Hihope Hiland Heathen of Perth CD, RE, CGC, TDI
I was really asking about over praising over time, not in response to a particular behavior, but your comment about timing in relation to a behavior - good or bad - is always good to hear and think about again.
HR Belle's Rolling Big Rig "Jimmy"
Too much praise can make it become meaningless. Same as a come in whistle. It's better to use it when you really need it.
Years ago, a nationally famous retriever trainer, Cotton Pershall, told me after I had thrown a fun bumper for my dog to never let a dog break once it is steady. I got to thinking about that and came to this conclusion, if I never let my dog break there is no confusion on his part as to whether it was a fun retrieve or not. This keeps everything in black and white, you never leave the line until sent. Years later I attended a Mike Lardy seminar where I was introduced to therapy marks where the dog remained steady but was given an exciting mark like a fun dummy retrieve. So although I never let my dog break, I do incorporate therapy marks into my training.
HB's and "fractures" are simply tools, and really boil down to positive reinforcement when used sparingly. Rex would "fracture" a dog who had a long tough session learning something new, and only after the dog had visibly "got it". Sometimes all it would take to get a softer dog out of a funk was a low "whoop" from Rex after the dog figured it out.