The Secret History of Kindness

The Secret History of Kindness Years Back, Melissa Holbrook Pierson Brought Home A Border Collie Named Mercy, Without A Clue Of How To Get Her To Behave Stunned After Hiring A Trainer Whose Immediate Rapport With Mercy Seemed Magical, Pierson Began Delving Into The Techniques Of Positive Reinforcement She Made Her Way To B F Skinner, The Behavioral Psychologist Who Started It All, The Man Who Could Train A Pigeon To Dance In Minutes And Whose Research On How Behavior Is Acquired Has Ramifications For Military Dolphin Trainers, Athletes, Dancers, And, As He Originally Conceived, Society At Large.To Learn , Pierson Met With A Host Of Fascinating Animal Behaviorists, Going Behind The Scenes To Witness The Relationships Between Trainers And Animals At The National Zoo In Washington, DC, And To The In Depth Seminars At A Clicker Expo Where All The Dogs But Hers Seemed To Be Learning New Tricks The Often Startling Story Of What Became Of A Pathbreaking Scientist S Work Is Interwoven With A Personal Tale Of How To Understand The Foreign Species With Whom We Are Privileged To Live.Pierson Draws Surprising Connections In Her Exploration Of How Kindness Works To Motivate All Animals, Including The Human One. Melissa Holbrook Pierson insists the information she is trying to share has been available for decades Valiant attempts at dissemination have been made Folks simply weren t interested The closest any effort came to success was Karen Pryor s book, Don t Shoot the Dog of which Pierson declares She could not have been clear or encouraging about the possibilities If it weren t for the misleading title, the book, brilliant as it is, may not have had any readers at all, even dog trainers In choosing the tongue in cheek and inflammatory title, the publisher sought to do two things sell books, and avoid any scent of taboo emanating from the true subject, which is actually one of the biggest taboos there is, training people It seems obvious Pierson has taken a lesson here Her work, titled The Secret History of Kindness Learning from How Dogs Learn, is in fact a long and disjointed treatise on animal cruelty The history she refers to is psychologist B.F Skinner s work in operant conditioning which she feels quite strongly has been under attended If only
This book details the author s journey into the wondrous land of dog training through positive reinforcement I m already such a convert to the concept of clicker training that I probably didn t need to read this I thought the early chapters were rather academically dense almost as if the author somehow felt a need to establish some kind of scholarly street creds Then there s a rather worshipful section on B F Skinner, and eventually you get a good look at her experiences learning to train positively.If you re a guide dog handler, and if you re already converted to the concept of positive reinforcement, this book won t do much for you It s well enough written, but you can get better pertinent information about how to work your dog from any of the dog schools or the two consumer organizations But in her defense, she didn t write this book to a guide dog handling audience.I don t mean to be perverse with this review, because I m sure she has a lot to say that will wow and dazzle the typical dog owner and convince him or her to abandon the yank and yell approach of yesteryear But among the best parts of this
Too disconnected and rambling There were only a few good insights into dogs but basically they came down to looking at things from the dog s perspective and accepting their innate nature For example Dogs like steaks better than dry dog food because steaks are better than dry dog food and smell like something wolves would eat so, of course, the dog wants your steak and doesn t inherently understand that it s not his Shocker, no I ll check out some of the
oooph this book is a mess i m not even sure where to start because i wanted to love it because we share a belief in dog trainign rooted in kindness, mutual respect and relationship building between dogs and people however the book is at best disjointed and spirals out on all kinds of tangents including some very long winded theory heavy chapters that feel like a academic paper and not really connected to the bookMy main complaints this is a book about kindness but it starts with being unexamined judgmental unkind towards people experiencing homelessness in prospect park brooklyn near where i used to live the book reads like an infomercial for Karen Pryor and her ClickerExpo i m a fan of clicker training and Karen Proyrs work I m even going to ClickerExpo next year..but the way it is written about in this book was so offputting and infomercial like I found myself tuning out and instead of being inspired I felt like I was reading the pitch from a fast talking salesman Worst of all to me this author brags about being neglectful of her own dog in some attempt at giving her a wolf like
Like a lot of books that track the history of something related to dogs, this one has its origins in the author s attempts to train and respect her first dog, Mercy As she navigates the trials and errors of living with Mercy via clicker training, Pierson takes us in to heavily researched chapters on all the nuances of B.F Skinner s operant conditioning through the ages rats trained to defuse landmines dogs trained for all sorts of things, especially Hollywood and war dolphins in the military and in entertainment zoo animals trained to tolerate vet checks and even chickens used in a conference devoted entirely to clicker training you get two live chickens when you arrive, and by the end of the conference, Bob Bailey has demonstrated how to train your chickens This book doesn t lack in fascinating info, but it does lack in organization There s no table of contents, and the ten chapters are not subtitled the result is that the book feels haphazard at times There are extensive exclamatory footnotes, as if Pierson wanted
This book helped me to remember what I already know basically that positive reinforcement works And that it is backed up by science time and time again Why we refuse to use this to our advantage is still a mystery, though I guess old habits are hard to break, as well as old beliefs about what works I find this knowledge applicable not only to dog training but also to parenting and teaching I did skim skip some sections of the book that I found a little too dry, but overall, I felt i
Are you a female and love dogs READ NOW. I liked this book, but the title was misleading Towards the end of the book, the author adds a quote that s something to the effect, The book you set out to write isn t the one you end up writing Or, You end up writing the book you need This was a harbinger for the drastic turn the book was about to take It seemed the editor went on holiday at some point It started out with an amazing story of how clicker training can help autistic children An interesting history of behaviorism, B.F Skinner, and the founding of the Animal Behavior Enterprises followed I enjoyed these parts and learned quite a bit Hint it takes a lot of patience and consistency to teach a pigeon to bowl and it takes time to get a gorilla to easily accept a needle injectionbut you can do it Pierson then veered into subjectivity and away from pure non fiction When she mentioned Karen Pryor as if she was as famous as Skinner, I wondered about the editor I suppose I should have known who Pryor was since I read so many dog training books, but I didn t And after that, I sort of lost the thread of the book A story of the heart wrenching grief of losi
Highly recommendedI usually rely on borrowing library books, but after the BARK magazine review of this book, I did not hesitate to add it to my own library It did not disappoint I have dabbled at clicker training my own dogs, with good success Even though this is not a how to, I gleaned some valuable tips I believed I was fairly experienced and certainly well read on the subject of cli
Brilliant and hilarious Dense with information, insights and opinions I didn t agree with every opinion and even chafed a bit at those presented as true don t get carried away Melissa Regardless, endlessly thought provoking.This is not the book I was expecting I picked it up because of the picture on the cover, I can t resist a good dog book But this is so much Be prepared, it s not a light read.It is a retrospective of B.F Skinner s theory of operant con

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  • Hardcover
  • 320 pages
  • The Secret History of Kindness
  • Melissa Holbrook Pierson
  • English
  • 18 September 2019
  • 9780393066197