If you offered to pay me $100 every time I vacuumed, the floor would be covered in dog hair and my bank account would be empty.
Because I’m not motivated by money.
I might actually be demotivated by money. After all, why would I want to be known as a vacuum whore?
What Motivates You?
The new calendar year inspires big plans. You’ve heard them. This year I’ll
- organize my house
- run a half marathon
- learn Spanish
- teach my dog to skateboard
But the end of the year (or month, for some of us) comes and we’ve lost all sight of our plans. We weren’t motivated to follow through.
If we tied our goals to what motivates us, I wonder how much we could do?
Do you know what motivates you? Here’s a short online test about motivation to get you thinking.
My results were no surprise.
What Motivates Pam?
The test told me what I already knew. I’m not motivated by conventional rewards. I’m not motivated by a sense of fun. I’m not internally driven.
But I hate to let other people down.
If I want to get something done, I have to tell everyone I’m going to do it and convince myself the world will end if I disappoint them.
What Motivates Dogs?
How do you get a dog to come to you? By tapping into his motivations.
But do you know what motivates your dog? What is your dog’s strongest drive?
Volhard identified four basic drives in dogs:
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that Honey’s strongest drive is to be with her pack. She scored 75 out of a possible 100. Her prey drive is moderate with a score of 40 out of 100 while her fight and flight drives are nearly nonexistent at 10 each.
Interesting. But does it mean anything in real life?
Motivating Honey to Come Back
Yes, Honey is an easy dog. But her recall got much better when I started thinking about what motivated her.
I used to just carry a pocket full of treats everywhere I went. I’d let her off leash on a walk and call her to me to get a treat. But I found she’d come for her treat and go running off again as if I only existed as a food dispenser.
Besides liver, Honey is also motivated by being near other people and dogs and by chasing things for fun.
To tap into the first motivation, I started hiding from Honey. (Do not try this with a sniffy dog; you’ll never see her again.) When she turned around, she wondered where I was and retraced her steps to find me in my hiding place.
I used her prey/play motivation by picking up a stick or pine cone and running away from her while making high squeaky sounds and holding out the tempting toy. When she got to me, we’d play a quick game of chase, tug, or fetch.
When I stopped relying only on treats and more on her other motivations, her recall got much better.
Can I apply what I’ve learned about motivating Honey to motivating myself?
Working With My Motivations
I’d love to be driven from within. It would certainly be healthier. But I’m not there. So if I need to be motivated by fear of letting people down, so be it.
Work with what you’ve got, right?
So if inviting people to the house motivates me to clean, I’ve gotta host more parties.
And if stating my goals publicly makes me accountable, than I have to do that too.
After all, if it’s good for the dog, it’s good for me.
Short note: If you take the motivational quiz for yourself or your dog I linked to in the post, take it with a grain of salt. Quizzes are meant to get you thinking, not choose your life path. I learned that the hard way (damn you, Cosmo!).
Best Gifts Ever – Pet Blogger Gift Exchange
I’m counting the Pet Blogger Gift Exchange as a huge success. You can see all the Pet Blogger Gift Exchange posts in the linky list.
Despite the busy season, dozens of bloggers were amazingly generous with their praise and link love for fellow bloggers.
Some really stepped out of their comfort zone with technology, learning how to post badges and join a blog hop. Others made time in the middle of family emergencies to write a post. And many wrote heart-felt posts about how a blog affected their lives.
I’m humbled by this community.
The Pet Blogger Gift Exchange is on my calendar for next year. I hope you’ll put it on yours.
What motivates you? What motivates your dog? Do you ask these questions when you’re trying to meet goals for yourself or your dog?