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Don't Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training Paperback – Aug 3 1999

4.3 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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  • Don't Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training
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  • Culture Clash: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding the Relationship Between Humans and Domestic Dogs
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  • Excel-Erated Learning: Explaining in Plain English How Dogs Learn and How Best to Teach Them
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; 1999 edition (Aug. 3 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553380397
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553380392
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.5 x 20.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 91 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #55,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"This delightful, clear, and utterly helpful book is for anyone who wants to understand or change the behavior of an animal—whether the animal in question is a barking dog, a nosy neighbor, a hostile cat, or you and your own bad habits."—Carol Tavris, Ph.D., author of Anger

From the Inside Flap

A Better Way to Better Behavior
Karen Pryor's clear and entertaining explanation of behavioral training methods made Don't Shoot the Dog! a bestselling classic. Now this revised edition presents more of her insights into animal--and human--behavior.
A groundbreaking behavioral scientist and dynamic animal trainer, Karen Pryor is a powerful proponent of the principles and practical uses of positive reinforcement in teaching new behaviors. Here are the secrets of changing behavior in pets, kids--even yourself--without yelling, threats, force, punishment, guilt trips...or shooting the dog:
The principles of the revolutionary "clicker training" method, which owes its phenomenal success to its immediacy of response--so there is no question what action you are rewarding
8 methods of ending undesirable habits--from furniture-clawing cats to sloppy roommates
The 10 laws of "shaping" behavior--for results without strain or pain through "affection training"
Tips for house-training the dog, improving your tennis game, or dealing with an impossible teen
Explorations of exciting new uses for reinforcement training
Learn why pet owners rave, "This book changed our lives!" and how these pioneering techniques can work for you too.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Believe me when I tell you that those that criticized this book never read it and integrated its principles. Instead, these are people that might have vast experience with different systems that give them good results. The techniques they use have become second nature to them. They conclude: my system is different, my system works, therefore every thing else is crap. One reviewer rambled about how it mainly applies to dolphins because they are confined to a tank. The kindest thing I can say about him is that he never read DON'T SHOOT THE DOG. If he did, I would have to insult his reading comprehension. Little of what he rants about is even in the book. Instead of ranting about hearsay on the somewhat different topic of clicker training, allow me to tell you about "Don't Shoot the Dog". This book teaches far reaching techniques with universal application. I have trained dogs, horses, and wild caught birds of prey (which were flown free daily not confined to pools or tanks). Though I understand alpha dog training, use negative reinforcement, and have employed many successful techniques, this is one of my all time top 10 books on any subject and it is a MUST READ even for those that will never own a pet. Karen Pryor was in fact a trainer at Sea World but contrary to the title this book is not about the specifics of animal training. It is instead a handbook on behavioral modification complete with an introduction written by B.F. Skinner, the father of behavioral psychology. While he was not a man without faults, he was a huge contributor to some profoundly simplified techniques for modifying behavior. While an easy read (one long afternoon) the power of this book lies in studying the principles and then training yourself to modify behavior.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
I've read quite a few dog behavior, training and intelligence books and always had this on the to read list because of its reputation of being the "bible" of dog training. But I didn't really want to read it because of the title, and hey, the cover isn't too imaginitive either. I know don't judge a book by a cover, but to be honest, reading has a sensual side too -- good clean lines, fits nice in the hands, smooth paper. You bookaholics know what I'm saying.
So, I finally got around to reading this and I can see why people say this book is life-changing. Pryor spent very little time talking about dogs specifically but showed many examples on how these methods could be used with people with disabilities, your own kids, spouse, cat etc.
I'm a trainer's assistant at a dog obedience school, and as I read this, it all looked familiar. It is basically the foundation philosophy of our school. It's a method of communication. A way to build a relationship and communicate what you want from your dog in a positive, punishment-free manner. Reading this book helped me clarify why we at the school do things as we do. And as I finished the book, I was thinking of one of the comments a woman made at a trainer's funeral. The gist was that she had learned from his gentle approach to the dogs, and this had spread to the way she approached people as well.
It's true. "Clicker training" as some people call this training philosophy will spill outside of your doggy life and into other areas... if you come to this as a dog trainer. As a dog trainer, your dog doesn't sit when you say sit. Instead of getting mad and saying sit sit sit! jerking on the collar or pushing on the butt, first you think "does my dog understand 'sit?
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By A Customer on March 29 2001
Format: Paperback
I gave this book four stars only because it really isn't about dog training specifically, or clicker training either. As I realized this, I was somewhat disappointed. But I couldn't quite drop it, and continued. I was glad I did. I found the information, and insite into both human and critter psychology enlightening. Since I had already read Clicker training your Horse, I understood the concept of the clicker. This book gave me a glimpse of how positive reinforcement might be applied to people...where obviously clicking might just get you smacked. I applied positive reinforcment to my boss. He was not a horrible boss, but he was not a caring boss either. I noticed that he seemed to be hungry for approval from his equals, and it occured to me that maybe approval from anywhere might be his "click/reward" I started applying methods suggested in the book, and with in a couple of weeks, he was a most solitious boss. We (the lowerdowns) came to adore this boss, and strove to stay in his department. The more we reinforced the behaviors we liked...the more he exibited them. This book could change your relationship with people. I would recommend it to anyone who deals with people, or animals. Read it through, then go back and study the highlights.
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Format: Paperback
it is about behavior modification and not dog training per se.
Don't Shoot the Dog! is the best fundamental description of behaviorism I have ever read. My husband and I have used its principles in training our extremely submissive and abused by a former owner Jack Russell terrier to develop some mental health. This is not a cookbook, it is a philosophy. Pryor does not endorse pure behaviorism; in her work with dolphins described in Lads Before the Wind, she writes extensively about her philosophy falling between that of Konrad Lorenz, the ethologist, and B.F. Skinner. There are hard wired behavior traits present in all species and using operant conditioning via a method like clicker training actually uses those traits to the trainer's advantage, never forgetting that there are some instincts that are so hard wired that they are impossible to overcome. This training is not necessarily an easy to do BECAUSE IT REQUIRES REAL INSIGHT, PATIENCE AND SENSITIVITY ON THE PART OF THE TRAINER! Our dog had been beaten for being a submissive urinator which -- gues what!! -- made her more of a submissive urinator. Three months of hard work following the philosophy of this book have helped immensely. This book has applications in all of our dealings with other sensient beings.
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