Drives and Motivation Revisited

After our first episode on “It’s Time To Drop the Drive Word” we received a very thoughtful comment from Mr. Tom Aaron, CPDT-KA, ABCDT  from Fetchmasters Dog Training.  Tom and his wife Linda are changing the world of gun dog training by introducing new and innovative protocols focusing more on positive reinforcement procedures rather than the more traditional aversive  training techniques common to field work.

We have Tom’s permission to share and discuss his comments about the idea of drives and what they mean for those involved in gun dog and field training.  We thank Tom for his detailed examples and for fostering further discussion on this topic.


One of our goals throughout our professional careers, is to bring the science of animal behavior to our work with both pet owners and pet professionals.  The application of scientific knowledge to real world issues involving animals can’t help but improve our understanding, care and management of the critters we all care so deeply about.



  • Suzanne-Dan

    December 7, 2017

    Glad you liked it Peter! Thanks for taking the time to let us know.

  • Peter P

    November 19, 2017

    Great podcast! I really enjoyed this one

  • Suzanne-Dan

    October 4, 2017

    Great comment Tom, thank you. Since you know you are looking for very specific behaviors or tendencies, it would seem to only make sense that your terminology reflect that. Otherwise it’s kind of like buying a top of the line, high end computer and putting outdated software on it that can’t take advantage of the power of the hardware. Maybe not a great analogy, but just the one that came to mind!

  • Thomas Aaron, CPDT-KA

    September 29, 2017

    Great discussion. Thank you for digging into my previous comments and testing them against modern scientific research and terminology.

    While the word “drive” has come to be substantially misued in the pet dog world to describe many knds of unwanted behavior, in the gun dog world I think its meaning has always been assigned to certain desires and behavior sequences that predict a dog’s success as a bird dog.

    Perhaps it is better, as you suggest, to start helping the terminology of my field to evolve and become more scientific. After all, we are looking for some very specific tendencies when we evaluate gun dog pups, and there is no universal definition of “prey drive” or “retrieving drive” that is agreed upon across niches.

    At the end of your podcast, you asked (and I paraphrase): WHY NOT describe precisely what we are looking for rather than use the word “drive?”

    There is a modern part of me that wants to say, “Right on!”

    But there is a stubborn side of me that wants to retort, “A rose by any other name …”

    But I will promise you this: Should I use the term drive amongst clients and colleages from this day forth, I shall qualify it stringently.

    Tom Aaron, CPDT-KA
    FetchMasters, LLC

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field