Tuesday, January 27, 2015


IN dog training circles you hear a lot of talk about "motivation". How to motivate your dog, what reinforcers to use and when, how to keep your dog "up" and happy and wanting to play these silly games that we ask them to do. There is never any shortage of advise for those dogs who seem to lack motivation in whatever training we are doing at the moment. Motivation, drives, reinforcers, control - these are all topics that can keep dog trainers talking for a long time.

What if the motivation and drive has less to do with the dog and more to do with the handler? We never seem to have discussions about handler motivation. I think people, other dog trainers included, just assume that if you are actively training your dog in some sport, you must have the motivation do to so. Or else, why do it?  Motivation for training in a dog sport comes in all sorts of ways. Usually having a specific, time related related goal, such as an upcoming trial you want to be ready for or a certain title you want to reach, is a hug motivator.  This gives you something to aim for and a deadline (as well as some pressure and excitement) to get training. But what if you have no trial coming up?  No deadline? Nothing to really motivate you and give you that push to be excited to train?  That is where I feel I am at right now. 

I have always said I would not trial Rundle until he was really ready and that has not changed. The problem is that I don't even have a glimmer of when that might be.  No, trialing is not everything, but it is kind of the point when you are training specifically for a trialing sport like obedience or agility. The thing is that I really like training - it is fun and rewarding but that alone is not always enough to keep my motivation up.  So, as a result, I have not been doing much in the way of training lately. I know I should sit down and make smaller, more attainable goals to keep me going, but I don't even really have the motivation to do to that. Sometimes when you get discouraged, you just need to let it pass and hopefully something happens to inspire you again.  At least that is what I am waiting for :)


  1. I miss you !! Maybe we can get out and do a few things outside at Nicholas Sheran, go for a walk, do a bit of training, just fun, let me know ok :)

  2. I often feel that way!!! I don't think it's uncommon at all, just maybe not talked about much. :)

    Those small attainable goals will help you, if you sit down to figure them out. :)

    I've even gone so far as to make skill specific goals- because that's as small as I can make them. Let me know if you want to do anything fun!