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April 9, 2013

What Motivates Your Pet?

Like people, pets have a number of different motivations for their behavior. Unlike people, getting rich is not a motivation for pet behavior Even among the three dogs in my own family, each one is uniquely motivated. My mom’s dog,

Like people, pets have a number of different motivations for their behavior.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, adventure, dog blog

Unlike people, getting rich is not a motivation for pet behavior

Even among the three dogs in my own family, each one is uniquely motivated.

dog blog, dog adventure

My mom’s dog, Scout, is a love-junkie.  Sure, food and toys are great, but the best training tool with Scout has always been praise and affection.  She will go to the ends of the earth if she knows there is a long belly rub involved

dog blog, pet adventure

My brother’s dog, Dutch, is motivated by what I call “object obsession.”  Dutch is so fixated on his favorite ball that he will ignore treats, praise and  pretty much anything else while the ball is out.   Even at the dog park, Dutch is entirely uninterested it playing with other dogs, he just wants to play fetch.  At home, in lieu of a ball, Dutch carries around a bone like a Winston Churchill cigar and takes it with him wherever he goes.

And of course, Eko’s motivation in life can be summed up in a single word:

Rhodesian Ridgeback, dog blog Hungry?  Always.

Based on the past two years, I can reasonably conclude that Eko’s stomach is actually a black hole.  And I’m quite convinced that if robbers brought some treats with them to my apartment, Eko would help them carry out the couches.

Is your pet primarily motivated by food, affection, objects or something else?  I am very interested to hear what other types of pet motivation are out there, so let me know!

Comments for What Motivates Your Pet?

  1. ek says:

    Food, cookies, more food, and some more cookies, and oh, food again. Oh oh oh, banana too of course. But I already said it, it’s FOOD.

  2. Motivation has been a big topic of conversation with our puppy. He is motivated by one thing: protecting his momma! Being in a position to see her, alert her of noises, or defend her determines a large part of his behavior. Asking him to sit or lay down works a lot better if he’s in a position he feels comfortable to be her “defender,” or he is being rewarded by her praise.

  3. Marcela says:

    Lol. Alex is motivated mostly by food. As long as it smells good, that girl will do what you ask of her.

  4. Tiffany F. says:

    Tonto suffers from the black hole disorder too. No matter how much he eats, he’s still ALWAYS hungry!!

  5. Yeah, it’s pretty much food, glorious food with Putney too 🙂 Cheyne works for cuddles and treats, and Popper for anything that’s going – treats, toys, kisses, cuddles – in any combination 😆

  6. emma says:

    My sister and I are motivated by food or affection, but if it comes down to it and we aren’t interested in doing what we are told, nothing will help…we are both very independent breeds and our own stubbornness takes over and we do what we want. It can be frustrating for mom, but it keeps her challenged…PS: we have met those ball obsessed dogs at the dog park and just don’t understand that at all 🙂

  7. Victoria says:

    food – mostly treats for Muffin and any kind of meat for Rigby (if you say the word steak he will do anything you want), sticks are another good motivator, stuffy toys and frisbees too – but what is funniest is that they know what motivates me – i get lots of love when its time to play or a cute little face that comes up to me and licks my hand to let me know they want time with me.

  8. The only thing that motivates my fat cat is comfort – I believe her soul purpose is to seek out the most comfortable place in the flat – and kick me off it if necessary.

  9. onebluedog says:

    Dutch looks very sophisticated with his “cigar” 🙂

    I love foods…but sometimes not as much as I love, oh, say a frolicking squirrel? My most favorite thing of all is playing with other pups. So mom uses that as a reward too. And when she was trying to teach me to roll over, treats just weren’t doing the trick. But when the reward was chasing a tennis ball, I suddenly figured it out quick! I guess I like variety?

  10. Boomer and Dottie are both food motivated, I’ve wondered the same thing about their stomachs!

  11. Arri is motivated by a new toy :)! OK…raw sweet potatoes are her absolute favorite too!

  12. Jura says:

    Peanuts – literally. no salt home roasted. Secretly the best training treat as doesn’t make one’s hands smell like some smellier treats. She will jump over anything doing ‘in-house agility’ for a tiny peanut – nothing else holds the same value to her (well other than love!)

  13. We have two cats motivated by treats, a third cat motivated by wet food and one who loves treats and affection in equal measure.

    Of course ‘motivated’ is a relative term when it comes to felines.

  14. Love the photos, funny how dogs just like people are motivated by different things.
    Cheyenne is motivated by ducks, Riva is motivated by lovins, Maia is motivated by any attention someone else is getting and then shoves her way in between, Titan is motivated by working in the field but I can safely say that ALL of them are motivated by treats 😉

  15. Jorie says:

    Bahaha, the Winston Churchill cigar! Bodie does that on occasion as well and it cracks me up. I’d say Bodie is motivated more by food but also by love. Kiva is motivated by a need to please. I swear, she is not really interested in the treat that comes after she performs a trick or obediently follows a command — she wants the praise of being told “Good dog” and a pat on the head.

  16. Boomdeeadda says:

    Oh lordy, that Dutch looks like a real character. I love the look of indifference….”ya, it’s a bone, what do you think” I’m pretty sure our cats are highly unmotivated to do anything except nap. Buddy always made a trip out to ‘fake’ pee when he wanted a cookie. Sometimes he didn’t even leave the deck…….like I wouldn’t notice that? LOL

  17. In this house definitely food and playtime 🙂

  18. catchatcaren says:

    Dakota is with Eko but I would have to narrow it down further to BONES!

  19. Where does Eko keep his collection of shades? So cool.

  20. Jessica says:

    Taylor is very motivated by food!!! Sometimes I train her with “drop it” during a game of fetch, and if she knows I have treats in my hand or nearby, she will fetch the toy, run back to me with toy-in-mouth, stop at my feet, spit the toy out, then look at me…all before I can even verbalize the command!! I tell her that I need to give the command first before she drops the toy, but she does not seem to be receptive to this basic rule. I wonder why… 😉

  21. There are three things that really motivate Chancy. When I move he moves he follows me every step I take. He gets motivated by the word “cookie” and he loves his tummy rubbed. Loved all these pictures and this was a very interesting post. Hugs and nose kisses

  22. niraheto says:

    Ridgeback motivation Hmm let me see.
    Akeems motivation is to see if how long he can get to spend on the inside lounge before getting kicked off that goes for the kids beds all the kids have double beds and we have a king his motivation stems from the fact that he can stretch out fully on the beds and the lounge and snuggle in ( our room ) bed is on the floor but he will try he may make it up for 20 seconds then gets told off and reluctantly gets off. Food if its there he may eat it but will only eat half his dinner then about an hour later finish it. We bought him some Rope toys really loves them OOPS forgot he loves Natural dried Duck treats or any treat but the duck ones he loves now for a dog that was never taught to sit or shake he does just that for his breakfast and dinner you can walk up take his bowl away and it doesn’t even phase him one little bit. If you give him a treat he takes it so gently you can hardly feel him take hold of it. Love my Ridgie to death

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