How to Praise Your Puppy

Rewarding your puppy reinforces his behavior.
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Getting a new puppy gives you the power to raise him into a well-behaved dog. Quixi Sonntag, a veterinarian and author of Bad Dog to Good Dog, suggests ideally training your pup between the age of 2 to 4 months, because he'll be eager to learn and will respond well to environmental stimulation. Although correctly praising your puppy while training him is essential, every dog is different, and what works for one, might not work for the other. Find out which method of praising your furry friend prefers and use it to reinforce good behavior.

Step 1

Say "good dog" or "good boy" to give your pet pal a verbal reward. Use a high-pitched tone of voice, because this resembles the whimpering sound of a mother dog, which might be comforting to your furry friend. Your pup's wagging tail is an indication that your praise is effective.

Step 2

Pat your dog on the head, rub his belly or scratch him behind his ears to show him you approve of his behavior. This pleasant display of affection might be enough to reinforce your puppy's good behavior.

Step 3

Reward your puppy with a food treat right after he displays good behavior. Use small pea-size, soft treats that he can eat quickly so he immediately looks at you for more. The treat you give should be tempting enough to get your dog's full attention. Try a variety of treats, such as small pieces of freeze-dried liver, cheese, hot dogs or chicken.

Step 4

Throw a ball, play a game of fetch or give your puppy a toy to reward his good behavior. Games and toys can motivate your puppy to keep up the good work.

Step 5

Combine different forms of praise if using just one method doesn't work. Say "good boy," pet your dog and give him a food treat or toy.


  • Always reward your puppy immediately after the good behavior, because praising after the fact won't register -- he won't be able to associate the reward with his good behavior.

Items You Will Need

  • Dog treats
  • Dog toys