My dog is not motivated during training!
14 februari 2022 
3 min. read

My dog is not motivated during training!

"Yesterday training went so well but today he seems to have forgotten everything.”

Regularly we receive questions from customers how it can be that their dog trains very well one time and the other time has no motivation to do anything at all. They try everything, but the dog seems totally unmotivated and does not do what is asked of him. This is a common problem and has to do with motivation.

We always train the dog based on his motivation. We are very clear about that; no motivation, no training. By this we mean that if the dog is not motivated to train, we stop immediately and continue at another time. It is better not to train than to train badly.

If we want to teach a dog a new exercise, we first provoke the desired behavior and then we reward this. We do this in small steps. You cannot expect a dog to understand an exercise immediately. It is also very important that you do not force a dog to do an exercise. This can cause stress and this is something that must be avoided when teaching an exercise. A dog must be free in his mind and open to want to learn. And for this reason, the dog must always have motivation during the training.

Before we start training, this is how we check if the dog is hungry and there is motivation to eat.

But what is motivation and how do we ensure that our dog is optimally motivated?

In our system, we want our dog to be motivated to earn his reward. This can be food, but also, for example, a ball, bite-roll or other toy that the dog loves. The dog performs the exercise because he knows that this will earn him his reward.

But how do we ensure that the dog is optimally motivated? We do this for example by using our food training system. We just use the normal kibble that the dog eats in a day, but we do not feed the dog normally. In fact, we use all the food for training. So the dog eats while training and will be extremely motivated to earn a piece of food because he has not eaten yet. Is the dog not motivated because he is not hungry, for example? Then it is important to stop immediately and not to feed the dog normally, but to try again later during training.

If you do not train with food but with a ball or other toy, then there must be motivation for the dog to earn this toy. We must first make sure that the dog is crazy about a certain toy and then use it only during training or during a play session. For example, we do not put the toy with the dog in the kennel or in the basket, but he gets it only during training or play. This will increase the motivation in the dog to get the toy and we use this motivation to be able to train the dog.

This dog is trained with a ball, which she absolutely loves.

"This doesn't work for me, my dog won't eat during training."

We regularly get the response back that this system doesn't work. The dog does not want to eat during training and is distracted. When we ask more questions, we often quickly come to a conclusion about the reason for this. Often the dog is fed in a normal way, or other food is used during training after the dog has eaten.

We are convinced that every dog can be trained with food. If you use a consistent food training system and only feed the dog during training, it will eventually always be motivated to earn a piece of food. Is there no motivation? Then stop immediately and try again a few hours later. This will increase the motivation and your dog will be motivated while training.

About the author
My name is Dick Staal. Together with my son Sander I work daily with great passion and pleasure in our family business Dog Training Dick Staal.Sander's work is mainly focused on marketing, administration, customer contact and organizing seminars. This allows me to fully focus on my passion and that is training dogs, guiding people in their dog training and giving seminars.Since 1977 I have been training dogs on a daily basis. With over 40 years of experience I have developed a system in which we train our dogs positively with extremely fast results. I enjoy sharing this knowledge with other dog trainers and to see that they also achieve rapid success with our way of training.With my blogs I share this knowledge and I want to make everyone enthusiastic about our system. I hope you enjoy reading my blogs and that you can gain many valuable tips from them!
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