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Culture Clash: A New Way Of Understanding The Relationship Between Humans And Domestic Dogs Paperback – January 19, 1996

4.1 out of 5 stars 235 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


The Culture Clash is special. Jean Donaldson's first book is quite simply the very best dog book I have ever read. It is utterly unique, fascinating to the extreme, and literally overflowing with information that is so new it virtually redefines the state of the art in dog behavior and training. Written in Jean's inimitably informal yet precise lecture style, the book races along on par with a good thriller. In fact, I read the manuscript three times in a row before it was even published. The Culture Clash depicts dogs as they really are - stripped of their Hollywood fluff, with their loveable 'can I eat it, chew it, urinate on it, what's in it for me' philosophy. Jean's tremendous affection for dogs shines through at all times, as does her keen insight into the dog's mind. Relentlessly, she champions the dog's point of view, always showing concern for their education and well being. The Culture Clash joins a very distinctive group of books and it runs at the head o! f the pack. Like Karen Pryor's Don't Shoot the Dog, The Culture Clash has a refreshingly original perspective. Like Gwen Bohnenkamp's books, The Culture Clash cuts to the chase - no if's and no but's - here's the story - now educate your dog! Without a doubt, Jean's book is the hottest doggy item on the market - the quintessential book for dog owners and dog trainers alike - a very definite two paws up! Do yourself and your dogs a big favor: Give it a read! And let's look forward to many more books by Jean Donaldson.Dr. Ian Dunbar -- the publisher

About the Author

Jean Donaldson is the owner of Renaissance Dog Training in Montreal. She and her dogs have won numerous titles in obedience, tracking and Flyball. Jean one of the the most sought after speakers on the doggy circuit in both the U.S. and Canada.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 223 pages
  • Publisher: James & Kenneth Publishers (January 19, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888047054
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888047059
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (235 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was originally turned off by the beginning of this book. The author's ideas about dogs having no "desire to please" their owners was so contrary to everything that is considered basic about dog training and dog behavior that I didn't believe it to be true. However, she thoroughly backed up her ideas and completely clarified the difference between "desire to please" as we see it and "desire to get treats or attention" as the dog sees it.
It's difficult to get beyond the "Disney" approach to dogs as she calls it, the way society and Hollywood have taught us dogs should behave, but the book opened my eyes to what sort of relationship dogs really have with people.
The book takes dog training from a dog's point of view - and that is the best way to get results. The empathy for the dog's position that the author encourages was a completely new experience for me. I adopted an adult dog from a shelter four months ago who had never been indoors before. She had been abused and you could hardly say "no" to her without her cringing and running away. I needed a training method that was completely positive and non-abusive in every sense of the word. More importantly, I needed a training method that worked.
My dog can sit, down, stay, come, wait, drop, and fetch; she doesn't jump up, she doesn't chase the cats, and she's housebroken - all thanks to this book.
The author thoroughly takes you through the way dogs learn with specific examples and exercises. It's hard not to get excited about teaching your dog after learning so completely how to teach!
I highly recommend this book to new dog owners and to people looking to improve their relationship with their pets. Getting rid of unrealistic expectations makes all the difference in understanding and relating to your dog.
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Format: Paperback
Culture Clash is a good example of a classic that really needs to be recast, re-edited in some aggressive ways.
This book gets an incredible number of word-of-mouth recommendations from within the dog world, and for good reason. It's also somewhat exasperating, also for good reason. An updated edition might turn into a sort of Dr. Spock guide for dogs; as it is, even for its few blemishes, if you're interested in training at all -- you have a dog, you should be interested -- you need to read this one.
The book is basically an engagingly-written set of essays on positive-reinforcement, operant-conditioning dog training. (In a nutshell, that means concentrating on setting a dog up to succeed, and then on rewarding it when it does succeed, rather than on punishing the dog for mistakes.) Culture Clash does two things: it gives you a broad sense of why positive reinforcement techniques work, and it really, REALLY lays into old-style, aversive, leash-jerking training methods. The reason it gets recommended so much is that it's GREAT for people who have only a vague idea of how to train a dog based on what they see others doing, and who might end up with a miserable dog and a sore arm from tugging at a choke collar. Donaldson does a truly excellent job of showing you how and why positive reinforcement will help you communicate with your dog. She does a great job showing you how happy that can feel, and showing you the broad outline of how it works.
What she DOESN'T do especially well in this book is give you a specific, basic training regimen for your dog. That's where my editing objection comes in.
As I said, the chapters in this book are almost more like stand-alone essays. They don't really flow into one another as well as you might expect.
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Format: Paperback
I have read many dog training books in the past 6 months, but this is the only one that really rang true for me. Jean Donaldson articulates what many dog owners have felt for some time: that yanking, yelling and regimentation do NOT constitute positive training methods. She rightly calls slip-collars and choke chains "strangulation collars," and makes it clear that the "leash correction" is simply a punishment -- and not a very effective one at that. Her whole training ethos is based on the premise that dogs are dogs, not people. That may sound pretty obvious, but it doesn't seem to be, at least not to traditional dog trainers. If you have a dog that likes to be a dog (interacts with both humans and dogs in the same manner, and doesn't like to be restrained in any way) Donaldson's training methods will save your sanity -- and perhaps your dog's life. This book is more than a manual, however, as it fully explains the theory before detailing the methods. Along the way, it provides a good read and some great laughs. This is also the first book I've read that describes some fun and effective training games to play with your dog, rather than just saying "play with your dog." It's not all fun and games though: I dare you to read the section called "Empathy 101" and remain unmoved toward the plight of the average family dog. My only (minor) complaint about "Culture Clash" is that it needs either a more detailed Table of Contents, an Index, or both. That said, however, I urge you to buy this book, and leave the traditional methods of dog training back in WWII, where they began, and where they belong!
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