Originally Posted by joysworld
On page 80 of 'The New Dare to Discipline', it talks about his dog Siggy, but he is talking about the law of reinforcement. I've gone through the whole book of TNDTD, and the story of winning at all costs with his dog is not in it. Before I came, the library had Strong Willed Child here, but I got here, and it was checked out.
I did google, and found this. So, it's in The Strong Willed Child, I just don't have access to it at the moment.
"Please don't misunderstand me. Siggie is a member of our family and we love him dearly. And despite his anarchistic nature, I have finally taught him to obey a few simple commands. However, we had some classic battles before he reluctantly yielded to my authority.
"The greatest confrontation occurred a few years ago when I had been in Miami for a three-day conference. I returned to observe that Siggie had become boss of the house while I was gone. But I didn't realize until later that evening just how strongly he felt about his new position as Captain.
"At eleven o'clock that night, I told Siggie to go get into his bed, which is a permanent enclosure in the family room. For six years I had given him that order at the end of each day, and for six years Siggie had obeyed."
-- The Strong Willed Child
I would like to emphasize, for any lurkers here who may be on the fence about Dobson, that he knows nothing about dogs.
1. The dog did not become "boss of the house" while Dobson was away. The dog accepted Mrs. Dobson as his leader and master. Note that the dog hid behind her. The dog's behavior toward Dobson is the behavior of a dog who is challenged by another dog for his position. The dog thought of himself and Dobson as subordinate to the real leader of the pack--the person who actually ran the place instead of barking incomprehensible orders (see below) and charging around with a belt. Also note that dogs who keep fighting back against a dominance display either recognize that the other dog is full of hot air, or else they think the other dog means to kill them and therefore they must fight for their lives. But Dobson sees all interactions as either reinforcements of his power, or attempts to challenge his power--even when the other party is frightened of him. This is one of the main objections many of us have to child training.
2. So the dog didn't learn tricks for a long time because of his "anarchistic nature?" Somehow I think this has more to do with Dobson's unexamined inability to train a dog. Based on the above anecdote about the belt, I suspect that he followed the typical mindset of child training methods: if at first you don't succeed, don't reconsider your methods, just do it more and harder.
And we have this story to explain further how well Dobson understands the "nature" of others:
3. How was the dog supposed to understand the word "attack" out of the blue? Dobson doesn't mention training this twelve-pound, short-legged animal as an attack dog. I repeat, this was a twelve-pound animal who had not received any training in attacking strangers that Dobson mentions. He was confronted with a big stranger rummaging around in the dark, the Belt Man was doing his angry gibberish thing, and he was supposed to charge into combat why, exactly? Ascribing to the subjects of training capabilities they simply don't have is a third hallmark of child training.
Understanding ages and stages is commonly dismissed as "science" or "psychology" when it is simply common sense backed up by observation.
Dobson cites his treatment of this poor dog as evidence that he understands the role of authority in daily life.
Dobson also mentions that his cats at the time were neurotic.