I was doing some dog training in New Bedford MA when I shared this quote with the person I was working with:
“The only difference between lettuce and salad is timing.”
Its a quote by Dan Kennedy and I used it as I was watching the dog owner train.
I explained that the difference between a bribe and a reward is timing.
You see, using food rewards are one of the best ways to train your dog. The problem is that you can use them the wrong way.
Let me splain:
Imagine your dog is in your backyard. You need to go to work so you walk outside and standing on the back deck you yell out:
“Junior, come.” Junior lifts his head, looks at you and goes back to sniffing the ground completely ignoring you.
You get a little annoyed and start calling Junior with a different tone:
“Junior, come over here right now! Junior, JUNIOR, JJUNNIOOOOOR!!! GET OVER HERE RIGHT NOW!!!!!
Junior walks in the other direction.
Frustrated, you walk in the house and grab the big box of dog biscuits. You walk back to the deck and start shaking the box. “Junior, gotta a cookie for you,” as you keep shaking the box. Junior hears the sound of the box and sees you holding it. Junior now decides to come running over to you. The treats have successfully been used the wrong way. The treats were used to BRIBE the dog instead of REWARD the dog and it is all about timing.
A bribe is when you show the treat to get the behavior to happen. A reward is used after the behavior occurs. See, if you bribe your dog, your dog could make the decision to ignore you or wait for a more appealing treat. A reward is used after the behavior has occurred to reinforce the behavior.
Small, subtle difference but it can make a HUGE difference in your training.
Anyway, that’s all for today.
To make sure you’re teaching your dog to come when called the correct way check out any of our dog training classes: