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Welcome to the SM Book Club! The first book we're going to discuss is as follows:

The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson, available in paperback from all major online and brick and mortar book stores.

Read the book and post your comments in this thread. Do you agree or disagree with the author? Is she on track, in your opinion, or not?

This is the place to post your opinions on the merits of the book, ask questions regarding various philosophies presented, and the like. Anything related to the book is A-OK........
 

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The Maltese Book Club is a great idea. I started reading it tonight and am already on page 60. It's a fast paced book that jumped right into the heart of the book quickly. I wasn't far into the book when I hit my first misconception. The author stated that she feels it is incorrect that dogs want to simply please their owners. I have to digest that one because I've always felt that my dogs wanted nothing more than to make me happy. However, I'm open to the author's theory and it does make sense.

I must say I am so glad that I got this book before bringing IzzyBella home. A lot of the behavior modification should be started at the beginning, although it's not impossible to do it with an older settled dog. I do have a 14 year old Miniature Schnauzer and she is the most well behaved perfect dog. I can see from reading the book, that years ago I did a lot of the authors suggestions without being aware of why I was doing it. A lot of it was/is common sense.

I think the author uses a lot of fancy schmancy words but then she throws in a few down-to-earth statements that make me feel comfortable enough to be open to her ideals.

I'll wait till some of you get the book and get caught up before I go much further. I am so happy to be a part of this bookclub.
 

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Great idea Sher! Don't get too far ahead of me though....I'm still waiting for my copy to come in. LOL
 

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I read the book years ago and thought the same thing. After working with behavior problems with my own clients, I have to say that it is a huge misconception that people have. Some dogs do just adore their owner and do anything, but most dogs are not like that. Most of the ones we see in classes and for private consults are really not like that. But, the owners assume they should be. Jean Donaldson is using psychological learning theory as far as reinforcement and motivation goes. Similar ideas are used for behavior modification in humans, explaining why we have high reciticance (s?) rates with prison, and even in kids with ADHD. Just to give you an idea where she is coming from, Karen Pryor's work with dolphins is what you see at any dolphin show. The whistle they use is the click and the fish is the treat.

I think the most useful information in the book for most people is about socialization and housetraining. Not everybody cares about learning theory LOL
 

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think the most useful information in the book for most people is about socialization and housetraining.[/B]
I don't want to get too far ahead for those who haven't gotten the book, so I'm slowing down in reading it. BUT I did get to the part about socialization, Jim. It totally makes sense and something I haven't really given much thought about. I can't wait to get to the housetraining part. With the author's logical analogies, I can totally see why the socialization really is important. Cricket (our schnauzer) had little to no socialization and that probably explains why at 14, she's very independent and cranky. As long as we meet her needs and don't bother her with fussing and mushy talk, she's fine.

Please let us know when you all get your book and start reading.
 

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Anyone else read the first chapter? I did, and I thought it was very interesting. The author does make some contradictory statements though. I was most struck by page 18, where she talks about a dog's anticipation of a reward. She discusses that part of the reward includes the dog's anticipation that he'll be able to return to whatever it was he was doing before the command was given. That sounds like doggie forward thinking to me. On page 11, the author notes that dog's cannot move from past to present to future in their thinking. But isn't her example on page 18 just that? Don't get me wrong, I think the author makes many excellent points, and I am eager to read on. Her 10 conclusions are interesting. I am not sure I agree that dogs only learn through operant and classical conditioning. She seems to ignore any "learning" that has an instinctual basis. I think the author lumps all instinctual behavior into "Pack Theory" and how it relates to dominance, forgetting that other instincts have nothing to do with dominance...pooping for instance.

For those, like me, who needed a refresher course on some of the Psych 101 terms, check out the following link. Now I'm off to read chapter two.

http://www.biozentrum.uni-wuerzburg.de/gen...ng/operant.html
 

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Can we set up a timetable after a book is selected to give everyone a chance to get the book before we start discussing it?

I just ordered it from Amazon.com, but I won't have it until the end of the week. I figured it was easier that wasting gas & time chasing all over town trying to find it as I often find I have to special order from Borders and Barnes and Noble anyway.

I know a few of you already have the book, but if we awaited a week or so, it would give everyone who wants to particpate the opportunity to get a copy.

This is such a great idea!
 

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Hi Marj, I'm thinking that we each will read at our own pace & we may have questions as we're progressing... some will have already read that part and others won't have but can then pay particular attention to it when they get there.

I'm thinking it will be OK if we're at different points in the book. I've read the first little bit but tend to read sporadically in that I may comment on the first chapter but it may indeed be a week before I get to chapter 2.........

That way people can jump in at any time and not feel that they have missed out. The thread can be viable as long as new people are reading and commenting on the book, I think. Does that scenario sound OK?

This first book selection may take a bit of thought to get the details worked out on how the club will function.
 

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I have an idea, how about a separate thread for each chapter? That way, people can post on the thread that corresponds to the chapter they've read. For instance, my post above could go under chapter one. That way everyone could read at their own pace, and not feel either too far ahead or behind. What do you guys think?
 

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I love the idea of a book club but I really don't want to get too structured with it. There is so much structure in my life, my career is totally clock oriented and I'd like to just flow with this. I never remember which chapter I'm discussing, I just talk about certain issues as they come up. We will never have a time where all of us are on the same schedule reading-wise so perhaps it's better to just talk about the book generally as points of interest catch our attention.

