Motivation is the key to any success. As you need motivation for succeeding in your work, so do dogs when you train them. Dogs need guidance and obedience, but it’s not easy to train them to behave. That’s why you need to motivate them so they’ll enjoy the training and eventually become well-trained and obedient dogs.
Every dog is different
Motivation is so diverse. What works for one dog, can be a complete non-starter for another one. Therefore, you should find out whether your dog will respond well to toys you give them to play with after a well-done task, or maybe they would prefer a treat. On the other hand, your dog could just want to run free after you’ve tired them out with obedience drills. If so, your dog could be the type that enjoys self-rewarding behaviour. The dog will do the training like running through an agility tunnel eagerly, as that will be a reward as well.
Pay attention to your dog
It’s vital that you pay attention to every move, muscle and facial expression that your dog makes while you’re training them. This will help you detect what draws their attention away. Try to play with various kinds of food and toys, to discover the one thing that will best motivate your dog to listen and do its tasks. Some dogs tend to get too distracted by their favourite toys, so pay close attention if the dog is actually enjoying the training or just the fact that it’ll get the opportunity to play with their favourite Frisbee.
Be enthusiastic with the dog
Dogs can sense your feelings, so it’s best if you’re motivated yourself to make your dog go through the training. Therefore, try to be as excited about the training session as possible. Praise them loudly and excitingly, use a louder voice when you need them to figure out what to do about the command. Once they’ve done it right, lower the voice. Whether you’re using toys or food to reward them, be sure to follow it up with excitement in your voice. This is especially important when you praise the dog. Once they hear the higher pitch in your voice, they’ll now they did a good job and will want to progress more.
Always have treats with you
Rewards are the main tool for motivating dogs. Therefore, be sure you shop for delicious dog treats and keep your dog in the mood for training. If the dog prefers toys, have its favourite one by your side at all times and give it to them when they deserve it. However, don’t always use treats or dog toys to reward them. Save those for more complicated tasks. If you gave your dog an easy command, all you could do is say thank you and pat them on the head. That can mean a lot to the dog as well, since praise is always a beneficial means to motivation.
Sometimes avoidance can work too
Punishment avoidance is an often type of motivational training that some trainers prefer to use. Rewarding a behaviour by not punishing the dog relies on fear, which isn’t always the best way to train the dog. Whether you’re popping the leash, poking them in the neck or getting mad at the dog, they will be motivated to avoid those punishments, which will result in them fearing you to a certain degree. While this type of training can be effective in motivating the dog, it tends to backfire. Even though it may bring quick results and work well, the dog’s anxiety and fear will increase over time, leaving both them and you with a myriad of different problems. Not only will the dog become anxious, but you’ll damage the relationship between the two of you. Fear-aggression and lashing out can be just some of the serious problems your dog could experience if you opt for punishment training.
Motivating your dog to do well while training can contribute a lot to the result. However, it’s imperative that you know how to effectively motivate your four-legged friend. It’s essential that you follow their behaviour and reactions to your training. What’s more, always bring treats and praise them for a job well done and your dog will be well-trained in no time.