Animal and Human Relationship Quotes


“Animals may not exhibit their cognitive abilities in precisely the same contexts as do humans with, say, verbal material.  But this should not be viewed necessarily as a deficiency.  Indeed, if experiementer and subject roles were reversed, pigeons might view us as limited in at least some capacities, because we cannot see ultraviolet light as they can or hear ultrasound as they can.”

Wright, A.A., Cook, R.G., Rivera, J.J., Sands, S.F., and Deluis, J.D. (1988). Concept learning by pigeons:  Matching-to-sample with trial-unique video picture stimuli.  Animal Learning & Behavior 16 (4), 436-444.

“We need another and wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.”

From THE OUTERMOST HOUSE by Henry Beston


“Dogs get plenty of ‘aversives’ in every day life. My Gordon Setters regularly run into the door in misjudging the gap, stub their toes, fall off the bed, go the wrong side of a tree, etc.  Hey, that’s life. But it’s not good teaching.” 

Kay Laurence 

So, aversives are used on the owners, to make them use aversives on the dog. And does it do any harm? Oh, yes indeed! 

Karen Pryor 

The question is NOT how major or minor the aversive is. The question is, why use it when you don’t have to!  

Karen Pryor 

Whenever an aversive seems like the “answer” to a “problem,” find another way. 

Karen Pryor 

Give up the leash pop. Period. Don’t use it as a tool, as a cue, as a correction, or as a habit. Speak to the dog, before you move. Then teach the dog that going with you, whenever and wherever you go, is a clickable behavior. It won’t take five minutes. And your dog will be so pleased.

Karen Pryor


Cats are a fairly right-wing group politically. They are lovers of the status quo. They don’t like anything that might represent change. They hate marriages, divorces, moving days, graduations, bar mitzvahs, bill collectors, rug shampooners, painters, plumbers, electricians, television repairmen, out-call masseuses, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and just about everything else, most of which I agree with them about.

Friedman, Kinky (1993), When the cat’s away. New York (Wings Books), 481

Now I have a cat. Well, that’s not quite accurate. A cat and I have each other.

Friedman, Kinky (1993), When the cat’s away. New York (Wings Books), 421

When you have a cat, you assume certain responsibilities that, in a spiritual sense, may transcend those of a marital or a business relationship.

Friedman, Kinky (1993), Greenwich Killing Time. New York (Wings Books), 88

Cats, as a rule, don’t like lawyers. They have great insight into human character.

Friedman, Kinky (1993), Greenwich Killing Time. New York (Wings Books), 48

I rarely meddled in the cat’s personal affairs and she rarely meddled in mine. Neither of us was foolish enough to attribute human emotions to our pets.

Friedman, Kinky (1993), Greenwich Killing Time. New York (Wings Books), 12

On the whole, I preferred cats to women because cats seldom if ever used the word “relationship”.
Friedman, Kinky (1993), Greenwich Killing Time. New York (Wings Books), 135I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult. It’s not. Mine had me trained in two days.

– – – Bill Dana (William Szathmary)

There has never been a cat
Who couldn’t calm me down
By walking slowly
Past my chair

– – – Rod McKuen


Pet a dog where he can’t scratch and he’ll always be your friend.

– – – Orville Mars

Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail.” 

Kinky Friedman


“If I don’t practice for a day, I know it. If I don’t practice for two days, the critics know it. And if I don’t practice for three days, the public knows it.”  

Louis Armstrong  


“If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.” 

Charlie Parker

“Some guys dig ditches, I have a band. It’s what I do.”  

Woody Herman 

“What we play is life.”  

Louis Armstrong


“…In a seminar for professionals who work with autistic children, a leading therapist was asked what she looked for when she interviewed staff for her clinic… This behaviorally oriented expert gave a response that was dramatically simple:  “The ability to be kind and to persevere.”  She went on to say that she could teach anyone the other technical skills required to be a good teacher.       These thoughts could just as easily be applied to dog training.”

How Dogs Learn by Mary Burch & Jon Bailey 

“You’ve got to accentuate the postive

Eliminate the negative

Don’t mess with Mr. In-between.”            

Johnny Mercer, 1940’s song 


“Well, you can get someone to do what you want through negative reinforcement, you just don’t want to be around them!” 

A prison guard who had just been bitten by a rat trained by negative reinforcement in a Skinner box.  How Dogs Learn by Mary Burch and Jon Bailey.


I find it difficult to understand why punishment would be necessary to teach the relatively simple behaviors asked for in [dog] “competition.”                                          

Bob Bailey

Punishers, like reinforcers, are defined by the receiver, not the giver.  

Karen Pryor

REINFORCER EFFECTIVENESS“In Europe, they like everything you do. The mistakes and everything. That’s a little bit too much.” 

Miles Davis

On reinforcer effectiveness:

“Hard work pays off in the future.  Laziness pays off right now.”                     

Ralph Sisson (Kellie’s Dad)

You can get just about everything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want.  

Zig Ziglar


“There is nothing to keeping a band together. You simply have to have a gimmick, and the gimmick I use is to pay them money!”  

Duke Ellington

“Well, I enjoy doing it. That’s all I wanted to do anyway. I guess, you know, if I didn’t make it with the piano, I guess I would have been the biggest bum.”  

Thelonius Monk

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