Ladies would you like to train your husbands or boyfriends? Amy Sutherland might be onto something. She claims you can train your husband just the same as you train your dog. Reward him when he’s good and ignore him when he’s bad. She decided to apply the same technique to her husband and taught them both how to have a happier marriage.
Amy Sutherland spent a year training animals and decided to try her training techniques on her husband. According to her approach you reward positive habits and ignore the negative ones. She says when her husband paraded around the house shouting she ignored his outbursts. To keep him out of the kitchen when she was cooking, she provided bowls of chips and salsa away from her cooking area. Amy first wrote about her experiment in the New York Times where it became the most emailed story of the year.
In the 1890s Ivan Pavlov experimented with dogs to study stimulus, behavior and response and in the 1930s B.F. Skinner used rats and pigeons to develop his theory of operant behaviors. This has become a controversial issue. Critics deny that humans are so easily manipulated. They say that books such as Sutherland’s reinforce the sexes stereotypes about women using their feminine wiles to manipulate simple minded men.
In a 1960s film, “If a Man Answers” Sandra Dee’s mother hands her a canine training hand book with the advice “if you want a perfect marriage, treat your husband like a dog.” Sutherland claims that animal training works on both men and women, and there’s no bias to it.
Cover of If a Man Answers
In another book, “Seducing the Boys Club” Nina DiSesa delivers a gender specific approach to changing people’s behavior. She argues that women should use their femininity to manipulate men they work with to advance their career. Women use these tactics all the time, she says. We’re mothers, wives, girlfriends, sisters. We know how to handle men, we just don’t do it at work.
DiSesa’s tactics may not appeal to women but Sutherland’s appeal is obvious, no counseling and no tantrums. Sutherland says it’s no quick fix. In fact she was the one who wound up being trained. she taught herself not to take her husbands actions personally, and not to react when he did things that annoyed her. Sutherland’s husband caught onto her experiment and started using her techniques back on her. She is skeptical that the technique will work on such things as lack of communication or sexual problems but for the every day nitty gritty, due to the response she had received she’s inclined to think it works just fine.
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