Praise must be rewarding to your dog in order for you to use it. To understand what type of praise is valued by your dog experiment with the following:
1. What tone of voice does your dog like? High pitch? Low pitch? Both low and high pitch? When praising your dog, make sure you are smiling. Dogs are truth detectors; your praise must be sincere. Experiment with verbal praise and write down what kind of verbal praise your dog likes:
2. What type of physical touch does your dog like? Does your dog like to be touched softly? Does your dog like it when you rough up its fur? Does your dog like you rough housing with it, or does it prefer gentle physical touch. Write how your dog likes to be physically touched:
3. Now experiment with combining the two types of praise you have listed above. Does the dog like this? Record what you learned.
4. If your dog did not like any of the forms of verbal and physical praise that you experimented with, you can teach the dog to like praise. Here is how you do it. You praise your dog verbally and physically and then give it a delicious food treat. You do this for a month, praise, ‘click’ and then treat. After a month, your dog will likely become happy when you praise it even if you don’t always give it a treat.
Knowing what your dog likes is the key to gaining excellent communication with your dog. Know your dog’s joy buttons and you can train it to do whatever it is physically and mentally capable of doing.
Download a PPG worksheet so you can record your findings. Click here.