Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Power Of Positive Feedback

We all know about positive reinforcement when it comes to training our dogs...

But what about the power of positive feedback, or even, come to think of it, the power of negative feedback...

I know personally how easy it is to latch onto a negative comment, it leaves you questioning, doubting, wondering if what you're doing is right. I know it definitely didn't leave me excited or inspired about the next training session. And I'm sure there are some out there, that have thought about throwing in the towel or even actually calling it quits.... all because of the power of negative feedback.

So why is it sometimes easier to criticise, than to offer something nice to say? Do they have method in their madness... is it to toughen us up... make us try harder to get it right?

If I look at how I train my dogs, mostly it's positive.... but being honest there is a negative side, take shaping for example. My dogs will offer random behaviours...each time potentially failing until I click and treat (giving them that positive feedback). BUT here is the thing... and you can see it in dogs, JUST as you can see it in people... the more you fail, the more you question, the less enthusiastic the performance or the desire to do the performance becomes.

Lets look at positive feedback. I know for me, even when something seems hard especially when training the dogs, any positive comments received keeps me coming back for more! It makes me want to try harder, it leaves me motivated and excited about the next training session. I've been really lucky with the people that have played a huge role in teaching me. They were positive, they inspired me with their feedback, so I can SEE the difference for myself.

Don't get me wrong... I've had moments in my life when things have come out of my mouth and I'd wished the earth would swallow me up, because lets face it, I can be as subtle as a brick at times :-P   But the more I teach, the more I'm extremely mindful of the impact my opinion can have on others. I don't want to go home at night and think that I've left someone feeling disheartened, I want to go home hoping that I've left people inspired!!

I think it's really important to remember that words are incredibly powerful, especially when you teach, or give feedback if someone asks...

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