Expert Puppy Training

Training Tip: How to Ensure Your Praise is Meaningful.

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Praise and attention can be a really powerful motivator and indeed extremely rewarding to a dog, yet many dogs are completely unmotivated and uninterested in their owners particularly when there is any form of distraction.
To avoid this happening to you and to ensure your dog views your praise and your attention as motivating and rewarding:

Step 1- UNDERSTAND YOUR DOG.
All dogs are individuals- just like us they prefer different things. Take time to evaluate what your dog really likes so you can ensure the type of praise you give is perceived by her as a reward. Some dogs love excitable patting together with lots of verbal praise. Others are more reserved and would be overwhelmed by this, instead they thrive on gentle strokes and soft calm verbal praise. Give your dog the praise he loves!
It is vital that when you praise your dog you do so from the heart- in other words you really mean it. Our dogs are really astute so they can’t be kidded!
Step 2-ONLY GIVE ATTENTION WHEN YOU INITATE IT NOT WHEN HE COMES TO YOU ASKING FOR IT.
The relationship we have with our dog and how he perceives us is key to everything. It is essential that your dog views the attention you give him as a privilege not a right. Think about it, if your dog can come to you at anytime and get attention from you why would he be motivated by it?
When I advise clients to do this they often worry it might upset their dog and stop the dog from loving them, actually it has the exact opposite affect and your dog will be much more attentive and appreciate your attention. It is imperative that you do not deprive him of your attention merely change when you give it. In essence your dog will still get the same amount of attention just when you decide not him!

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Sue Williams

Sue has vast experience gained from working with both dogs and other animals over the last 20 years.

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