Do consequences support good performance?

Nothing shows the balance of consequences better than the story of

Laddie and the Couch

Laddie, my Shetland sheep dog,  liked to sleep on the couch when I was at work.  He knew he shouldn't.  When we got home, he'd be at the door.  A couple of times, I sneaked up on him and caught him on the couch.  As soon as he heard me, he'd leap off and, if he thought I'd seen him, he'd definitely have a guilty look on his face (any dog owner will assure you that dogs do, indeed, have expressive faces).

Yelling at him did not work.  I knew that already.  One of my friends told me that dogs hated to have water on their faces--and Laddie certainly hated water!  He'd rather wait till tomorrow than go for a walk in the rain.

So I got a spray bottle and, when I caught him on the couch, sprayed water in his face.  He hated it--you never saw such an unhappy dog in your life!

He didn't like the water, but, at the same time, he did not change his behavior.  From Laddie's point of view, five hours of couch was worth five minutes of water.

People do things for their reasons, not ours. And they judge the consequences of their actions with their eyes, not ours.


Click the checklist button to go to the Performance Analysis Checklist; the flowchart button to go to the All-Purpose Performance Analysis Flow Chart.

Go to Checklist             Return to Home Page             Go to Flowchart

Copyright Copyright 1997, 2001 Frank W. Bell, Jr.

Last updated