Verbal Praise (the hidden motivator)

Using verbal praise is all about using enough emotion to convey to your dog that you are pleased with him.

Simply saying, “Good dog,” in a monotone voice won’t cut it.  Verbal praise should be upbeat and as full of emotion as you can muster.

A good rule of thumb for verbal praise:  Your dog’s tail should be wagging after being praised.  If it is not, you may need to put a little more emotion and excitement into your praise.

Verbal praise guidelines

Some guidelines to follow when using verbal praise include:

  • Use this when your dog is in command – physical praise may cause your dog to break the command.
  • Use a lot of emotion – you need to sound happy and convince your dog that you are pleased.
  • Smile when praising – dogs are great are reading your facial features and can distinguish between smiles and scowls.
  • Avoid too much direct eye contact – your dog is great at reading your face, and too much eye contact can cause the dog to pop out of a sit or down and come to you.
  • Avoid using your dog’s name – again, this is something that may cause your dog to come to you – instead say things like, “good [insert command here],” or, “good job,” “good boy/girl.”

Improve your verbal praise

Pick a “Fruit” or “Vegetable.”  Then face your dog. 

Using ONLY the fruit or vegetable name you picked and not uttering any other sounds, get your dog to wag its tail.

The game’s object is to get your dog the happiest with just the use of your voice.  No real words are allowed, like “cookie,” or “bye-bye” or “daddy” or “good puppy. You have to strictly get your dog excited enough to wag its tail by using the name of a vegetable or fruit.

This should help you get over the embarrassment of talking “happy talk” to your dog.  It also helps you see how important tone of voice is in creating a good attitude in your dog.

Let’s talk dogs, or even better, let’s learn about dogs.  Set aside some time to receive Spike’s dog blogs by Acme Canine.