Dogs That Split the Difference

When faced with a choice on course, many dogs will choose to “split the difference”, meaning the dog will head somewhere in between the two choices while they wait for the handler to provide additional information. Dogs that split the difference are trying very hard to be right. Rather than guess wrong, they delay, possibly adding strides or slowing down.

If your dog splits the difference on course, they are giving you very important information. They are telling you that your handling (your cues) were not adequate to tell them where they should go. It could be that you have an ambiguous cue; you handle two different sequences or maneuvers with the same handling and your dog must wait for an additional cue to make the correct choice. It could be that your timing was late so that your dog didn’t have the clarifying information in time to create the fastest path.

Watch for your dog “splitting the difference”; what are they trying to tell you?