covers. Pryor claims she never caught the cat in the act and could therefore not manage the behavior. Now, she might not have wanted to go into all the details of this issue, but when the issue is resolved by euthanizing the cat, I think it deserves more than a gloss. A professional behaviorist euthanized a cat for a non-aggressive, annoying behavior! I was appalled and a little disgusted. I had a troublesome urinator, too, and I went through a lot to solve that problem. Even if I might have thought of finding her a new home, I never would have put her down because I couldn't figure out her motivation. She also discusses repeatedly how ineffective aversives are, especially to cats, but she does mention that spraying cats in the face is extremely effective at managing behavior. DO NOT SPRAY YOUR CAT IN THE FACE! Not with water, and not with wine, like the author did. Discover the motivation and alter the behavior. Yeesh. It may be unfair to pick on a book so highly regarded in the training world because of a few instances. But the fact is many amateurs in training and behavior will pick up this book and not know where the author is outdated, or wrong, or just incomplete. I think it's important just for that reason to highlight the aspects of a book that are questionable. Overall, good material on positive reinforcement and training methods. This will not be the book that tells you how to teach your dog to sit, but it will explain the background about why trainers do it a certain way and why it works.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tally

    A good book if you are training animals. I would recommend it if you want to teach your dog or cat new tricks. However, she attempts to relate all of her training techniques to human relationships: how to train your kids, how to train your lovers, how to train your friends. I cannot say that I agree with this method at all, since we, as humans, have much better means of communicating and understanding, and when we start to "train" friends and family,I don´t see how that is any different than man A good book if you are training animals. I would recommend it if you want to teach your dog or cat new tricks. However, she attempts to relate all of her training techniques to human relationships: how to train your kids, how to train your lovers, how to train your friends. I cannot say that I agree with this method at all, since we, as humans, have much better means of communicating and understanding, and when we start to "train" friends and family,I don´t see how that is any different than manipulating them.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Res

    Hm. Hard to review. This is fluidly written, funny, and fun to read. It bounces from stories of clicker-training a fish to experiments with improving her own golf and tennis skills. I think there are good insights to be gained from it. It makes sweeping claims with no footnotes, and some of the things it claims strike me as kind of dubious. It wasn't updated quite enough. The general feeling about animal shows at Sea World, for instance, has changed a lot since the book was first written. And whi Hm. Hard to review. This is fluidly written, funny, and fun to read. It bounces from stories of clicker-training a fish to experiments with improving her own golf and tennis skills. I think there are good insights to be gained from it. It makes sweeping claims with no footnotes, and some of the things it claims strike me as kind of dubious. It wasn't updated quite enough. The general feeling about animal shows at Sea World, for instance, has changed a lot since the book was first written. And while I think her heart is more or less in the right place, the language she uses about autistic kids, which would probably have sounded reasonable even five years ago, now betrays some unconscious beliefs about what those kids are capable of that make it deeply unpleasant to read. She does say, and I agree, that we try to change each other's behavior all the time, but I wanted more philosophical or ethical thought about when it is and is not acceptable to do that, especially if there's a power differential. It's all very well to talk about reinforcing someone for not interrupting you or for calling you on the phone, but imagine how we'd feel about a guy using these techniques to reinforce his female employee to wear shorter skirts. More than that, though, there are all these stories that say things like "Here's an example of a technique that doesn't work at all. Of course, this is how grade schools are always run." Or "so they didn't even know the kid had any vision at all until they had a technique that made the lights react to his behavior, and they saw him respond, but of course the experiment ran out of money and they couldn't keep on with it." Over and over, without any acknowledgement that when you tell me a story about how someone discovered that they could communicate with a kid or an adult or even an animal, but then went back to not communicating with them, that is a tragedy. Practical lessons to take: you're probably not reinforcing what you think you're reinforcing; when you perform training, the subject is also training you; it's very hard, even with a fellow adult, to really communicate what it is that you want; and before you can do that, you have to know what you want, with a fair amount of precision.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jesi

