I am just reading Brenda Aloff’s brand new book:
Puppy Problems? No Problem!
published by Dogwise
and was reminded how important (and also how easy it can be !) to reinforce good behavior. That includes behavior that might be occurring automatically, for example quietly chewing on a toy.
I think it is a great idea to reward great behavior, but all too often we tend to ignore puppies and dogs when they are “good”. We often start to interact with our puppies and dogs when they are doing something inappropriate, such as chewing on the leg of the precious antique sofa. But attention, any attention, is very valuable to dogs and they take what they can get. “Oh yeah, the other day when I chewed on THAT delicious piece of wood, she really got ALL excited. Maybe I will try that again!” is the message the dogs gets.
Dogs do not necessarily differentiate between positive and negative attention. As long as you are directing attention towards them, that is what they crave.
So let’s all make a huge effort to notice our dogs when they being perfect and reward them for being perfect!
Let’s throw them an additional treat when they are sitting quietly on their beds or walking nicely next to us on a loose leash. Let’s praise dogs when they are keeping themselves busy with a nice chew toy.
Soon we can compare notes to see if we were able to increase the good behavior!