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Train an Obedient Spouse

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.

Cover via Amazon

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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User Comments
  1. CHIPMUNK

    On April 17, 2011 at 11:19 am


    interestingly said

  2. Starpisces

    On April 17, 2011 at 11:22 am


    so interesting.. the title makes me smile also… :)

  3. Jimmy Shilaho

    On April 17, 2011 at 11:35 am


    All couples should read this. Don’t you think so Ruby?

  4. Guy Hogan

    On April 17, 2011 at 11:53 am


    If relationships were as simple as these books and movies make them out to be…Well, it was an enjoyable article to read.

  5. SharifaMcFarlane

    On April 17, 2011 at 12:04 pm


    Interesting idea.

  6. seashell66

    On April 17, 2011 at 1:35 pm


    I enjoyed it.

  7. Brenda Nelson

    On April 17, 2011 at 3:27 pm


    I wrote a link some time ago about training your kid this way. I see too many parents training their kids by rewarding bad behavior, too many parents are actually being controlled by their kids. It’s amazing. This stuff is soo true.

  8. mona rastogi

    On April 17, 2011 at 5:32 pm


    good posting

  9. petercurtis97

    On April 17, 2011 at 8:26 pm


    This is really Interesting and I enjoyed reading it so much, as having a deep interest in Psychology and the behaviorists you mentioned as I studied them in high school and University.

  10. LCM Linda

    On April 17, 2011 at 10:24 pm


    Interesting idea. Women train men; men tame women. :D

  11. MeesterSpiffy

    On April 17, 2011 at 11:14 pm


    What is this! how about some training on how to keep the wife on a leash, we all know that it is the women that need to be kept under control… haha

  12. Noisy Cricket

    On April 17, 2011 at 11:34 pm


    The theory is sound. I guess you have to start early in the relationship. Really could have used this technique for the 20 years of marriage that left a gapping hole in my existence. Maybe next time. Thanks for sharing.

  13. PR Mace

    On April 18, 2011 at 6:01 am


    Well my husband will sit and stay if I could only get him to rollover. Great article.

  14. RS Lannan

    On April 18, 2011 at 7:58 am


    i appreciated the and saw the wisdom in the comment near the end, when it talks about how she found that she herself was the one who got trained–she had to retrain herself on how to react to her husband. Wow, is there truth in that. the only person we can really change is ourselves…. Much of what we think is our effective change on another is our own transformation….

  15. Moses Ingram

    On April 18, 2011 at 11:03 am


    The title got my attention immediately! Good to know that it works either way.Prehaps we should use it on our children.

  16. Judy Kaelin

    On April 18, 2011 at 12:18 pm


    Interesting, I will pass this information along to the upcoming brides at their bridal showers!

  17. Christine Ramsay

    On April 19, 2011 at 7:05 am


    I have been trying to train my hubby for forty years with little success so far. This approach sounds intriguing.

  18. yes me

    On April 19, 2011 at 5:18 pm


    Made me feel Ruff ruff this one ha ha ha cheers Ruby

  19. Tulan

    On April 19, 2011 at 6:24 pm


    Now, that’s and idea, wish I had known it years ago. I’m afraid it’s too late now.

  20. LewSethics

    On April 20, 2011 at 8:02 am


    I don’t know where to begin with all the negative things I have to say about this concept, so I will just say that I disagree, and I am sure that any woman would be insulted if her husband got a book on how to train his wife.

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