It may surprise you to know that, as a professional dog trainer, I don’t rely on high levels of motivation to reach my dog training goals.
If I waited for motivation, I’d never get any training done.
Instead of waiting for motivation to activate my training, I use the following strategies to jumpstart my training and help me reach my goals.
Set the stage: Often, I have the inspiration to train, but the thought of collecting my props, setting up my tripod, finding my clicker, and chopping up hotdogs to use for rewards makes the task less than appealing. One thing that gets me over this hump is having a space where my training stuff is always ready to go. In my house, in the living room, my tripod is always ready, and training props are stored in a storage bench for easy access. I also regularly chop up hotdogs and keep them in a container in the fridge with my clicker for easy access. It’s all ready to go, so the hardest thing I have to do if I want to trian is walk into the living room and call a dog.
Make a Date: Sometimes, I need a little external accountability to help motivate me to train. For me, this can look like planning a training date with a friend, booking a lesson with a mentor, or renting a training facility for an hour.
Use a Timer: If setting the stage and making a date don’t lead to motivation to train, I can usually convince myself to train for 2 minutes. For some reason, it’s really hard for me to say no to a measly 2 minutes of work. Strangely enough, once I’ve trained for those 2 minutes, I find myself motivated to keep training after the timer goes off.