web site hit counter What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love, and Marriage: Lessons for People from Animals and Their Trainers - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love, and Marriage: Lessons for People from Animals and Their Trainers

Availability: Ready to download

While observing exotic animal trainers for her acclaimed book Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched, journalist Amy Sutherland had an epiphany: What if she used these training techniques with the human animals in her own life–namely her dear husband, Scott? In this lively and perceptive book, Sutherland tells how she took the trainers’ lessons home. The next time her forgetful husb While observing exotic animal trainers for her acclaimed book Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched, journalist Amy Sutherland had an epiphany: What if she used these training techniques with the human animals in her own life–namely her dear husband, Scott? In this lively and perceptive book, Sutherland tells how she took the trainers’ lessons home. The next time her forgetful husband stomped through the house in search of his mislaid car keys, she asked herself, “What would a dolphin trainer do?” The answer was: nothing. Trainers reward the behavior they want and, just as important, ignore the behavior they don’t. Rather than appease her mate’s rising temper by joining in the search, or fuel his temper by nagging him to keep better track of his things in the first place, Sutherland kept her mouth shut and her eyes on the dishes she was washing. In short order, Scott found his keys and regained his cool. “I felt like I should throw him a mackerel,” she writes. In time, as she put more training principles into action, she noticed that she became more optimistic and less judgmental, and their twelve-year marriage was better than ever. What started as a goofy experiment had such good results that Sutherland began using the training techniques with all the people in her life, including her mother, her friends, her students, even the clerk at the post office. In the end, the biggest lesson she learned is that the only animal you can truly change is yourself. Full of fun facts, fascinating insights, hilarious anecdotes, and practical tips, What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love, and Marriage describes Sutherland’s Alice-in-Wonderland experience of stumbling into a world where cheetahs walk nicely on leashes and elephants paint with watercolors, and of leaving a new, improved Homo sapiens.


Compare

While observing exotic animal trainers for her acclaimed book Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched, journalist Amy Sutherland had an epiphany: What if she used these training techniques with the human animals in her own life–namely her dear husband, Scott? In this lively and perceptive book, Sutherland tells how she took the trainers’ lessons home. The next time her forgetful husb While observing exotic animal trainers for her acclaimed book Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched, journalist Amy Sutherland had an epiphany: What if she used these training techniques with the human animals in her own life–namely her dear husband, Scott? In this lively and perceptive book, Sutherland tells how she took the trainers’ lessons home. The next time her forgetful husband stomped through the house in search of his mislaid car keys, she asked herself, “What would a dolphin trainer do?” The answer was: nothing. Trainers reward the behavior they want and, just as important, ignore the behavior they don’t. Rather than appease her mate’s rising temper by joining in the search, or fuel his temper by nagging him to keep better track of his things in the first place, Sutherland kept her mouth shut and her eyes on the dishes she was washing. In short order, Scott found his keys and regained his cool. “I felt like I should throw him a mackerel,” she writes. In time, as she put more training principles into action, she noticed that she became more optimistic and less judgmental, and their twelve-year marriage was better than ever. What started as a goofy experiment had such good results that Sutherland began using the training techniques with all the people in her life, including her mother, her friends, her students, even the clerk at the post office. In the end, the biggest lesson she learned is that the only animal you can truly change is yourself. Full of fun facts, fascinating insights, hilarious anecdotes, and practical tips, What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love, and Marriage describes Sutherland’s Alice-in-Wonderland experience of stumbling into a world where cheetahs walk nicely on leashes and elephants paint with watercolors, and of leaving a new, improved Homo sapiens.

30 review for What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love, and Marriage: Lessons for People from Animals and Their Trainers

  1. 5 out of 5

    Judith

    this is an interesting little book which i was happy to learn was not written by an animal trainer, but by a journalist observing animal trainers. i think the author's personality really shaped the message because she is sharp and funny and doesn't take herself too seriously. at the same time, i did learn (or reinforce things i had previously learned) about the similarity between animal training and people training. so much of it is common sense but seemingly impossible to learn, ie. ignore bad this is an interesting little book which i was happy to learn was not written by an animal trainer, but by a journalist observing animal trainers. i think the author's personality really shaped the message because she is sharp and funny and doesn't take herself too seriously. at the same time, i did learn (or reinforce things i had previously learned) about the similarity between animal training and people training. so much of it is common sense but seemingly impossible to learn, ie. ignore bad behavior; reward good behavior. the book is full of information that is helpful both in training your dogs and training your spouse and i am going to practice my newly learned skills on same.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nan

    I really enjoyed this book! In many ways it was a light, fun, fast read, but it also packed a punch. Life is a series of relationships with animals (human and non), and this clever book helps you understand their intersections just a little bit better.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cj

