Harry Steinman's Reviews > The Culture Clash

The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson
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's review
Jan 01, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: dogs
Recommended to Harry by: One of my mentors, Carol Bradford, one of the the world's best t
Recommended for: People who are in contact with dogs
Read in June, 2009 — I own a copy

Humans apply human standards to dog behavior. This anthropomorphism mortally imperil dogs.

This theme underlies Donaldson's book--at once an objective (though eye-opening) exposition into canine behavior and an unabashedly polemic diatribe, railing against the harm we do by misunderstanding our Best Friends. We two-legs must understand that normal dog behavior includes behaviors that are acceptable and those that are not. Incessant barking, peeing on the carpet, chewing the shoes/furniture/handbag/favorite object, biting a child--these are all normal dog behaviors that are clearly unacceptable. So, how do we prevent or stop unacceptable behaviors, short of permanently restraining the dog?

That is the meat of Donaldson's award-winning first book. Love dogs? Read it. Hate 'em? Read the book. Understanding dogs as dogs (not trying to see them as small, furred humans) is the beginning of wisdom.

This book occupies the Number One spot on my dog book shelves, and one I sometimes gift to very promising students at the MSPCA, where I am a volunteer trainer.

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