Encourage, Praise and Reward-when and why?

Encourage, Praise and Reward Your Dog

Mark McCabe came up with an excellent quote that is so true. “You should spend at least ten times as much time and effort trying to catch and respond to good behavior as bad behavior.”

Bad behavior seems to get so much more attention, so dogs often engage in it more often. Stealing items off the table, jumping up, barking, etc. We are often frustrated and annoyed by bad behavior and obsess about it regularly. I love to hear people sharing good choices their dogs are making.

That doesn’t mean that I won’t correct bad behavior, but I often spend a lot of time praising a dog for being calm in the crate, waiting for their food, ignoring traffic and other dogs and lying next to me in the evening. The more often I can reward this behavior, the more the dog will start to offer it in the car, at the park, in the store and out in public.

What if you took that energy and focused on your dog and spent time encouraging your dog for walking on a new floor surface. Praising a dog for eye contact, relaxing on their dog bed, climbing on an object, standing when someone comes in a room and then rewarding when they repeat the behavior.

If we actually spent 10 times as much time and effort capturing good behavior, our dogs would begin to offer it more. We spend so much time focusing on the negative issues that we don’t encourage or praise all the GOOD things our dogs do on a regular basis. Dogs make good choices every day that often go unnoticed. If the behavior isn’t acknowledged, they will revert to behavior that does get attention and the bad behavior cycle continues.

My challenge to you this month is to spend time each day observing your dog and encouraging and praising all the GOOD choices they make. Reward each time those behaviors become consistent. This will help you create a different picture of your dog and recognize all the effort they are putting in.

Try this challenge and keep me posted on your progress!