    I think the title would have been much better if the word "marriage" had been left out. If I hadn't heard an interview with the author on the Today Show I probably would have passed it by thinking it was some sort of peculiar self-help book on fixing romantic entanglements. I am very glad I gave it a look. The idea of treating homo sapiens using the same techniques that have worked the most effectively on training other animals-- patience, kindness, and adjusting the trainers expectations, inste I think the title would have been much better if the word "marriage" had been left out. If I hadn't heard an interview with the author on the Today Show I probably would have passed it by thinking it was some sort of peculiar self-help book on fixing romantic entanglements. I am very glad I gave it a look. The idea of treating homo sapiens using the same techniques that have worked the most effectively on training other animals-- patience, kindness, and adjusting the trainers expectations, instead of demanding compliance from the trainee-- is a very interesting way to look at moment to moment interactions. Her excitement and love of all the animals in her life makes her attempts at trying to understand and work with them very thought provoking.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I decided to take my entertainment into my own hands and listen to What Shamu Taught me About Life, Love and Marriage by Amy Sutherland. The first bit was unconvincing, but the more I listened the more I decided it was fun and useful. The author spent a year shadowing people who were learning to be dolphin trainers, and the more she heard what they were learning, the more she decided that this would work on her husband. As I listen, I'm thinking, "Yes! And on children! And the young women at chu I decided to take my entertainment into my own hands and listen to What Shamu Taught me About Life, Love and Marriage by Amy Sutherland. The first bit was unconvincing, but the more I listened the more I decided it was fun and useful. The author spent a year shadowing people who were learning to be dolphin trainers, and the more she heard what they were learning, the more she decided that this would work on her husband. As I listen, I'm thinking, "Yes! And on children! And the young women at church!". Come to think of it, I was required to take psychology classes for my education degree that talked about B.F. Skinner's experiments, but no one gave such great examples of applying his conclusions to exotic animals or to the people around us. It is making me seriously consider my children's behavior as well as my own. What exactly, is the best way to help whining go extinct in a seven year old? How should I get my teenagers to clean their room? (Or is that even a battle I'd like to fight?) And how can I reward my nine year old for not pushing her brother into a tailspin when he has low blood sugar? The things I think I hadn't considered before are how important timing is, how little negative reinforcement works (and just what that is for the animals in my life), and how I often need to slow down and teach behaviors I'd like in stages instead of expecting the whole enchilada right now.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ariel

    Probably the best parenting book I've read (that isn't a parenting book)! Sutherland describes the training methods used in modern exotic animal training and applies them to her personal relationships with great success. The methods described here are the modern, positive-only methods advocated by psychs such as BF Skinner- I have started moving towards this with my own kids with great success. As she says in the book, the problem with a punitive model is that eventually the "animal" gets used t Probably the best parenting book I've read (that isn't a parenting book)! Sutherland describes the training methods used in modern exotic animal training and applies them to her personal relationships with great success. The methods described here are the modern, positive-only methods advocated by psychs such as BF Skinner- I have started moving towards this with my own kids with great success. As she says in the book, the problem with a punitive model is that eventually the "animal" gets used to the sting of the punishment, and then there is nothing to do except to raise the severity, which is how well-meaning parents end up beating their children.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Asuka Nguyen

    3.5 🌟 in general and 4 🌟 for the last chapter - Life after Shamu. First of all, I'm happy to know that nowadays animals are trained in modern progressive ways in which entices are applied, and skilled trainers try to understand thier behaviors to act accordingly rather than give any punishments: "With traditional training, the goal is to have an animal do as it is told, to break it, show it who’s boss. This mind-set alone is enough to give people a negative idea of training. Who wants to be broke 3.5 🌟 in general and 4 🌟 for the last chapter - Life after Shamu. First of all, I'm happy to know that nowadays animals are trained in modern progressive ways in which entices are applied, and skilled trainers try to understand thier behaviors to act accordingly rather than give any punishments: "With traditional training, the goal is to have an animal do as it is told, to break it, show it who’s boss. This mind-set alone is enough to give people a negative idea of training. Who wants to be broken?" "Working with rewards, trainers have also been able to teach species and behaviors previously thought to be untrainable." The gist of this book: If you ever expect to change others (which you will never stand a chance), just remember to "reward the behaviors you want and ignore the behaviors you don't". Not just in marriage but also in familial and social contexts. In other words, *train* yourself how to *train* them, your homo sapiens. Because: "Where there’s a problem, there’s a behavioral solution.” Just put yourself in the position of a progressive trainer and bear in mind: "Training is communication rather than tame!" - Is there anyway you can Shamu it? - I just had a profoundly unshamu moment! - That's not veeery Shamu. These would be the lines I'm gonna converse to myself, not throwing up hands or reacting at the drop of a hat, when people act incompatible. At least, not anymore. In fact, I kinda tried it out right away with my little puppies. Key takeaways: - Training should only happen when both trainer and trainee are in good physical conditions and right states of mind only. - Know your species - "its natural history, feeding habits, anatomy, social structure, and native habitat." - Timing is crucial: one second late or early can sabotage all your efforts. - Variable schedule of reinforcement helps maintain behaviors. - Always take one baby step at a time, never expected gigantic leap. - Acknowledge the 'tank syndrome' and best to have a contingency plan ready. - Apply 'Least Reinforcing Scenario' because "a behavior provokes no reactions, it typically dies away." - Take good advantage of 'Incompatible Behavior' which means training the subject to do something desirable rather than stop them from their current undesirable behavior cuz "it takes more energy to stop a moving object than to change its direction" - Practice reading the cues: be one step ahead of your subjects to prevent catastrophic results in case you overlook what called 'Displaced Aggression.' The last chapter telling the heart-wrenching story of Dixie just simply speaks volumes about the love they had for this babie. It makes you cry big time, and more to the point, proves your reading the whole book all worthwhile.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lindsy Fish

