Why did I love this book?
Karen Pryor has done more to popularize the application of Skinner’s ideas through “clicker training” than anyone else. In proof, this entertaining and eminently approachable book has been continually in print since 1984. Curiously, for a book that has been so influential among dog trainers, there is little in it about dogs outside of the title. Instead, Pryor, who began her career as a trainer of marine mammals, focuses on basic techniques for making anyone an eager learner. Whether it’s your teenager or your Doberman, the principles of positive reinforcement are the same: learning itself is a profound reinforcer. It feels good to “get it.”
When a dog (or your child or husband) figures out which behavior gets the “click,” you can practically see the light go on in their brain. Don’t Shoot the Dog helped me understand why Mercy was overjoyed to see the clicker in my hand. Although I liked to think of my dog as a canine Einstein, the fact is that most dogs are much smarter than we think. Only by teaching in the way their brains are hardwired will their true intelligence fully reveal itself. Implementing the principles of behavior modification so clearly laid out by Karen Pryor is the first step.