The Casino Industry Trick For Getting Dogs To OBEY (Without Bribing Them)

Stop Bribing Your Dog

Time after time owners will tell me that their dog will not listen to them unless the dog can SEE and SMELL the treat on their human’s body.

This is the easiest way to determine that you are using treats WRONG!


You shouldn’t have to bribe your dog to do anything for you, and if you find that you are having to do so, you don’t understand the concept of positive reward and reinforcement and clicker training!

The Difference (especially when starting with puppies)

Bribery is a dirty word.

Bribing a police officer and bribing a judge along with other officials is illegal.

Definition of bribe by Merriam Webster

1:  money or favor given or promised in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust <police officers accused of taking bribes>

2:  something that serves to induce or influence <offered the kid a bribe to finish his homework>

Let’s face it; bribes work but they aren’t the most effective way to influence behavior if you don’t want to or aren’t willing to continue the bribe.

They also don’t work well if your subject is more interested in something else than whatever you are using to bribe.

The reward always has to be better than the distraction.

Positive Reinforcement and Reliable Behavior is a Mind Game

It is true, positive reinforcement and playing the game correctly in order to motivate your dog to listen to you no matter what is a bit of a psychological mind game.

YOU have to be better at the game than your dog is, all while tricking him into thinking he controls you and your rewards!

Want To Learn More "Mind Games" To Play With Your Dog?

Check out our newest class, where we walk you through how you can "re-wire" your dog's brain, so he's able to calm himself, focus and listen.

Click here to learn this 'Impulse Control' training process

Jackpot Theory

First, let’s review the jackpot theory.

This theory is also the same reason we gamble.

In the beginning in order to shape behavior, we must reward successful accomplishment of the behavior each time in order for the dog to learn. And for a great video series that shows you how to shape behavior, click here.

For example: if I am teaching my puppy to lay down, I will either lure the puppy into a down and reward each time the elbows hit the ground until the behavior is reliable.

Or I will wait for the puppy to lie down on his own and then I will mark and reward that behavior each time, until the behavior is understood and reliable (this is the stronger way to train, by the way, because the puppy is not waiting for your lure).   Then I can name the behavior “down” etc and begin to ask for it on command.

Once a dog knows a behavior it is critical that you back off on the rewards and utilize the jackpot theory.

puppy trainingThe jackpot theory follows the intentions of a slot machine.  Sometimes there is no reward (you put in a few quarters and get nothing back.)

Sometimes there is a small reward (you put a quarter in the slot and get a dollar back).

And, sometimes you hit the jackpot (you put a quarter in the slot and get $20 or more back.)

The reason you stay and “gamble” is because you know that it is possible that you might HIT THE JACKPOT.

If you get nominal or no reward, you aren’t going to gamble.

Your dog is the same way.

If he doesn’t get many, or any rewards or if he is not in the mood for what you are offering, or if what he is doing is better than what you are offering, he isn’t going to comply with your commands.

What is a Dog Jackpot

For us humans, a jackpot is most often thought of as money.  However it can be anything you want.

For a dog, a jackpot is something substantial that he wants.

For instance, when I am teaching my dog a new cue I might train with small pieces of cheese.  A jackpot would then be a bigger or more substantial amount of cheese or something even better; like boiled chicken.

I like to use better rewards as my jackpot to make it worth my dog’s while. puppy training

If I am using toys as a reward, a jackpot is a longer game or fetch or tug.

Jackpots are the reason my dog wants to “gamble” and listen to me over doing whatever it was he was doing.  It is worth it to him if he can score some chicken.

It is also important, that once he learns his commands or cues that I don’t reward him all of the time.  Constant reward is boring.

It is more exciting if he doesn’t know when he will be rewarded.  The anticipation of reward is exciting and builds his drive for the game of listening to me.

And, if you play this game often enough his automatic response will be to listen to you.

You are actually creating a HABIT of listening instead of the habit of ignoring you.