    Love this book! It made me think much differently about how I interact with not only people, but with pets as well. This has also made a difference in how I treat myself and how I motivate myself. I have PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, so how to deal with myself is a big deal. I highly recommend you read this if you have any kind of mood or anxiety disorder!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carole

    This book is an extended version of a column that Ms. Sutherland wrote for the New York Times a couple years ago. I picked up the book after reading the column. I liked it. While writing a book about the animal training program at Moorpark College (the local CC where I grew up that's apparently a world-renowned facility for animal trainers. Who knew?), the author realized that a lot of the principles of animal training can be applied to human interaction. One thing that progressive animal trainer This book is an extended version of a column that Ms. Sutherland wrote for the New York Times a couple years ago. I picked up the book after reading the column. I liked it. While writing a book about the animal training program at Moorpark College (the local CC where I grew up that's apparently a world-renowned facility for animal trainers. Who knew?), the author realized that a lot of the principles of animal training can be applied to human interaction. One thing that progressive animal trainers focus on is that every interaction is training. Which is to say, the way you respond to an animal in any situation teaches it something about how to behave - or how to get a desired reaction from you. The author posits that the same thing applies to humans. Like it or not, people tend to repeat behavior that gets rewarded and abandon behaviors that do not. So we should at least try to be cognizant of which behaviors we're rewarding and try extra hard to reward the behaviors we like. This book is a pretty quick read with some very good ideas. It reminded me of when my sister said she had heard about some of the methods used to teach birds to talk and she was going to use them to teach her kid to talk. People are animals too.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Chung Chin

    This is a book that's in the same genre as The Year Living Biblically or The Happiness Project. All of these are more or less a memoir of the author's experiments. For this particular book, it's about Amy Sutherland using animal training techniques on people in her life. I started this book with an expectation of it as a "how-to" book. So of course I was disappointed when I realized it's more of a memoir. Nonetheless it is an interesting book. There are parts where I don't agree or don't buy it, This is a book that's in the same genre as The Year Living Biblically or The Happiness Project. All of these are more or less a memoir of the author's experiments. For this particular book, it's about Amy Sutherland using animal training techniques on people in her life. I started this book with an expectation of it as a "how-to" book. So of course I was disappointed when I realized it's more of a memoir. Nonetheless it is an interesting book. There are parts where I don't agree or don't buy it, but certain sections had me nodding in agreement or stopped to think bout its truthfulness. Would still recommend it as most people can probably pick up a thing or two on how to improve their relationship. At the end of the day, one important lesson is - take responsibility. If you think the problem is out there, that's the problem. Because if you're dealing with an exotic animal with that kind of thought, you might pay with your life.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This is a great book about perspective and self. I love the way the author takes what she learned about exotic animal training and applies it to how we interact with each other. The other great thing about this book is that it applies across the board: it's not a man-bashing text on how to train your husband or anything like that. Manipulation is not her point, which I thought was great. This book really got me thinking about how I act and react and why, about how I treat others and why. I'd say This is a great book about perspective and self. I love the way the author takes what she learned about exotic animal training and applies it to how we interact with each other. The other great thing about this book is that it applies across the board: it's not a man-bashing text on how to train your husband or anything like that. Manipulation is not her point, which I thought was great. This book really got me thinking about how I act and react and why, about how I treat others and why. I'd say I have definitely learned some things here to help me to become a better person and would gladly recommend it to others.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    It is an interesting concept. But I was disappointed with the book. She seemed to be trying to stretch an article into a book. A lot of it seemed pretty thin.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rick Kubina

    A great way to see the humanity of behavior analysis and how it can help engineer a better world (especially with those who mean the most to us).

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    This quick read made me laugh, consider, and marvel at animal behavior, particularly how humans are so similar to other animals in this world.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Makenna

