Archive for the ‘Motivation’ Category

What Motivates Dogs (Besides Food!)

In All About Me, Being Cute, Motivation, Shelley Widhalm on August 5, 2012 at 11:30 am

Zoey the Dachshund chews on a rawhide treat.

I am motivated by what should motivate all cute dogs – praise, getting pets and, of course, the T word.

You got it. Treats!

Shelley, my human writing partner, went on and on this week about character motivation and the difference between what a character wants and what she needs.

I want treats. I need treats. It’s the same thing.

I want to talk about another of my want/needs. When we go on walks, I want to sniff around and catch up on the gossip from the other dogs, get a little exercise and meet people who will stop and pet me, saying how cute I am.

But what I need is to get carried. I don’t like my point-of-view being so low to the ground. Up high, I can gather more information and see what’s going on without relying so much on my sense of smell.

Another want/need is to run around a backyard, but Shelley does not have a backyard. Walking on a leash isn’t the same thing. Just imagine if you were told where to walk and had to follow the same old route every time your person got off work. Yeah, I thought so.

Plus, I hate how when I want to sniff a smell and really understand the source and identify how long it’s been there and why, Shelley pulls on my harness. I’ve got to move along.

Do you see me telling her to move along when she stops to greet someone she knows? Instead, I wag my tail and stare at that person until he or she give me my much deserved pet and remarks about my cuteness.

That’s because I’m the CEO of cuteness. As CEO, I want a higher salary. But what I need is (organic) food, toys, treats, walks and LOVE. The (organic) part is Shelley’s choice, but I like my food, or all food, except for watermelon, cereal that I can’t figure out how to eat and bad-tasting stuff.

I like, especially, treats, the extra good, once-in-awhile ones that are above all else. Call it eating my way into doggie heaven.

See Shelley’s blog, Shell’s Ink, at http://bit.ly/Pw2VHY

A Dog’s Motivation Factor

In A keen barker, Center of attention, Motivation, Pet me, Shelley Widhalm on December 11, 2011 at 7:00 am

Zoey turns a coffee cup lid into a toy.

As I’ve said before, I’m motivated by treats and getting petted. I also want to play chase, tug of war and games of keep away.

I especially want to be the center of attention.

It’s not too hard for me to meet these goals. I am a very cute long-haired dachshund, and most everyone loves me, well except for the big dogs. I bark at them, at least when I’m atop a coffee shop table or in someone’s lap, to let them know I’m the queen dog (not bee).

I get so many pets and told I’m cute, adorable and pretty. It’s like I’m famous, or so cute that I should be.

On Black Friday, I went to PetSmart with Shelley, my parent, and three people in a row stopped Shelley to ask her if they could pet me.


I don’t have a big ego, seriously, like right now I am sitting on Shelley’s lap listening to music at this Wednesday Night Hootenanny at the Mandolin Café. A few people have asked to pet me, as usually is the case at my hangout. But I’m being a good girl for Shelley’s sake.

A long time ago, she told her friends that she wanted to train squirmy me into a lapdog, and here I am being a lapdog. It took me a few months and a few trips home, but I can bend my will to that of another.

I like how the music is different from people’s voices. I can distinguish individual words when I’m being talked to, but music is like a moving string of sound that doesn’t divide with the silent spaces between words. Music sometimes matches my heartbeat or how it feels to take in air and push it into a sigh. So happy I am being here listening and seeing and sighing, engaging my sight, my hearing, my feeling and my ability to be quiet.

I don’t have to bark at big sounds, as is the case when I encounter other dogs and have to let them know about my presence.

Play Time Required for All Dogs

In Frustration, Motivation, Play time, Seeking attention, Shelley Widhalm on December 4, 2011 at 7:00 am

These are some of Zoey's toys.

I’m frustrated that I don’t have all the milk bones I want.

I’m motivated to get treats and toys and all the play time a girl dog needs, but I don’t always get these things when I want them.

Here’s what I do for treats:

Stand on my back legs and cross my paws, looking extra cute.

Bark if I get impatient and frustrated.

Shelley, my pet parent, says “No noise,” and I have to be quiet and amp up the cute.

If I want to play, I grab my stuffed bunny and bring it to Shelley. If she doesn’t throw my toy, I remove the other ones from my toy box until they are all out in a pile of rejection. Usually, Shelley gets the hint and will throw one or get floor bound for tug-of-war.

Or I pretend to go to the door and when Shelley reaches for it, I go for a runner, inviting her into chase.

My last trick is to bark really loud. If I’m on the couch or the bed, I hang my front paws over the edge and stare with expectation of getting what I’m due.

It’s required after all if you take home a dog.

We dogs need play and love and sleep and treats. And of course, we are motivated by our love of you.

We get frustrated when we try to express our love to your turned back. So we have to make noise, look adorable or grab toys so that you remember what’s important: life isn’t all serious stuff but is about running around happy and free.

Pawsitive Motivation

In Loud barks, Motivation, Shelley Widhalm on November 20, 2011 at 7:00 am

Zoey is motivated to bark and bark, but she's excused because she's cute. Right?

I am motivated, obviously, by the milk bone. Oh, and the food pyramid, starting with meat, followed by vegetables and sweets.

I like coffee; yes, dogs can like the caffeinated beverage when it has cream and sugar.

I like to play tug-of-war, chase and catch.

And I like to get petted.

To achieve these things, I rely on my cuteness.

My motivation comes from my natural instinct of going for what I want and making sure I get what I want while also being adorable. The adorable add-on is like frosting on the cake. I can get what I want – play or pet time or food – and eat it up, too.

I have the persistence quality, which gets me what I want. I love, just love to bark, because I’m a dachshund, a breed that has a big bark and a long body.

Shelley, my pet parent, tells me No Bark, and I, of course, bark and bark.

I bark when I hear noises. I bark when the train whistles blow. I bark when the trash trucks beep. And I bark when doors bang shut in the building below.

I think that I bark because I am.

I am, therefore, I bark.

I bark. I am motivated to bark. And to be cute when I make lots of noise.