Performance is Not Understanding

Performance is not Understanding

Ron Watson Dog Training, Theory

More lessons in this series:

Performance is not understanding. Just because your dog has done or is doing a behavior doesn’t mean they understand what it is they are doing.

One of the biggest problem dog trainers have is the idea that, ”My dog knows that,” when in fact, it is highly likely that the dog merely does that in that one particular situation. There’s a huge difference between your dog’s performance of a skill and their understanding. Performance is what you do and Understanding is what you know.

This might seem a trivial or semantical distinction, but it is not. It is a critical component of generalizing skills and behavior. Handler’s that fail to understand this distinction have dogs that have problems generalizing behavior and are largely responsible for the perpetuation of the myth that “Dogs don’t generalize well.”

Admittedly, dog’s don’t generalize as well as humans, but they can be pretty flexible and creative in their generalizations if their handlers do a good job of separating Performance from Understanding.

This is a pretty deep topic, and one that all of us at Pawsitive Vybe find increasingly more important to have a handle on. I think I’ll take the conversation slow, in bite sized chunks so it’s easier to talk about.

Performance is what you do and Understanding is what you know.

Performance is not Understanding