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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Reward what we like instead of punishing what we don't like

Do we reward “obnoxious” behavior instead of the behavior that we like?

Imagine this scenario: Your dog is lying on his mat doing nothing. We breathe a sigh of relief that the dog is out of our hair so we can get some work done. We don’t acknowledge the dog at all (no reward for being good). But if the dog paws at us, jumps on us, humps us, etc.. what do we do? We reward the dog by looking at him, touching him (pushing him away), talking to him (yelling).
Remember that dogs are social creatures and any attention (even bad attention) is better than no attention at all. Soon your dog learns that in order to get attention from you, he must be “obnoxious” – Like in the Puddin story.

Rewarding what we like.. this isn’t just for pet parents. How many times throughout the day do you thank your significant other, friend, co-worker etc..?

Instead of yelling at hubby for leaving his socks on the floor, how about thanking him for putting the dishes away. Instead of yelling at your roommate for forgetting to take the trash out, how about thanking her for buying extra groceries. If we find more positive things to concentrate on and reward, we might get more positive things.

For more information on this subject, check out Karen Pryor’s Don’t Shoot The Dog

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