There’s More to Motivation than Treats or Praise…..

What delights YOU and really gets your juices flowing?  Money? Chocolate? Coffee?  Video games?  Books? A Binge of your favorite show?  A yummy glass of bubbly?  What is it that gets you willing to work hard?  THAT IS YOUR MOTIVATOR.

You know that feeling you get when you are about to get your reward, the sweet anticipation that helps you hang in there a bit longer.  AND THEN, the big payoff comes!  You worked for it.  You waited for it, the sweet success of getting it!  That’s the best feeling, right!!! 

For a dog, there’s more to motivation than merely treats or praise…..and it’s your job to discover what motivates your dog!


Praise and treats are two of many motivators.

Motivation is a term that refers to a process that elicits, controls and sustains certain behaviors.

Motivators can be a toy, a game of tug, a chase of a ball, a smelling break, play with a friend, a jump in the water, an ‘I get to sleep when I’m done with this”.  Some might say a correction is a motivator, to avoid doing it wrong again.  However, for me and my training pedagogy, motivators are the things that make it worth it for you to work hard for something.

Basically, anything your dog does enjoy is a motivator. Use it wisely. If their motivator is petting, and you pet them all day long for no good reason, then you’ve reduced the value of that motivator.

Use it for a purpose.

I once trained a Korean Jindo that truly cared about NOTHING on this earth (not people, not praise, not food, not toys, not running, not resting, NOTHING)….. except smelling. She did like to smell. So, everything I asked from her was a conduit to her getting to smell. If she gave me what I asked for (once) then she got to smell. I Planted GREAT SMELLING stuff (euphemism for SH*T!, and I truly mean SH*T! pig, goat, deer, bunny, sheep….) out on my area on my walk where I could achieve some goals of work, and she could then earn the right to smell…..see how that works?

Every dog likes something. You just have to find out what it is. You have to make it valuable. If they get it all the time for nothing, then it won’t have value.

PS (This works well with teengers too.)

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