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What is Motivation?

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You and Your Dog

Once you grasp the basics of dog behaviour you realise there is an extremely thin line between them and us. The most apparent trait that we share is: Motivation. In order for a human, or a dog, to do something, especially something we’re not overly eager to attempt we need to feel motivated. Humans tend to be motivated by peers, friends, family, and celebrity icons and more where as your dog, well he only has you! That’s a lot of responsibility. Your dog will rely on you for everything, they leave their mothers usually around 8-10 weeks old and from this time until their final day it is your job to teach, train, protect and nurture your canine friend. Motivation will play a huge part in this.

What is Motivation?

Motivation is the process that begins, guides and retains goal-oriented behaviours. It is what causes one to act, whether it is having a drink to quench thirst or researching a topic to gain knowledge. Motivation involves the emotional, social and biological forces that activate ours, and dog’s behaviour. It is generally a term used to explain why someone does something, for example a student may be so motivated to pass their exams they will spend every night studying or a smoker may try to give up using the motivation of their children, or their finances.


Motivation and Training

Oakwood Canine Services are huge promoters of positive methods of training and show the brilliant results these methods produce. Long gone are the days where it was deemed acceptable to tap a dog’s nose, or shove them outside for bad behaviour. Time, science and experts have taught us that dogs are complex beings and they understand much more than ever given credit for. Punishing a dog will only cause confusion; where as giving a dog something to strive for has been proven to be a more efficient method of training; as well as humane.obedience

Motivation is one of the most powerful tools we can use when training a dog and it works from house training to recall. Over time you will learn what things your dog loves, whether it is off lead play with other dogs or a tasty treat/playing with their favourite toy. These can all be used within your motivational training. 

Considering the motivator is the key to getting the most from your dog. Different breeds have different innate drives. Don’t expect to take a hunting breed to the local park and not have them chase the birds and rabbits.

To keep them with you, you must leverage yourself as the highest motivator with the use of a toy or high value treats. This relationship between you and your dog is built over time. 

A few years ago, I read a book from David Ryan call ‘Stop’ – How to control predatory chasing in dogs. This book illustrates and explains how to leverage the situation with the use of toys. 

Your dog may not be ‘chasing’ but going to play or cause mischief. In this scenario, you can change your dog’s actions with the use of food or toys. If you would like to learn more or want to change your dog’s behaviour feel free to get in touch- We will always try to help!  


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