I just returned from Chicken Camp in Sweden. Bob Bailey‘s admonition to us novice chicken trainers—Remember. You are bigger, you are stronger, you are smarter than the chicken!—is still careening through my cranium. (For those of you who have never heard of Chicken Camp, you might be wondering why anyone would have to be so reminded. For those of you who have heard about, or who have attended, Chicken Camp, well, you know that when you are in the thick of it Bob isn’t stating the obvious.)
Still foggy from jet lag, I was listening to NPR today while fumbling with an unyielding package that contained a book I had ordered. I felt like I was anxiously opening a birthday present because I couldn’t remember what I had bought pre-Chicken Camp. What surprise waited inside?
Finally I liberated the book from its hermetically sealed wrapper when I heard Terry Gross’s mellifluous voice saying, “From WHYY in Philadelphia, this is Fresh Air.” Her guest for today was John Bradshaw, the author of the book I was holding in my hands, Dog Sense: How the new science of dog behavior can make you a better friend to your pet!
You’re right. I should read a book before I talk about it. So I won’t suggest you run out and buy a copy of Dog Sense, although, I might, after I read it.
But, I will tell you that I think Terry’s interview with John is well worth a listen. Right out of the gate he blasts alpha dog-ma, and all that nonsense about how if you allow your dog to step through the door ahead of you you’re opening the door to being your dog’s pawn. John also said to avoid punishment and use positive reinforcement to teach dogs how to behave. He further has a lot to say about the unrealistic expectations with which we burden our dogs today, and how we can help our dogs to adjust better to how we live now.
You probably won’t agree with every point John makes. I didn’t. But, that’s okay. That just makes things interesting. In the big picture he strikes big blow to dumbinance, ah dominance, and other stupid stuff about dogs we hear on TV. Talk about a breath of fresh air!
To listen to Terry’s interview with John go here, then click on “Listen to the Full Show”.