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Building Drive

Jul 07, 2023

Drive is the passion, the energy you need from your dog to achieve top performances. Tapping into your dog's motivation and desire to acquire their reward, whether it be a ball, food, or anything else they have in mind, and then channeling that energy, engagement, and excitement to a required task is the ultimate goal when building drive. 

No matter what your dog's natural Drive might be, it’s up to you to build and strengthen this drive. There are some major mistakes that I often see. 

Some handlers confuse building drive with tossing the dog a ball, but it's not really, because there are many more important aspects you need to control. When building drive, you really need to manipulate the game, the intensity, how it is played, the interaction, and most importantly how you make that dog feel. 

When you build Drive, you are essentially creating an addiction. And you want to control that addiction. You want control over that source/reward, and the energy the dog has to possess it.

Don’t forget, that in my method of training, you shouldn't have your dog look at you, he should look directly at the source.

Retrieving has nothing to do with building drive.  You need to have a ball on a string to work with and you need to have some skill here. What is important is how you play the game and how you create trust. Your dog should want to share that ball with you and trust you with what he wants the most. This is very important, remember dogs do not really like to share things that they love.  Primal instinct is to protect what they have got, and not share it with anything or anyone. You need to fabricate because the way you play the game, you always make them feel they're going to win. That's going to be a long-term win for you. 

Another mistake people make is people think that choking a dog off of an object which he likes is going to build more drive. That is completely backward, a dog has to like to forfeit his high-value reward. That is what is going to make a difference in developing and manipulating drive. 

Stop retrieving. Stop choking your dog off an object. 

Work on your skills, techniques, and timing. Build that energy and create trust. Learn to play the game so well that when your dog sees you, he wants to be in the game. He has drive he has energy he has it all. And then the real fun begins when you can put all that energy into a technique that most of you call obedience. 

Top performances in all areas don’t come from compulsion or direct bribery, they come from a partnership built on trust and mutual interest. Drive is the foundation you need.