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I think "good girl" has become a release word???

929 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Bordermom
I have a 6 month old puppy. She is a good dog and is doing well with training. I mostly just do positive reward based training, but I don't always have treats in my hand. I try to tell her "good girl" as a positive marker, when she is does her tricks or when she is doing something nicely, like walking loose on the leash. But now it is starting to seem like if I say "good girl" the trick or whatever is over, and she starts doing whatever she wants. On walks she will be walking nicely, i try to praise, and when I do, she goes ahead and starts pulling. Obviously I will still be using "good girl" along with the rest of the family and most people in the world, so is there a way I can add in a real release word or teach her that "good girl" is a praise/reward, not permission to do what her puppy heart desires???
ps. I am a first-time puppy owner, but have read every book and website there is and have been lurking on DF for years....so I hope you guys can give me some solid advice to help with this, it's not a huge problem, but I have no access to classes or trainers where I live and I want to do my best with this pup. Thanks.
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She's responding to the word correctly. By using "good girl" as a reward word you've taught her that "good girl" means she has correctly performed what you asked her to do and she can come get her treat. For example, if you were to tell her to sit and then you said "good girl!" she gets up and gets her treat. Therefore, if you tell her to 'stay' or 'leave it' when you say 'good girl' she knows she's done what was necessary to get praise.

IMO I would be a little more stingy with verbal praise in general. I only use lots of verbal praise when I first introduce a new command and Hallie is just learning it. Then verbal praise is necessary because I need to let her know when she does the command correctly since she's learning. Basically use more treats right now rather than verbal praise. Treats keep the dog interested in you, verbal praise (without treats) doesn't mean much other than "okay you did it! Now go play!" to most dogs. You can always teach new commands to help with training.
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