Find What Motivates Your Dog To Excel
Find What Motivates Your Dog To Excel Training
By: Elissa Weimer-Sentner
Have you ever told your dog to sit, and he just stares blankly at you wondering where you got the audacity to give him a command? Then he proceeds to ignore you and continue on his way? It’s so frustrating when dogs just don’t listen. Successful dog training all comes down to a dog’s motivation. Here’s how you can excel your dog training by understanding what motivates your dog.
What Motivates Your Dog –What is a motivator?
First, you must understand what motivators you could be working with. Motivators are incentives, rewards, or encouragements used to train a dog. There’s a mile-long list of possible motivators as they can be different for each dog. I once was training a dog with basic treats only to find out that he preferred a small piece of cheese. Once I switched the motivator, training became a breeze! Trial and error is really the best way to identify which incentive works best for the dog. They can be treats, toys, praise, playtime, petting, and even cheese.
Once a you have found what motivates your dog , you can adjust their training by using these tips:
More often than not, a dog isn’t listening to its owner because they’re boring to the dog. Whatever command is being asked of them has to be more interesting than the other distractions around them. It’s always a good idea to show excitement and enthusiasm. We all have a high-pitched “puppy voice,” and it’s an effective way to harness a dog’s attention as embarrassing as it is. You can show enthusiasm by being supportive, praising the dog, clapping, or rewarding them often.
Follow through and be consistent
Dogs know when their human is busy or distracted, so they know when the human isn’t going to follow through with the command. By staying consistent and following through with the training, they show the dog that they won’t stop until the task is completed. Practicing regularly and in different environments hundreds, if not thousands of times, is the only way for the dog to understand what is being asked of it. If you’re working on ‘stay,’ and someone comes to the door, and the dog is allowed to jump and greet the guest, you just showed them that following through isn’t necessary. Even if you’re busy, always follow through with training.
What Motivates Your Dog – Speak Their Language
Dogs don’t speak English. If they did, that would make dog training a lot easier! A dog might not be grasping the training because they don’t know what you want them to do. They might’ve sat or laid down once by coincidence, but that doesn’t mean they know the command. We shouldn’t assume they know what we want from them just because they’ve done it once or twice. That’s why patience is so vital. Don’t get discouraged if it’s taking a while for the dog training to click with them. Dogs don’t speak English, but they do speak the language of incentives, and that’s why knowing your dog’s motivators is the key to successful dog training. Just like motivators, there are a lot of different strategies you can use to teach the dog if you’re finding that what you’re currently doing isn’t working.
Set Your Dog Up For Success
It’s always a good time to start training your dog, but I wouldn’t recommend it until you’ve found what motivates your dog . Set your dog up for success by using the correct tools and motivators right from the start. You don’t want to shame them if they’re not picking up on it quite yet. It might not be their fault, and then they won’t know why they’re being shamed.
For best results in dog training, find the right motivators, be patient, consistent, and positive. Dogs aim to please their humans; dog owners should aim to motivate them.
Elissa Weimer-Sentner is the founder and co-owner of Paw & Order Dog Training. She established Paw & Order Dog Training in Pittsburgh, PA in 2013. Elissa is a certified Canine Good Citizen Evaluator and is a member of the IACP and APDT. She previously served as a Combat Military Police Officer and graduated at the top of her class at California University of Pennsylvania.