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Reddit reviews on Don't Shoot the Dog: The New Art of Teaching and Training

Sentiment score: 18
Reddit mentions: 37

We found 37 Reddit mentions of Don't Shoot the Dog: The New Art of Teaching and Training. Here are the top ones.

Don't Shoot the Dog: The New Art of Teaching and Training

Found 37 comments on Don't Shoot the Dog: The New Art of Teaching and Training:

u/cosm0ctopus · 32 pointsr/Parenting

Former dog trainer here. I respect that you're taking your dog through training classes and involving your son in the process, that's really important.


I grew up in the age when the 'alpha roll' was a totally legitimate tactic to ensure 'dominance' over the dog and get compliance. However, times have changed, and it turns out the alpha/beta thing is a complete myth. What works a lot better is building trust and using positive reinforcement. I'm wondering if that's where your son is getting this idea of being physical with the dog to establish dominance.


I would suggest you find a trainer that deals with balanced approach that deals with operant conditioning. I would suggest looking into Karen Pryor's work, especially her book Don't Shoot the Dog. I also highly recommend the book How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend by the Monks of New Skete.


Positive reinforcement works on kids (and people in general, and most other animals including fish!) - When you see your son doing the behavior you like to see with the dog, praise him in the moment, on the spot. Don't Shoot the Dog will cover this, by the way. Karen Pryor uses a lot of clicker training in her work, and I have had great success in using it to jump-start the positive association with treats/praise/play (whatever motivates), and pretty soon I can phase the clicker out and save it for when we move on to advanced practices or new skills.


If this were my kid, I'd ask, "Would you want to do thinks I asked you to do if I kicked you in the head and was mean to you? Would you be more willing to do the right thing if I was kind?" He may need to have the situation reframed for him to really understand the empathy that goes in to raising a dog. If you were on an alien planet and only understood 1/10th of what your new overlords were saying, wouldn't that be kind of scary, and even make you mad? Well, when dogs get scared and angry, they bite. When a dog bites a person, the dog goes away. It's up to us as people to get dogs to trust us so they don't get angry or scared.


I'm not saying your dog would ever bite your kid, so I hope you don't think that's what I'm insinuating will come from this. I have a wonderful 11 year old lab mix who, by all accounts is a fantastic and well-behaved dude. He's still a dog though, and as patient as he is, his patience has limits and we have to respect his boundaries too. My kid's only 10 months, and everyone seems to think that she'll be riding our lab like a pony, and I correct them every time.


I'd be happy to clarify any information or answer questions if you like!

u/WearsSensibleShoes · 14 pointsr/Weakpots

She's a puppy, she has to grow out of it-in all seriousness, if you know that she's too high energy, returning her to the shelter when she's still young will help her get placed with someone who wants a puppy, and you can adopt an adult dog. Adult dogs can be much lower energy, and their personality is more settled, so the shelter can tell you "hey this dog likes to sleep all day and cuddle". Plus adult dogs have a much harder time being adopted, and many are dogs whose owners have died or lost the ability to care for them, so they're house trained and family oriented.

If you want to keep her, you've got to spend lots of time exercising her body and her mind. Karen Pryor's Don't Shoot The Dog is a fantastic book to start with; it's based on scientific understanding of animal behavior and training, none of the 'be the alpha dog' bullshit. For exercise, long walks, playing fetch, tug of war, etc. She's a baby with baby energy, and she'll become destructive and annoying if she gets bored.

u/constantcontact · 12 pointsr/dogs

I hate to tell you (and I mean I hate to tell you and I wish we didn't have to have this conversation. ever.) but you are doing absolutely everything wrong. Stop doing everything that you are doing.

Your animal is losing trust in you. And why should he trust you? Every time he wants to have fun you are a bully to him. Just imagine if every time he did something good you instantly gave him a treat and a belly rub. I bet he'd do those things more often. Now imagine if you ignored his bad behavior. I bet he'd stop doing it once he gets no satisfaction from it.

I've trained a few hundred dogs in my career including about 50 Spitzen and a few sled teams. I've seen this type of "training" dozens and dozens of times.

I'm sure you aren't a bad guy and you mean well...but these are vocal, emotional, and active animals. He needs more exercise, more love, and less "discipline".

Downhouse was a little nicer than I was, but it probably has something to do with the abused animals i've seen with nearly irreversible personality problems. You are heading down that road, quickly. (and i'm sure you'll dismiss that comment, or someone else will...but the alpha roll and restraint tactics are one method dogfighters use to get their dogs riled up. You don't wanna be like Vick, do you?)

