There are multiple ways to “get” your child to become a seemingly responsible, socialized entity of achievement and of contribution to society at large. Regardless of the method employed, the burden of accountability for this “getting” done falls definitively to the parents of the child. The program, the imprinted lesson associated upon the child’s psyche of why this “getting” must be done by him/her is interpreted and recorded very early in his interpersonal adaptive skills memory bank.
You can bribe your child with treats (attention, food, gifts) to get all types of conditioned behavioral responses. It can be done from infancy through adulthood. You can call this “positive reinforcement” or “love” or whatever, and it may work for a little while or a very long time, but it is still a bribe. It will always be only a bribe and it will never carry any reciprocal worth of appreciation, commitment, or dedication beyond the lowest form of any bribe.
You can do the same with your mate. Want your husband to take out the trash? Pop open a beer and take it to him first. Want your wife to do your laundry? Go buy her some jewelry that has some bling bling to it before you think about making the request. Want a heartfelt hug from your man? Better bake him some chocolate chip cookies or some cinnamon rolls first to sweeten his interest in your desire. Desiring your wife to be loyal and faithful to you? Better bait her and remind her of that importance by buying her a new car. The principle of attempting to control (manage) your mate with a bribe is essentially the same as its application directed towards your child.
Bribery is easy relatively speaking. Giving money or treats or food, anything but your devoted time and actual attentiveness, is a much easier path. It, at least temporarily, buys an immediate response from the target and from the short sighted parent or mate role, the immediate gratification of success….triumph….accomplishment with only a minimal expenditure of effort. Plus it feels so good…..so positive…that you don’t have to be a “meany” in any far reaching inaccurate analysis from an outsiders perspective. With your bribery, you communion with the majority of the masses who surround you in that same technique of minimal time and effort. You become consoled by becoming a member of their group as opposed to being judged for acting out independently. You tell yourself you are just “giving” to your child or mate, getting love in return, and how could that be bad? These are the games of deception, destruction, and destabilization that people play.
Such bribes may work adequately enough to achieve the semblance of proper relational behavior in beings of lesser awareness and drive (children and adults) indefinitely, but they will never….that is never….yes, I said never ever never…..work long term in beings of high drive and/or high awareness. These “high DA” creatures are too smart and too driven to accept a subservient role to a creature who is only weak enough to bribe them. The high DAs may take the bribe and act the part, but they only do so when they want to. There always comes a time when they don’t want the bribe or when they prefer something greater than the offered bribe, and when that happens the truth reveals itself fulminantly.
Usually an excuse will be made by the parent or mate to explain the conflicting behavior, the digression from an expected response. It is easier to make up a plausible excuse, than acknowledge the truth of the failed relationship dynamic. At this point further breaches of the bribe progress requiring an amped up, more frequent version of the bribe or a different approach. If utilized, the different approach is almost always an over-swing, from submissive to over-dominate, carrying with it the herald of fear and wrath (How could you with all the “love” I’ve given you? You ungrateful thing, you. Now you are making me do this the hard way.). Punishment is delivered…not an appropriate correction….a balanced maneuver in appropriate correctiveness, but an unbalanced over-swing into the alternate easier method of control that is juxtaposed to bribery: fear. Further instability and progressive loss of balance is induced in the relationship, but the parent or mate now feels completely justified in their induction of and dominance by fear. They would say that had to…they had to….they had no other alternative.
The key element absent throughout the entire process listed above is respect, what I sometimes like to also refer to as tough love. To employ such respect or tough love, requires much greater attention, objective reasoning, and effort than bribery or domination via fear. But the product of the implementation of respect and tough love is unmistakable in its beauty and power. The product is a child or a mate who learns to act and interact with others based on respect and the healthy synergistic interaction of the entire society. Respect rules his/her actions, not fear and not entitlement/bribes. Respect equals stability and the essential understanding of healthy relativity.
Take everything thing above, all of it, and then substitute your dog/puppy for child or mate. The same rules and the same outcome apply. This pathogen, this marketable, sellable buzz word approach of tragedy is “positive training”. It isn’t respect. It isn’t love. It is a worthless bribe to reinforce a false perception of accomplishment. And when in fails in high DA dogs, people also respond in the same manner I described earlier: they create an excuse or weaponize fear. The most common implementations of fear being verbal abuse, physical manipulation, or a shock collar. If these techniques do not destabilize the dog, they will break his spirit and essentially turn him into a zombie of his former self.
Without detriment, treats can be utilized effectively in training or given as just a gift free of instruction and learning, but they cannot replace the instituting of the boundaries of respect, without becoming a bribe that is highly prone to failure.
Marking (speaking words to mean something) and shock collars may also be used without delinquency and detriment, but both of these pose very significant challenges. They require perception, aptitude, and precise timing that most people realistically can’t fathom or apply. Being off by a second is the difference between implementing stability and structure versus creating a neurotic confused basket case.
But people, parents and mates and owners, want easy fixes and on top of that, they are almost all indoctrinated with capitalisms cure for everything: the perfect marketing buzz words of convenience and utmost ease which allows them to circumvent inquisitive effort, remain delusional and feel absolutely fantastic about it.
I have seen the truth. I have personally witnessed an expert behavioralist try to help hundreds of people with free advice over and over and over. Advice that is….is the key….is the answer….is natural order in perfection. It is also universal and applies to pets, children, and mates. But ninety to ninety-five percent of the people refuse to listen. They refuse to listen because it comes back on them and it isn’t something that you can just buy and be done with. It isn’t flashy or fancy or associated with making a dog or a kid or your mate jump for your treat. It is just simple basic respect and balance that requires “unseen” and “quiet” effort and discipline. The majority of people want the flash, they want the story, they want the kudos of feeling like they are being so positive, they want to buy into delusion and ease, and the unfortunate truth of the matter is that it is really all about themselves. The child, the mate, and the dog are just objects to control through treats or fear. If they were not, if this wasn’t the case, people would focus all of their efforts on the discipline of respect. They would listen when advice about respect and tough love was offered by an expert. They would worry more about their own actions than their dog’s, their child’s, or their mate’s. But they almost never do. It’s easier to talk a good game and blame something else that is bound to eventually arise as a consequence of their own ineptitude. And ninety percent of our children and our mates and our dogs are suffering in one way or another because of this.
I wish marketable words of ease meant much less to people, and that a true desire for implementing respect and balance and stability, were much more of a priority. If they were, the world would be a much different place.
Jeff Cribb DVM 2015