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"Pay Me!"



by Robin MacFarlane



What's your dog's motivation?

Do you appreciate getting a paycheck for the work you do? How about when you get a thank you for cooking dinner or an acknowledgement and some extra time off from the boss because you went above and beyond on a project?

On the flip side, how do you feel if no one notices that you're putting in effort, or you've done a little extra on a project?

It is challenging to remain motivated if you're not gaining anything in return.

All of us, dogs included, perform behaviors because of what we get in return. Either the behavior is rewarded or not. Rewarded behavior continues. Interrupted, punished or ignored behavior fades away.

The thing is, what is rewarding to one might not be rewarding to another. While I might like a monetary token, my spouse might prefer time off rather than additional pay. Dogs differ too. Not all are equally motivated by verbal and physical praise. Many love treats, but some could care less. And there are those dogs that would go through fire to get a ball or Frisbee.

Eventually we want our dogs to work for a good duration of time without need for immediate rewards. We want them to appreciate and look for verbal and physical feedback. And we want to build in intrinsically rewarding behaviors like the ability to go retrieve the bird when told, or run with abandon and chase the squirrel if you have permission.

To have an enthusiastic, long working dog we have to help the dog understand there is a pay off coming.

The question was posed to me during a video shoot of what I mean when I instruct people to "pay the dog."

It is one of my Robin-isms that I use to mark a reward opportunity when I am coaching people on how to train their dog. In the beginning phase, I encourage people to pay frequently. As the dog gains understanding we wean back and become more random with our "paychecks."

In the professional trainer's lingo, we're talking about the frequency and ratio of reward schedules, but I hate getting people lost in training lingo, so I use words that don't take effort for even children to understand.

I was taught by an early mentor to "keep it simple" and I think it is what works best.

So keep it simple. Pay your dog. Pay with whatever the dog likes: food, toys, play, opportunity to retrieve, a good belly rub, some freedom to run. Mix it up, whatever the dog likes, but pay him.

Frequently in the beginning stage and more randomly as you increase understanding and reliability.

Simple.

-- Robin



Robin MacFarlane is a professional dog trainer and owner of Thatís My Dog in Dubuque, Iowa. Her best-selling dog training DVDs, JUST RIGHT and JUST RIGHT 2 have helped thousands of dog owners teach their dogs basic obedience and fix problem behaviors through a system of training that you can easily work into your daily routine.



Robin's Obedience DVD

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  • and several more...

    FREE Dog Training Videos

  • Here's Why You Should Train Your Dog
  • Does Your Dog Know her Place?
  • Teaching a Recall? Start Slow and Make the Dog Successful
  • Teaching the Down Command
  • House Manners
  • "Pay Me!"
  • How to Strengthen Your Dog's Understanding of "Stay"
  • How Long Does My Dog have to Wear the E-Collar?
  • Consistency Without an E-collar
  • Skills Every Puppy Should Learn
  • Dogs and Doorbells -- Oh My!
  • Stop Your Dog from Bolting to the Door!
  • Use Food Lures to Shape Your Puppies Introduction to Sit, Stand and Down
  • Puppy Training 101: Play Biting Problem
  • Teaching Your Puppy to "Kennel Up"
  • Dog Tricks: How to Teach Your Dog to Walk Backwards
  • Want a Standing Ovation? Teach Your Dog to "Take A Bow!"
  • Want Your Dog to Come to You? Try Moving Away from Him.
  • "Catch me if you can!"
  • Tired of Fido Stealing Your Snacks?
  • E-Collar, Leash, Treats, Toy, and the Dog. How to Manage it All!
  • Dog Tricks: Teaching Your Dog to Dance
  • Before You Expect a Dog to Stay on a Place, Teach Him to get on Willingly.
  • Adding E-Collar Prompting to your Place Command
  • Impulse Control Games are a Time Well Spent Playing with your Dog!
  • Juggling All Your Training Equipment?


  • How to Train Your Dog

  • FREE Dog Training Videos
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  • Is Your Dog Collar Wise?
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  • Pressure Necrosis
  • Using Treats in Training
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  • I Need a Shock Collar!
  • Dog Training: Keeping it Real: Training Your Dog Should be Easy
  • Why Would I Want to Use an E-Collar on My Dog?
  • A Tired Dog is a Good Dog
  • Three Things You Must Know to Have a Reliably Trained Dog
  • Are Remote Collars Punishment, Negative Reinforcement, or Motivators?
  • The Best Way to Rescue a Dog
  • It is More than Just Pushing a Button: Part One
  • What About the Leash?
  • Tennis Ball, Tug or Cookie? What do Rewards Have to do with Good Training?
  • The More Important Tool: Part 4 of "It Is More Than Just Pushing a Button."
  • Do You Need Impeccable Timing in Order to Use a Remote Collar?
  • What Does Your Dog's Future Look Like?
  • 6 Essential Things to Teach to Have a Good Dog
  • The Top 3 Reasons Your Remote Collar Doesn't Seem to be Working
  • How Long Does It Take to Train My Dog?
  • Put a Plan Into Motion for Dealing With Your Dog's Behavior Problems!
  • Why are You Grateful for Your Dog?
  • Are You Struggling to Get Your Dog to Stay? Try This.
  • There are Only 3 Levels on a Remote Training Collar?
  • The One Thing You Must Know if You Want to Train with an E-Collar
  • How to Help Your Dog Understand What You Want
  • Photos: One Great Reason to Teach a Place Command to Your Dog
  • New Puppy Tips
  • Sit? or Sit! -- The Case for Intonation When Speaking to Your Dog
  • Number of Commands
  • So Your Dog Knows Sit. Now What?
  • 20 Reasons to Teach a Place Command
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  • Know How to Train a Dog, Know How to Use a Remote Collar?
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  • Weaning Off E-Stim: Tap, Tell or Help
  • Proofing: How to Help Your Dog Really "Get It."
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  • Human Body Language
  • Good Health: The Missing Link for a Happy and Well-Adjusted Dog?
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  • E-Collar Training: Be Sure to Do This Before You Go Off Leash
  • What Behavior are You Rewarding the Most?
  • The Importance of Routine Nail Trims for Your Dog
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  • "Why does my dog bark so much...."
  • How to Use a No Bark Collar

  • Pull-Quote= Does your dog deserve a paycheck?



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