Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Discussion Group 2: Motivation

On Wednesday June 1, 2011, sixteen members of Agility Underground met at Coppertop Restaurant in Valley City, OH for our second Interim Week Discussion  Group. (Information on our first meeting "Recognizing Stress in Dogs" can be found here)

 It was so nice to sit out on the patio and enjoy a nice dinner with great dog friends. Sue and Jill did a great job making arrangements and facilitating the meeting. *clicks* for them!

[Editors Note: I have let a significant amount of time elapse between this meeting and this blog so please feel free to email me or post a comment with any additions and/or corrections!]

WHAT IS MOTIVATION?
1. The act of giving somebody (including dogs) a reason or incentive to do something. (Webster)
2. A feeling of enthusiasm,  interest, or commitment that makes someone (in this case, your dog) want to do something. (Webster)
3. A reason for doing something or behaving in a particular way. (Webster)

{Pam had a great definition straight from her freshman textbook but I didn't make a note of it! I believe it was something like: Motivation is whatever makes you do something and keep on doing it ?! }
{Gilda is highly motivated by other dogs}

WHAT CAN BE USED TO MOTIVATE YOUR DOG?
1. Food. From lower value kibble to higher value chicken, peanut butter, canned dog food, baby food, tuna fudge etc.
2. Toys. Especially tugging to create drive
3. Words. "Ready" is a commonly used word which dogs can learn to associate with something fun to follow.

HOW CAN YOU TELL IF YOUR DOG IS MOTIVATED TO WORK WITH YOU?

1. Their focus is on you
2. Outside distractions (weather, other dogs, people, noise, activity) have little to no effect on the dog's behavior.
3. Signs of interest: ears perked, tail wagging, alert eyes, forward stance.

HOW CAN WE APPLY MOTIVATIONAL TECHNIQUES TO AGILITY WORK?

1. Using the Premack Principle: a solid start line stay (lower value activity) earns a chance to perform agility (higher value activity)
2. Use high-value rewards for successful short sequences to build motivation.
3. Train with different scenarios: slowly decrease distance from other dogs and people, increase duration of training session, add new distractions during training.

For more information, reference Susan Garrett's Say Yes Dog Training Website
Information on our first meeting "Recognizing Stress in Dogs" can be found here

No comments: