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Anyone have any tips on how to be more enthusiastic with praise and exciting when training? Any good videos breaking it down for those who it doesn't come naturally to? Maybe something scientific about praise, tone of voice dogs like, and how to make things exciting?

One of my strengths as a trainer, I think, is I am not inclined towards hysterics, shrill voice, or babytalk -which mean i am usually pretry easy for a dof to understand. But I think it backfires on me when it comes to seeming "fun" for Annie. Annie is very 'fun' motivated, with, fun being way better than food, but i am pretty bad at capturing that. She did a difficult recall today off leash, i was pleased, and my response was a calm "good", a shoved piece of turkey, and a min or so later, I remembered I was supposed to be excited...

Especially on a high pain day, enthusiasm and praise is really not something I am good at, and I think I need a remedial course and some deliberate practice. Annie loves when my mom does squeaky voiced play with her, or other people. Me, when I try, she just looks confused.
 

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Off the cuff idea...Find one of those jokes or videos that cause you to break out in laughter periodically after. I do modulate my voice to a higher pitch, but I think my boys respond best when I'm just laughing. That keeps me pretty loose too 馃ぁ
 

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I find singing nursery rhymes puts me into the right place, especially if I set silly rhymes about the dogs to the tunes. But I don't think I could overcome the stress of severe pain to be silly and giggly - perhaps the shepherd's calm "That'll do" is more than sufficient reward for Annie as long as it comes from you.
 

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I sometimes find myself being very low key and it definitely takes Lily and Javelin's energy lower when I do that. When I find myself looking at a flat dog I know I need to do something to jolly things up. Often I release from working and do a silly release or play a little tug. As long as the dog likes what you are doing to be engages with them I don't think the specific thing matters so much. I often do a 1/4 turn away from the dog at heel and invite them to "give a hug (jump up)" and give them a little scratch around the ears, tell them they are good and then ask them to get close again to move on.
 
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Keep a tug toy stuffed in your pocket or tucked in the waist band or your pants.....in the back. Pull it out as a surprise every once and a while to play tug or toss a toy for a retrieve if you dog always brings a toy back.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Rose n poos- hmmm.... I have to admit I am a very calm person. I don't actually think I have any jokes or videos guaranteed to make me laugh. Watching the dogs run usually does it though.

Fjm- That makes me wonder... Annie's pretty good at reading my moods, so I wonder if when I fake jolly through pain she looks confused as she knows I am not really jolly? So it's a 'what a weird thing for you to do?" Moment instead of a "ooh! Fun!" Moment. I will try singing with her too, that's a good idea.

Lily cd re - yes! That's exactly it. Flat dog. I will try the jump up thing again, as a reward, Annie loves it but she has been jumping on our rare visitors again so I had stopped.

Skylar- good idea. I have been working on tug with her, she now loves it indoors, she still thinks it's boring/odd/confusing when we are out, so that's something concrete I can definitely worK on.
 

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I don't find I get blowback with poodles jumping all over everybody. I don't allow them to jump up unless invited. Javelin adores our trainer, but he would never dream of jumping on her even though he does get feedback from her if she thinks I have not been effusive enough.
 
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I find singing nursery rhymes puts me into the right place, especially if I set silly rhymes about the dogs to the tunes. But I don't think I could overcome the stress of severe pain to be silly and giggly - perhaps the shepherd's calm "That'll do" is more than sufficient reward for Annie as long as it comes from you.
hahaha I thought I might be the only person who does this, feels good to know that others love to be so silly and happy with their poodles. My Mom and I love to make little songs about our Jaanu.
 

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I think everyones going to be a little extra enthusiastic today after reading this thread.

I think enthusiasm is a mindset. But, how do you cultivate it if it doesn't come naturally? I don't have an easy answer, but I believe you can be more of it with intentional practice.

Replicating an enthusiastic online youtube personality who you admire is the easiest method to me. Attitudes are infectious. I follow this saveafox lady on youtube and I admire how enthusastic she is with her foxes. (see video)

Maybe some things to reflect on for yourself since it all looks different to each one of us -- What does an enthusiastic person to their dog look like? What do they sound like? What were you like when you were idealistic level of enthusiasm?

I read this book, would recommend it if you're maybe going through a season of personal development-
Enthusiasm makes a difference
 

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Basil and others I even find enthusiasm something that helps my human students. On Monday I had a very disheartening lecture and lab with a "young" set of students who had fallen into signing in to zoom from their beds and wearing pjs. Trying to work with them was horrible. I spoke to them about coming to class properly dressed for f2f class and many of them listened. Lecture today was much better. Being upbeat is very hard for many of us these days since our worlds have become so small since COVID came on the scene.
 

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I share the same concern. I am a pretty low-key person and tend to "soothe" animals instead of trying to amp them up with higher voices and energy. This may stem from dealing with animals in my local humane society, where I assisted vet techs with exams, treatments, etc. We would try to keep everything low stress and low key. I also cultivated this persona through years of riding excitable horses.

I plan to bring home my mpoo pup in about three weeks and am working on trying to develop my "puppy persona" using a higher voice, upward inflection, etc. Another challenge is that I was hospitalized last week for a severe allergic reaction. I'm still tired and am starting to feel intimidated by the demands of a new high-energy puppy. Thankfully my husband is here to help and I'm retired so have all the time in the world to spend with my pup. This group also has been so helpful and positive.
 

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(It's somewhat of a relief to know that I'm not the only one that sings to my dog... 馃槄 He's got a theme song and a treat song that he's probably sick of hearing by now.)

When I'm not feeling particularly enthused (but must appear so), I pitch my voice just a tad higher, exhale (helps me stress the first syllable - "yes!" "good!"), and imagine exclamation marks. And while I don't put much stock into "power poses," I do feel like standing/moving dynamically influence my voice. For example, I punctuate with hand gestures (e.g. fist pump or thumbs up) or do an exaggerated nod for "good."

Though since Annie is so perceptive, perhaps she could already tell from nonverbal cues that you were pleased with her?
 

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I'm glad I'm not the only one who ends up singing to my pup LOL. I tend to speak to her in a slightly higher (not pitchy, just gentle) voice 鈥 almost sing-songy. I find that when I use this tone, she's very responsive and gets excited to hear it even if I'm being relatively quiet/calm with my body language :)

Not necessarily baby-talk (like with incoherent words) but definitely similar to how you would talk to a kid who is more in the 5-6 age range if that makes sense?

Kikopup is one of my favorite trainers on Youtube and she does an AMAZING job of this. Sweet yet enthusiastic while overall having a calm demeanor.

Here's a random one of her's teaching Leave It:

Another Youtuber Simpawtico is also enthusiastic, but in more of an overt way with high-energy all the way amped.

I don't think there's one right way to do enthusiasm, but it will probably help to figure out what comes most "naturally" to you and then lean into it and develop that style of communication :) I am not naturally a mega energetic person so I tend to have a bit more of a calm-but-engaged vibe.
 

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Annie loves when my mom does squeaky voiced play with her, or other people. Me, when I try, she just looks confused.
My observation is that dogs, like kids, get used to your style. When we deviate from this, their little radars pick it up and they know it's not normal for you.

With kids, I think of how they respond to different teachers. It's almost like they have an intuition for how someone's personality really is. A teacher who is naturally enthusiastic is well received, but so are serious quiet, no nonsense teachers. Both are respected and accepted if their body language and tone of voice match, and are attentive to them.

Our dogs aren't terribly different in their perceptions of us than children. I think that whether we're loudly enthusiastic or quietly praise them, they're okay with it.

Also, to jolly up things, mine likes to chase the small sized squeaky tennis balls and I keep a half dozen in the house. It's really easy to toss them over your shoulder while reading at my computer or while watching a movie or TV several times every day. I can't even go to the bathroom w/o one of them bringing me a ball or toy to throw! This does make me laugh or at least smile.
 

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I'm pretty low key as well. What has been working for me is that Renn is having fun. I incorporate some training in while we are out playing. Of course I'm not looking to have a "perfect" guy but he now has pretty good recall, will heel off leash, sit, stay and all while playing fetch in the yard. He waits at the backdoor when I open it until I release him and now always returns to come in. This is way better than where we were a year ago. He also goes to his mat when he wants something, I will find him randomly sitting there at attention and realize its dinner time or time to go out n play. This works for me. Obviously I'm not a trainer but I find in each dog I've owned something that works, eventually.
 

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I am a quiet person normally too.
One thing that helps me, is how I give the reward. I think I saw this on Leerburg. I don't remember what they called it, maybe "reward event", or "dynamic reward"?
Anyways, the concept is to occasionally make a whole production out of the reward.
So, say your marker, reward to the side, step back, marker word, reward to the other side.
The idea is to get the dog moving to obtain the reward, kind of like they are chasing it. I found this worked really well for Raffi because he is definitely more "movement" motivated than food. It increased his enthusiasm and engagement while not being unnatural for me. Although, I still do need to remind myself to include it!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I am reading all of these, thank you all for a ton of good, practical ideas!

Starvt - think I found the video. It's here, and exactly what I was asking about!

 

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Same. Working with a dog with little food drive is a new challenge for me too. Tried it today practicing recall in the park and Annie loved it. She didn't seem to care that much about the final turkey-piece capture, but thoroughly enjoyed the chase!
 
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