    After reading What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love, and Marriage by Amy Sutherland for my Psychology 211 class, it really made me think about people and how we interact with each other, and think about each other. We all sort of expect everyone else to know what we’re thinking and wanting from them but they don’t know. We all punish each other and our pets when they don’t do what we want but we don’t reinforce or encourage what we do want. We all disregard when they do something right because After reading What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love, and Marriage by Amy Sutherland for my Psychology 211 class, it really made me think about people and how we interact with each other, and think about each other. We all sort of expect everyone else to know what we’re thinking and wanting from them but they don’t know. We all punish each other and our pets when they don’t do what we want but we don’t reinforce or encourage what we do want. We all disregard when they do something right because they did one little thing wrong while doing it. This book really puts into perspective how we do certain things, and maybe thinking like an animal trainer is the way to fix it because we are animals too and our behavior sometimes resembles that of animals. One part that I really liked about Sutherland’s book was the section on One Baby Step at a Time because it was about how we tend to emphasize what our exact criterion is when asking something of someone and that causes them to do something we don’t exactly want. Sometimes we ask for too much at a time instead of being grateful for doing one thing right at the least. For example, if someone gets you a birthday present and it’s not really something that you want you shouldn’t say thanks for getting me a present but I really wanted this. We should just say thanks for the present because that was the criterion we asked for. If we do things this way then people will be more likely to do things for us and be more likely to do what we really want. I also really liked the section right after this about New Tank Syndrome. It explains a lot about human behavior. Sutherland compared how dolphins experience temporary amnesia with their learned skills when placed into a new tank, because they’re looking at everything new and not worried about their tricks and how with humans on sports teams they have home field advantage. That was like a mind-blowing thing for me because I never really thought about why teams have a home field advantage other than just being in their own field and they always play there. Well, it’s exactly that, they know how to play there already, they’re used to it and there’s nothing new for them so they don’t get distracted. There’s nothing you can really do about this besides give it some time to get used to the new surroundings. After reading this, I started thinking about how I could try and use this too but on my dog. There’s always the common way of punishment to teach a dog, but if you really want the dog to do things for you, according to animal training, you must teach it one small step at a time and only reinforce their behavior when they do exactly what you want. The frequent problem of teaching pets, is humans are too slow to reinforce good behavior. They sometimes reinforce what they don’t want to reinforce because by the time they do, the animal has already moved on to a new behavior and now thinks that behavior is what we want. When I get my own dog, I think I will get a clicker and try and teach it tricks in this way. During this semester, we learned about positive reinforcement and how it is the best way to teach something. We also learned about punishment and how it should only be used in necessity. We also learned about reinforcement schedules and which works best for reinforcing behavior. This book compares animal training to human training and during our class we learned about animal experiments and did our own human involved experiments. This book was a great addition to our lessons, and gave a more in depth description of reinforcement and conditioning. Overall, I thought this book was good, and an interesting read. I never would of thought of using animal training on humans. Sutherland’s writing is factual and informative but also humorous. While you learn about how animal trainers teach animals, you’re also learning about how Sutherland and her husband torture each other daily, to keep you interested. I’m glad I read this book because it opened my eyes to a new way of thinking and reminded me to be more reinforcing with other people and not so negative.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Davida

    p. 69 "Second, because whenever you use discipline, no matter how judicious, you draw down the trust account. And third, because punishment may provoke nasty side effects: apathy, fear, and aggression. None of those are conducive to learning. A scared or anxious animal doesn't make a good student. An apathetic dolphin at the bottom of the tank can't be taught a thing. A raging buffalo is in no mood for instruction." The above quote made me think about how giving grades in the classroom affects my p. 69 "Second, because whenever you use discipline, no matter how judicious, you draw down the trust account. And third, because punishment may provoke nasty side effects: apathy, fear, and aggression. None of those are conducive to learning. A scared or anxious animal doesn't make a good student. An apathetic dolphin at the bottom of the tank can't be taught a thing. A raging buffalo is in no mood for instruction." The above quote made me think about how giving grades in the classroom affects my relationship with my students. p. 76 "We fear that if we spare the rod, all of humanity will go to pot. It may be our DNA, but certainly by the fifth grade most of us have learned that punishment makes the higher primate world go around. We are so convinced that discipline is the answer, that when it obviously isn't working, our instinct is, oddly, to lay it on thicker, yell louder, ground the kid for longer, don't talk to the husband for a week or two or three, dock the employee's pay." More on how punishment isn't effective but is what we are naturally inclined to use. Don't Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training - a book that Sutherland refers to that I may want to check out... p. 84 On habits, superstitions, and associations: "Then there are the little bits of behavior, habits, we accidentally train ourselves. I cannot sit down at my computer in the morning without a cup of coffee. I've taught myself I can't start typing without caffeine. Of course I can. When my mother cut back on cigarettes, she had to face a long list of activities that she thought were impossible without a lit butt in her hand. How would she, she wondered, talk on the phone without a cigarette? Or go grocery shopping? Or drink coffee? Superstitious behaviors are accidentally reinforced behaviors. The term, to me, underscored how easy it is to teach something you didn't mean to, to yourself or someone else. If a behavior seems to produce a good result, whether it actually did or didn't, that behavior is going to stick." About being responsive: p. 87 "Humans, of course, don't need the immediacy animals do. We are accustomed to getting a payoff down the road; still, the sooner the better, especially when learning something new. Sooner is tough to do because human animals do things you like when you're not around. You can't help rewarding them after the fact. My policy became to reward behavior I wanted the very first chance I got. To do this, I had to give up some of my natural dithering. I RSVP to dinner invitations ASAP. If someone emails me a compliment about my work, I email back a thank you note right away instead of letting it languish in my inbox. If a present arrives in the mail, I open it up and then phone the giver. And when given the rare chance to reinforce someone in the moment, I jump on it." This is a good argument against procrastination and seems to be a habit that can be strengthened over time. p. 100 "The idea of approximations is nothing new to humans" This animals training idea is a lot like Vygotsky's scaffolding theory in pedagogy. p. 103 "The trial-by-fire approach is not only an unreasonable approximation, but an awfully lazy way to teach." I have to admit that I have been guilty of doing this in the classroom, and it usually doesn't work. For people who aren't teachers, this is often brought up as a straightforward teaching approach. Here's the stuff. Learn the stuff. It just doesn't work like that. That is the art of teaching, or parenting, or animal training. I liked the ideas in this book and the connections she made between her personal life with her friends and family and the techniques that animal trainers use. I didn't give it a higher rating because it was too repetitive at times, and I didn't always appreciate her tone. On the other hand, I did appreciate how she was honest about her own behavior and her motivation to change.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lilia Ramirez

