Pay for performance

Don't you hate when you pay a lot of money for something and are let down by lack of performance.  It could be a great meal that you were expecting, a grand performance on screen or stage or even service somewhere or at your home.  It sucks when you have high standards; pay for it, and are let down.  No one likes to pay good money for a job poorly done.  There are of course those who don't like to pay for a job well done either; it's their money and they don't want to part with it.   Great service or performance should be paid for.  

I say, pay for performance.  In the canine world, that means rewarding a job well done.  That said, you don't want to become a human pez dispenser who just pops out treats for anything and everything.  What happens when you reward everything is that you create a "show me the money," scenario.   Got nothing to bribe a behavior with?  Forget asking.  This is not the way it is suppose to work.  Once a dog understands a behavior and is reliable at offering it, you wean the treats.  When a behavior is more difficult to perform; say in a high distraction area, save the treats for then. 

Not everything has to be rewarded by food.  The other day as Elsa and I walked down a shopping area; we stumbled upon a nice big plate of Mexican food that someone had dumped.  Elsa's nose is always going so she knew it was there far before I ever saw it.  She nosed over towards it and I told her to "leave it."  She immediately turned away and we continued our walk.  I did not food reward her but gushed at how amazing she was.  Had this been a couple of years ago, I would have rewarded with food.  Leave the food, get a food reward.  But leaving it is expected of her now.

When you expect above and beyond performance; meaning something that is really tough, grueling or requiring expertise, you need to pay for it.  That means either with a really great food reward or acknowledgment in a big way.  The more difficult something is, I like to resort to real pay, like food.  Leaving the food on the sidewalk was easy for Elsa.  The leave it behavior was ingrained in her at a very young age.  

Paying for performance is essential.  But even the little things should always get a "thank you."  Every single thing that I ask for is acknowledged when obliged.  Throughout my day you can hear me say "thank you," over and over and over again.  I do not like to see guardians ask for a behavior; have it performed by their dog and that's it, nothing said.  Our dogs don't have to listen to us; but if you have worked hard at creating a relationship and educated your dog; then you should thank them for obliging you.  

Thank you, always.  Pay, for high performance.