by Jean Donaldson
This book is about dog behavior and training. It tries to look at dog training from the animal's point of view, and posits that dogs are highly anthropomorphized and should be treated as simple-minded self-obsessed creatures that respond best to operant conditioning. That's it in a nutshell. It goes into a lot of detail about how most people train their dogs wrong, then how to do it with positive reinforcement techniques. I agree that sometimes people see too much of human traits in their pets and this might get in the way of understanding your dog's behavior and training it, but on the other hand I'm not sure I agree with all of Donaldson's ideas, and I certainly didn't like her tone. She is very disparaging and insulting to other dog owners and trainers who use different methods (and, ultimately, to the reader- assuming you got this book because you want to train a dog). So some parts of the book sound like whiny name-calling, whereas in other parts the language gets so technical it's dry and difficult. Overall, I'd say The Culture Clash is a good resource to round out your knowledge of dogs and various training methods, but not to follow it as the only way to do things. That said, although I grew up with a dog and worked in a boarding kennel for some time, I never trained my own dog. So take what I say here with a grain of salt, as well.
Rating: 2/5 223 pages, 1996