Understanding Motivation


Understanding Motivation Motivation is what makes your dog tick. It’s what drives him to do things, like respond to your cues and find doing so worthwhile ... even the second and third times you ask. Common canine motivators include: Car rides, a ball tossed, a walk, a leash clipped on or off , playing with toys, access to other dogs, access to smells, and ... the biggie ... food.

Why should you know what motivates your dog? 
Because you can give him reason to pay attention to you. It’s the equivalent of saying to your dog, “I’ll tell you what: If you sit, I’ll throw your ball” or “If you stop pulling on the leash, I’ll let you go smell that fire hydrant.” You use what naturally motivates your dog to get the behaviors you want most. 

So how do you go about it?
First, limit your dog’s access to the things he finds most motivating. Have a ball-crazy dog? Instead of leaving balls around the house at all times, carry them with you so you can whip one out as a way to reward your dog when he is getting something right.

Second, make an item more exciting by bringing it to life for your dog. Simply handing him a toy isn’t nearly as fun for a dog as shaking it about, playing peek-a-boo with it, and then, at the height of excitement, asking for a behavior and rewarding it with a toss of the toy. Food sitting around in a bowl can’t equal the fun of kibble dished out during a lively training session.

Have trouble getting your dog’s attention?
Be sure you’re using the right motivators for the challenge. Dry cookies can’t compete with a treed squirrel. Always have an ultimate trump card—something your dog just can’t resist.

October is Adopt-A-Dog Month®. By American Humane Association.

Dog Events for October
October is Adopt-A-Dog Month®. By American Humane Association.


Please consider adopting before buying...there are SO MANY great dogs in need of loving homes. If you are looking to add a new furry member to your family or know of someone that is, please look to the Humane Society of the Desert - Orphan Pet Oasis. They currently have over 12 dogs from Hurricane Harvey that are looking for homes, not to mention several other dogs from our local area that are in need of someone like you. Visit their website to find out more or check out just a few of them on our Adopt Me! page. 

Heat Safety this Summer

If you missed our email on June 27, here are the top 14 tips we sent out since summer is here and so is the heat! 

I think we have all felt like this at some point during the summer months. :)

I think we have all felt like this at some point during the summer months. :)

14 Safety Tips For Being Safe This Summer

1- Visit the vet for a spring or early-summer checkup. Make sure your pet is healthy and ready for any summer fun planned.

2 - Fresh Water. Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid outdoors. If you live in an extremely hot climate (aka. Coachella Valley), ALWAYS carry waterwith you or in your car with a water bowl. This may help you, your dog or someone else in need.

3 - Shade. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful not to over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.

4 - Know the symptoms of overheating in pets, which include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.

5 - Flat faced breeds are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

6 - Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. Not only can it lead to fatal heat stroke, it is illegal in several states!

7 - Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool — not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals.

8 - Open unscreened windows pose a real danger to pets, who often fall out of them. Keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed, and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured.

9 - Never shave your dog, but trim longer hair on your dog. The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat.

10 - Sunscreen and insect repellent, be sure that any products you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.

11 - Don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close to the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum, and consider doggie booties.

12 - Remember that food and drink commonly found at BBQ's can be poisonous to pets. Keep alcoholic beverages away from pets, as they can cause intoxication, depression and comas. Similarly, remember that the snacks enjoyed by your human friends should not be a treat for your pet; any change of diet, even for one meal, may give your dog or cat severe digestive ailments. Avoid raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with the sweetener xylitol. 

13 - Please leave in a quiet, sheltered, escape-proof area of your home during Fourth of July celebrations, and never use fireworks around pets. Exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns or trauma, and even unused fireworks can contain hazardous materials. Many pets are also fearful of loud noises and can become lost, scared or disoriented, so it’s best to keep your little guys safe from the noise. 

14 - Keep Fido from getting the summer time blues by enrolling them in classes at Dream Dogs where they are indoors and have an opportunity to work off some of their pent-up energy in a safe and fun environment. No sunscreen required.

Dream Dogs

Tricks to Beat the Summer Heat!

Tricks are a great way to keep Fido busy when it is too hot to go for a walk. Working your dog’s brain is just as important as exercise. Engage their attention by training a trick. Here are a few ...

Paws Up

  1. Hold a treat slightly above a sturdy piece of furniture and cue your dog “paws up”. Pat the item too coax your dog’s front feet onto it. Hold the treat only slightly behind the edge, so as not to encourage your dog to jump on top or over it.
  2. The instant both of your dogs paws come up on the item, give your dog the treat.
  3. Once your dog gets the hang of this, try keeping the treat in your treat bag and give the cue without the food lure. If your dog puts his paws on the box, immediately give him a reward.

Take a Bow

  1. Have your dog stand facing you. Hold a treat in your fist at nose height.
  2. Cue “bow” and gently press your hand with the treat from your dog’s nose towards his back paws.
  3. The instant your dogs elbows touch the floor release the treat. Be sure to release the treat only when your is in the correct bow position, and not after he has returned to a stand or laid down.
  4. As your dog improves, try to get him to stay in the bow position for a second before you release the treat.
  5. Your physical cur is your legs crossed left leg behind the right.


  1. With your dog sitting in front of you, hide a treat in your hand, low to the ground. Encourage him to “get it” and “shake”. Reward your dog with the treat the moment his paw comes off the ground.
  2. Once he is able to due this 8 put of 10 times, up the ante and raise the height of your hand.
  3. Transition using the hand signal. Stand up and hold the treat behind your back and extend your other hand out while cueing “shake”. When your dogs paw is in your extended hand give him the treat.

Wave Bye Bye

  1. With your dog sitting in front of you have him “shake”.
  2. Give him hints in progressively greater amounts by saying “bye-bye shake” and then extending your hand a little higher than you would normally due for the “shake” Your dog won’t be able to hold his paw up that high so his motion will look like he is pawing your hand.
  3. Draw your hand slightly away from your dog so he can barely reach your fingers.
  4. Pull your hand back at the last second so he is not touching you at all, but merely pawing the air. Mark the instant he performs it correctly by saying “GOOD!” so he understands the desired behavior is the waving action.

This is a great way to beat the heat and humidity this summer, depending on where you live. Let us know any new tricks that your loyal companion learns. We'd love to see them in action! Please drop us a photo at TrainAnyDog@dreamdogs.com.

Dream Dogs

Welcome to the Dream Dogs Blog!

Welcome All! We are excited to em-bark (pun intended) on this conversation about all things dogs. These amazing creatures are our friends, family members, confidants, protectors at times, workout buddies that never flake out, best listeners ever, and in some cases, the best-dog at our ceremonies. Trying to understand them is a lifelong search for some of us, delving into breed history and behavior... others, we just want to know why the $@#%! they did that and how to make them stop! Where ever you are on this spectrum, we hope that some of your questions will be answered and perhaps, maybe raise some new ones... either way, we are excited you are joining us and look forward to sharing whatever dog insight we discover. Please join us in the conversation and share your comments below. We look forward to seeing you in the Dream Dog Blog!