When it comes to doing what's right for your pet, save your breath.

That's the recommendation of U.S. researchers, who say that patting your animal on the head is for more pleasurable to him or her than saying what a good boy they are.

Dr. Erica Feuerbacher from the University of Florida and Dr. Clive Wynne of Arizona State University figured that out after seeing how various dogs responded to a number of different situations.

Whether it was a shelter dog, an owned dog with a stranger or a mutt with its master, they all preferred petting to vocal praise.  In fact, the dogs never got tired of the human touch.  Apparently, dogs have to be very familiar with a voice in order to respond well to praise.  So what beats petting? Feuerbacher and Wynne conducted an experiment earlier this year and learned the answer was food. So I guess the takeaway is, if you want them to behave a certain way, you have to treat them a certain way.

I'm a petter, I admit.  But they also like me to scritch their heads or rub their bellies. But every now and then, they just have to get off the dang dining room table, and to do that sometimes I have to shoot them with the water bottle.

What do you think?  Will this change how you praise your pet?  How do you currently reward your pet - and how do you punish them?   Is there a method that gets better results?

Praisingly yours,

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