One More Thing

Once you have gotten these things down and you have gotten pretty use to carrying treats around with you for a while it is crucial to move on to the last aspect of this training.


I don’t do this early on in training because I want to have treats available so that I can reward learning behavior.

But eventually my dog understands the clicker and the idea of listening and being rewarded and my rewards don’t have to come immediately following a behavior.

It is at this point I click or mark the behavior and then very dramatically go to the refrigerator or where the treats are located.

I clap and I praise the dog the entire way so that the process is rewarding.  I want to keep him engaged.

I also want him to know that when he listens and complies to my commands that I can go and get him a jackpot.

This keeps him from only listening if I have rewards on my body!

If you follow these rules; you will have a dog that willingly complies to your commands, treats or no treats!


Stop Bribing Your Dog, dog training, puppy training

Start Calming Down Your Over Excited Dogs Today!

Your First Lesson’s FREE:

Sign up below and we’ll email you your first “Training For Calm” lesson to your inbox in the next 5 minutes.


  1. jude says:

    My eight month old pup.loves water even rain, and also likes digging,We are tired of bathing her , so today i have put soap powder all around the soil areas in my garden , if it does’nt work i will gladley bury her poo… thankyou,,,,,


  2. MHL says:

    My emma jackpot is my grandma cookies. I ve never used before toys for doggy rewards and i think i will start next week.


  3. Darlene Phairis says:

    My Max recognizes certain words. He loves to “take a nap” which means we will get on the bed and wrestle(very carefully”. “Are you hungry?” means I will feed him and he sits in a certai place until I say “go eat”. There are others, but every phrase is followed by a behavior he must do before the reward which is a treat– playing, food, going on a walk, etc.


  4. Antoinette says:

    My 2 yr old Penelophy loves walks. She was trained to sit by the gate before going on a walk. When I open the gate to park she always stays inside. I give a jackpot of an unexpected walk.


  5. Deb says:

    A praise treat for YOU. I love the way you phrase your remarks and instructions. You often crack me up which is part of the reason I look forward to your emails. It is the treat you offer me. I have been working with almost four year old Jackson (Golden Retriever) with your previous advice on mental work. I’ve noticed that he is slightly more calm, pays closer attention and comes when I call much more than he did even a month ago. He is a work in progress.


  6. Yvonne says:

    Any suggestions on different people in the house. How do I train my other house members to follow the same training techniques. Cheers V


  7. How do I house train a senior adult dog. I am going to adopt soon..very small…I live on 3rd floor, have elevator but when it rains in sheets it is tough to go out. I don’t want to confuse him on where he should it proper to have a primary place for him to urinate & also when weather is good go outside
    I am worried


  8. JD says:

    Thanks for this advice. I guess I am on the right track after all,!


  9. Kim says:

    I have a 10 month old Mixed breed (Pitt, Dalmatian, Shepard) and he’s very smart, and VERY stubborn! He’s also a “companion Dog” being trained to go with me everywhere I go.
    The problem is he digs.. and tears things up when he’s outside! He totally understands the words ‘NO’ and ‘Quit/Stop”, but as soon as my back is turned, back to digging and chewing things up! He has chew toys, but he’d rather drag my doormat out and tear it to pieces! He tears up paper boxes, yard ornaments, whatever he can get his mouth on! My yard is full of holes and pieces of things he’s chewed.
    Is he just bored, or is this a destructive habit that needs to be fixed, and how?


    Minette Reply:

    He is young and he is bored and if I were you I wouldn’t allow him to use a doggy door, they can create and enforce bad behavior.


  10. Lyndee Joe says:

    I recently got a new puppy but she is at that age where she does not listen to me at all. Even when I have a treat and I am trying to train her to sit or anything she will not listen. All she does is jump up and try to get it. She has no focus on me or anything I am doing, all she is thinking is “TREAT”. I really believed that that was definitely not the way to go about training and teaching her but I personally had no clue how to reward her other that giving her love. I’ve heard of clicker training but I didn’t have any clue where I could get one or how I could do it.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *