Deal with everybody like a canine
After all! A guide for those of us who want to both reduce conflict in our lives and get things started a little more frequently. The second part of this statement (which is mostly ironic) relates to one of the proven benefits of positive reinforcement (R +): when you reward behavior that you like, you get more of that behavior while ignoring what you don't like less. Whether we're looking for a little collaboration between our dogs, our kids, our spouse, our in-laws, or our friends, this book provides a roadmap, a way to achieve this drama without drama (and without screaming).
Karen London is one of The Bark's longtime dog training and behavior experts. Her advice is based on more than two decades of experience using R + methods to help dogs learn better ways to interact with others and learn about life in our human world. As she emphasized in her introduction, dog trainers know how to influence behavior. "The real magic of dog training, which isn't supernatural at all, is the thoughtful and careful use of established behavioral manipulation techniques."
Get the barge in your inbox!
Sign up for our newsletter and stay up to date.
So when she says: "Treat everyone like a dog", she literally means: Treat everyone the way highly qualified, professional R + dog trainers treat their subjects: with respect, patience and consideration for what they need to learn new ways , Things to do.
In this book, subtitled How a Dog Trainer Worldview Can Improve Your Life, London brings together years of experience and studies in several carefully focused chapters. From “positivity” to “other principles and ideas from dog training” they cover a lot of ground. It's a plus that she does it in an accessible way. Rather than dazzling us with science (although science clearly underpins the points it makes), it presents us theories, practices, and results in a conversational style that makes them easy to absorb.
London packed their book with lots of examples from the canine and human worlds and blended them together in such a way that the reader really sees how similar the two are. A dog will be yelled at for not responding to a cue they don't know, and a child will be humiliated for not understanding a math problem: similar dynamics, identical results (instead of learning, fear of making a mistake will do so to render immobile).
Although she provides examples and highlights her points in a good-natured and often humorous way, they can land with particular resonance. Those of us who have vivid memories of times when we reacted badly and abandoned our dogs, children, and others will recognize ourselves in many of them. (By the way, she doesn't exclude herself from this group – one of the things that make the book so relatable.)
Like L.P. Hartley wrote in his novel The Go-Between: "The past is a strange land, there they do things differently." But in the present, it's never too late to improve our scorecard … and make our lives and the lives of those whose lives we touch less stressful and more collaborative. Doing things differently, with better results.
In her foreword, Patricia McConnell, PhD (London's mentor and co-author of several previous books) states that "successfully influencing behavior is not rocket science, but most of us did not grow up knowing how to do it." Fortunately, reading Treat Everyone Like a Dog goes a long way in bridging that void.