Demystifying Canine Behavior, One Dog at a Time

Demystifying Canine Behavior, One Dog at a Time

Most dog owners mean well, but they often become incredibly irresponsible thanks to TV stars like The Dog Whisperer’s Cesar Milan that preach traditional training methods that have since been debunked by science. Jean Donaldson’s snarky diatribe against clueless dog owners is what makes The Culture Clash such a fun read. She brutally deconstructs the idea of a “Disney dog”—i.e., an intelligent four-legged pal who has a philosopher’s understanding of morality and instead, uses wit to teach her readers “how to speak dog.”

Donaldson also explains why traditional training is wrong and why aversive methods like shock collars can actually cause more behavioral problems too. Everyone wants a quick fix, but in the end, the patient use of force-free training will yield better, longer-lasting results.

Aside from teaching dog owners about a gentler way of training their four-legged friend, she also demystifies canine behavior. Not only does this help to explain why positive reinforcement is a better route than tsss-ing at your buddy a la Cesar Milan, but her explanations also help to remove a lot of stress for dog owners since you’ll finally understand why your dog likes to chase squirrels when off-leash and how dogs can’t feel “guilty” when they do something “bad.” With biting wit and casual language, Donaldson deftly breaks down the language of dogs to help promote a kinder way of living with our furry best friends.

Dog image by Jerry Kirkhart.

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