There is a BIG difference between bribing and rewarding with food.

BRIBERY is the act of presenting the food to the dog in order to get the dog to perform a desired behavior.

REWARDING is the act of presenting something a dog finds valuable (food, toy, praise, etc.) after the dog has performed the behavior.

Below are some examples of the difference between bribes and rewards in dog training.

Heel Owner holds treat in front of dog while walking to keep dog in position Owner presents treat after dog walks in heel position for varying distances
Attention Owner presents treat then holds treat next to eyes to encourage eye contact Owner presents the treat after the dog has made eye contact
Recall (Come) Owner extends treat filled hand before calling dog Owner presents treat after the dog has come when called

In the case of bribed dogs, the dog often learns that it is only rewarding to respond to their owner when they can clearly see the owner is holding food.

The rewarded dog, on the other hand, learns that good things are delivered after he performs a behavior, and so is likely to perform that behavior without the owner having to present food first, making it very easy to integrate other types of non-food rewards into the dog’s training program.

Lures can be useful ways to move a dog into a desired position, and to teach dogs to follow our hands, especially when teaching hand signals for things like sit and down. However, use of these prompts should be faded quickly, to avoid dependence


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