Dog Sports Skills, Book 2: Motivation

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Denise Fenzi and Deborah Jones
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Fenzi Dog Sports Academy
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This is the second book in the award winning Dog Sports Skills series by Denise Fenzi and Deborah Jones; this time the topic is Motivation!

Foreword by: Ken Ramirez

In this second book in the "Dog Sports Skills" series, Authors Denise Fenzi and Deb Jones take an in-depth look at the topic of motivation. They talk about what motivation is, and what it is not, along with an illuminating discussion of how a dog is unique in the animal world, and how educated trainers can use that to maximum advantage. They consider a range of options for motivating our dogs, and how a trainer can raise or lower the value of specific motivators to get the exact training effect that may be desired at a given time. Temperament is discussed as it relates to issues of motivation to help the reader understand the strong interplay between temperament, motivation and training decisions.

In addition to explaining how to use motivators in training, this book provides specific information on how to reduce their use so that you can eventually get into the competition ring!

Finally, they provide case studies - lots of them! The purpose of the case studies is both to cement what the reader has learned in the first chapters and also to help the reader understand how to analyze specific situations and make a plan to apply the concepts.

A student who reads both this book and the first book in the series will begin to develop a deeper understanding of the author's underlying philosophy and approach. Each book is more than a stand-alone resource; they are pieces of a puzzle that will eventually weave into a tapestry of concepts, thoughts and applications that create both excellence in training and a very deep respect and understanding for another living being.

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  • 5
    Dog Sports Skills, Book 2 Motivation

    Posted by Allyson Tohme on 7th Sep 2022

    Chapter 1 asks “What is Motivation?” not only of the dog but the handler and reassures readers that, although it may not be immediately obvious, most puppies, with the right genetics, can develop just as strong desire for a particular toy as one which fixated on it at first exposure. “The Dog, but not the Chicken” looks at what makes training a dog different from training poultry! The subject of “Clean Training” is explored with its pros and cons for the type of dog your clients have. Errorless learning is something that has been promoted heavily over recent years and this is investigated briefly before the authors go on to talk about relationships and the importance of social interaction. Creating motivators via operant and classical conditioning is a concept with which we are all familiar, but there is a lot of focus on how owners (and trainers) need to consider the best motivator for any training situation depending on whether we are looking for precision and accuracy, intensity and speed or thoughtfulness and stillness. Factors affecting motivation looks at the value of work, the role of habit and the power of choice. Changing the value of a motivator using intensity, proximity and duration was another area placed under the microscope; followed by the additional considerations such as how the value of a motivator may change as a dog matures. One of the most discussed issues I come across is how to change criteria without losing motivation and in Chapter 7 this is covered at some length. Quite a lot of time is spent on how to maintain motivation when your dog makes a mistake with some interesting views on whether the NRM (Non-Reward Marker) is neutral or not, teaching and using it correctly. Two chapters are, I believe, of great interest to instructors. One showcases 10 different dogs in case studies on motivating different temperament types whilst the other looks at 6 different exercises performed by 3 separate dogs (18 dogs in all) and provides a recommended solution with justification for each. As indicated by the title this is the second book in a series with the third “Play” following on with specific instructions on how to use motivators and reinforcers and the skilful use of food. I have no hesitation in recommending this publication.

  • 5

    Posted by Cheryl on 26th Apr 2019

    Another interesting, informative, science-based, excellent book from Fenzi and Jones which is not only a pleasure to read, the information contained within is outstanding. Highly recommend.