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Old October 7th, 2005, 02:41 PM
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Bribing and Training

After reading a few recent and not so recent posts about treat training, bribing and so on, I am more confused then when I first started.

ALL of the training schools I have gone to and know about support treat training, as its "the dog's reward for working and listening with/to us". But from some posts here it sounds that by using treats, I am bribing my dog to do something when love, trust and respect should be what motivates my dog to listen.

Dodger listens to me with or without treats BUT can get distracted by that new dog at the park...so what does that mean? Because he gets distracted, does that mean I have used treats too much and don't have his love, trust and respect? Have we not trained enough? I can just see us with no treats at our next class with everyone else treating their dog's - can you imagine what a disaster that would be with a hound? How do you work around that?

Where does one draw the line between bribing and training?

It seems to me that some dogs need extra motivation - is this wrong and a lazy way of training?

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Old October 7th, 2005, 02:45 PM
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I think with treat training, it's about reward. You eventually wean off the treats, and doing something right becomes the reward, and the dog respects you. At least, that is how I was taught. It's all just positive reinforcement until it is habit and thus respect.

Same thing with kids. You may have to bribe them sometimes, and eventually they start to like it and do it when asked, because it is habit, and feel bad if they don't.
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Old October 7th, 2005, 02:59 PM
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Learning to listen with distraction is part of training whether you use treats or not. If you were to only train for example only inside your own home then that will probably be the only place you your dog will listen because they just have no experience with the temptations of distracting things. Building reliability will happen with practice.
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Old October 7th, 2005, 03:26 PM
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I draw the line if it's a reliable skill, then no treats, just praise and/or a toy, if it's a new skill that Tucker is learning, then I do use treats mostly. Once he has the behavior, I treat every other time, then every 5th time, and so on... to ween off the treat.

I don't think treating as a reward is the same as bribing. I do bribe Tucker occassionally - ok, so our trainer calls this "luring", but it's a flat out bribe. When I hold a piece of hot dog in front of his nose and lure him to me, it's bribing.
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Old October 7th, 2005, 03:53 PM
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tenderfoot tenderfoot is offline
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Gosh, why do I feel this strong need to address this? I am afraid I am the one who has confused you.
We think of it as....I do not want you to be my friend because I hand you $ every five mintues. What happens when I run out of $ or the guy next to mean gives you more money? You probably won't be my friend anymore, because our friendship was never based on anything real in the first place. Bribery does not build a foundation for anything but more bribery. Yes you can wean off of it over time and replace the reward with your touch and voice, but why not just start that way? And what about the dogs who don't care about treats?
We prefer to work with dogs from a place that all dogs understand - no matter the age or issues. Dogs are all about relationship so why not start with relationship? It's something you have forever and don't have to worry about relying on anything else.
'Love, trust and respect' is a perfect triangle and relates to every relationship you have in your life - not just with the dogs. We are all good at the love point of the triangle (that's the easy one), its the trust and respect we have to earn. The dog needs to trust that you will never harm him and you will always keep him safe. He also needs to trust your abilities and judgement. He needs to respect your word because he knows that you are a wise and wonderful leader who has his best interests in mind. If you have never earned the trust or respect OR you have lost it somehow then that is where you start.
Your dog sounds pretty good at what we call level 1 & 2 (indoors and outdoors without distractions), but as most dogs trained with 'gimmicks' he isn't good when it really counts at distance or with distractions. He knows he can blow you off and there is nothing you can do about it. He is also not willing to come away from his fun for a cookie. But if you were the best leader ever, he would come running because you are the center of his universe. He wants to be with you over all other things. In fact, a dog who is really connected to his leader doesn't usually go very far from him in the first place. He doesn't want to.
Give your dog a treat because he's a great dog, but try not to make it the reason he performs.
We do not believe in bribing kids either - I want my kids to want to do well - not because they have candy or $ waiting for them at the end. They need to take some pride in themselves and feel good about doing a good job just for the satifaction of knowing they can do a good job, not because they get paid for it. That builds a balanced human being who takes value in their work and has confidence in their place in the world. Not someone who relies on others approval and gifts to give them artificial confidence. We do have 2 amazing kids (19 & 14) who knock everyones socks of with their work ethics and integrity. (Can you tell we are proud parents? ) I say this only because we have the evidence to backup our theories.
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Old October 7th, 2005, 04:39 PM
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I think treats are okay as part of training, but I'd be very wary of using treats every time, especially at the start of training a dog. I only used them occasionally when training my puppy, years ago. I worried that if I started training her with treats, she would lose some of her motivation when I stopped using them. "Wait, I didn't get a milkbone this time . . . What's the point of this if I don't get my milkbone?"