Luckily your dog is young. He will forgive you. You can start over and attempt to understand him instead of just pushing him around. You need to build a bond, dude. He's man's best friend...NOT your bitch.

A good place to start?

  • http://www.dogstardaily.com/ - the videos on this site
  • http://www.amazon.com/Power-Positive-Dog-Training/dp/0764536095 - this book
  • http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Shoot-Dog-Teaching-Training/dp/0553380397/ref=pd_sim_b_10 - this book
  • http://www.ccpdt.org/ - find a dog trainer here. maybe you'll end up with me!


    As an aside, I can never understand who the fuck these people are walking around telling people this is how you treat an animal. It LITERALLY never works. The animals that it does "work" on are walking lifeless zombies with no personality and no bond to their owner.

    Edit: I see you responded to DownHouse, and I missed that before I typed my response. I see you're willing to make a change and that's awesome. I truly wish you the best of luck.

    Edit2: Look. I maybe was a bit harsh but i'm not going to delete what I said...it's probably something you (or someone else reading the post) needs to hear. I had a client last week who came in who had been stepping on his dogs back paws when he jumped up. He would also grab the front paws until the dog yelped. That dog bit a groomer who tried to cut his nails. Go fucking figure. These are the kinds of things that are difficult to correct and I don't want to see bad information make you have a bad relationship with your dog.
u/beat_attitudes · 11 pointsr/TEFL

Firstly, my sympathies. We've all been there. It's one of those things that really tests your mettle as a human being, not just as a teacher! I teach the same ages, and up.

The best long answer to your question I know of is a fairly short book: Don't Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor

My short answers (related to the book because it was a real game changer for me):

  • Consistency is more important than degree. If you are able to consistently reward behaviour you want, and visa versa, your students will build solid expectations. Be predictable.

  • Find a way to respond to desired/undesired behaviours the moment they happen. We both know this is a lofty goal in a classroom, when you also don't want to disrupt the class. The focus here is on positive reinforcement though. Timeliness reinforces the connection between behaviour and outcome. Very occasionally I let positive reinforcement be disruptive. E.g. when a very problematic student randomly decided to show a big spark of ingenuity and effort recently, I immediately declared this was worth stopping the class midway for a five minute, whole-class game. The benefits in the self-esteem of this student way outweighed the costs.

  • Escalating voice syndrome is self defeating. The goal is to have students do what you say first time, when you say it in a normal voice. If you escalate volume and rage each time you ask a reluctant student, you send the message that you only mean what you say when you shout. I do occasionally raise my voice now, but in rare and specific situations.

  • Start with small things and stick with them. My students think I have a weird obsession with what is on and not on a desk. They're not wrong, but my unbending routine of what is out and away establishes a connection where following instructions is rewarded.

  • Is there anything about the room itself, or the time of the class, that's bringing out undesired behaviours? I had a room-move once that gave my 12 eight-year-olds swivel chairs. Worst. Lesson. Ever.
u/ledfox · 9 pointsr/youseeingthisshit

Punishment is typically considered the least effective method of modifying behavior. You should check out Karen Pryor's Don't Shoot The Dog! She studied directly under legendary behavioral scientist BF Skinner and will be able to answer your questions and more in that book.

u/angryfistofgod · 9 pointsr/IWantToLearn

/u/frodojackson777 is correct that you can skip a lot of standard training if you can link mimicry study to train the action. To make the action consistent and done on command, I would recommend the following.

Don't shoot the dog is a training book that will allow you to understand "positive reinforcement training", works on cats, chickens, basically everything. It also trains with "negative reinforcement/disipline"which works on dogs, monkeys, and people beyond toddler age. It gives direction on how to properly set initial training hurdles and when to raise them. Training is an art and the more skill you build as a trainer the faster you will get rewards from your training subject.

Negative reinforcement reduces the chance the subject will do the action again. Positive reinforces the action to happen more often and past a certain point makes them do it more intensely or search for similar actions.

Negative done too much will end in resistance/acting out or inactivity from all action. Positive has the problem of only being possible if they already do a piece of the action to reward.

But before you buy the 200 picks and 20 locks you'll probably go through training, you should probably practice training things like series of actions linked to one command, like a dance, or complex handshake. Which is effectively the same as your goal but without having to break all those picks.

TL;DR buy the book

u/srjenkins · 9 pointsr/librarians

I'm going to suggest the book: Don't Shoot the Dog. It's a dog training book, but it's really about effective communication and managing behaviors you don't like. There are many suggestions in this book. One of them would be to create situations where an undesired behavior becomes more difficult to do.