    Amy Sutherland’s novel, “What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love, and Marriage” comes with fun anecdotes yet insightful results on what started as a simple interest through her dog’s training that ended up being one of the best paths she had taken in life. I definitely recommend this book, two of my psychology professors this semester recommended it to me but that does not mean the reader necessarily has to be a psychology major to enjoy this memoir which itself is a self-guide to an open mind; f Amy Sutherland’s novel, “What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love, and Marriage” comes with fun anecdotes yet insightful results on what started as a simple interest through her dog’s training that ended up being one of the best paths she had taken in life. I definitely recommend this book, two of my psychology professors this semester recommended it to me but that does not mean the reader necessarily has to be a psychology major to enjoy this memoir which itself is a self-guide to an open mind; filled with humor, emotion, and understanding of ones daily life it reminds the audience that when it comes to modifications of those around you one must take the time to put into question their own behavior. With bringing the reader into her twelve-year-old marriage filled with plenty of arguments she showed that this “experiment” in training her husband while herself stepping into an animal trainers shoes was not for the sole purpose of changing an individual but to find improvements in not just marriage but in every relationship we may have and that all began with an evaluation of her own actions that could lead to a chain reaction in other’s responsive behaviors. It amazed me to see how she managed to use psychological terminology in the way she did as she managed to incorporate her positive punishments and involved her techniques that involved the people around her, even with the mentioning of her failures at the start of it all. As she mentioned that we tend to train those around us without realizing it has really gotten me to be cautious of how I behave or treat others because I would not want anyone to get any wrong ideas or bad impressions for that matter. Overall it was great to see that she expanded her horizons past her marriage she also managed to trespass her optimism to whoever the reader may be to realize that a reaction is not always needed which makes me a little more confident in our future when it comes to the treatment of one another. Sutherland illustrates to the reader the procedures of which an exotic animal trainer must take in order to engage with them and applies that to our own human species. This novel brings forth the importance of ones own behavior and reminds us that communication does not just come from from words, because like animals we ourselves can be trained with behaviors which should begin to be acknowledged as communication in itself.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. In “What Shamu taught me about life, love and marriage” by Amy Sutherland, Sutherland speaks on her experiences involving animals and their training. Sutherland spent time at a college where she watched students perform new trainings towards animals and started taking the lessons she saw and started to apply them to her personal life. One of the people she “trained” and applied her new learning and understanding involving behavior was her husband, Scott. Sutherland starting changing her own beha In “What Shamu taught me about life, love and marriage” by Amy Sutherland, Sutherland speaks on her experiences involving animals and their training. Sutherland spent time at a college where she watched students perform new trainings towards animals and started taking the lessons she saw and started to apply them to her personal life. One of the people she “trained” and applied her new learning and understanding involving behavior was her husband, Scott. Sutherland starting changing her own behavior in what she said, how she thought, and how she acted. “My outlook is more optimistic. I’m less judgmental. I have vastly more patience and self-control. I’m a better observer. I get along better with people, especially my husband. I have a peace of mind that comes from the world making so much more sense to me.” One of her key findings relating to animal training which she started to apply towards her husband was how she reinforced the behavior she wanted such as: clear communication, calmness, favors she asked completed, etc. by rewarding it. Sutherland would also ignore the behaviors she did not want such as: arguments, high voices, miscommunication, etc. This negative behavior was not rewarded in hopes of the behavior decreasing. Sutherland mentions B.F. Skinner and his studies on operant conditioning. Operant conditioning is the main platform animal trainer’s use due to their high practice involving positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is more effective to teach animal’s new tricks and to train them in whatever the trainer has in mind to do. Animal training is no easy task but it can be done through lots of practice, repetition, and operant conditioning-especially through positive reinforcement. Sutherland was able to apply her new understanding revolving the world of animal training to her our relationships with her husband, mother, bosses, coworkers and friends. Sutherland was not handing them buckets of fish, pieces of meat or loads of bananas like trainers would hand the animals treats when they finished a successful session but she would reward them in different ways. Sutherland showed that by slightly altering our own behaviors and communication skills, those changes can go a long way to alter and create better relationships with our own family and friends.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    Amy Sutherland describes how she turned her time spent with exotic animal trainers into her most valued life lesson and how she used it to better her marriage with her beloved, Scott. She began with the basics of training and how they are used on animals and then went into some more sophisticated aspects and how to translate these concepts to people. Sutherland did a great job at making this book not only a fun read, but also user-friendly. She made the application of psychological ideas into ev Amy Sutherland describes how she turned her time spent with exotic animal trainers into her most valued life lesson and how she used it to better her marriage with her beloved, Scott. She began with the basics of training and how they are used on animals and then went into some more sophisticated aspects and how to translate these concepts to people. Sutherland did a great job at making this book not only a fun read, but also user-friendly. She made the application of psychological ideas into everyday life seem perfectly feasible and exciting through her use of personal examples. Some of the basics of training she discussed were the trainers’ use of progressive, positive techniques, how any kind of contact with an animal is training, and training “language” such as A-to-Bs and targeting. Teaching an animal A to Bs, or how to get from one behavior to another, is essentially a simple explanation of operant conditioning. The trainers’ progressive techniques demonstrate how effective positive reinforcement is. Sutherland goes over some more slightly difficult notions as well. For example, she talks about schedules of reinforcement and how variable reinforcement schedule is the most effective. Amy Sutherland described a method called, “the Least Reinforcing Scenario” or LRS and how this became a huge part in her behavior shaping. Using this method means to ignore the behaviors that you do not like and wish to completely avoid reinforcing. She explained how this helped to keep her from nagging at her husband and largely avoid conflict with people. I really appreciated how nicely this book flowed and how terms were put into more casual language. Sutherland used many personal examples that helped to put what she wrote into perspective. Her use of humor gave the book an undertone of light-heartedness and made her easy to relate to. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. It made me extremely motivated to begin practicing animal training ideas with people. The concepts, such as positive reinforcement, are great tools and they help to prevent any type of relationship from becoming toxic or full of hostility. Such a great read! Easy to understand. Samantha Andrews

