Using Motivation To Train A Dog
When a new puppy or dog comes into your life, it’s most likely your biggest desire to achieve a good level of training, using effective methods, which will provide good results. One of the key factors of successful dog training is to understand how the training methods you choose to use actually work – knowing how the process works will give greater skills and options. You will be able to use the knowledge and know how to train your dog to your own specific desires. By adapting examples and practices you will be able to teach your dog unique tricks and tasks.
Old Dog Training Methods
Past methods – although still used – worked on the theory such as learning through repetition, force and even fear. For example, a dog would repeatedly be given the command to sit – while doing this, the next step would be to push down on the dog’s hindquarters as hard as necessary until forced to sit. The process would be repeated several times, and eventually, the dog learns that if he sits at the vocal command stage it, at least, saves the uncomfortable pressure on his body. The exercise can be slightly confusing for a dog. Once in the sit position, there can be many distractions for the dog – there are so many sights and smells that are much more appealing than sitting, so force is used again, as well as shouting and scolding.
Usually once a dog has been trained to sit, the next step is to teach him to lie down. Using the traditional methods, it’s a very similar process to learning to sit and so a similar, merely adequate result is achieved. Then, when the training progresses to lessons such as ‘walking to heel,’ techniques such as tugging and pulling on a leash, nudging and shouting may be adopted to achieve results. During these training sessions, it is likely that that the dog is rewarded with treats – this is often to hold the dog’s attention while sitting and to avoid distractions. However, this treat can also confuse a dog – he may wonder why he receives a treat after being forced or pushed into performance. Or to put it another way, the treat could be seen as a type of doggy payment for tasks performed rather than part of the attraction of being with his owner.
This style of training does get results but it isn’t the best way to create a strong bond between owner and dog.
With these older, more traditional methods the dog is performing tasks and obeying orders just because he is instructed to do so. His attention could at any time be distracted.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to think that a dog was following instructions, obeying, even anticipating orders and performing because he really wants to, because he so much desires your attention? He’s constantly looking over to you making sure he isn’t going to miss the smallest or slightest sign from you – you are the center of his world and no distraction could be great enough to draw him from you. Yes, it would be wonderful, and it is possible when you take the time to understand how your dog is thinking, and how this thinking reflects in his behavior.
The first step in the ‘new style’ training is to ensure your dog is fully engaged with you – when he is in full engagement or ’focus,’ it is because he wants to be with you. This could be because he wants what you have or he wants what he knows you are able to give him – things such as favorite toys, squeakers, balls, quality meat treats, tip bits, plenty of praise, affection and attention. With the correct use of these canine attractions, you can keep your dog 100% focused on what you are doing and on what you have. Once you achieve full engagement with your dog, nothing else matters to him – there is nothing that he would rather do than be with you, so nothing will distract him. He will want to please you, he will enjoy attempting the tasks, tricks or steps that you are teaching him and above all he will be delighted when he knows you are pleased with his performance. From there, he will savor all the praise, treats, and rewards he receives from you.
When your dog is in this frame of mind it’s the ideal time to train, he will be eager to learn and looking to you for direction and instruction all of the time he is focused with you.
This motivation will ensure that your pup is willing to obey to your command – however, your dog may be disappointed when you cannot give him a treat. Keep treats as a variable, and not a continuous, thing.
The bond between yourself and best friend will be growing and strengthening when using the theory of motivation – this bond brings many qualities that will help to keep training as fun and enjoyable as possible.