Understanding Motivation In Dog Training:
One of the most important concepts that every new pet owner must learn, if they want to become an effective dog trainer, is how to motivate their dog to want to follow commands and participate in training.
One of the most important concepts that every new pet owner must learn if they want to become an effective dog trainer is how to motivate their dog to want to follow commands and participate in training.
When people first begin to train their dog, many confuse "rewarding their dog" with "motivating their dog." While these two concepts are very close in nature, there is a difference. The sooner a handler learns the subtleties of these differences, the sooner they become effective trainers.
Simply put, motivating a dog means creating an environment where the dog desires to perform an exercise.
When handlers learn the art of motivation, they take their training one step further and create an atmosphere where the dog wants to know. They create an atmosphere where their dog actively tries to figure out what it is that his owner is trying to teach him.
This article will discuss the different ways to motivate a dog during training.
While there is any number of methods to train a dog, there are only 4 ways to motivate a dog:
- By using food as a reward
- By using toys or prey items as a reward
- By using praise from the handler as a reward
- By using force (corrections) to make a dog do what you want
How you mix and match these methods will vary according to your dog, the circumstances you are in, your dog's level of training, and your experience.
Some of these methods will work for some dogs and not others. In fact, some strategies will work for a dog in one circumstance but not in another. The difference between a good trainer and a great trainer is that great trainers know how and when to use all 4 methods of motivation.
Which method you use will vary according to:
- Your dog's temperament,
- Your dog's genetic drive,
- Your relationship or bond with the dog,
- The distractions your dog is facing at any point in time,
- Your experience and skill at handling and training dogs
- What stage of training you are in with your dog.