    This was absolutely FASCINATING and I would highly, highly recommend it to anyone and everyone I know. I picked it up based on the title, thinking it would be about dog training, but it's actually not about dogs at all -- it's a general interest book about how all living creatures (humans AND animals!) learn, form habits, and assign meaning to different patterns of behavior. If your job involves any kind of teaching, training, managing, or communication, I think you would find this book useful a This was absolutely FASCINATING and I would highly, highly recommend it to anyone and everyone I know. I picked it up based on the title, thinking it would be about dog training, but it's actually not about dogs at all -- it's a general interest book about how all living creatures (humans AND animals!) learn, form habits, and assign meaning to different patterns of behavior. If your job involves any kind of teaching, training, managing, or communication, I think you would find this book useful and thought-provoking. I have so many more thoughts about this and will probably write a longer review on Tumblr about a cluster of seemingly disparate things I've read or listened to recently (among them Don't Shoot the Dog, Bones Would Rain from the Sky, The Lost Art of Listening, Culture Clash, Living a Feminist Life, and the podcast S-Town) that are sparking so many exciting thoughts for me about teaching and writing. I am also definitely going to seek out more recent material on this subject (this was published in the 1980s). Pryor has a great section near the end of the book where she addresses some of the critiques of applied behaviorism, which seem to mostly revolve around the fear that focusing too much on observable behavior and "training" positive behaviors = Orwellian dystopia. I can kinda see where those fears come from, but I think they are based on a distortion or misinterpretation of the basic principles of this teaching method. This kind of teaching doesn't have to be at odds with humanism--in fact, I think that humanism and behaviorism have a lot to teach each other, and Pryor talks about how observable behavior is one "ring" in a series of interlocking rings: behavior is one; ethology or internal emotional states is the second, and the third level (which we do not yet fully understand) has to do with behavior like play, empathy, imaginativeness, and creativity. I found it so exciting to think about how methods like the one Pryor describes can be used to foster creativity, innovation, and generosity, and to see those qualities not as things that you either have or don't have, but as behaviors that can be nurtured in ways that eventually inspire the learner to initiate and deepen those behaviors of their own volition. This is surprisingly relevant to my own academic work, which involves thinking about how certain narrative structures/forms produce patterns of affective response, which in turn shapes the way readers interpret the material they're reading *and* the social worlds they inhabit. To use Pryor's rhetoric: I write about how literary forms (as well as the forms of interpretation we are taught in literature classrooms) help "shape" qualities like empathy, openness to new experiences, acceptance of self and others, etc. In other words, narrative forms can be pedagogical tools that teach us different ways of interpreting and responding to the world around us. It's not just "reading makes you a better person," although I think it often does. Rather, I'm thinking about how literary communities like fandoms encourage readers to see themselves as capable interpreters and potential content-creators in their own right -- in part by positively reinforcing certain behaviors and by making reading itself a form of community-building. I also LOVED the description of teaching as a two-way communication between teacher and learner, a dynamic relationship in which both subjects are actively learning from each other and shaping their ability to listen and communicate with each other. And I think that it's so, so true that when learning isn't happening, it's not because the learner is lazy, stupid, incapable, or defiant; it's a sign that the teacher needs to more closely examine the environment and also their own practices of communication, so that they can figure out what is "blocking" that channel of communication and develop new strategies for breaking complex tasks down into smaller tasks that students can achieve. This method of teaching requires teachers to be so much more attuned to their own practices and responsive to the needs of the students. It means approach the teaching situation from a place of understanding and empathy -- empathy towards the student but also towards yourself, as you reflect on where your frustration or anger is coming from and develop ways to move through those feelings. Lastly: I think this book has also helped me understand why academia is such a soul-crushing endeavor for many people, myself included. There is little positive reinforcement in your day to day life, and plenty of opportunities to accidentally develop and reinforce unhealthy behaviors like procrastination. You live with a crushing sense of guilt (a behavior that Pryor says is almost completely useless -- it teaches you nothing, and only serves to heighten responses like avoidance, resentment, and depression). The tasks are not broken up into manageable chunks; you are expected to flounder around, ideally while wallowing in despair and shame, until you happen to (usually accidentally) make a massive leap to the next stage. If you struggle with making this leap, as most people do, you are meant to feel that you are simply undisciplined, lazy, or not smart enough to hack it. You are often expected to regulate and assess your own progress with minimal feedback or support, even though you may have only a hazy idea of what progress looks like or what criteria you'll be measured by. IT'S A BROKEN SYSTEM!!! but it passes off responsibility for its structural problems in large part by making people feel like they are the ones who are broken.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

