Seth Godin’s Newsletter


Treats

The only way to train a group of sea monkeys is by triggering an instinctual reaction.

The best way to train a dog is with tiny tasty treats, combined with calm and consistent feedback. Some dog owners resist this approach, because it doesn’t seem like the dog is really engaged or paying attention or learning anything if there’s too direct a connection between the actual treat and the action of the dog.

It’s tempting to resort to punishment instead, because it’s not only immediate, but for some trainers, it can relieve frustration and requires less patience. But punishment creates trauma.

Humans make up a lot of stories about what motivates us, but sooner or later, many of our stories involve feedback. We’re not sea monkeys, but we’re well aware of how the world around us treats us.

The most persistent changes in behavior happen when the story is so ingrained, we forget all about the feedback that reinforced it in the first place.

But it still started with the desire to be seen, to be treated with respect, to receive the dignity we each deserve. Ring a bell?