  19. 5 out of 5

    Anitta S. Psych 211

    Dr. Kanevsky, our psych prof., gave the class the option to read this book for extra credit. As a student, I am all for doing extra credit. Who doesn’t? I decided to read this book via audiobooks app since I jog every day and I thought I could save time listening to it while I do my morning jog. The book is very descriptive, very vivid that characters almost come to life, like watching a movie. After spending years observing animal trainers and learning animal behaviors, she realized she can app Dr. Kanevsky, our psych prof., gave the class the option to read this book for extra credit. As a student, I am all for doing extra credit. Who doesn’t? I decided to read this book via audiobooks app since I jog every day and I thought I could save time listening to it while I do my morning jog. The book is very descriptive, very vivid that characters almost come to life, like watching a movie. After spending years observing animal trainers and learning animal behaviors, she realized she can apply it to human behaviors. What I like the most was how she emphasized the concept of different types reinforcement and how it led her to understand herself, her husband’s and her family’s behavior. She mentioned Skinner’s Operant Conditioning, counterconditioning, punishments and reinforcements. She observed that trainers successfully incorporate positive reinforcement to train animals and believed it can be very effective to humans as well. She used specific details from her own life such as her fear of heights and needles. She said that if she is given peanuts with melted caramel every time she steps higher and higher above the ground, her fear of heights eventually be desensitized (counterconditioning). Also, if she is given a pair of earrings (she loves earrings) everytime she gets a needle shot, her fear of shots will gradually disappear. The author and her husband apparently labeled the practice of using the training techniques on each other as "shamuing" as "Did you just shamu me?". She also mentioned the Reinforcing Scenario in which we are encouraged to ignore or not react to unwanted behavior, which I happened to agree on and was also covered in our psych 211 class. One funny part of the book I like was she categorized her family into different species and subspecies. Why only 3 stars? Although the book is humorous, interesting and practical, she talks way too much about animals than humans. I got lost in the midst of the animal kingdom and got so bored. It's likely because I am not an animal lover. However, if you love animals and need to work on your relationship, then this is a must book to read for you.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Kuschnick

    This book was an outstanding additional resource to assist with my educational experience in a Learning class that focuses on concepts encompassed by both classical and operant conditioning. I love the educational components of this book, where Amy describes in detail the various aspects of behavior modification applied to both animal as well as human experiences most of us can relate to. She emphasizes that although you cannot change who a person is and what makes them tick, you can change your This book was an outstanding additional resource to assist with my educational experience in a Learning class that focuses on concepts encompassed by both classical and operant conditioning. I love the educational components of this book, where Amy describes in detail the various aspects of behavior modification applied to both animal as well as human experiences most of us can relate to. She emphasizes that although you cannot change who a person is and what makes them tick, you can change your own behavior to reinforce behaviors you want and ignore the one's you do not. This is so important because we often may not think that the way we behave around others has the magnitude of effect on their behavior towards us that it does. She simplistically outlines this for us. Her witty yet brilliant "rules" are excellent guidelines to how we can make our own lives better by understanding what and why people do what they do. Through reflecting upon and writing about her experiences working with animal trainers, she repeatedly shows her readers that we are much more similar to them then we would think. And much more understandable. Overall, it is a wonderful piece that if someone takes the lessons she is teaching can have more satisfied relationships and can even recognize and change the things about themselves they did not think possible. I will say that I was not prepared for the emotional experience Amy shares with us at the end, but she shows that when good things end something good can always follow it. This book is both entertaining and interesting. Most importantly, though, it is extremely enlightening for those of us that can put ourselves in her shoes and identify relatable problems in our own lives. I'm grateful to Amy, her friends, colleagues, and family for her sharing her story.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Keana

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Amy applying her knowledge of how trainers train the animals at Sea World not only demonstrates how innate some of the behaviors are but how some of the methods or theories of learning apply to many species. Therefore, some of these training methods not only work on killer whales and pets, but also people. It can be said that through the similar comparison of communication and behaviors between how people communicate or change their behavior with each other and with animals or pets, it can be sa Amy applying her knowledge of how trainers train the animals at Sea World not only demonstrates how innate some of the behaviors are but how some of the methods or theories of learning apply to many species. Therefore, some of these training methods not only work on killer whales and pets, but also people. It can be said that through the similar comparison of communication and behaviors between how people communicate or change their behavior with each other and with animals or pets, it can be said that there is a basic, similar, universal, and innate characteristic of behavior and communication.One of the prominent methods that trainers used for the animals was operant conditioning. With operant conditioning, a behavior is modified through the use of reinforcements and punishments. After taking a psychology class that covers learning methods and theories, one of the most important things to note is that reinforcement for the most part is a more successful method than using punishment. Through punishment, there is an increase of emotions and aggression. Reinforcements will have a most likely change in the behavior. As Amy reports, the trainers demonstrate the effective use of positive reinforcement, or in other words, adding a reinforcer to increase the likelihood of the behavior. It is better to negatively reinforce than to add or remove a punishment. Amy's application of these methods to her husband debunks the common idea that punishment is an effective method for changing behavior and enhancing communication. Amy's story was a very well translated book of the trainer's techniques; she was able to open up the idea to me that training methods on animals can work on people. Through this reading, it can be said that each interaction is an opportunity to change each other's behavior.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sirena Shar