For example, you might use a community room as a "gaming room", "teen room", or whatever, and move a portion of computers there. Even if it is just a few computers, you are creating a space for noise that is unobtrusive. People get too loud, then direct them to the room. In this way, you'll be either isolating or splitting the group, which would make it less likely they will be disruptive in the main space.

The nature of games is to forget your surroundings. And, the reason these kids come to the library, probably, is they either don't have computers at home or they come because they want to game socially. If you are bumping into this problem, it means there's a need that's not being met, and you have to think harder about meeting it.

It's hard. I wish you the best of luck.

u/BonchiFox · 5 pointsr/Hounds

I recommend Don't Shoot the Dog! by Karen Pryor--Karen Pryor is click-training advocate who specialized in behavioral psychology and marine mammal biology ( also has a website, hosts clicker-expos around the states, and dog trainer academy.)


The second book I recommend is The Other End of the Leash: Why We do What we Do Around Dogs by Patricia B. McConnell. Patricia McConnel is a University professor of Zooology, trained ethologist, and CAAB ( Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist)

These two wonderful ladies are extremely insightful and break down different types of training. :) Good luck!

u/ConfoundedThoughts · 3 pointsr/greatdanes

This does not sound like a training book based on recent scientific evidence. If you learn well from reading, Don't Shoot the Dog! by Karen Pryor would be a good place to start. As others mentioned, it sounds like you need to teach a reliable "drop it" (drop something already in their mouth) and "leave it" (stop giving attention to the object, e.g. a person or dog across the street or something they're about to pick up).

If you learn better visually/hands on, it might be a good idea to sign up for a puppy class somewhere. This will provide your pup with good socialization with other people and dogs too. I would recommend someplace that teaches using positive reinforcement, whether that be a local place or a chain like PetSmart.

Here are some videos for "leave it" [1] and [2]. The first is very short, while the second is a little more in depth. They are both basically the same concept. Both of these channels would be good resources for teaching other behaviors as well.

I was unable to find videos that I liked as much for "drop it," but these still might be helpful [1] and [2]. I'm not sure I'm personally as big of a fan of the method in the second video here, but you may find it to your liking.

u/ProbablyNotPoisonous · 3 pointsr/childfree

He is awfully cute, though ;)

Don't Shoot the Dog

I recommend this book every chance I get. It's useful AND entertaining!

u/LabRatArmsCo · 3 pointsr/Boxer

for a general training book i can not recomend anything but "Dont shoot the dog" ISBN-13: 978-0553380392

it is great for general trainingand really gets into the reasoning behind all the things it tells you to do.

as far as a boxer goes. keep that dog thinking, they are very smart and tend to get bored and when they get bored they entertain themselves.and they tend to do things that are nor welcome to entertain themselves.

they also are very enthusiastic learners, they are quick to want to please, however they can be stubborn just to see what you do. think of a smart little 4 year old. they will push your buttons.

best of luck and i hope you have a great journey with your new kid, because that's what they are kids.

u/sduncan91 · 2 pointsr/Dogtraining

> every now and then she has some dominance trip

Something I would strongly recommend before you address the problems your dog is having is to research the concept of "dominance" in dogs and the role it plays in their behaviour. The idea that common misbehaviour among dogs arises as a result of their desire to be "dominant" over you has been widely discredited by modern behavioural science and research into dog psychology. Here are some links to get you started:
http://www.apdt.com/petowners/choose/dominance.aspx

http://www.apbc.org.uk/articles/why-wont-dominance-die

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090521112711.htm


For further information, these books are excellent:
Don't Shoot The Dog by Karen Pryor

Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson

It is unlikely to be a dominance issue with your dog. As for your problems, it is hard to say exactly what is happening without watching your dog's interactions. You say when she bites at the other dog's neck when she is running/playing with them as a way of "correcting" their behaviour. Are you sure this isn't simply an instance of overenthusiastic mouthing as a result of excitement/lack of boundaries? For example, if you watch this video from the 11:20 mark, you will see the dog exhibiting biting/mouthing behaviour as a result of excitement: http://youtu.be/2wm_cWySHA4?t=11m20s

The trainer uses vocal interruption and the removal of stimulus (stopping play) to indicate to the dog that mouthing/biting is not acceptable behaviour for play. Perhaps you could apply similar methods to your dog by using a long leash and controlling her play with other dogs, interrupting play when poor behaviour is demonstrated. But as I said, I can't tell exactly how your dog is acting, and would strongly recommend getting in touch with a local positive-method trainer if she is exhibiting signs of unchecked aggression.

