Why We Don’t “Bait” In The Harness

We’ve been pushing Weight Pull, and Mill Work forever here at NLD. I mean, hell…. that’s half the sports in the GRC Dogsports that we created! And whether it’s from us or other sources, I’ll never know…. But….. I’m seeing a HELL of a lot more dogs in harnesses out there!!!

And that is awesome!

But…. I’m also seeing a lot of people “baiting” their dogs. Using food or toys to get them to pull the weight, or run the mill.

Here’s why I’m not a fan…..

I want them to love the work. I want them to be so turned on by the act itself that they wouldn’t even take the food if you gave it to them.

People see this with toys all the time. That dog that is laser focused on the ball will look around the ham sandwich you’re offering cause it’s blocking his view of the BALL!!!!

I want to give dogs an outlet to express their drives. Not trick them into doing an activity they have no drive for. The dogs that love to pull…. Pull weight. The dogs that LOVE to run…. Run the mill. The dogs that love to fight the toys…. Work the spring pole. The dogs that love to chase the toy, work the wall. The point is to find what THEY LOVE…. and give them that! Not to trick them into doing something they don’t want.

Now…. sure….. If they’ve never done anything like that… they don’t know they like it. You have to try to convince them to give it a shot. Ideally…… I use relationship and praise from the get go! Cause THAT is the only thing I want to use besides love of the game long term. But…… I get it…. You may need to use food to get them on the mill. Or to get the first few steps in a freaky weight pull harness. But….. Once they get past the fear stage……. We gotta get off the bait (if we had to use it at all).

Before anyone brings this up…. I’m talking about sport work here. Not rehabilitation. There are real medical reasons for dogs to do Canine Resistance Training. And they may not have a love for teh work at all. And yet…. we have to find a way to get them to do it. It may involve way more baiting than I’d use with a dog I’m hoping to pull for drive expression. And that’s OK. Underwater mills. Fit Paws. CRT…. etc… Done for health reasons…. My require some exceptions. I get it.

But… I’m talking about the image of a dog pulling a heavy weight, or sprinting on a mill JUST TO GET THE OBJECT. That, I’d rather not see.

Cause…. whenever you see them get the toy…. they stop running or digging in. They aren’t running or digging to express their drive. They’re tolerating it to get the thing.

That’s not the point. At all.

I’m not the only one saying this! Here’s an ADBA article saying the exact same thing!!!

We want to introduce the things that our dogs may find rewarding. And show them how to do it. Then….. Let the love for the thing take over. Pulling….. running…. should be the reward!!!!!

Anyway…. Don’t give into the ease of false results with bait. Develop a love for the game itself. It will serve your dog and you so much more long term.

That’s it…. go work your dog.


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