Sunday, March 28, 2010

Don't Forget to Say, "Good Job."

How do you get someone to keep doing a good job when they are doing a good job? You tell them that. Let them know that they are doing well. It's so easy for us to be negative and we tend (I hate to say) to be a punishment driven society. I think this is in all of us to some degree, myself included. It's so easy to point out when someting's wrong. But what about when something is right or someone is doing a good thing?

When people get too much of, "this is wrong", "that is wrong", "you didn't do this right" they get sort of beat down or disinterested in interacting with that negativity.....right? It seems to me no one would want to continue working at something when there is no win at the end or that there is no end.

I think it's probably the same with dogs. When it's no, no, no, no, no, sit, sit, sit, sit, and there's no "good job!" or "good dog!" to say great, you did it, it can cause the behaviors you want to actually disappear rather than to happen again. For a behavior to continue there must be some sort of reinforcement either through the environment, from other dogs, people or the handler of the dog.

I know you guys all probably know this but this is just a friendly reminder to reward your dogs, they aren't trying to misbehave they may possibly lack reinforcement for the correct behavior (or maybe reinforcement for the wrong ones inadvertently - that's another article). Of course other issues can be going on in any situation. As a trainer one common thread I see in common unwanted behaviors is no or little reinforcement for proper behavior. It doesn't necessarily have to be a treat but it can be. It can be a toy or just a head scratch, snuggle or a soft, "good boy". It's best if it's right at the time of the behavior as well.

Not that we all go around telling our loved ones how screwed up they are, of course but I think it would be fun to just go through the day and just notice something good that someone is doing and tell them that they are great.....not even just our dogs but everyone we know and love.....not just in training but just as a way of life. I'm certainly working on it!

Check out this handsome guy waiting to hear how great hear how great he is for being to patient and calm.