The following is a guest post by Diana Smith on motivating your dog. Enjoy!
When it comes to working out, you are probably well-aware of the motivation factor. However, when it comes to dogs, you are actually thinking for them – they don’t know what’s good for them and, therefore, need plenty motivation. This can vary hugely, from being motivated by food and getting to safety, to fun-seeking motivation and that related to instinct. We will further explore how you can motivate your dog, in order to help you with dog training.
What Motivates Your Favorite Animal?
Unfortunately, motivation varies greatly between dogs, even when it comes to those of the same species and similar temperaments. However, the upshot to this variation is outlined in the fact that you’ll have to get a feel of what motivates your dog, which makes for a beautiful bonding experience, helping you to get to truly get to know your dog.
The only way to get familiarized with the most effective motivator for your dog is to try out a variety of things:
- Food – Food is the greatest reward for some dogs and can be extremely effective in some dogs’ training sessions.
- Toys – Other dogs are more impressed by fun. Try letting your dog play with their favorite toy after a couple of training sessions and make a note if they are even more keen on playing with it after a training session – if this is the case, then, perhaps you’ve found your pet’s greatest motivator.
- Freedom – Some dogs are greatly impressed with the freedom they get after a quality training session. After you’re done with practicing “wait”, “stay” and “heel” commands, let them roam around as much as they want. If they look satisfied, they are satisfied.
- The activity itself – Sometimes, the activity in itself is the best reward. Commonly known as self-rewarding behavior, this is perhaps the best possible motivators for your dog. If you are one of these lucky owners, you can go on feeling blessed.
The key factor in finding what motivates your dog is paying attention to every physical part and behavioral pattern in your dog – every move, muscle and facial expression can tell you a story of its own.
How to Use the Reward System
Things, however, tend to be more complicated than what you may have read so far. Although using the reward system is by all means recommended, using toys, for example, isn’t always the best way to go.
Additionally, not all types of food are always desirable. The best way to go is by browsing through pet food online and trying each meal out, until you’ve found your dog’s favorite delicacy.
The most important part about using the reward system is, as we mentioned, feeling your dog’s needs out. No one can tell you what the best solution is, you have to find it on your own. Fear not, however, for this will doubtlessly prove for a great bonding experience – knowing your dog throughout is extremely rewarding to your very own self.
Do Not Use Avoidance
Some trainers opt for avoiding punishment as motivation. There is no worse way of treating your dog than this. This will not only damage your relationship with you dog, but also cause them to feel fear and anxiety on a regular basis, which is a terrible sight to see. Using punishment avoidance as a means of training will also breathe unpredictable responses, which can make your dog dangerous for yourself and greatly endanger others.
Bear in mind that you won’t get to train your dog overnight, but also make sure you are aware of how interesting and beneficial this experience can turn out to be. Bonding with your pet is a priceless experience!