How to get your dog to co-operate without a BRIBE !

Dogs learn to accept bribes through conditioning. This is something that the dog learns when they see a treat before they are asked to do something. They come to expect the treat to appear before they perform a behaviour. This is known as bribing. This can be changed around.

If a dog thinks there may be a chance he’ll get a treat, even though he can’t see one is available, he will start to offer behaviours before the treat is present. You can start to put this idea in their head by practicing a simple daily training exercise.

Over the next few days, ask your dog to look at you. When he does, pull a treat out of your pocket and give it to him. (It’s very important that he doesn’t know you’ve got the treat to start with) Do this several times a day and he will start to pay more attention to you, and will start to wonder if he might get a surprise treat.After a week or so you can start working on the behaviour you have been bribing.

I will give an example so you can see how it works. We shall call the dog Buster!In the past Buster would only get off the sofa if you offered a treat. We need to first find a way of getting him off without one. Try acting as if something really exciting is about to happen in the next room, clap your hands and laugh and look as if you’re about to rush off. If he gets down to follow you, give him a treat. Repeat randomly once a day for several days and he will start to get the idea. The treat comes AFTER the behaviour. When this is solid in his mind and he can do this 80% of the time, then you can start intermittently reinforcing him. This means some times giving him a treat, and sometimes just giving him some positive attention. This will help keep him guessing!