    Received a copy of this as a gift from a biologist friend to help me deal with my rabbit problems, but it's a great read. She believes in using positive reinforcement in every area of life, whether with a pet or a difficult roommate. A year or two ago when surfing the net I found a conservative excoriation of an article in the New York Times in which the author used positive reinforcement to train her husband. These bloggers seemed to be afraid their wives would learn something. Really, it inv Received a copy of this as a gift from a biologist friend to help me deal with my rabbit problems, but it's a great read. She believes in using positive reinforcement in every area of life, whether with a pet or a difficult roommate. A year or two ago when surfing the net I found a conservative excoriation of an article in the New York Times in which the author used positive reinforcement to train her husband. These bloggers seemed to be afraid their wives would learn something. Really, it involves training oneself as much as the dog or the other person. Here's the NY Times article: What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage Actually, turns out that this book isn't mentioned anywhere in the article. Still, I love this behavioral stuff. Whenever I add a book to my shelf here at Goodreads, it says "You've now got three books!" or something like that. Nice positive reinforcement. I noticed I tend to want to post here, when I'm allergic to posting nearly anywhere else.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    Life changing, quite possibly the ultimate self-help book. Karen Pryor was basically the inventor of clicker training. Going deeper, she brought BF Skinner's experiments in operant conditioning of lab animals to popular culture, particularly with dogs but adaptable to any species, including humans. Her method isn't pure Skinner, he was also into negative reinforcement which Pryor uses very gently and sparingly. Pryor started in the 1970's with the training of some freshly captured wild dolphins Life changing, quite possibly the ultimate self-help book. Karen Pryor was basically the inventor of clicker training. Going deeper, she brought BF Skinner's experiments in operant conditioning of lab animals to popular culture, particularly with dogs but adaptable to any species, including humans. Her method isn't pure Skinner, he was also into negative reinforcement which Pryor uses very gently and sparingly. Pryor started in the 1970's with the training of some freshly captured wild dolphins (I know, sad) who cannot be harnessed or punished into any behavior except to stress them out, which will effectively stop them from doing anything. They literally sink to the bottom of the pool and freeze. Teenagers are kind of like dolphins, too slippery and big and sensitive to respond to force or punishment. I have a tween and a teen now with whom I needed help, which is what brought me back to Pryor's engaging and educational writing. I had read this book 15 years ago when I was a dog walker and found it fascinating but never really tried it out, not even with my own dogs. I guess you could say I was a passive believer. I also tried what Pryor refers to as pseudoscience: "alpha" training and had no success with that either and got bitten or growled at a couple of times in the process. So I just stopped training my dogs. Living with dogs in their natural, untrained state is a bit like being held hostage. They have to be limited to parts of the house you don't mind them peeing and pooping (but I actually do mind, I just tolerated it.) They annoy you with their noise and their out of control play. They steal your food. You can yell at them or even hit them to stop the behavior for a second but it doesn't work in the long run and hurts your bond. For me, the worst part was that they were an embarrassment, so we haven't had guests other than tolerant family for ages. This "natural" approach sets a terrible example to the kids of how to be a responsible dog owner. I remember my son asking why someone else's dog had to be let out. "Can't they just poop in the house?" Ay yi yi. Occasionally I have had "shoot the dog" fantasies of getting rid of the dogs altogether (which would completely extinguish the behavior!). But I do love them and don't believe in throwing pets away because they are inconvenient. I have never felt that way about the kids, but sure have wanted to hide from them at times. But I digress, sort of. I read this book wanting a refresher on operant conditioning for the kids--the dogs were at the back of my mind filed where I put resigned-to live-with stuff. I wanted to stop yelling at my kids. I wanted a more positive method of managing self and other destructive behaviors that are a natural part of teen life but need to be curtailed for survival and success as a human being. Abject force works with little kids who can't really fight back (a cruel reality for too many kids.) But you cannot force a teen to do anything. And if you try too hard to run their lives, they can simply walk out the door. As it turns out, just a few days after starting the book, by using Pryor's positive approach, I am getting fast results with both kids and dogs and the kids are loving the dog training we are doing so that part has become a family bonding project. It's a win for the dogs, a win for the kids, a win for the parents and a win for the family. There is no down side! Instead of waiting 15 years, I need to reread this book (and her others) yearly, as well as any behavior-centric books that rely not on punishment but reward, which by the way is different from bribery. Trust me, positive reinforcement is not really about bribery but you'll have to read Pryor's books to learn how, and then get on an internet forum of experienced users of these methods to fine tune, as I am now doing and getting super fast and very effective results.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bernie

