Most helpful positive review
107 of 108 people found the following review helpful
So good it makes me want to buy a dog (or a dolphin)
on 20 August 2006
I came to this book in a roundabout way, having bought Amy Sutherland's book 'Kicked, bitten and scratched', about the work of exotic animal trainers. This was cited as a source, and I thought that it would be interesting to find out more about the subject of animal training, and perhaps it's application to humans! I must admit that I was put off by some of the more negative or dismissive reviews posted. However this proved to be a wonderful, extraordinary book. First thing to get straight, despite the title, it is NOT just about dogs. This book is about training techniques that apply generally, whether the subject is a dog, cat, mouse, bird, dolphin, elephant, teenager, spouse or colleague. I am not a pet owner, nor an exotic animal trainer, yet I am now applying the techniques described at work (as a family doctor and GP educator), and at home. The book describes techniques of positive (and negative) reinforcement in training new behaviour, or ending unwanted behaviour. It makes the point very clear that punishment is a fruitless way of trying to shape behaviour. 'Don't shoot the dog' is written in a style that is clear, concise and intelligent; and for good measure it is peppered with animal-training anecdoes that made me laugh out loud. As a measure of effectiveness, my teenage son responded (after positive reinforcement of some good behaviour) "Dad, after 14 years, your rating as a father has just gone off the scale!". Enough said.