Have you ever wondered about the reasons behind the things that you do?
The reasons behind the things people do is motivation. Motivation is the what initiates, guides, and manages goal-oriented behaviors. Motivation is present not only among us human beings, but also other animals, such as dogs.
In training dogs, motivation is extremely important. It is the driving force for dogs to perform certain behaviors and tricks being taught in training. Thus, before starting training, it is crucial to ask the question, “what motivates my dog?”
Motivation greatly varies from one dog to another. For some dogs, treats are the greatest reward, while for others, outdoor play is the most motivating. Sometimes, the training itself is the highly rewarding for the dog. With all these varying motivating factors, there are a few basic principles in motivating dogs in training:
- Extrinsic motivation: The environment is motivating.
Like human beings, it is an instinct for dogs to move towards comfort and move away from discomfort. Dogs are most probably perform and engage in behaviors and tricks taught when training is done in an environment it is comfortable in.
- Extrinsic motivation: The reward is motivating.
Some dogs are driven by external things, such as food, toys, outdoor play, among many others. Like human beings, dogs get excited with different rewards. Some get highly giddy when given a treat, while some are very happy when rewarded with a walk in the park.
- Intrinsic motivation: The training itself is rewarding.
For some dogs, the training itself is motivating. They do not need external rewards to initiate and maintain behavior or tricks taught in training because the motivation arises from within. Some dogs are internally motivated because of their desire to please their owners or trainers.
Dogs are motivated by a variety of things – may it be extrinsic motivation or intrinsic motivation. With these, it is very important to observe every body language and facial expressions of the dog while training or spending time with it. It is crucial to closely observe what grabs the attention of the dod the most. Try to vary the reward and notice what works best with the dog. Make things more interesting and exciting for the dog, in that way, it enjoys what it does while learning the behaviors and tricks being taught.
In training, to keep a dog going is to keep it happy. Whether the dog is motivated intrinsically or extrinsically, by a food or a toy, the real goal is to make training enjoyable and fulfilling.
Find out what excites your dog the most; this is one of the secret ingredients to making dog training easier, effective and successful.