    I know this is considered THE book on animal training, and the information is laid out cohesively and thoroughly. HOWEVER - it was hard for me to read the author's examples, as she clearly worked on training marine mammals (dolphins, killer whales) at places like Sea World, and pretty much every single real-life example included that past experience. I am against the imprisonment of cetaceans such as those, training for the express purpose of entertaining us (easily bored) humans. To confine thes I know this is considered THE book on animal training, and the information is laid out cohesively and thoroughly. HOWEVER - it was hard for me to read the author's examples, as she clearly worked on training marine mammals (dolphins, killer whales) at places like Sea World, and pretty much every single real-life example included that past experience. I am against the imprisonment of cetaceans such as those, training for the express purpose of entertaining us (easily bored) humans. To confine these mammals, who are meant to swim 65-165km/daily, taking them away from their pods (family), forcing them to mate early...so we can watch a dolphin jump through hoops or a killer whale eat from a trainer's hand...no. Let's evolve OURSELVES, as a species, and recognize other species' needs and put those above our own desire for entertainment and profit. This is not the 1980s anymore, when Karen first wrote this book and those places thrived, and I look forward to the demise of places like Sea World and Marine World.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kerry

    Man, this book was AMAZING. Everyone should read it. It's about using positive reinforcement and behavioral training, not just in the context of training a dog, but for use with . . . everyone. Roommates, co-workers, husbands, dolphins, you name it. I want Chris to read this book because I want him to use it on me. I think that I respond very well to positive reinforcement! Man, this book was AMAZING. Everyone should read it. It's about using positive reinforcement and behavioral training, not just in the context of training a dog, but for use with . . . everyone. Roommates, co-workers, husbands, dolphins, you name it. I want Chris to read this book because I want him to use it on me. I think that I respond very well to positive reinforcement!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chung Chin

    The book seems to mainly talk about training animals, but if you're willing to experiment, I believe it is a good guide on how you can use some of the principles listed to shape your relationship with others. Now, you might think that's crazy. We shouldn't be "training" people like we are training animals. It's humiliating to the other party. However, you need to keep in mind that what the author advocates is positive reinforcement. By using this principle as your guide, and using the methods li The book seems to mainly talk about training animals, but if you're willing to experiment, I believe it is a good guide on how you can use some of the principles listed to shape your relationship with others. Now, you might think that's crazy. We shouldn't be "training" people like we are training animals. It's humiliating to the other party. However, you need to keep in mind that what the author advocates is positive reinforcement. By using this principle as your guide, and using the methods listed in the book, you'll see that it's not at all a humiliating practice. For example, the author talks about how she "trained" her mother to have a pleasant conversation with her every time she calls, rather than ending with tears and accusations which only makes her avoid the calls. By positively responding to some of the topics that brings joy to both of them, Karen Pryor reinforced her mother to be more positive in their conversations. Win-win? You bet!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Interesting historical artifact. Pryor is a “behavioral biologist” who worked with B. F. Skinner in Hawaii’s Sea Life Park. She’s used operant conditioning to train everything from fish to orcas, cats to elephants, children to co-workers. She was one of the early proponents of clicker training. An accessible review on dog training with some interesting suggestions for adapting it to in-law management and tennis practice. I can’t say that I loved the book. It was more than usually self-aggrandizi Interesting historical artifact. Pryor is a “behavioral biologist” who worked with B. F. Skinner in Hawaii’s Sea Life Park. She’s used operant conditioning to train everything from fish to orcas, cats to elephants, children to co-workers. She was one of the early proponents of clicker training. An accessible review on dog training with some interesting suggestions for adapting it to in-law management and tennis practice. I can’t say that I loved the book. It was more than usually self-aggrandizing, which would have been easier to accept if she hadn’t had a cat put to sleep because she couldn’t figure out how to train it out of an unpleasant behavior (peeing on the burners). I don’t know why she included that particular story, other than perhaps show she’s not a woo-woo sentimentalist. Also I don’t care about tennis. But it gave me some new ideas for trying to teach my young lab not to bark at the neighbors quite as much.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jodee

