Don’t Shoot the Dog (Book review)

This holiday season, I’ve decided to share twelve books with you.
At the bottom of this post, you can enter for a chance to win a copy of this book.
You can also visit this page to find the entire list of books and giveaways.

a picture of the cover of "Don't Shoot the Dog" by Karen PryorToday is the last day of my holiday book review series. I wanted to share a classic book with you today, Karen Pryor’s Don’t Shoot the Dog. This was the book that introduced me to clicker training and positive reinforcement training and that got me really interested in learning more about behavior analysis.

If you’ve never read any of Karen Pryor’s books, she is a fabulous writer. The book is easy to understand and includes many interesting stories about both animal behavior and human behavior.

Karen breaks the book into six sections:

  • Reinforcement: A look at how and why positive reinforcement works
  • Shaping: Why training is easier when you break things down into small steps
  • Stimulus control: How to get behavior to happen, when you want it to happen
  • Untraining: A breakdown of eight methods for getting rid of unwanted behavior
  • The real world: Using reinforcement in business, sports, society, and more
  • Clicker training: Why clicker training works so well for animals (and for people!)

One of my favorite stories in the book comes from the last chapter. Karen tells a story about a speech and language pathologist who used clicker training to teach her three-and-a-half-year-old twins to go to bed at night. The program was a big success, and the woman and her husband began using clicker training with the kids for other things as well. Karen writes:

“Sharon’s mother sometimes bay-sits for them and Sharon showed her mother how to use the clicker with the twins. Then Sharon’s mother adopted a dog. She complains about some behavior problems with her new pet. “Why don’t you use the clicker?” Sharon said. Her mother looked dubious. “Well, of course, it’s wonderful for children, but do you really think it would work with dogs?”

Of course, clicker training and positive reinforcement training works with ALL species. Just this semester, my undergraduate students have trained dogs, cats and Betta fish, as well as a rabbit, parrot, gecko, and chicken. In order to be successful training their pets, my students had to learn about reinforcement, shaping, and stimulus control, all topics which Karen Pryor discusses in Don’t Shoot the Dog.

I’ve written a much longer review of Don’t Shoot the Dog on my blog in the past. You can check it out in this post. If you are interested in learning more about how both animals and humans learn, I encourage you to get a copy of Don’t Shoot the Dog. This book is a great introduction to the science of learning and the basics of animal training.

Enter to win a copy of this book

To enter the giveaway:
1) Leave a comment on this post to earn one entry.
2) Fill out the Raffelcopter box below.
3) You can also earn entries by being a member of the StaleCheerios email list and/or by telling a friend about this post!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions
One lucky reader will win a new copy of this book.
Winner will be chosen at random.
This giveaway ends on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018 at 11:59pm Central Standard Time.
Winner will be notified via email on December 15.
If the winner does not respond by Dec 17, he/she will forfeit the prize.
Void where prohibited.
Entering the giveaway form means you agree to the terms listed above.

Take a moment to enter the rest of my holiday giveaways!

If you liked this post, take a moment to share it!

, ,

Don't miss out on great information about animal training! Subscribe now to the Stale Cheerios newsletter and receive email updates when new posts are published.

Disclaimer: StaleCheerios posts occasionally contain affiliate links. Affiliate links are one way that StaleCheerios can continue providing top-quality content to you completely for free. Thank you for supporting our hard work! Learn more here.