Don't Shoot the Dog!

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by Karen Pryor

Karen Pryor’s clear and entertaining explanation of behavioral training methods made Don’t Shoot the Dog a bestselling classic with revolutionary insights into animal—and human—behavior.

In her groundbreaking approach to improving behavior, behavioral biologist Karen Pryor says, “Whatever the task, whether keeping a four-year-old quiet in public, housebreaking a puppy, coaching a team, or memorizing a poem, it will go fast, and better, and be more fun, if you know how to use reinforcement.”

Now Pryor clearly explains the underlying principles of behavioral training and reveals how this art can be applied to virtually any common situation. And best of all, she tells how to do it without yelling threats, force, punishment, guilt trips—or shooting the dog. From the eight methods for putting an end to all kinds of undesirable behavior to the ten laws of “shaping” behavior, Pryor helps you combat your own addictions and deal with such difficult problems as a moody spouse, an impossible teen, or an aged parent. Plus, there’s also incredibly helpful information on house training the dog, improving your tennis game, keeping the cat off the table, and much more!

“In the course of becoming a renowned dolphin trainer, Karen Pryor learned that positive reinforcement…is even more potent that prior scientific work had suggested…Don’t Shoot the Dog looks like the very best on the subject—a full-scale mind-changer” (The Coevolution Quarterly). Learn why pet owners rave, “This book changed our lives!” and how these pioneering techniques can work for you, too.

My thoughts on Don't Shoot the Dog!

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One reason punishment doesn't usually work is that it does not coincide with the undesirable behavior; it occurs afterward, and sometimes, as in courts of law, long afterward. The subject therefore may not connect the punishment to his or her previous deeds; animals never do, and people often fail to. If a finger fell off every time someone stole something, or if cars burst into flames when they were parked illegally, I expect stolen property and parking tickets would be nearly nonexistent.

— Karen Pryor, Don't Shoot the Dog!