The following pair of quotes hail from two very well known (and radically different) dog training books. I’m sure a number of readers will recognize one or both right away.

1. In the beginning, God created the Heaven and the Earth. Man, a bit later, created the fable that “the dog, when he understands, always wants to please.” The dog, the world’s first opportunist, in some ways more knowing of man than man knew of him, sensed and endorsed this delightful state and was so constant and clever in his professions as to give man scant time to review the theory.


2. When are we going to put to bed once and for all the concept that dogs have a “desire to please”? What a vacuous, dangerous idea. I’m still waiting to meet this dog who wants to please his owner. Indeed, where is this dog who is interested at all in the internal state of his owner except with regard to how manefestations of this state impact events of relevance to the dog?

HINT: Both authors are known for their strident tones.

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