I’m a sucker for American classic pop music, and I use this Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen song as my training mantra. You really should click on the link here and listen to the Paul McCartney version of this great song: Accentuate the Positive (youtube, Paul McCartney version!). It is a great tune to keep in your head along with the lyrics, and the lyrics go like this:
“You’ve got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch onto the affirmative and don’t mess with Mr. in-between. Spread joy up to the maximum…no-oo, don’t mess with Mr. In-between!”
So apply this to your training (and pretty sound advice for living too!)-
- “accentuate the positive…” = Always acknowledge and reinforce desired behavior. i.e. look for what your dog is doing right and let them know it!
- “eliminate the negative…” = Extinguish unwanted behavior by ignoring it (and reinforcing an alternate desired behavior).
- “latch onto the affirmative…” = Always be in positive mode. Our dogs should never be confused or stressed by our mood when training! If you can’t train happy, then stop and wait until you can.
- “and don’t mess with Mr. in-between, no…!” = Don’t be wishy-washy. Know your criteria and keep it crystal clear, and be consistent.
- “Spread joy up to the maximum…” = this should define our training and relationship with our dogs!
Happy training! Char