Are you rewarding or bribing your dog?

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There is a difference between using food to reward your dog or bribe your dog.  Let’s give an example that we have come across often.

An owner has their dog in the backyard.  They go to their porch door and say “Fido come!”  They want their dog to come into the house from the backyard.  Fido hears and knows what’s going on but doesn’t respond. So the owner goes and gets some treats, shakes the treat bag or holds the treats up and repeats “Fido come!” Fido now decides to come inside and gets the treats. This would be an example of bribing your dog.  The owner presents the treats before the dog has come inside and the dog knows if they don’t respond at first, then the owner will get the treats out.  Then coming inside might be worth it.

On the other hand, if the owner goes to the porch door and says “Fido come!”, Fido comes into the house, the owner says “YES!” and then goes and gets the treats and gives a treat to Fido.  The owner has now rewarded Fido for coming in to the house.

Another example we see often is when an owner ask their dog to sit.  The owner will say “sit”. The dog doesn’t sit.  the owner will often repeat “sit, sit…” a number of time and the dog doesn’t sit.  Then the owner gets out a treat and the dog sits right away.  Again this is bribery as the treat was brought out BEFORE the dog did the behavior.

The opposite would be that the owner asks the dog to sit, the dog sits right away, the owner says “YES!” and then gets the food out to reward the dog.  This is an example of rewarding as the dog did the behavior BEFORE the treat came out.

These are just two examples of many.  These examples are not made to poke fun at or make fun of owners.  We all do what we think will work or seems to be working with the knowledge we have at the time.  Many people don’t know that training their dog could be any other way or don’t know how to change.  We are here to help owners improve their lives with their dogs.

If you are in the bribery camp and want to move, we can help!  Have a dog who responds right away and isn’t waiting to see how you will butter things up for them.  🙂