Get Your Praise On

Picture this: you are tasked with a super complicated and challenging project at work. Tackling this project has forced you to use all the skills at your disposal and truly stretch yourself. You may even be a bit worn out once the project is completed, both mentally and physically. It took a lot of out of you! Still, you rose to the occasion and did what was asked of you. Not only that, but you also knocked it out of the park by anyone’s standards, even providing the desired result in record time!

Yet when your boss sees the result of all your efforts, the best they can muster is the most monotone and unenthusiastic, “Good job. Now go do the next one.”

How excited are you to pour yourself into this next project? Are you going to give it your all, running on all cylinders, or will you begin to dread the whole thing, perhaps even daydreaming of getting another job?

Now, think of the same scenario, only this time have your boss genuinely impressed with the work you did. They paid attention throughout your presentation, noted what went well and even took you and your department out for a celebratory dinner afterwards where they announced they were paying you a bonus for a job well done. Afterall, you did what they asked of you and then some, which will benefit the entire company.

I can pretty much guarantee when they ask you to tackle another project, you will be much more likely to do so and with a pep in your step.

The only difference between these two scenarios was how the person who tasked you with the project reacted to your efforts.

Pretty simple concept, right?

Why is it when it comes to doing Scent Work with our dogs, we seem to forget this simple truth and find rewarding them for their efforts so difficult?


I apologize in advance for how flippant this will come across as, but why is everyone so flippin’ serious when it comes to Scent Work?!

We. Are. Playing. A. Game.

Not finding dead bodies. Nor bombs. Nor solving the worlds ills.

We are, at most, finding a novel target odor which bears no value to the running of the world. If every dog on the planet stopped finding Birch tomorrow, the Earth would continue to spin away.

Yet time and time and time again, handlers are doing searches with their dogs carrying with them the most serious demeanor and manner conceivable.

If you don’t think this influences your dog’s performance, you are sorely mistaken.

Our dogs are so in tune with us, of course how we carry ourselves in the search matters!