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

4.28  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,568 Ratings  ·  240 Reviews
Originally published entitled: Don't shoot the dog!: how to improve yourself and others through behavioral training, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984.
Paperback, 202 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by Ringpress Books (first published 1984)
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MaritaBeth Caruthers
Mar 28, 2011 MaritaBeth Caruthers rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
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
Jan 21, 2012 Olga rated it liked it
Забавная книга об искусных методах манипуляции окружающими, у которой есть три больших недостатка (начну с недостатков, а потом сконцентрируюсь на достоинствах): 1) ужасный перевод на русский 2) американский популизм, сквозь который на каждом шагу приходится прорываться 3) отсутствие защиты от дурака, который пойдёт и будет делать “по букварю” всё так, как в ней описано.
Наибольшую пользу от этой книги можно получить, если любить людей и исходить из всленского блага. Карен, увы, ничего не пишет н
May 22, 2009 Jodee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dog-training
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 ...more
Nichole Martin
Jun 08, 2013 Nichole Martin rated it liked it
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
May 03, 2008 Joshua rated it it was amazing
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
Chung Chin
Oct 16, 2012 Chung Chin rated it really liked it
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
May 25, 2009 Tally rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
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 dont see how that is any different than mani ...more
Jun 06, 2011 Kerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody
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!
Oct 10, 2014 Sue rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 13, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a wicked-good book about positive reinforcement and shaping behavior. And not just for animal training. As I was reading it I thought how useful the book's methods would be in "training" (manipulating) people to do/behave how I want them to. How great is that? I will become unstoppable! Anyway, the organization of the book was nice and seemed to build on previous sections. The book's not long, but it took me a while because I found my mind wandering as I was reading it. It's not a super ...more
May 04, 2016 Rachel rated it really liked it
This is an intensely interesting read that was recommended to me by my daughter, who thought I might find practical, people application from an animal training book that was among her psychology curriculum. I have. Quite insightful and fascinating, and one that I will want to read again frequently, just to refresh myself.

The animal training game is now a favorite in my family. And the animal training wisdom?...Invaluable character shaping tools for personal growth as well as relationship strengt
Nov 22, 2009 Emily rated it liked it
Saying I "read" this book is misleading. I learned my lesson from that awful Cesar Milan book and only Picked and chose the parts that seemed applicable to me and what I needed. This is NOT a dog book. This is a book on positive reinforcement that can help in any aspect of your life from friends who are perpetually late to a child who misbehaves to...yes, your annoying dog (but really it's favorite animal to highlight is dolphins and how many of us have pet dolphins?). Seemed like a decent book ...more
So, first of all, I would never have read this book if I hadn't had to for class. Grad school: making you read stuff you don't want to, all for the low, low price of several thousand dollars a year.
One of the things about social work school (about any education program, really) is that it definitely shapes the things you pick up on and what you notice. For example, I take notice of the cultural background and values of a writer now, because that helps you understand where they're coming from and
Apr 16, 2015 Becky rated it it was amazing
So, I don't typically review books I read for work on here because, quite frankly, most of them are so boring that no one would want to read them unless they were getting paid to do so. But this book was so well-written and useful, it was almost like reading for fun.

Don't Shoot the Dog is essentially a very entertaining and concise description of learning theory by a pioneering dolphin trainer. While many of the principles were initially tested on animals, learning theory is a pretty universal
Aug 14, 2014 Vaas rated it it was amazing

Подкрепление изменяет поведение только тогда, когда дается в правильно выбранный момент.

Для тех, кто воспитан в гуманистических традициях, воздействие на поведение человека при помощи своего рода осознанной техники кажется непоправимо безнравственным, несмотря на тот очевидный факт, что все мы пытаемся влиять на поведение друг друга любыми попавшимися под руку средствами.

