Jean Donaldson Jean Donaldson > Quotes


Jean Donaldson quotes (showing 1-6 of 6)

“So what is the fallout for dogs of the Lassie myth? As soon as you bestow intelligence and morality, you bestow the responsibility that goes along with them. In other words, if the dog knows it’s wrong to destroy furniture yet deliberately and maliciously does it, remembers the wrong he did and feels guilt, it feels like he merits a punishment2, doesn’t it? That’s just what dogs have been getting - a lot of punishment. We set them up for all kinds of punishment by overestimating their ability to think. Interestingly, it’s the “cold” behaviorist model that ends up giving dogs a much better crack at meeting the demands we make of them. The myth gives problems to dogs they cannot solve and then punishes them for failing. And the saddest thing is that the main association most dogs have with that punishment is the presence of their owner. This puts a pretty twisted spin on loooving dogs ‘cause they’re so smart, doesn’t it?”
Jean Donaldson, The Culture Clash
“The dominance panacea is so out of proportion that entire schools of training are based on the premise that if you can just exert adequate dominance over the dog, everything else will fall into place. Not only does it mean that incredible amounts of abuse are going to be perpetrated against any given dog, probably exacerbating problems like unreliable recalls and biting, but the real issues, like well-executed conditioning and the provision of an adequate environment, are going to go unaddressed, resulting in a still-untrained dog, perpetuating the pointless dominance program. None of this is to say that dogs aren’t one of those species whose social life appears to lend itself to beloved hierarchy constructs. But, they also see well at night, and no one is proposing retinal surgery to address their non-compliance or biting behavior. Pack theory is simply not the most elegant model for explaining or, especially, for treating problems like disobedience, misbehavior or aggression. People who use aversives to train with a dominance model in mind would get a better result with less wear and tear on the dog by using aversives with a more thorough understanding of learning theory, or, better yet, forgoing aversives altogether and going with the other tools in the learning theory tool box. The dominance concept is simply unnecessary.”
Jean Donaldson, The Culture Clash
“In dog culture, when someone calls you, you should absolutely not come if that results in the ending of something you like or initiation of something you don’t like.”
Jean Donaldson, The Culture Clash
“Imagine you live on a planet where the dominant species is far more intellectually sophisticated than human beings but often keeps humans as companion animals. They are called the Gorns. They communicate with each other via a complex combination of telepathy, eye movements & high-pitched squeaks, all completely unintelligible & unlearnable by humans, whose brains are prepared for verbal language acquisition only.

Humans sometimes learn the meaning of individual sounds by repeated association with things of relevance to them. The Gorns & humans bond strongly but there are many Gorn rules that humans must try to assimilate with limited information & usually high stakes. You are one of the lucky humans who lives with the Gorns in their dwelling. Many other humans are chained to small cabanas in the yard or kept in outdoor pens of varying size. They are so socially starved they cannot control their emotions when a Gorn goes near them. The Gorns agree that they could never be House-Humans.

The dwelling you share with your Gorn family is filled with water-filled porcelain bowls.Every time you try to urinate in one,nearby Gorn attack you. You learn to only use the toilet when there are no Gorns present. Sometimes they come home & stuff your head down the toilet for no apparent reason. You hate this & start sucking up to the Gorns when they come home to try & stave this off but they view this as evidence of your guilt. You are also punished for watching videos, reading books, talking to other human beings, eating pizza or cheesecake, & writing letters. These are all considered behavior problems by the Gorns.

To avoid going crazy, once again you wait until they are not around to try doing anything you wish to do. While they are around, you sit quietly, staring straight ahead. Because they witness this good behavior you are so obviously capable of, they attribute to “spite” the video watching & other transgressions that occur when you are alone. Obviously you resent being left alone, they figure. You are walked several times a day and left crossword puzzle books to do. You have never used them because you hate crosswords; the Gorns think you’re ignoring them out of revenge. Worst of all, you like them. They are, after all, often nice to you. But when you smile at them, they punish you, likewise for shaking hands. If you apologize they punish you again.

You have not seen another human since you were a small child. When you see one you are curious, excited & afraid. You really don’t know how to act. So, the Gorn you live with keeps you away from other humans. Your social skills never develop.

Finally, you are brought to “training” school. A large part of the training consists of having your air briefly cut off by a metal chain around your neck. They are sure you understand every squeak & telepathic communication they make because sometimes you get it right. You are guessing & hate the training. You feel pretty stressed out a lot of the time. One day, you see a Gorn approaching with the training collar in hand. You have PMS, a sore neck & you just don’t feel up to the baffling coercion about to ensue. You tell them in your sternest voice to please leave you alone & go away. The Gorns are shocked by this unprovoked aggressive behavior. They thought you had a good temperament.

They put you in one of their vehicles & take you for a drive. You watch the attractive planetary landscape going by & wonder where you are going. You are led into a building filled with the smell of human sweat & excrement. Humans are everywhere in small cages. Some are nervous, some depressed, most watch the goings on on from their prisons. Your Gorns, with whom you have lived your entire life, hand you over to strangers who drag you to a small room. You are terrified & yell for your Gorn family to help you. They turn & walk away.You are held down & given a lethal injection. It is, after all, the humane way to do it.”
Jean Donaldson, The Culture Clash
“Dogs (like rats) are multitalented but they are also not very smart the way humans are. A recent book, devoted to the intelligence of dogs, is 250+ pages long (Stanley Coren, The Intelligence of Dogs: A Guide to the Thoughts, Emotions, and Inner Lives of Our Canine Companions, 1994). Interestingly, despite careful qualifications by Coren regarding definitions, the ranking of breeds by intelligence literally made newspaper headlines. We are obviously fascinated by the notion that dogs - or at least certain breeds of dog - might, just might, be really, really smart. It all makes as much sense as evaluating humans on our ability to sniff for bombs or echo-locate.”
Jean Donaldson, The Culture Clash
“Because behavior is under the control of its consequences, obedience training is about providing consequences to the dog. Life is a never-ending series of:"If you do this, this happens, if you do that, another thing happens." There are two kinds of things that happen in life, good things and bad things, so there are four kinds of consequences: good stuff can 1) start and 2) end; bad stuff can 1) start and 2) end. Your dog is constantly trying to start the good stuff, end the bad stuff, avoid ending the good stuff, and avoid starting the bad stuff. He's playing his entire environment, including you, this way. If you can recognize this and exploit it, *voila!* Control of the dog.”
Jean Donaldson, The Culture Clash


All Quotes | Add A Quote
Play The 'Guess That Quote' Game

The Culture Clash The Culture Clash
1,015 ratings
Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs
100 ratings
Open Preview
Fight!: A Practical Guide to the Treatment of Dog-dog Aggression Fight!
75 ratings
Dogs are from Neptune Dogs are from Neptune
75 ratings
Open Preview