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The Culture Clash Paperback – Oct 1 1996

4.1 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 223 pages
  • Publisher: James & Kenneth Pub; 2nd Edition edition (Oct. 1 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888047054
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888047059
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 13.8 x 1.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #88,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


The Culture Clash is special. Jean Donaldson's first book is quite simply the very best dog book I have ever read. It is utterly unique, fascinating to the extreme, and literally overflowing with information that is so new it virtually redefines the state of the art in dog behavior and training. Written in Jean's inimitably informal yet precise lecture style, the book races along on par with a good thriller. In fact, I read the manuscript three times in a row before it was even published. The Culture Clash depicts dogs as they really are - stripped of their Hollywood fluff, with their loveable 'can I eat it, chew it, urinate on it, what's in it for me' philosophy. Jean's tremendous affection for dogs shines through at all times, as does her keen insight into the dog's mind. Relentlessly, she champions the dog's point of view, always showing concern for their education and well being. The Culture Clash joins a very distinctive group of books and it runs at the head o! f the pack. Like Karen Pryor's Don't Shoot the Dog, The Culture Clash has a refreshingly original perspective. Like Gwen Bohnenkamp's books, The Culture Clash cuts to the chase - no if's and no but's - here's the story - now educate your dog! Without a doubt, Jean's book is the hottest doggy item on the market - the quintessential book for dog owners and dog trainers alike - a very definite two paws up! Do yourself and your dogs a big favor: Give it a read! And let's look forward to many more books by Jean Donaldson.Dr. Ian Dunbar -- the publisher

About the Author

Jean Donaldson is the owner of Renaissance Dog Training in Montreal. She and her dogs have won numerous titles in obedience, tracking and Flyball. Jean one of the the most sought after speakers on the doggy circuit in both the U.S. and Canada.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Amy VG TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 19 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is BRILLIANT! I have read my share of dog training books and have gone to several dog training classes with different training styles, and my personal opinion is that Jean Donaldson is a genius. In her other book, "Train Your Dog Like a Pro" (comes with a 2.5hr training video), I was able to train my Golden Retriever puppy rock solid sits, downs, stays, recalls. Her method works. Before reading "The Culture Clash", I was missing information, like not fully understanding why my dog does certain behaviours and what my dogs needs to succeed as a confident and obedient dog. The Culture Clash has it all: how dogs learn, the natural behaviours of dogs, socialization importance, dog behaviour issues, and lastly amazing instructions on how to train for obedience.
This one was a tough read at first. When I first picked it up to excitedly devour "The Culture Clash", I was hugely disappointed. She does use college-level words and her advice is mixed in everywhere, so you have to read her wisdom while getting bits of training tips here and there. I was hoping for clear organization of the book, which this doesn't have, but I soon came to realize, the wisdom is on every single page of the book so I needed to read this first as a novel: front to back (no skipping ahead!). And then tape-flag the training bits and go back to them when I needed to apply the training advice.
If you have a dog, or planning on it, please read this one. It's the intelligent way to train, without physical punishment or aversive force.
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Format: Paperback
Culture Clash is a good example of a classic that really needs to be recast, re-edited in some aggressive ways.
This book gets an incredible number of word-of-mouth recommendations from within the dog world, and for good reason. It's also somewhat exasperating, also for good reason. An updated edition might turn into a sort of Dr. Spock guide for dogs; as it is, even for its few blemishes, if you're interested in training at all -- you have a dog, you should be interested -- you need to read this one.
The book is basically an engagingly-written set of essays on positive-reinforcement, operant-conditioning dog training. (In a nutshell, that means concentrating on setting a dog up to succeed, and then on rewarding it when it does succeed, rather than on punishing the dog for mistakes.) Culture Clash does two things: it gives you a broad sense of why positive reinforcement techniques work, and it really, REALLY lays into old-style, aversive, leash-jerking training methods. The reason it gets recommended so much is that it's GREAT for people who have only a vague idea of how to train a dog based on what they see others doing, and who might end up with a miserable dog and a sore arm from tugging at a choke collar. Donaldson does a truly excellent job of showing you how and why positive reinforcement will help you communicate with your dog. She does a great job showing you how happy that can feel, and showing you the broad outline of how it works.
What she DOESN'T do especially well in this book is give you a specific, basic training regimen for your dog. That's where my editing objection comes in.
As I said, the chapters in this book are almost more like stand-alone essays. They don't really flow into one another as well as you might expect.
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Format: Paperback
The back cover of this book sports a recommendation saying that the book is "literally overflowing with information that's so new it virtually redefines the state of the art in dog training." Alas, I've been unable to find this information anywhere in the book. In much of the book Donaldson quite correctly points out techniques used by many, perhaps the majority, of dog owners that are bound to make life sour for the dog and the owner, such as punishing a dog for an offense comitted hours ago or yanking him around forever on a choker. That the people doing this are wrong and Donaldson is right is proven thousands of times every day by people who can't train their dog. Yet nothing about this is new. If Donaldson had consulted dog training literature even from the nineteenth century, she would have found the same observations. (E.g., Carl Tabel's very punishment-oriented classic makes this point very clear.) These things were known long before Skinner ever got to abuse his first rat.
Donaldson's strong aversion against punishment is entirely acceptable, yet the way she condemns everyone who uses corrections in her moralistic tone is not. Donaldson admits that corrections, if and only if adminstered correctly, can increase the reliability of a command, and she also admits that one can reasonable argue that a command that could save the dog's live might be "installed by all means necessary." She could have added that the increased reliability can lead to increased freedom for the dog, and thus enhance his quality of life. What is more, at the end of the book, when she finally gives practical training advice, Donaldson falls into using "active corrections" all the time.
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