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Don't Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training Paperback – November 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 202 pages
  • Publisher: Ringpress Books; 3rd edition (November 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860542387
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860542381
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Every dog owner should read this.
Always Reading
This is a great book with a lot of helpful ideas for teaching and training.
James D. Weinberg
It is short, an easy read and very understandable.
jane penney

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Paul Chance on February 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
A book doesn't stay in print for over 20 years without meeting a need, and this book does that: It provides an introduction to the basic principles of behavior change in highly readable language. That makes it useful for anyone interested in training or teaching -- pet owners and professional animal trainers, of course, but also parents, teachers, corporate trainers and managers, spouses, and just about everybody else.

The title (which comes from a list of ways you can get "rid of" unwanted behavior) is unfortunate, in my opinion, because it suggests that the book is limited to dog training when in fact it is much broader than that. Indeed, some people have criticized the book because it is NOT a dog training manual. The subtitle comes much closer to describing the nature of the book.

Many people think that you need one set of procedures to train dogs, another to train cats, another for horses, another for people, and so on, so they look for a species-specific how-to. It's true that some critters learn faster than others and people get a lot more from watching models and from hearing instructions than do dogs and cats. It's also true that a book aimed at teaching or training a particular species will provide useful concrete examples. But the principles of behavior, and most of the procedures for changing behavior (which is what teaching and training are all about) are essentially the same no matter the species. This is why Pryor likes to say that no one should be allowed to have a baby until they have demonstrated that they can train a chicken.

Like a lot of people, Pryor tends to confuse negative reinforcement and punishment, as one reviewer pointed out. But to dismiss the book because of such an error is itself a far greater error. If my own book on classroom teaching proves to be as influential and durable as Pryor's book, I will be very pleased indeed.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By rra104 on October 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are looking for a basic dog training book, then you will be disappointed. Most dog training books focus on specific methods, whereas this book focuses on principles of behavior modification. That said, you will learn tons about application of behavior modification principles from this book, and they work on any species, humans included. It's a great read, full of valuable information.
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45 of 56 people found the following review helpful By J. Tew on November 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
Any serious dog trainer, shelter/rescue volunteer or dog owner eventually needs to read Don't Shoot the Dog but it would not be my first choice for a novice dog owner intent on "taming" their beloved bundle of energy. Pat Miller wrote a better introduction to clicker training, The Power of Positive Dog Training but even that would not be my first read. Perhaps one of Ian Dunbar's earlier books, Teaching a New Dog Old Tricks, or Dr. Dunbar's Good Little Dog Book. I've read dozens of doggie books and have yet to find the perfect one. Patricia McConnell has several short ones that deal with specific issues that are very good.

It amazes me how ardent supporters of "All Positive" training are but I suspect that most of them really don't understand classical and operant conditioning and few have studied any books about clicker training. I believe there are two types of clicker trainers: (1) people with a clicker hanging from their wrist and (2) true dog trainers who happen to use a clicker.

While I do not use aversive methods (but I did as recently as six years ago) that does not remotely mean that my three dogs weighing in at from 70-130 pounds don't know the meaning of "NO!" or that they don't have limits and boundaries. To me "NO!" is a management word (as opposed to a training term), meaning, "stop whatever you are doing instantly." I doubt that I use it more than once a week. "NO!" is like setting off the fire sprinkler system---it's an emergency measure beyond which there are no "easy" remedies. Off leash and without a remote device I have to know that a sharp, "leave it", "here!" or "Uh-Uh" or "enough!" will instantly bring a smiling Great Dane or Weimaraner back to me.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Louise Basson Author of Winter Dogs; Living with Huskies as pet dogs on July 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
Don't Shoot The Dog makes you think that this book is based on dogs...but in fact it is based on human relationships and Dolphin training as well. It's the best book I have ever read on positive reinforcement training. Maybe not the easiest read but so educational. As a dog trainer I apply this to my own training and even human relationships.

There is no force used in this method of training and can be used on almost anything and anyone. From kids to birds.
This is a must read for anyone serious about training their dogs and having better relationships with the people around them. To understand training this is the book to read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ruth Friscoe on April 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
Karen Pryor explains why punishment so often fails and why positive reinforcement

does(on people as well as dogs). The book is clear and easy to read. I found

it thoroughly enjoyable and very helpful.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Katie on August 25, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book goes into the underlying principles and techniques of behavior modification through positive reinforcement. The science is in, and has been for a while, that using positive reinforcement is the most effective way to teach anything with a spinal column the behavior you prefer it to do. Anyone interested in why and how positive reinforcement is such an effective behavior modification tool will like this book. I rate this book four stars instead of five because the author is first a scientist, not a writer, but her prose is readable enough and she explains the concepts succinctly. Despite the title, she didn't write this to teach people how to clicker-train their dogs, but if you are doing that, it will help you do it better.
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