As to her guarding you, this is again unlikely a "dominance" issue. Her desire to protect you more likely stems from feelings of fear/insecurity, and could be addressed in the same way that food or toy resource guarding would be addressed. You need to guide your dog into realising that other dog pose no threat to you or her and she does not have to exhibit aggressiveness. You can do this through desensitisation and counterconditioning. Information on these methods can be found in the sidebar and in the training books I linked to above.

u/huffpost · 2 pointsr/IAmA

Hi MMC,
Boy, if you could teach parents and kids basic things about the function of emotions (communicate to self and others, motivate behavior), and reinforcement and validation principles - that would be huge.
Check out DBT in Schools for ideas. Also, Don't Shoot the Dog for reinforcement principles.


u/ursulawhiteside

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u/R1150gsguy · 2 pointsr/aww

At it's most basic , If you do not have the ability to recall your dog ( your request has to be honored without thought. They need to look to you for direction as their default action) then should not be off leash in a situation where they could harm or be harmed)

Do you think that if a squirrel ran across the yard and then went into the street , these dogs would pay any attention to their handlers?

Do you think that if this play escalated to the point that one dog was uncomfortable with the others actions , either one could be recalled ?

By letting this type of behavior continue you are condoning it, enforcing it , and letting you dog know this is the way to meet others. They cannot distinguish this meeting from say Grandma's 90th birthday party and will act the same way , whether socially acceptable or not.
Then the dog gets blamed and maybe retuned to a shelter.

If you are looking for sound training advice ,I highly suggest Karen Pryor ..

https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Shoot-Dog-Teaching-Training/dp/0553380397



u/cradled · 2 pointsr/Nightshift

Absolutely it can be. When a dog hates its crate and is biting to get out, yeah. But when it goes in there whenever it is tired or scared or bored, it is home. I had a wolf hybrid that woild hate to have the door closed to the point it bent the bars, but if I left the door open and told him to go inside he wouldn't budge until I came back, even if my roommates would try and play with him. Crate training is a good thing, in my opinion, and dogs have that instinctual need to have a den, otherwise they run the house and their owner.

There is a great book, "Don't shoot the dog!" That I used a lot of information from when training my dogs. Maybe look it up and get some advice?

Link to book: http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Shoot-Dog-Teaching-Training/dp/0553380397

u/Mule2go · 2 pointsr/todayilearned

If you love your kids, you will go buy Don't Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor right now. here it is on Amazon

u/khafra · 2 pointsr/Parenting

What do you think of legally requiring all parents to read Don't Shoot The Dog before they're allowed to read popularized articles about neuroscience?

> There are eight methods of getting rid of a behavior. Only eight. The eight methods are:

> Method 1 "Shoot the animal." (This definitely works. You will never have to deal with that particular behavior in that particular subject again.)

> Method 2: Punishment. (Everybody's favorite, in spite of the fact that it almost never really works.)

> Method 3: Negative reinforcement.

> Method 4: Extinction; letting the behavior go away by itself.

> Method 5: Train an incompatible behavior. (This method is especially useful for athletes and pet owners.)

> Method 6: Put the behavior on cue. (Then you never give the cue. This is the porpoise trainer's most elegant method of getting rid of unwanted behavior.)

> Method 7: "Shape the absence;" reinforce anything and everything that is not the undesired behavior. (A kindly way to turn disagreeable relatives into agreeable relatives.)

> Method 8: Change the motivation. (This is the fundamental and most kindly method of all.)

u/BatSquirrel · 2 pointsr/AcademicPsychology

Maybe not what you are looking for, but a great primer, that goes into pretty good detail with numerous examples is Don't Shoot the Dog It covers a lot of conditioning techniques and is as accurate in its descriptions as any textbook I have used. I know it covers the basics, differential reinforcement and I THINK counter conditioning.

One thing to keep in mind with behavioral psych, semantics are very important when you describe any contingency. So you may want to think of Extinction as passively reducing a behavior by ending the reinforcement of behavior. Counter conditioning is more in line with Differential Reinforcement of an Incomparable (or Other) behavior. So in the case of something like a panicking fear response, you would instead reward opposite behaviors like calmly sitting. This is often done gradually.

u/Lupercalia · 2 pointsr/dogs

Don't Shoot the Dog, while not specifically about dog training is a pretty good start to learning about shaping behavior. The lady who gave me my copy of the book trains tigers and other large cats.

u/dragonfox · 2 pointsr/socialwork

I have a bad habit of reading multiple books at once, so I'm currently on Women Behind Bars: The Crisis of Women in the US Prison System, Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center, and one day I'll finish Rules for Radicals. Women Behind Bars is a really great, easy read that has a lot of good information in it. The other two are a bit slower, but still good and I recommend them all.

