This TikTok Trend Is All About Dogs And Their Reactions To “Good Boy/Girl” Praise (50 Pics)Interview
Have you seen the latest TikTok trend with a big chance of becoming the next viral sensation? This one is sure to appeal to all the dog lovers out there. The main focus of the videos is charming before-and-after snapshots with dogs in response to the phrases "good boy" or "good girl". This common positive reinforcement instantly triggers a reaction, transforming even the most concerned-looking canine into a picture of pure joy and happiness.
To delve deeper into the meaning behind this TikTok phenomenon, we reached out to Paulina Andrzejewska, a cat and dog behaviorist. If you're curious to learn more, scroll down to read our full conversation.
Bored Panda wanted to find out more about dog behaviors and the role of positive training. First, we were wondering if there are any potential risks or downsides to overusing praise and treats in dog training or interaction. Paulina told us: “Absolutely yes. Just like with any training method, it's possible to overdo it, and unfortunately, the saying ‘too much of a good thing’ doesn't apply to treats. Often, we try to divert a dog's attention from something that stresses them, like the sight of another dog or the sound of an ambulance or garbage truck, by using treats. However, this isn't a good solution because we must remember that emotions underlie every behavior. Even if we give a dog a delicious sausage while they're in contact with another dog they fear, it won't change their emotions. They'll still be scared, but they'll also be full. Food can also disrupt canine communication. Dogs may start guarding their food and exhibit completely different signals than if there was no food involved.”
Asked if there are particular vocal tones or intonations that are more effective in eliciting positive responses from dogs when using verbal praise, Paulina Andrzejewska explained: “Whenever we want to praise a dog, we need to have a ‘smile in our voice’ - I call it that informally, but I think it's the best way to describe it. Dogs often respond to low-pitched voices, such as those of men, by cowering or not fully understanding that what their guardian is saying is praise. That's why some dogs may be afraid of men. I like to praise a dog with a smile on my face, a slightly higher tone, and show them that they've really done something great! However, it's essential not to overdo it because excessive excitement from the guardian during praise can lead to the dog feeling disoriented, overstimulated, or even scared. Everything needs to be adjusted to the dog but also to your tone of voice.”
Next, we wanted the dog behaviorist to share with us some tips and tell us how dog owners can use positive reinforcement and verbal praise effectively in training and strengthening their bond with their pets. Andrzejewska said: “Dogs don't live on food alone! Positive trainers are often criticized for ‘over-treating’ dogs, for giving them treats at every possible opportunity. The truth is that verbal praise works just as well. Social contact with the guardian, their warm tone of voice, can be a great reward for a dog. I always praise my charges verbally, for example, during leash training. It's challenging to give them treats then, but verbal praise also encourages the dog to look at us - we maintain eye contact with them, focus their attention. Everyone benefits from this.”
Finally, we wanted to know Paulina’s honest opinion and perspective about the recent TikTok trend. Andrzejewska shared with us: “Trends, like any other, have both a dark and a bright side. Indeed, there are dogs that react to ‘good boy’ with a wagging tail, an open mouth, and an immediate display of joy. But let's not kid ourselves because not all dogs will react this way. Some need to get used to what that term actually means. Although I believe that what's shown in popular TikTok trends is a bit exaggerated. I think there's someone behind the camera showing the dog a treat, and that's why they change their expression. There's absolutely nothing wrong with praising a dog!”