    This was the first book I read on clicker training and I read it in 2006, Bonnie (then a pup - now a Dog Scout) watched intently as I read pages and then tried things out "on her". One day I left the book on the coffee table and returned from a phone call only to find Bonnie with paws planted firmly on the book proudly sharing that she had ripped it in half. Needless to save "I did not shoot the dog (-o: " we continued with Karen's program and my timing improved, my knowledge grew and we have ha This was the first book I read on clicker training and I read it in 2006, Bonnie (then a pup - now a Dog Scout) watched intently as I read pages and then tried things out "on her". One day I left the book on the coffee table and returned from a phone call only to find Bonnie with paws planted firmly on the book proudly sharing that she had ripped it in half. Needless to save "I did not shoot the dog (-o: " we continued with Karen's program and my timing improved, my knowledge grew and we have had fun ever since.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rachael

    I first read this book as a young pre-teen on the advice of one of my instructors, and I am forever indebted to him for he way this shaped my thinking and interactions with animals (and people) throughout my life. This book has held up to several rereads over the years, & it is a simple & easy to understand introduction to the world of behavior modification. Highly recommend this book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mandy Tewell

    I had to read this book as homework for an intensive DBT training and am so glad that I did! This is a wonderful book which clearly explains behavioral reinforcement. I use the concepts as a therapist, a wife, and a dog owner. The book is easy to understand and gives lots of relatable examples.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    Ironically, this is required for my human behavior course.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Marieange

    As someone who is a huge believer in rewards-based training, this book has always been on my to read list, and recommended to me countless times by countless people. I was hoping, after reading it myself, to be able to recommend it to individuals I know who are still proponents of aversive techniques and dominance theory. I'm sorry to say that I found this book incredibly dry and to a certain degree morally suspect. Though Karen Pryor lauds the benefits of positive reinforcement, she doesn't dis As someone who is a huge believer in rewards-based training, this book has always been on my to read list, and recommended to me countless times by countless people. I was hoping, after reading it myself, to be able to recommend it to individuals I know who are still proponents of aversive techniques and dominance theory. I'm sorry to say that I found this book incredibly dry and to a certain degree morally suspect. Though Karen Pryor lauds the benefits of positive reinforcement, she doesn't disavow negative reinforcement either. In describing certain negative techniques of dealing with unwanted behavior, she shares the following horrifying story: "I once had a cat that developed the peculiar habit of stealing into the kitchen in the night and urinating on the stove burners. The odor, when you unknowingly turned on one of those burners the next day, was incredibly offensive. The cat had free access to the outdoors, I never caught her at the behavior, and if you covered the burners she urinated on the covers. I could not decipher her motivation, and I finally took that cat to the pound to be put to sleep." I honestly don't know how you could do such a thing and consider yourself a trainer, and while her contributions to the pet training world may be significant, I'm fairly repulsed by what I've read and wont be passing on any recommendations for this book any time soon. A far better resource for learning about the laws of learning and rewards-based training, in my opinion, is The Complete Idiots Guide To Positive Dog Training by Pamela Dennison, which is much more clear and succinct, and also devoid of this book's merciless clinical sterility.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    This is a great book. but it actually plays fast and loose with negative reinforcement and punishment at times, which I find maddening. Still, it's is a good read when trying to figure out solid, research-based approaches to pet and human behavior issues. This is a great book. but it actually plays fast and loose with negative reinforcement and punishment at times, which I find maddening. Still, it's is a good read when trying to figure out solid, research-based approaches to pet and human behavior issues.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Zumrud Huseynova

