Make it difficult to fail (Or, How to make it easier to succeed)

For me, the biggest takeaway from this interview about training dogs is that you have to set dogs up for success. Limit the options it has so the only options available are good options. Then reward choices made for these good options. Only then, slowly add more options, continue rewarding good choices, and go from there.

This is such a key principle. And not just for dogs, life in general.

If you set someone up to test them, they’re bound to fail. Even if you tell them you’re going to test them, the odds are that they’ll still fail (though the chance goes down if you tell them vs. not telling them at all).

If instead you present one option, one way of doing it, and then consistently reward that person when they do it that way, the odds flip completely. Then it’s hard to fail.

Making it easier to succeed is really about making it difficult to fail. If it’s hard to fail, success is the only option.

And the way to make it difficult to fail is to literally make it difficult to fail: limit options to good choices, and then reward good choices.