 

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Originally posted by saltymalty@Jan 31 2005, 05:53 PM
I have an idea, how about a separate thread for each chapter?  That way, people can post on the thread that corresponds to the chapter they've read.  For instance, my post above could go under chapter one.   That way everyone could read at their own pace, and not feel either too far ahead or behind.  What do you guys think?
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I'm drawn to what 20202 suggests .. Maybe we could try that and see if it works... I'm usually a very structured person but for some reason, keeping this flexible appeals to me.....


EDIT: OK... here is a possible compromise... how about if at the top of our posts we simply put the chapter or page number that our comment refers to... that might make it easier to pick and choose what we want to respond to based on where we are in the book.... how does that sound? I might try that a little later.. I have a lot of comments already after just a few pages!
 

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Chapter 1 "Getting the Dog's Perspective"

I have to say that I love the example on page 9 that describes a dog who chews furniture. I have heard of so many people misunderstanding their dog in situations like this.

For those who haven't read this, basically every time the owner sees the dog chewing furniture, the dog is reprimanded. So the dog doesn't chew furniture as long as the owner is home. But when the owner leaves the dog goes back to chewing furniture because he is bored or whatever.

When the owner comes home the dog looks guilty by having ears back, slinking around, etc.

One view would be that the dog knows chewing furniture is wrong and gets back at the owner for being gone by chewing furniture... knowing it's wrong and feeling guilty afterward.

However, the view the author supports is that the dog has learned that chewing furniture when the owner is home is dangerous but it is OK when he is gone. When the owner comes home he reprimands the dog, so eventually as soon as the owner comes home, the dog "behaves appeasingly" to avoid the punishment he knows occurs when the owner comes home.

"The owner's arrival home and/or pre-punishment demeanor have become a predictor: The dog knows he's about to be punished. He doesn't know why." (Donaldson, J., The Culture Clash).

This makes such sense.... I've heard of people saying they came home and they knew their dog did something bad because they looked guilty. They accuse their dog of being vindictive, etc. And the poor dog... he's being reprimanded and doesn't have a clue why.... I wish every dog owner understood this.
 

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Page 9, K&C's Mom, I agree that this is a great point. Dogs don't have the ability to feel emotions like guilt, or shame (those are uniquely human).
 

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Sounds like a plan!

I picked up a copy last night at Borders. I got an error message when I ordered one from Amazon.com as apparently I had an old credit card on file so I called around and found one. Barnes & Noble didn't have any and only one of the 3 Borders in this area did. It was $17.95. For those who want to wait, it is cheaper to order online. It was only $12.96 from Barnes and Noble online.

If this is a success, maybe down the line we can even have our own book club section on SM!
 

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Originally posted by Kallie/Catcher's Mom@Jan 31 2005, 08:26 PM
Chapter 1 "Getting the Dog's Perspective"


This makes such sense.... I've heard of people saying they came home and they knew their dog did something bad because they looked guilty. They accuse their dog of being vindictive, etc. And the poor dog... he's being reprimanded and doesn't have a clue why.... I wish every dog owner understood this.
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Punishment is such a difficult thing to do effectively. I have to admit I so rarely use it because of that. I have to have an effective punishment perfectly times and be sure I can follow up with the appropriate behavior. I usually just ask the dog to do something else instead LOL It works and I rarely say the word no.
 

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Page 10 - Chapter 1 "Getting the Dog's Perspective"

I've just started the book, but what really jumped out at me in chapter one was the idea that we give our dogs the status of honorary humans and use dogs as surrogate children, rather than accepting the real species. I felt that this was particularly applicable to Maltese and other toy breeds.

I notice how often here and on other forums we refer to our Malts as our "babies", "furkids", etc. Look at how we fix their hair and dress them in outfits. We even push them in strollers! I wonder how many of the behaviorial problems we may face later on are created by our treating our Maltese puppies like human babies right from the start rather than dogs.

I was fortunate that I was a "big dog" person before adopting Lady. Still, look at her in her Christmas dress and her hair fixed or her bathing suit picture! I am as guilty as everyone else. I think the fact that she was an adult who was never spoiled (neglected, really) when I adopted her probably accounts for her wonderful behavior and lack of bad habits more than anything I've done since adopting her.
 

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I'm on my way to B&N to pick up my copy. I have to comment on what you wrote, Marj. I agree with you completely about people treating their dogs like children. I actully refer to mine as babies, BUT I recognize that they are dogs and I don't let them run our house. As you've probably heard me say before, we had a cocker spaniel during dental school, pre children, that ruled the house. We were too stupid to know that she had to learn her place in the pack. What she learned was that she was totally in charge and we fostered this behaviour. Before we got Jolie the Bichon we did some much needed research and have raised a polite, well behaved dog that is still treated like a queen, but a dog queen. I've already had an uncontrollable dog that I helped to make that way, and I'm NEVER going to be there again. I look forward to reading this first chapter for myself but I agree with what you've commented on thus far.
 

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Maltese should be labeled "not for beginners", huh? It is much easier to stay aware of the fact that they are dogs when you've had other dogs, especially one that has had behavorial problems. (Mine was Springer Spaniel I talked about under Kristi's post on Lexi biting her).

I think a happy, well adjusted dog is the result of treating them like a dog, not a human. I am always amazed in reading posts from other Maltese owners over the years how many people believe that their Maltese potties inappropriately because they are being spiteful or growl or bite because they are mad or resentful about something their human did.

So far it seems like its us old timers who are reading this book. It would be nice of some new Maltese owners joined us and shared how they handle their particular situation and if they've had any problems/successes as a result.
 
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