    This book was very effective with understanding some different terms I learned in my psych 211 class. It showed me different ways the things I learned in class can be applied to real life in a different setting. Mostly because it is used in training, I loved how something so simple like training an animal can shine so much positive light in someone’s life. I also enjoyed reading about how training is a positive thing for animals as well. The book talks about how it is good for the animals becaus This book was very effective with understanding some different terms I learned in my psych 211 class. It showed me different ways the things I learned in class can be applied to real life in a different setting. Mostly because it is used in training, I loved how something so simple like training an animal can shine so much positive light in someone’s life. I also enjoyed reading about how training is a positive thing for animals as well. The book talks about how it is good for the animals because it provides exercise for the animal and provides mental stimulation. During this book the author mentions how important using positive reinforcement is better than punishment. The reason behind this is because through positive reinforcement the animal comes to trust you and becomes more engaged and motivated. You are teaching the animal the behavior you want it to do, as opposed to teaching it what it should not do. Something to know about the punishment is that we can become desensitized to the unpleasant experience, so the punisher may increase the punishment creating fear towards the punisher. Something else that is important is that the only way to keep the behavior you want you must reinforce enough which can be done through a schedule of reinforcement. Overall, I loved this book and it actually gave me a few tips on how to keep my relationships strong. While I was reading this I read things I already knew but didn’t actually think about or used. I am so excited to try applying some of these things into my everyday relationships. After reading this book, I would definitely recommend it, since it's easy to understand and helpful to apply in our own lives in order to have more satisfied interactions.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    This book was optional to read for my Psyc 211 class. Judging from the title of the book I assumed it was going to be one of those cliché inspirational books, but it was far from that. Who knew there would be such a strong correlation between animal training and improving a marriage. Amy starts off with how her husband had annoying habits such as leaving tissues around and it didn't matter if she approached the situation neutral, nagged, or yelled because it would end up back firing everytime an This book was optional to read for my Psyc 211 class. Judging from the title of the book I assumed it was going to be one of those cliché inspirational books, but it was far from that. Who knew there would be such a strong correlation between animal training and improving a marriage. Amy starts off with how her husband had annoying habits such as leaving tissues around and it didn't matter if she approached the situation neutral, nagged, or yelled because it would end up back firing everytime and her husband wouldn't change his bad habits. With great wisdom from animal trainers she surprisingly found the patience, control, and knowledge of how to not take things so personal. Using animal training tactics sounds ridiculous and irrational but Amy definitely proved that it can work. It was very impressive to read how she used positive reinforcemnt on her husband to change his behavior. I had no idea that positive reinforcement was even used for animal training to reinforce a desired behavior. This perfectly explains why I wasn't capable of training my dog, I assumed that my dog was just very stubborn. I wasn't even using any of the tactics Amy discussed in her book such as rewarding good behavior. I think what's really interesting is how ignoring an undesired behavior can do so much more than you thought it would have. Overall, I'd say this was a very entertaining book to read and I'll forsure be using these tactics on my dog and other people who have habits that annoy me.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    I love this book! It really puts a lot into perspective and shows us how silly the human animal really is. Some might misunderstand the concept of "training" your spouse. It's not so much training, but showing you how you can get the results you want by using a less aggressive approach than many of us currently use--yelling and nagging. The book explains about positive reinforcement training that is used by animal trainers, especially marine mammal trainers. Using gentle techniques to encourage a I love this book! It really puts a lot into perspective and shows us how silly the human animal really is. Some might misunderstand the concept of "training" your spouse. It's not so much training, but showing you how you can get the results you want by using a less aggressive approach than many of us currently use--yelling and nagging. The book explains about positive reinforcement training that is used by animal trainers, especially marine mammal trainers. Using gentle techniques to encourage a wanted behavior and ignore unwanted behaviors is key. Another important key is trying to deprogram human tendencies when applying these training techniques to humans--such as punishing unwanted behaviors. We are our own worst enemy at times, which can hinder getting the results we want (i.e. clothing picked up off the floor). This is a great book for anyone who is interested in animal training as well as becoming a better communicator with people. It shows that these training techniques can be used on any animal, including the human animal! I cannot wait to read her other book, 'Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched', and I will most likely read this book again. I especially liked reading about the trainers in training school, and the things they trained certain animals to do. And I found myself laughing several times because of these stories. This review is also posted on the LibraryThing website.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brenn

