Why It’s So Important To Praise

We all do it….forget to praise. If we are specifically asking for an action such as ‘sit’ or ‘down’ then yes, we are likely to do it but otherwise, if our dog does what she is meant to do we just carry on as normal.

Praise is a Guarantee of a Behaviour Being Repeated.

Going back to one of our mantras, ignore the bad behaviour, praise the good. If your dog is exhibiting a behaviour that is a wanted behaviour, quite often, it is ignored just because in our minds that’s what she should be doing. It’s only when we find a behaviour unacceptable, that we give her a form of feedback, even if that is to reprimand. It gives her attention (which is what she wants) and therefore inadvertently re enforces that behaviour. Obviously there are some unacceptable behaviours which cannot be ignored but even then we should provide an alternative option, allowing her to succeed and gain praise and attention. For example, if she is chewing something she shouldn’t, rather than shouting ‘no’ and becoming angry, giving her a toy to chew instead and praising her will teach her that chewing the toy is good. Whatever form the attention is given in, it’s still attention and any behaviour that brings attention will be repeated in order to gain it. So remember, praise the behaviour you like and guaranteed, she will do it again!

Maddie Knight

ACC.Ad.Dip.Can.Psy AMACC Canine Psychologist and Behaviourist
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