    Punishing is also reinforcing for the punisher because it demonstrates and helps to maintain dominance. Until the day when a boy is big enough to hit his brutal father back, the father feels dominant and is in truth the dominant one. This in fact may be the main motivation behind our human tendency to punish: establishing and maintaining dominance. The punisher may be primarily interested not in behavior but in being proved to be of higher status. Dominance hierarchies and dominance disputes and test Punishing is also reinforcing for the punisher because it demonstrates and helps to maintain dominance. Until the day when a boy is big enough to hit his brutal father back, the father feels dominant and is in truth the dominant one. This in fact may be the main motivation behind our human tendency to punish: establishing and maintaining dominance. The punisher may be primarily interested not in behavior but in being proved to be of higher status. Dominance hierarchies and dominance disputes and testing are a fundamental characteristic of all social groups, from flocks of geese to human governments. But perhaps only we humans learn to use punishment primarily to gain for ourselves the reward of being dominant. So think, when you are tempted to punish: Do you want the dog, the child, the spouse, the employee to alter a given behavior? In that case, it's a training problem, and you need to be aware of the weaknesses of punishment as a training device. Or do you really want revenge? In that case you should seek more wholesome reinforcers for yourself. Or perhaps you really want the dog, the child, the spouse, the employee, the neighboring nation, and so on to stop disobeying you. In whatever manifestation, do you want the subject to stop going against your superior will and judgment? In that case it's a dominance dispute, and you're on your own. Guilt and shame are forms of self-inflicted punishment. Almost no sensation is more disagreeable than the clammy hand of guilt closing around one's heart; it is a punisher that only the human race could have invented. Some animals—dogs, certainly—can show embarrassment. But none, I think, waste time suffering from guilt over actions in the past. The amount of guilt we deal out to ourselves varies hugely One person can feel relaxed and justified after committing a major crime while another feels guilty over chewing a stick of gum. Many people do not experience guilt or shame in their daily lives, not because they are perfect, nor because they are unfeeling hedonists, but because they respond to their own behavior in alternative ways. If they do something that bothers them in retrospect, then they don't do it again. Others make the same mistake over and over—acting the fool at a party, saying unforgivable words to a loved one—in spite of invariably feeling hellishly guilty the next day One would think that fear of feeling guilty would act as a deterrent, but usually at the moment we are doing the deed that will later cause guilt, we are feeling impeccably fearless. As a way of changing behavior, guilt ranks right along with flogging or any other form of delayed punishment—it is not very effective.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Issy Hodgkiss

    At first I wondered to myself “Why this title? What does ‘don’t shoot the dog’ mean?” It’s all come together in my head now. Pryor’s 8 methods of how to get rid of unwanted behaviour sum up how different people chose to tackle problems they encounter in daily life, with themselves, other people and pets. They make total sense. She explains how positive reinforcement of wanted behaviour will always be superior to punishment or avoidance of unwanted behaviour. I admit some of the references to the At first I wondered to myself “Why this title? What does ‘don’t shoot the dog’ mean?” It’s all come together in my head now. Pryor’s 8 methods of how to get rid of unwanted behaviour sum up how different people chose to tackle problems they encounter in daily life, with themselves, other people and pets. They make total sense. She explains how positive reinforcement of wanted behaviour will always be superior to punishment or avoidance of unwanted behaviour. I admit some of the references to the real world and human activity and behaviour did go over my head a bit eg the orchestra conductor examples. However, I found most of them helpful in understanding the points she was making. Ok so this book wasn’t one that I couldn’t put down or one that I couldn’t wait to pick up the next morning, but that’s because it’s gritty informative stuff. It’s not a non-fiction novel about crime or time travel so what did I expect? Overall I can’t deny it has opened my mind not only to ways in which I should treat others to achieve a peaceful and positive relationship, but also how I should expect to be treated by others. I am currently doing an Advanced Applied Canine Behaviour course and so far this book has been essential in laying the groundwork for how dogs learn. Highly recommend to anyone.

