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

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  5,196 ratings  ·  442 reviews
Originally published entitled: Don't shoot the dog!: how to improve yourself and others through behavioral training, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984. ...more
Paperback, 202 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by Ringpress Books (first published 1984)
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Geoyce There's much more to behavioral management. The original book suicides as a text for behavior course for support staff in schools included token econo…moreThere's much more to behavioral management. The original book suicides as a text for behavior course for support staff in schools included token economies, shaping, chaining, etc. Although the book does not include all behavior management protocol my mentor recommended the book is easier for non-standard staff while also equating staff with the basics. The people taught got the inference and because of their ability to understand behavior management because they understood this book and used the techniques in classrooms with great success. I recommend this book for anyone that would rather learn behavior management with common language than a scientific text.(less)

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☘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?
Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
MaritaBeth Caruthers
Mar 28, 2011 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
Nichole Martin
Jun 08, 2013 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
Jan 31, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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
May 17, 2009 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 don´t see how that is any different than man ...more
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
May 03, 2008 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
Sep 27, 2014 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
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
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
May 24, 2011 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!
Chung Chin
Jan 10, 2012 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
Apr 15, 2018 rated it liked it
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
May 22, 2009 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
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mandy Tewell
Jul 21, 2015 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.
Jan 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
Ironically, this is required for my human behavior course.
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Zumrud Huseynova
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
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
Issy Hodgkiss
Mar 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dog-books
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 ...more
James Zeller
Jan 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
May 02, 2021 rated it did not like it
More about dolphins than helping with dogs
Riley Sheehan
Apr 29, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help, psychology
Solid introduction to various behavioral training methods, and their strengths and weaknesses.
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:

- 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
Jun 05, 2009 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
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 ...more
Jes Jones
Sep 10, 2014 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
Jessie Haas
Jun 21, 2009 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
Jun 21, 2012 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
Apr 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jeff by: Question of the Day
QoD had a podcast that asked the question, what do you wish you knew before you had kids?, that referenced this book about positive feedback and affirmation, saying it's the ONLY way to train a chicken, and it's a good place to start with kids.

So I read the book (even though my kids are now 22, 19, and 16 and I figured there's almost no hope of retraining them!) and really enjoyed it. I do wish I had read it 23 years ago and would recommend it to anyone with children or pets. It was an enjoyable
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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

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32 likes · 5 comments
“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.” 7 likes
“Training is a loop, a two-way communication in which an event at one end of the loop changes events at the other, exactly like a cybernetic feedback system; yet many psychologists treat their work as something they do to a subject, not with the subject.” 3 likes
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