"Plenty in Life Is Free: Reflections On Dogs, Training and Finding Grace" by Kathy Sdao (Book)
Format: Physical Paperback Book
What if the secret to great dog training is to be a frequent "feeder" rather than a strong leader? A skilled reinforcer rather than a strict enforcer?
Over the past two decades, countless dog trainers across the world have embraced the liberal use of positive reinforcement. Often accompanying this trend, however, is an underlying emphasis, inherited from more coercive models of dog training, that each human in the family must be the dog's leader.
But adopting the role of leader using what is known as the "Nothing in Life is Free" training protocol can result in stifling rules that constrain a person's ability to share affection and attention with their dogs. This focus on human leadership puts puts the burden on dogs to "earn" their rewards rather than placing the primary responsibility on the humans to be generous, precise, creative "feeders" (i.e., reinforcers).
In this book, renowned dog trainer Kathy Sdao (one of my personal heroes) reveals how her journey through life and her decades of experience training marine mammals and dogs led her to reject a number of sacred cows including the leadership model of dog training. She describes in narrative fashion how she has come to focus her own training philosophy which emphasizes developing partnerships in which humans and dogs exchange reinforcements and continually cede the upper hand to one another.
Related Online Classes:
- Doggie Language Panel Discussion Round 1 with Kathy Sdao, LIli Chin, Chirag Patel, and me (Grisha Stewart). It was so much fun that we decided to do a second one!
- Doggie Language Panel Discussion Round 2 in August, 2021, this time also joined by Sue Sternberg.
- Kathy will be reading her book on video/audio with spontaneous commentary in our Reading Between the Lines series. We'll post more information later, but for now, check out the format here.
Multiple sets of professional dog behavior eyes to help you put the clear illustrations from Lili Chin's Doggie Language book into practice, with Lili there to answer your questions, too. Registered students get the recording too.
Registration for the panel discussions is separate from the the book. As with all classes, the webinar is free for Diamond Members of the school (but does not include Lili's book).