  22. 4 out of 5

    James Zeller

    A lot of people will write off behavioral/reinforcement theory as manipulative, besides the fact that any given person reinforces behavior, whether they know it or not, and that traditional shaping of behavior through punishment is arguably more "manipulative" and ineffective. I see the concept of positive reinforcement as having a spiritual nature to it. There is something written into the nature of animals that favors positivity for the learning of good behavior. This concept is fundamental to A lot of people will write off behavioral/reinforcement theory as manipulative, besides the fact that any given person reinforces behavior, whether they know it or not, and that traditional shaping of behavior through punishment is arguably more "manipulative" and ineffective. I see the concept of positive reinforcement as having a spiritual nature to it. There is something written into the nature of animals that favors positivity for the learning of good behavior. This concept is fundamental to the way we get along as humans, and, I would argue, the way we exhibit true love, grace, and patience as I am called to spiritually as a follower of Christ.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Just great. Wish there was an app for the methods in this book (there probably is - it could be called the "clicker app" maybe). My only complaint is that it doesn't have a step-by-step kind of approach, but there's a lot of logical and practical advice in here. Just great. Wish there was an app for the methods in this book (there probably is - it could be called the "clicker app" maybe). My only complaint is that it doesn't have a step-by-step kind of approach, but there's a lot of logical and practical advice in here.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kasi

    I understand why this book is considered a classic. Why wasn’t this required reading in my classroom management course? Why don’t breeders and shelters pass this out like candy when you adopt dogs? Why don’t they send this home along with those giant mesh underwear when you bring your newborn home from the hospital? So many applications!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Anita

    More about dolphins than helping with dogs

  26. 4 out of 5

    Riley Sheehan

    Solid introduction to various behavioral training methods, and their strengths and weaknesses.

  27. 4 out of 5

    TOM HORECKI

    The book is ready to use instruction for pet lovers who want to train their animals. Unsurprisingly, most techniques are also useful in terms of human interactions. Although the book is written a bit too academically for me I have taken some valuable notes for myself: BULLET POINTS: - As humans, we are prone to criticize, when the criteria haven’t been met, much more than giving positive reinforcement in the scenario when they were met. - Positive reinforcement is way stronger than negative. It conc The book is ready to use instruction for pet lovers who want to train their animals. Unsurprisingly, most techniques are also useful in terms of human interactions. Although the book is written a bit too academically for me I have taken some valuable notes for myself: BULLET POINTS: - As humans, we are prone to criticize, when the criteria haven’t been met, much more than giving positive reinforcement in the scenario when they were met. - Positive reinforcement is way stronger than negative. It concerns pet training, kids upbringing as well as motivating teams. Before we penalize it's good to think if we really want to change someone's behavior. If so then why not use a more effective way of positive reinforcement. It can be applied just after the misbehavior finishes. - Same situation when you blame yourself, not effective and in addition pushing oneself into the hole. - Reinforcement can be introduced already at the beginning, just after the action was taken. TECHNIQUES: - Training as a game (Shows that responsibility for results is always on the trainer) - Unearned jackpot - an alternative technique: "Dear kid I am so tired with you misbehavior that I will reward it with .(eg. extra cinema tickets). - When learning by heart, divide into parts and start with the last, to achieve the best results. - Regarding whining and teasing, the best method is to ignore such behavior and it will fade away. - "Excluding behaviour", is very effective to tackle self-pity and loneliness: Eg. dancing class, sports. - Changing of motivation is the most effective technique. SOLUTIONS: for addictions: Weight Watchers, Smoke Enders Autohipnosis when the feeling comes: ‘I do not want to smoke/..., I do not want to smoke/..., I do not want to smoke/…, … Diary with progress. EXAMPLE of communication in a ‘hopeless’ situation: Karen Pryor: "Could you please take your wet stuff from the couch and put it into the dryer?" Guest: "Just a moment" K.P: (Approaches silently the guest and stays in front of him) Guest: "What is it all about?" K.P.: "Could you please take your wet stuff from the couch and put it into the dryer?" Avoid adding "now, "right away" or "I'm serious" because we are trying to shape the object's ability to react instantly for the signals given once. Thus, we need to avoid escalating the form of the signal by stronger voice, threatening etc.) Guest: "Oh my God are we in a hurry?!. If it bothers you then put it into the dryer yourself" K.P.: (Kind smile, no verbal action, we wait for an opportunity to reinforce desirable behavior. A quarrel is not what we look for, so we ignore the rude answer. Guest: "I'm going now, he takes his wet suit and puts it into the washing machine" K.P.: "To the dryer" Guest: (Irritated, takes stuff from the washing machine and puts it into the dryer) K.P: (Wide sincere smile without any sarcasm) "Thank you"

