I was reading the pages of Turrid Rugass's book "Barking The sound of a language" that are available to view on Amazon and found the Final Thoughts excerpt interesting and a bit confusing. She writes. "It is futile to reward a dog for being quiet right after having barked. There are two reasons for it. - Dogs learn well from backward chaining and will quickly learn to bark, then stop barking, then get a reward. Dogs learn lots of things exactly this way. - Dogs learn best when getting a reward for something physically they have done. Rewarding for absolutely nothing (i.e. not barking) will not lead to learning just frustration " I have often wondered about backward chaining, although I didn't know its technical name or even if it was a real problem or just me over thinking things. I'm now wondering how much backwards training I've managed to do when trying to change behaviour. I'm pretty sure it happened when I was trying to train scout not to jump up at the worktop when I'm getting their food. Jump, down sit, treat. Obviously I wanted to reward the down and sit but I think I was rewarding jump, down sit. How can you make sure your not backward chaining and so rewarding the behaviour your trying to stop ? Her point about rewarding for nothing not leading to learning also got me thinking. One method to encourage calm behaviour in your dog is to reward your dog for just being calm eg, lying down while your watching TV. Does this theory mean that doesn't actually work ? How do you know the dog knows the treat is for lying calmly and not thinking "What did I do ?" It occurred to me this morning on our walk. We met a couple on a narrow lane. S&S automatically dropped back slightly so walking at heel as we passed with no interest in the couple no cue needed. I rewarded with praise and treat. Do they know the reward was for walking calmly passed or was it just a random treat to them ? Of course I could be over thinking things and making it all more complicated than it needs to be. Maybe when I read the whole book it will be explained.