First a brief history of me. I have had or interacted with dogs all of my life of 31 years. I've just gotten a husky and decided I needed some training resources because everyone says they are the most difficult dog to train. I bought this book, don't shoot the dog, and Zak George's dog training revolution. I've read Zak George's book and now this book.
My issue is this. This book starts by talking trash on people that believe their dogs are more than operant conditioning machines and not very intelligent and that they aren't eager to please owners, they just care about operant conditioning and only care about how people are relevant to them.
As I've said, I've had dogs all my life and this is just completely false. If you've ever cried and had a dog come over and give you kisses, and snuggle up next to you or rub up against you randomly, you know this as well. If you have ever had your dog stare you in the eye and squat down and take a dump or go to pee you should as well.(Hint: The dog isn't trying to spite you but wants you to shout no while they are in the process to let them know it's not good to do so.) Dogs really have no idea what is going on in the human world initially, and they are limited in communication options. They basically ask the only way they know how if this is what you don't want them to do. Then there is the claim that praise is not an adequate reinforcer, the author even calls it pathetic. My husky is not extremely food or play driven. Don't get me wrong, he likes both, but not as much as me hugging him and making happy noises and giving him kisses all over. Let me tell you, when I do that, he is very obediant and will happily listen to commands for quite a bit, tail wagging. Don't get me wrong, after like 10 minutes of training this way, he looks at me like ok, I don't give a crap about this anymore, let's go play, but he does the same with food and play even. I gotta tell you, as a living creature myself I wouldn't want to an extremely structured thing like that for a prolonged period of time either.
Ok so what am I getting at here, is that dogs are very intelligent, and social and there isn't some magical barrier between them and humans, they can make inferences, they can understand complex clues, and they can have motivation. We are different sure, and they definitely don't have the same mental capacity, but they are complex and you can bond and have a special relationship beyond just conditioning. You can actively communicate with your dog almost like a person by reading body language unique to your dog or types of barks and whines. The more you spend with your dog the more you can discover and improve that communication.
You can train your dog to be good and still allow them to be independent and have wants, needs and desires. For instance, with my husky, he was potty trained at 8 weeks. Like fully, go to the door, bark, instantly pee and poop and then come back in. I got him at 7 weeks. He learned sit, stay, come, down, no biting, no jumping, get it, fetch, drop it, kiss and hug primarily with praise also by 9 weeks. I do give him rewards at random intervals when he stays out of trouble for a while (like gold stars for a kid or toys for a kid). He was quite stubborn at times(like a kid) so I had to pick him up and carry him to home or to the crate the first 2 weeks while he was still figuring things out.
I let him do his own thing but supervise alot. Tell him no sharply if he goes for the wrong thing(to chew on) and replace it with the right thing, get out toys and play and treats and ask commands and what not. If he drank a ton before bed, I initially put him in his crate after a half hour, he would whine the I gotta go potty whine, and I would let him out and put him back in. He would then cry the I want attention whine, which I would ignore at bedtime. He only did that the first night. He was communicating to me, hey, if I cry can I get out if I need to? I said sure thing. Then he said, can I get our all the time if I cry? I said no. I answered both questions for him in a way he could understand.
This book basically talks about dogs in the way that devalues their independence, individuality, and actual intelligence which I think is totally messed up so I cannot recommend it over other more balanced approaches that respect the dog more.
All of this said, it's not a terrible book and does have quite a few suggestions which are valid like how to roughhouse properly and various reinforcement and training techniques. It's just there are other sources, both free and with cost that will teach you in a more healthy and respectful bonding way to train your dog.
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Culture Clash: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding the Relationship Between Humans and Domestic Dogs Paperback – Illustrated, 1 January 2013
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"Simply, the best dog book I have ever read! The Culture Clash is utterly unique, fascinating to the extreme and literally overflowing with oodles of useful, how-to information. Jean Donaldson's refreshing new perspective on the relationship between people and dogs had redefined the state of the art of dog-friendly dog training." -- Dr. Ian Dunbar "Founder of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers"
About the Author
Author Jean Donaldson has over 30 years experience in dog behavior and training. As the Founder and Director of the San Francisco SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers, Jean leads a new generation of dog trainers to better understanding of the research and science of canine behavior. Jean's award winning book, The Culture Clash, is a pivotal book in the dog trainer's library because it called into question many sacred assumptions about the origins of behavior and behavior problems. Jean lives in the San Francisco area with her Chow Chow, Buffy.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Amazon.com: 84 reviews
The author came to the incorrect conclusions30 January 2019 - Published on Amazon.com
48 people found this helpful
outdated & not for those seeking connection15 May 2020 - Published on Amazon.com
I bought this on the recommendation of the breeder I was working with, in the hope it would be helpful. Instead I found a rather outdated approach that seems to view dogs simply as robots without any ability to do more than eat, drink and eliminate that could be manipulated with food. I was rather disturbed by the coldness and calculation of the author, without any trace of the genuine kindness and love that have characterized the animal trainers I've worked with in the past. I can see how her approach may have been useful when positive reinforcement training was in its infancy, but there's been too much evolution in our understanding of animal behavior and capacity for emotion to take her seriously at all. I appreciate Amazon's generous return policy which allowed me to return this book after I had read the first chapter. I wasn't expecting to later find out some very disturbing information about the author, though her cold, calculating, mechanistic approach make it not at all surprising. Evidently she managed to violate any and all standards of decency to train a dog to hump her leg at her pleasure on command. This is absolutely disgusting, and people like this shouldn't be allowed to make money off their reputation as a "trainer".
5 people found this helpful
Conversational tone, fascinating science-based subject, effective and gentle training recommendations. Excellent book!5 January 2018 - Published on Amazon.com
Great read. At times the author uses words that are more complicated than necessary to express herself (and I had to look up their meaning), but it wasn’t often enough to stop me from reading the rest of this entertaining and informative book. In fact I couldn’t put it down! Her training philosophy is grounded in science and explained clearly with examples so you can follow along by the end of the book. I learned a lot and will find this book to be a great resource on the shelf that I can read several more times to pick up more nuanced pieces that I may have glossed over when I was initially learning the information. The first few chapters are fantastic where she explains what our world looks like from the point of view of the dog and what their tiny little lemon brain can actually comprehend and process ... and it’s a lot less than us humans would like to believe! I really got a lot out of the trouble-shooting potty training section having rescued a dog recently that I thought was potty trained because she did it correctly outside several times and didn’t realize she was also using my closet when I wasn’t looking and wasn’t taking her out often enough, whoops. We think its so clear the difference between inside and outside, yet they are discriminating different details such as the texture of what they are peeing on (carpet isn’t all that different from grass), or the fact that the owner is present or not. When we scold them for peeing inside they learn rather quickly that it is much safer to eliminate inside when we aren’t around! Now try and get them to stop peeing in your closet. The instructions for how to make your ball-disinterested dog fetch like a retriever really worked for my dog too! Clicking and treating any interest in the tennis ball had her bringing it to me in a manner of sessions. Very cool!!! I loved this book so much that I ordered several more by the author and plan to enroll in her training school when I can afford it.
8 people found this helpful