Less is more when it comes to chatter.

An interesting theme has been running through my lessons the last few weeks and that has been to stop all the chatter, clucking( surprising how many people do this) and the constant "jollying up" to either get their dog's attention or to fix a behavior. Dogs are not verbal communicator like humans so if they are hearing a bunch of chatter that really has no meaning then they have to try to pick a cue out of it. If the handlers remains quiet except when asking for a cue, the cues have more meaning and the dog doesn't have to try to decipher what is being asked of him. So all the dog really needs to hear is the cue, the bridging stimulus and perhaps some happy praise as you are delivering the reinforcement. So many people will chatter in an effort to get the dog to speed up when he is lagging or in an attempt to improve his attitude. This only results in inadvertently reinforcing the plodding gait and dull mood. If instead you completely ignore the lack luster performance and reinforce any effort on the dog's part to speed up you will soon see a lot more effort put into staying in position. The same goes for the hang dog sad sack, ignore that dog but reinforce any moments of cheeriness and soon you will see a much brighter dog. This all goes back to knowing what you want so you can see it and reinforce it. Remember what you attend to is what you will get.