If it’s one thing that we all need, whether it’s in dog training, going to the gym, driving to work, or suffering through the grocery store at 6 o’clock in the evening, it is motivation. We already work on how to motivate your dog (food, toys, etc.) now we have to motivate you. Whenever I work with a client, I explain to them that the one thing they have to keep in mind through training is what they want the picture to look like with their dog. When you’re eating dinner, what do you want your dog to be doing? When someone comes to your house, how do you want your dog to react? What if it’s the UPS man? Once we figure that out, we need to figure out what things are important. If you don’t care that your dog is on the couch, I don’t want to waste your time working on that. If you want to be able to take your dog off leash through the woods, now we’re getting somewhere. We’re finding some motivation to train. You’re sick of your dog knocking over your 5-year-old niece?
Use that for motivation to work on how he greets people coming over, or being able to hold a place when your niece is over. One thing that all trainers know is that the only way to get a successful habit with your dog is to get in a lot of quality repetitions. If it’s one thing that makes our job hard, is motivating a client to do quality repetitions between lessons. That’s why one of our biggest jobs as a trainer is to also be a coach. To motivate you to do those reps. To keep a goal in mind. You do that with your personal trainer at the gym when you want to lose 15 pounds, so let’s do it when we’re outside with your dog working on a recall. We have a client who is amazing at this. When I first him and his crazy lab puppy, he wasn’t sure if they’d be able to keep their dog. She was knocking over grandkids, dragging them down the street, etc., etc. After their dog, Katie, came through our Jumpstart program, he had the tools and communication that he needed to restart their relationship. He knew what she was like before and he used that for motivation to continue the training and practice her skills everywhere. He takes her everywhere. They train everywhere. They have an amazing relationship and his grandkids can enjoy her, he and his wife can enjoy her, and she can enjoy a lot more freedom to do things.
If you think hard enough about it, everyone can find the motivation they need to work on training with their dogs. Whether you work with a professional trainer like us, or just at home watching videos or reading books. But just like the gym, you have to keep that motivation in mind so you continue to drive forward and build that relationship and get that quality of life. Trainers have different motivations with the dogs that they train, which I go into a little more in depth in my last blog “Dog training: Passion versus Business. Where do you fit in?” One of the best parts of my job is watching someone truly enjoying their dog. Not just being able to control their dog, but really enjoying that moment with their dog. Whether it’s chasing a Frisbee at the beach or an off leash hike through a state park. Sometimes it’s just being able to get their dog to settle down long enough to pet and enjoy watching T.V. with their dog laying on a dog bed.
Find your motivation. Figure out what you want the picture to look like. Then, let’s train for it. Where do you find your motivation?