Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Paying Ahead - More on Rewards....

This morning I was out watering the building, there's not much else to do but think while you're doing this....so, of course I was thinking about training and rewarding.  Rewarding not just dogs, but ponies, and yes, even people!! I call my horses 'ponies', it just sounds cuter.

This is a picture of Adam last Fall, I was calling him in from the pasture.  Now, do you think he's coming because he loves me?  Maybe, he is a very good boy.  More likely however, he's coming because he know he gets a little grain for coming in.  My ponies get out on the pasture about 2 hrs each day, when I call and whistle they come in for their grain.  Now, if I gave them their grain, before they went out to the pasture, and then called them to come in (for nothing)....do you think they would?  Maybe, but not likely.  There's a reason I withhold this 'reward'.

Think about your employer, do they pay you in advance?  More than likely not.  It doesn't take a lot of common sense to know why you're generally paid a week behind.  They want to be sure you come to work.

Now, let's think about our dog's performances.  If you are outside the ring, waiting for your turn, and you're plugging your dog full of treats, what are you rewarding?  Are you hoping they will just stay with you?   Are you trying to 'bribe' the performance, hoping they understand that this is a 'prepayment'?  You might be better off waiting until after a run, and rewarding a job well done. 

I'm not saying you shouldn't get your dog up, and ready to run.  We want our dogs to be engaged, in-tune, and ready to work.  What I am saying is put a little thought into why you are paying ahead.  Will you get a return on your investment, or are you just sedating your dog with food, and hoping for the best. 

Being 'thoughtful' with your rewarding and really bring out the best in your dog! 

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