You are the happy parent of a cute dog and you wish to make him a little more motivated. Whether it is to learn new commands, new habits or just to keep his schedule active, a motivated dog is a very pleasant companion.
One of the most important concepts that every dog owner wishes to learn and master is how to motivate their dog to want to follow commands.
It matters to know what your dog will work for. Don’t forget, motivation varies between dogs and you have to figure out what exactly motivates your dog. Here are 4 cool ideas on how to increase your dog’s motivation:
- Motivating your dog with food
- Motivating through words
- Motivating by using games
- Motivating by petting
Let’s have a closer look on each method.
Idea 1: Reward with food
Food is a very valuable “paycheck” for dogs during training. It’s one of the few things that dogs instinctively know is good and want more of. Food holds a special place in their mind due to its primal nature. However, be aware of overusing food as a motivational tool! Using food too often as a reward, might create a dog who will only work if he knows there’s food involved. Therefore, make sure that food is being used as an occasional reward only and not in form of bribe. And yes, there’s a big difference between the two concepts!
Idea 2: Reward with words
A good way to motivate your dog is with “marker words”.
A marker word is a sound you use to tell your dog when he/she did something right.
A marker word can be used as part of the training, to speed up communication between you and your four-legged friend, and it can also act as a reward itself! Good marker words are mostly short, sharp, and happy, like for example:
- “Good dog”
Idea 3: Reward by playing
For some dogs, playing is better than eating (or at least as good as eating). and here’s why:
- The one-on-one attention your dog gets from you through playing is a great reward and can strengthen your relationship with your dog.
- Moreover, playing is fun, and involves both you and the dog and is what makes you a team. Therefore, if you want to reward your dog for a job well done, an entertaining game would be a great idea!
- But wait, there’s more to it: Using play as a reward will spare you from storing tons of doggie treats in your pockets!