    I found this book really entertaining. I thought she found a really great approach to a tough subject, who wants to say that they trained their husband to pick up their stinky clothes from the bathroom floor right? But in way of comparison, for every step of teaching her husband or her mom or even her friends, I liked that she was able to find an animal training story to go along with it. It did make me question if the animal training stories were in chronological order along with her family tra I found this book really entertaining. I thought she found a really great approach to a tough subject, who wants to say that they trained their husband to pick up their stinky clothes from the bathroom floor right? But in way of comparison, for every step of teaching her husband or her mom or even her friends, I liked that she was able to find an animal training story to go along with it. It did make me question if the animal training stories were in chronological order along with her family training, or if she just connected them so well. I definitely see this book as a great instructional manual for learning to control my own impulses that may be training those around me to push on my pet-peeves. That is another thing I greatly liked about this book, she isn't only training those around her, she's training herself to react accordingly as well, which is great advice for anyone reading this book, that training, or behavior control isn't something that only one person needs to adjust. Even talking about relationships, it's an effort by both parties, not just one person. In summary, I would really recommend this book for anyone having difficulties with their partners, or children. This book really helps aide not only behavior changes, but lifestyle changes.

  26. 5 out of 5

    LETICIA DE

    I really enjoyed reading this book. You can really feel the authors love and caring personality through her words. She wants to train her husband because she cares so much for him. I thought it was really unique in a sense that you felt like you were reading a story along with almost like a psychology text book in the sense that it was informative in a way that everyone can understand but she still used many psychological techniques that are taught in college courses on how to modify behavior. A I really enjoyed reading this book. You can really feel the authors love and caring personality through her words. She wants to train her husband because she cares so much for him. I thought it was really unique in a sense that you felt like you were reading a story along with almost like a psychology text book in the sense that it was informative in a way that everyone can understand but she still used many psychological techniques that are taught in college courses on how to modify behavior. Amy tells the story of how she changed her husbands behaviors while using techniques she learned through being an animal trainer at sea world. She used a lot of positive reinforcement , for example, “I'm rewarding the behavior I like, clothes taken away” (Pg 77). She also used negative punishment. Overall, she uses a psychological training technique called DRO or Differential Reinforcement of Other Behavior where she rewards good behavior, or behavior she likes, and ignores an punishes behavior she doesn't like. This book is very good and very informational and a great step in trying to modify someones behavior. Whether that be a significant other, a friend, or even a child!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kayella

    Read the full review on my blog. This book is such a cute book! It is such an easy read that I read it in one sitting. I liked it because I am super interested in behavior. I study behavior in humans, and I am here to tell you that a lot of the concepts are the same! The way that Amy related exotic animal training to her marriage is something that seems to be unlikely, but actually went hand in hand. I will say there is one thing I didn’t like about this book. I think that it is just the critical Read the full review on my blog. This book is such a cute book! It is such an easy read that I read it in one sitting. I liked it because I am super interested in behavior. I study behavior in humans, and I am here to tell you that a lot of the concepts are the same! The way that Amy related exotic animal training to her marriage is something that seems to be unlikely, but actually went hand in hand. I will say there is one thing I didn’t like about this book. I think that it is just the critical part of me being that this is my area of study, but some of the terms were used incorrectly and it would make me cringe to read it! For example, time out is a punishment technique because it is used to decrease the likelihood of a behavior being presented in the future. The way that it was written in this book was that punishment was always an aversive stimulus, which is not always the case. Again, I think this is just the overly critical part of me, as I would say that a typical person would not be bothered by the language.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

    While the title of this book has not aged well with the captivity of killer whales being widely acknowledged as inhumane to their natures and size, this book was full of humor, insight, and practical. Her advice is for responding in conflict (which is not to respond at all), for encouraging the behavior you want more than nagging against the things you don’t like. Reading this book has given me practical and positive fresh approaches to human relationships as well as very effective approaches to While the title of this book has not aged well with the captivity of killer whales being widely acknowledged as inhumane to their natures and size, this book was full of humor, insight, and practical. Her advice is for responding in conflict (which is not to respond at all), for encouraging the behavior you want more than nagging against the things you don’t like. Reading this book has given me practical and positive fresh approaches to human relationships as well as very effective approaches to training my dog.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    I don't particularly care for pop psych books and this one did nothing to change my mind. The author falls into tired gender roles, repeatedly calling herself a nag and referring to other women as bitches. She complains about her husband and his inability to comply with reasonable requests. I don't know if this tone was adjusted for the anticipated audience of the book, but since this was an assigned reading in a graduate course, it really fell flat for me. I don't particularly care for pop psych books and this one did nothing to change my mind. The author falls into tired gender roles, repeatedly calling herself a nag and referring to other women as bitches. She complains about her husband and his inability to comply with reasonable requests. I don't know if this tone was adjusted for the anticipated audience of the book, but since this was an assigned reading in a graduate course, it really fell flat for me.

  30. 4 out of 5

    B.

    I listened to the audiobook version of What Shamu Taught Me and was turned off by the voice. I probably should have read the printed version to give it a chance. As it is, I cannot recall, other than the voice, any reason that I disliked it. There wasn't going to be anything profound. Just the memoir of someone who's life is either not interesting or not interestingly told. I should give it another try, but there is a reason I did not return to it. I should go with my first instinct. I listened to the audiobook version of What Shamu Taught Me and was turned off by the voice. I probably should have read the printed version to give it a chance. As it is, I cannot recall, other than the voice, any reason that I disliked it. There wasn't going to be anything profound. Just the memoir of someone who's life is either not interesting or not interestingly told. I should give it another try, but there is a reason I did not return to it. I should go with my first instinct.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.