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Don't Shoot the Dog! by Karen Pryor

There are two kinds off training. One is the sort I used to do for the infantry - intense imparting of information and skills. An activity far worthier and more interesting than it's given credit for. But even worthier (and more un-credited) than that is the second kind of training - the shaping of behavior. This new book looks like the very best on the subject - a full-scale mind-changer.

It is customary to apologize whenever saying something favorable about behavior modification and the insights of B.F. Skinner. I now hasten to fail to do that. We all strive to modify the behavior of everyone around us (including ourselves) all the time, usually with monumental ineptitude. Learning to do it well is a service to all. Now that both I and my wife have read Karen Pryor's book we're busily training each other, some of it overt, some covert.

In the course of becoming a renowned dolphin trainer Karen Pryor learned that positive reinforcement (the only kind useable with dolphins, who can't be reached with leashes, bridles, fists, or yells) is even more potent than prior scientific work had suggested. A daughter of novelist Philip Wylie, she is also a fine writer.

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.)


ISBN: 1860542387

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