I lately found myself talking to my patients a lot. Many people think that this is unusual, dog people find it normal but I find that it helps with rehabilitation. I use positive reinforcement methods to help train and motivate the pets in order to achieve goals that we set for them. It is very important that they feel comfortable and safe while doing exercises. There are many activities that are done during rehabilitation sessions that is their first exposure to different exercises and objects. There also may be mildly painful parts to sessions like stretching and range of motion exercises.

So what has this to do with the excess talking to animals? Part of the positive reinforcement method is to give praise when they achieve something good. I do not use negative reinforcement at all because I want them to enjoy coming to their rehabilitation sessions. I also use a calming voice to ensure that they are safe and to reassure them. I also can change the tone and energy of my voice to keep the pets motivated. I try not to use treats to reward my patients because most are on a weight loss program (there are times though I do have to break the treats out).

Some of my favorite words are:

Goober: I use this when referring to a pet that wants to get out of exercises by giving kisses or sitting on me to be petted.

Turkey: I use this for those patients that just don’t want to work and do everything they can to avoid the exercise.

Little One: I use this a lot for big 100 pounds dogs to 5 pound Chihuahuas because I believe every dog has the heart of a puppy.