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Positive Reinforcement: Difference Between Bribing And Rewarding

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What is the difference between bribing and rewarding?

Luring is guiding a dog into a position. You have to get rid of the lure after about 6-12 trials so it does not become a bribe. A bribe is when your dog only does something if he can see a treat or his reward. A reward is something that the dog gets for doing something right or just for being awesome. A bribe is presented before the dog does something, a reward is given after the desired behavior. To avoid bribing your dog, practice commands without showing him treats or rewards. After the dog does something, go and get the reward or pet him and love on him.


When does a reward become a bribe?

  • A lure is usually presented before a behavior, mainly to entice the dog to perform something. It is usually assumed that the dog will do what is being asked because he or she is motivated by the lure (food, toy, attention). It is used to teach a dog a new word. Without a lure, you can wait until the dog performs on his or her own and then reward (this is called shaping a behavior). It is important that the lure is removed from training as soon as the dog has the basic movement down.
  • A bribe is offered to the dog before the dog does a behavior. Unlike with luring, which is used as a training tool to teach the meaning of the request, a bribe is offered to a dog who knows how to do something but is not wanting to do it. It can present a huge problem to the dog and their training.
  • A reward is an award to the dog after he does something.

Where the problem occurs is when the lure becomes the reward. This is why it is so important to phase out the lure as soon as you are able to. Or use something else to reward your dog with. Perhaps use a toy to lure but give a treat or attention as the reward. It is important to learn to phase out the lure in training after about 6-12 trials.