Other than these books, I read a lot about dogs....so previously I've read Don't Shoot the Dog and On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals. If anyone is interested in positive reinforcement, Don't Shoot the Dog is really applicable to every situation - you can apply it to dogs, clients, spouses, children, any relationship really. I thought it was a good read as a social worker and dog...understander.... :)

u/Commod0re · 1 pointr/Homebrewing

The bigger problem, I think, is downvoting a post because they "did it wrong" without ever telling the user what the right thing to do would have been means they'll never learn, and that doesn't solve the problem at all.

(P.S. I too am a sysadmin. I'd suggest reading up on some basic learning theory and operant conditioning. Your users can be trained to do the right thing! Put in a little effort up front and it'll save you a ton of time down the road! Read this book! I didn't write it!)

u/ssatva · 1 pointr/AskReddit

... tough one! There is a method of training outlined in the book 'Don't Shoot The Dog' that can be used to train cats to do complex things, and is good for behavioral problems, but it involves a fair bit of diligence. Love makes it worth the effort. It's a hell of a book anyway.

u/Chauncy-the-Aged · 1 pointr/Dogtraining

Huh, I clearly haven't done my research on that place. We're specifically opposed to that kind of training, and have only been training her with positive reinforcement and clicker training.

We were going to go visit them in person and make sure their methods were okay with us, but it sounds like you got the information from their site.

Thank you for calling that out! I'll think I will take a different approach to her training. I'm currently reading Don't Shoot the Dog - is this a good reference? Any other good reading material you can point me at?

Thank you!

u/ActiveNerd · 1 pointr/BelgianMalinois

Certainly having a good professional trainer is the best (note: not everyone you could pay for training has an idea what they are doing). Without that, I'd say you should invest in some training materials. I always recommend Don't Shoot the Dog as an intro to training because it will help get you in the right perspective for various ways to train dogs. There are also various online training groups which may be able to help you. The three biggest differences between you and a professional training are 1) ability to read body language (you may be able to, idk) 2) knowledge of various training techniques (can be learned though having a teacher for some is best) 3) practice rewarding at exactly the right time and frequency (this is actually the trickiest and takes lots of practice).

For 3, I'd recommend getting a clicker (even if you don't use a clicker with your dog, this is about understanding what behaviors you are rewarding) and playing a game with your friend/family where, without saying any words, you guide them to doing something. Any progress toward the goal gets a click. Anything that is not helpful gets no response. (eg. Turning on the light. They step toward the light, click for that. Take another step closer, click for that. Touching the wall the switch is on gets a click). This exercise gets you practice to see what you are rewarding and, when your friend is trying to get you to do something, shows you how much a mistimed reinforcement screws everything up.

To address distraction issues, you'll want to put the dog in a situation where you are 95% confident it will do the right thing. Your dog likely won't react to distractions when they are 100 yards away. When they are right next to your dog, it may react. Figure out where your dog will be successful and then very very slowly (inches or a foot at a time), up the difficulty. The technique is called shaping and is a great tool for training difficult behaviors and behaviors at a distance.

u/gregbaugues · 1 pointr/javascript

I've found the book Don't Shoot the Dog to be a great guide on dog training. Especially the chapter on clicker training.

u/lynn · 1 pointr/Parenting

I have that book. You're right. I remember having some difficulty finding it on amazon because the author has a common name, I think, or one easily confused with someone else who does similar work? Not sure.

Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Shoot-Dog-Teaching-Training/dp/0553380397

u/crispynachos · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Here's a method I used on someone who wouldn't stop making racist comments.

I read a book (below) that talks about dog training methods that work on people too. Basically, you want to reward your coworker for positive inputs to the conversation (should they ever occur) and hold back rewards for negative inputs. Even if none of her comments are helpful, make sure you never reward her for them. You mentioned that everyone has been ignoring her, but remember that a reward can be as small as eye contact. If this doesn't work and she still persists, move on to punishment. When she comes over to join the conversation, walk away. Sounds sick, but everyone can be trained :)

Good luck! If you're interested, check out the book "Don't Shoot the Dog" by Karen Pryor for more info.
http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Shoot-Dog-Teaching-Training/dp/0553380397

u/TheMeltingSnowman72 · -5 pointsr/AskMen

I tell you what you can do, and it's easy. Read this book, it's not big and it shows you how to train people very easily out of bad habits without them even realising.

The author is an animal trainer, and she realised she could use the sane techniques in humans.
When my son was 4 years old he would dawdle everywhere would take ages to walk home from nursery, always lagging. Took two days and he never lagged behind again. Also a boss of mine I've trained to not be such an interferer, and a girlfriend to be tidier.

If you follow it properly, you'll have a new husband in a few months - shit works