Are You Trying to Bribe Me?

1 minute read

The secret to dog training is that it's actually more about training yourself than the dog. You need to understand how to communicate with your pup in the way that helps them learn what you want the most effectively.

An important part of that is timing. There's a basic sequence that's super important to get right if you want to make progress: cue, behavior, reward. Getting the order backwards, reward then behavior, isn't training. It's bribery. And that doesn't promote the kind of learning you want. It only teaches the dog to "listen" when you have a treat in your hand.

This can accidentally happen more often than you'd think. If you conspicuously head for the treat bag before cueing a behavior, you may find you're doing more bribing than training.

Next time you play a game, be cognizant of where the rewards are, and whether, from the dog's perspective, the sequence really is cue → behavior → reward.