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Does Your Praise Affect Your Dog In A Positive Way?

by Adam G. Katz

Dear Adam,

Last summer, I took Tipper to an obedience class. [Edited] I came away feeling horrible and losing all of my confidence. [Edited] After all of those things, you have given me hope to try again. But, here are my two : First, my praise seems to have no meaning....and I don't know how to make praise something that she wants. Second, Tipper has little motivation to come when called. So, I guess the question is: How do I make my praise and love something she wants? This kind of feels like a small question and I have a few more but I think with some thoughts on that and your book we have a chance to try again.

I really need some encouragement...please.

- Jen

Dear Jen:

Ever had a boyfriend who told you how much he loved you… EVERY HOUR?

I bet it was sweet… at first. But after awhile, it became annoying and lost it’s meaning.

It’s the same with dogs. If you’re constantly touching and praising your dog, after awhile your praise loses meaning.

Furthermore, it is your job to find out what motivates your dog. Food? A ball? Jumping around like a fool? A high pitched voice?

And once you’ve figured out what this is, DON’T DO IT ALL THE TIME.

Reserve it for when your dog does something REALLY GOOD, and use drive building exercises to increase your dog’s drive.

Next, link whatever it is that motivates your dog with the phrase, "Good Dog."

It really comes down to having a balanced relationship with your dog.

In addition, make sure that training for your dog is FUN… not work.

Every down-stay is an opportunity to finish the exercise and GET TO CHASE THE BALL. Every properly executed COME exercise IS A CHANCE TO GET YOUR HAPPY SPOT RUBBED! (Not yours, the dog’s stupid!)

Make sense?

- Adam.

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