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What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love, and Marriage: Lessons for People from Animals and Their Trainers Paperback – April 14, 2009
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“A compelling argument for using techniques from animal trainers to help change bad habits and improve relationships.”—Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Sutherland’s a smart, engaging writer, and her stories about the hows and whys of exotic animal training are fun and fascinating.”—Boston Sunday Globe
“Part self-help guide, part animal psychology textbook and part memoir . . . Sutherland has a breezy style.”—New York Times Book Review
“In the little, private zoo known as marriage, it helps to remind yourself that you and your partner are just two bipedal primates trying to get along in intimate co-habitation.”—Globe and Mail
“Wise and pragmatic advice . . . The thing I love most about this book is that every other paragraph, Sutherland’s terrific wordsmithing, compelling logic, and anecdotes about exotic animals make me feel like she’s tossed me a biscuit.”—Martha Beck, author of Steering by Starlight and columnist for O: The Oprah Magazine
“Hilarious and persuasive.”—Good Housekeeping
“Invaluable . . . It succeeds nicely as an animal-training guide, and amusingly as a relationship book.”—Buffalo News
About the Author
- Publisher : Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (April 14, 2009)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 192 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0812978080
- ISBN-13 : 978-0812978087
- Item Weight : 5.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #78,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Sutherland also mentions how she got irate emails from men saying she was manipulating her husband. However, I don't think that she actually does anything to manipulate him but simply let him be.
I thought the read was short yet informative and very funny.
One core concept, ignore behaviors that you don’t like, seems counter-intuitive. However, it’s more about not engaging/interacting with behaviors you don’t like, thus rewarding that behavior. Think about it, this applies to young kids who just want attention and to interact/play with you and not necessarily do something. It also applies to yourself at work when your trying to talk to the boss about something. A few chapters are about ignoring & interaction that explain this and give context.
The other counter-intuitive concept was EVERY interaction is training. Every time you interact with an animal, child, friends, relatives, etc you are telling them how you want to be treated. When you interact you are training people how you want to be treated. If you want to be treated nicely, be nice. If you want to be treated badly, well...you get the idea.
Another counter-intuitive concepts was (not) using negative reinforcement. Conditioning like Pavlov’s dog works. It also works as negative condition, BUT negative conditioning must be timely, proportional to the offense, AND can have UNINTENDED consequences. Negative conditioning must not be used as the primary method of training. It builds resentment. If the bank of goodwill gets depleted that leads to outbursts/arguments/fights/etc. Anything with a mouth bites. If you’re getting bitten a lot, might be time to reconsider how you interact and how much negative conditioning is used.
There’s a whole lot more covered and would definitely recommend reading the book.
Top reviews from other countries
Uses these methods to try to alter her sometimes frustrating husband and his annoying habits in order to save her relationship, after traditional methods of arguing and complaining did not work. The author rewards good behaviour and ignores the bad and surprisingly her methods work for her. Highly recommended
Recommended to me by a colleague from Finland I have subsequently bought copies for friends as presents.