The mindset of looking (actively searching) for behavior that you like and want to happen more often pervades the world of dog training and is also a philosophical approach to life. It easily becomes a habit because it’s very effective at influencing behavior, and it does so in a kind way without damaging or hurtful side effects. As an added bonus, it tends to create a more positive outlook for the observer, too.

Looking for good behavior rather than being on the lookout for what somebody did wrong is simple, but it’s so unusual a perspective in some professions that when the police force in Farmington, New Hampshire, adopted it, their efforts made the national news. In that town, police officers began actively watching for people doing the right thing—keeping their dog on a leash, crossing at the crosswalk, using a turn signal—and reinforcing that behavior by giving out gift…

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