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shaya

    So I picked this up after going to Clicker Expo, Karen Pryor's clicking training seminar thinking I really should read this. I've read other books about shaping and have been clicker training for a while. I thought it might be a bit sciency and dry but the information would be well worth it. I was so wrong! The book was amazingly informative, interesting and it is filled with little anecdotes and practical applications that make it really fun to read. This might be one of the fastest nonfiction So I picked this up after going to Clicker Expo, Karen Pryor's clicking training seminar thinking I really should read this. I've read other books about shaping and have been clicker training for a while. I thought it might be a bit sciency and dry but the information would be well worth it. I was so wrong! The book was amazingly informative, interesting and it is filled with little anecdotes and practical applications that make it really fun to read. This might be one of the fastest nonfiction books I've read. Or it seemed that way. I liked the anecdote about her parents only using negative reinforcers on her twice in the form of scolding when she stole something and skipped school. It was effective in part because of the novelty of the reinforcer. One of the main messages of the book is that punishment is not a very effective or reliable way to change behavior. It is rewarding for the punisher and is our first response but that's not because it's successful. One problem is that punishment escelates, a choke collar doesn't work what about a shock collar? It often doesn't work because punishment doesn't happen at the same time of the behavior. I think this point is well discussed in dog training circles. Coming home and yelling at the dog for peeing on the rug has no effect on their peeing on the rug. Punishment also doesn't teach anyone anything. Karen Pryor lays out ten rules for shaping (clicker training/operantly conditioning) behavior and eight rules for changing behavior you don't want. I really liked this book and would recommend it to anyone who's interested in behavior in any species or trains humans or animals.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jes Jones

    A previous coworker recommended this book, among many others, when I was coming into my interest in canine behavior and training and it's definitely a worthwhile read, or reference book, for those interested in training anything, or anyone. Karen Pryor created an easy to read book breaking down positive reinforcement training, as well as other types of training and how they can be applied not only to animals, but to the people around us, within our work and school environment and pretty much in A previous coworker recommended this book, among many others, when I was coming into my interest in canine behavior and training and it's definitely a worthwhile read, or reference book, for those interested in training anything, or anyone. Karen Pryor created an easy to read book breaking down positive reinforcement training, as well as other types of training and how they can be applied not only to animals, but to the people around us, within our work and school environment and pretty much in our day to day life. She explains how positive reinforcement provides better results over alternative methods of training by making plenty of comparisons to punishment based training methods as well as negative reinforcement training methods. I loved the incorporation of her personal stories, and training sessions, in order to emphasis certain drawbacks to punishment, and specific benefits to positive reinforcement training. There was plenty of material in this book that overlapped with the novice clicker training course that I had taken a month ago which it allowed me to breeze through some parts but enough new material to keep me engaged and actively reading till the end. Overall, a worthwhile read for those interested in pursuing training of any kind (or are looking for healthier ways to improve the relationships in their lives).

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jessie Haas

    I love Karen's cool, observant mind, and her clear, clean, evocative writing. What she did for me is show a new way to communicate with animals, taking out both the frustration and the mumbo-jumbo. Karen Pryor is the pioneer of clicker training, and with clicker training there are very few limits as to what you can teach a fellow-being, up and down the food chain. Basically, you watch for behavior you like, or the smallest beginnings of that behavior, give an acoustic signal, and then give a del I love Karen's cool, observant mind, and her clear, clean, evocative writing. What she did for me is show a new way to communicate with animals, taking out both the frustration and the mumbo-jumbo. Karen Pryor is the pioneer of clicker training, and with clicker training there are very few limits as to what you can teach a fellow-being, up and down the food chain. Basically, you watch for behavior you like, or the smallest beginnings of that behavior, give an acoustic signal, and then give a delicious treat. By successive approximations you shape the behavior; joyously, the animal shapes your behavior, finding more and more precise ways to get you to click and treat. It's an amazingly positive training method, and has the benefit of teaching the trainer to look for things she likes, about her animal and eventually, the broader world. Karen Pryor writes so clearly, and as a children's book writer I appreciate that. She also teaches through stories, and I love that. There's much to enjoy here even if you're stranded on a desert island with only coconuts for company. If, like most of us, you live with fellow sentient beings, you'll not only enjoy the book, but learn skills that will make everyone's life more pleasant. Also read Karen's new book, Reaching the Animal Mind.

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