I posted a short bit about Ernest Thompson Seton yesterday.
Seton, of course, went on to write Wild Animals I Have Known (1898) and was later attacked by John Burroughs in an essay in Atlantic entitled "Real and Sham Natural History."
Burroughs called people who wrote sentimental and anthropomorphic animal stories, such as Seton, "nature fakers" and the ensuing controversy between romantic and science-based natural history was pretty fierce until Teddy Roosevelt ended it by siding with Burroughs.
What's particularly interesting about the battle between Burroughs and the Nature Fakers is that the Nature Fakers believed instinct played a relatively small role in animal behavior and that most animals gained knowledge by training and experience. Does that sound a bit like B.F. Skinner?
Burroughs, of course, was not having any of it:
The crows do not train their young. They have no fortresses, or schools, or colleges, or examining boards, or diplomas, or medals of honor, or hospitals, or churches, or telephones, or postal deliveries, or anything of the sort. Indeed, the poorest backwoods hamlet has more of the appurtenances of civilization than the best organized crow or other wild animal community in the land!
Burroughs summed up the Nature Fakers in his description of William J. Long, noting that Long's book, School of the Woods:
... reads like that of a man who has really never been to the woods, but who sits in his study and cooks up these yarns from things he has read in Forest and Stream, or in other sporting journals. Of real observation there is hardly a vestige in his book; of deliberate trifling with natural history there is no end.
Well yes, but how is that different from what we see today in the world of dogs? Not a whit!