So I made sure the alpha's praise (mine) was her big reward instead. If you're the alpha in the house, your dog wants to please you anyway. If you aren't--you've got bigger problems than a dog who won't sit!

About distractions--no matter how you train it's going to take time to teach your dog to ignore them and focus on you. Just start training around slight distractions and work up to bigger ones from there. Also, you can encourage a quick reaction time by springing surprise commands on them on your walks. I used to tell Ebony to sit when we were in mid-stride and it wasn't long until she had one ear open for me, even when she was deeply engrossed in sniffing trees.

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Old October 7th, 2005, 04:45 PM
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I always sort of looked at treats as the thing I carry in my pocket as an aboslute last resort, should something horrible look like it's going to happen and Layla just isn't listening. (Ex: she's overly distracted by a squirrel, and a car comes flying off the road about to smash into her. Yes very extreme, I know.)
The only "treat" that Layla gets for doing something is a big ol' hug from me. (I'm usually the odd one standing in the park giving a bear hug to no one, with a dog running straight to me )
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Old October 7th, 2005, 08:33 PM
LoNScamp LoNScamp is offline
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IMO treats are just that something to be given to the dog as a treat, not a training tool. If you use treats when you train then the dog is working for the food and not for you and you are not building on the relationship the way you should be. Praise or lack of it depending on how the dog is responding should be the movtivator not food or toys.

I also never ask a dog to do something that I cannot help the dog to follow through on if they choose to ignore me. i.e. when first teaching recall I would never ask a dog 20 ft away from me to come, unless I was positive it would. Doing so teaches the dog to ignore the command. I also keep the leash on when I'm teaching new commands, if the dog starts to move away if I ask for a sit I step the leash, if the dog is asked to come and ignores me I use the leash to bring the dog to me.

If I know I dont' have a solid reacall with a dog, I do not let it off leash in areas that aren't enclosed and totally safe.
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Old October 10th, 2005, 10:17 AM
ILoveMutts! ILoveMutts! is offline
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From what I've been reading on the web, treats are supposed to condition a dog to a certain behaviour. They learn to connect the desired behaviour with a good emotion and after the connection is made they will repeat the behaviour without a treat.

From what I understand (please educate me if I'm wrong), there is a school of thought which advocates treat training and positive methods only, and a school of thought that dismisses treat training and relies more on corrections (which can vary from prong/choke collar corrections to leash popping).

I've come across the names of Jean Donaldson and Dick (and William) Koehler as representatives of each respective school of thought.

I've also come across some terms connected with training techniques like operant conditioning, compulsion and dominance. I'd like to learn more about these terms, if someone would like to explain, and about the different schools of thought that exist in modern dog training.

Last edited by ILoveMutts!; October 10th, 2005 at 10:21 AM.
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Old October 10th, 2005, 04:50 PM
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I base my training techniques on the DOG, what does the dog need to work?! I have three dogs in my house that were all trained a little differently as they are all very different! One I did use treats initially, one 100% verbal praise and the other was a 50/50 split! LOL I always tell people to watch their dog, see what motivates it, then use that to work. My Doberman is one where I had to be very calm and cool whereas my MinPin I had to be uppy and silly to get him to work! It's like having multiple personalities! LOL

I don't feel there is only one way to train all dogs, I have used many different training techniques that are ALL useful in different situations.
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Old October 10th, 2005, 11:22 PM
LoNScamp LoNScamp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ILoveMutts!
From what I've been reading on the web, treats are supposed to condition a dog to a certain behaviour. They learn to connect the desired behaviour with a good emotion and after the connection is made they will repeat the behaviour without a treat.

From what I understand (please educate me if I'm wrong), there is a school of thought which advocates treat training and positive methods only, and a school of thought that dismisses treat training and relies more on corrections (which can vary from prong/choke collar corrections to leash popping).

I've come across the names of Jean Donaldson and Dick (and William) Koehler as representatives of each respective school of thought.

I've also come across some terms connected with training techniques like operant conditioning, compulsion and dominance. I'd like to learn more about these terms, if someone would like to explain, and about the different schools of thought that exist in modern dog training.
There's also training with no treats, no chokes, prong or e-collars etc. Which is what I do. Praise, lack of it and body language are extremely effective. As I said in my earlier post, I believe it is important for the dog to work for the person and not the food.
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