нельзя разрешать заводить детей, прежде чем он не сумеет обучить цыпленка, подразумевая, что опыт достижен
Nick Skelton
Jun 06, 2016 Nick Skelton rated it it was amazing
This book gripped me immediately and resonated in many seemingly unrelated fields: team leading and management, parenting, being a teacher, being a student, game development and of course, training a dog. I could not stop talking about it with anyone who would listen and will be buying it for anyone who is interested.
Aleh Piatrou
Dec 22, 2015 Aleh Piatrou rated it really liked it
Книга посвящена методу позитивного подкрепления. Казалось бы суть метода можно уложить в одну главу, но автор очень доходчиво расписывает влияющие на результат нюансы. Примеры использования. подкрепления в дрессировке животных, межличностных отношениях, воспитании детей и управлении персоналом.
Mandy Tewell
Oct 25, 2015 Mandy Tewell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jes Jones
Oct 05, 2014 Jes Jones rated it really liked it
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
Mar 10, 2016 Sherrie rated it liked it
Sorely in need of a comprehensive update. After recently reading The Genius of Dogs by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods, which is full of studies and research on how dogs learn with an extensive note and index portion, it came across as very out of date. While it had good info on positive reinforcement, shaping, clicker training, etc. it also promoted invisible fences, and a few negative things like it, that research in the last decade has shown to be negative and harmful. So, even though it was upd ...more
Feb 24, 2016 Rhubarb rated it really liked it
I don't think this sort of book lends itself well to reviews - you either know the material and therefore it all feels like common sense to you, or you're coming from having no prior experience with training and everything feels like you need to re-read it to make notes. I fall in to the latter of the two groups and took a lot away from the material covered. I was tempted to give it 3 stars as it's oh-so-very dry and impersonal in places, with Karen adopting a really preachy tone for large parts ...more
Aug 30, 2014 Liv rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. Its short, well written and contains clear and practical examples of the principles underlying clicker training and how to implement them. Its also super interesting giving examples taken from psychology not just of dogs but also of humans and other animals. This book is essential for dog trainers as well as other professionals who work with dogs. Id also recommend to dog owners as it can give great insight in why your dog behaves the way it does, what your role is in ...more
Aug 31, 2014 Nick rated it really liked it
Here are someone's notes:
Nov 24, 2013 Natalie rated it really liked it
Ironically, this is required for my human behavior course.
The book that arguably started the entire clicker-training movement. A good book for understanding positive reinforcement-based training of all people and animals. I disagree with some of her starting points and conclusions, such as the evolutionary origin of behaviors, and the avoidance of all punishment with children, but overall it was an interesting and insightful book. A good book for anyone involved in training animals who wants to understand why positive reinforcement and clicker-training ...more
Jessie Haas
Jun 21, 2009 Jessie Haas rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who likes animals
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 ...more
Aug 02, 2011 Judy rated it liked it
(1984 edition--I want to look at the 2002 edition; it seems a bit different) I read that this is a good book to help change one's own behavior. I don't remember where I read that, but I did not find that to be the case in this book, which was just OK, 2.5 stars, in my opinion.

It has many helpful ideas for training anyone or anything alive, but nothing step-by-step. I appreciate that the author is/was an excellent trainer, and her ideas are worth trying, but some are not too helpful. For example:
Iso Cambia
Feb 09, 2014 Iso Cambia rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Psychologists, therapists, dog owners, parents,
Recommended to Iso by: My psychologist!
"One psychologist jokes that the longest schedule of unreinforced behavior in human existence is graduate school." (25)

I gave this to my mom to read before I was able to finish it :( ... but she'll love it. If she ever reads it, that is ...


Terminology you will become familiar with when reading this book includes:

Reinforcer (positive reinforcer; negative reinforcer; reinforcement timing, size, jackpots, and scheduling)
Punishment - and why you shouldn't use this approach if you want to see resu
Jun 07, 2009 Shaya rated it it was amazing
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
Tiffany DeBarr
Feb 04, 2012 Tiffany DeBarr rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book on a recommendation. And I can't say I regret it!

I've taken psychology classes before in college, so I've come across the ideas of B.F. Skinner. However, never have I truly thought about how deep his concepts of reinforcement goes. The most fascinating thing about this book was the fact that the term 'reinforcement' was taken out of the labs and placed directly in the context of the real world. Sure, Pryor loves talking about her experiences with training animals—it's quite
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Karen Pryor is the CEO of Karen Pryor Clicker Training and Karen Pryor Academy.

Karen is an active, leading spokesperson and teacher for effective force-free training across the globe. Her work with dolphins in the 1960s revolutionized animal training by pioneering and popularizing force-free training methods based on operant conditioning and the conditioned reinforcer.

Karen’s 40-year career workin
More about Karen Pryor...

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“One reason punishment doesn't usually work is that it does not coincide with the undesirable behavior; it occurs afterward, and sometimes, as in courts of law, long afterward. The subject therefore may not connect the punishment to his or her previous deeds; animals never do, and people often fail to. If a finger fell off every time someone stole something, or if cars burst into flames when they were parked illegally, I expect stolen property and parking tickets would be nearly nonexistent.” 4 likes
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