Yes, we all know that special “doggy” voice we use just to praise our pooches when they do exactly what they’re supposed to. We use it as a reward with the thought that they know it is a “praising” voice and that they will be happy and excited to hear it.
However, a study done recently by the University of Florida showed that dogs actually prefer physical contact to vocal praise. They looked at three groups of dogs to determine this: shelter dogs with stranger contact, owned dogs with their owner’s contact and owned dogs with stranger’s contact. Dogs did react positively to vocal praise, but typically only when it came from their owner.
All dogs reacted very positively to being petted – whether it was from someone they knew or a stranger.
So next time you want to reward Fido for something, give him a nice little pet! Better yet – a treat. In the study, food was the only thing responded to more positively than petting!