How To Train A Dog That’s Not Motivated By Food

Training your dog is hard work, but it’s an important step for every dog owner. Most dog training strategies revolve around using food as a reward, but that isn’t always possible.

While some dog breeds are highly food-obsessed, others are less so, and some specific dogs might be less interested in treats than others.

If this is the case, then it can be difficult to find ways to motivate them, ensure that they behave appropriately and respect you as their owner.

To help, here are some tips on how to help a dog who’s not food motivated to learn new tricks.

Try Higher Value Treats

Most dogs are food-motivated, but a common reason why dogs don’t respond to treats is because they don’t find them tempting. That’s particularly true if you feed your dog dried kibbles and cooked biscuits that don’t have any particular scent or flavour. Instead, try feeding your dog raw food and tempting raw treats, such as duck feet or beef trachea, to boost their motivation.

Check With Your Vet

Before you look for other options, take your dog to the vet to check for any other issues. In some cases, your dog might be unwell, or severely overweight, which could be causing them to lose interest in food during training. Check with your vet to see that there’s not another problem.

Find Out What Motivates Them

If your dog really doesn’t seem too motivated by food, try to find out what does motivate them. It might be praise or else a certain dog toy or activity. Whatever it is, work out what they enjoy, then incorporate that into their training.

Vary Rewards

Dogs get bored easily, so whatever you find that motivates your dog, make sure you mix things up to keep your dog interested and motivated. Use a combination of treats, toys, praise, and life rewards, such as trips to the park, to improve the chances of the lessons sticking and your dog being engaged when you want them to be.

Keep Your Dog Mentally Stimulated

If your dog is bored and stressed, then they might not be able to learn well, so it’s important that you provide them with mental stimulation as well as physical care. Use these tips to keep your dog mentally stimulated so that they rest well and will be ready to learn new skills with you. Solutions such as puzzle toys can also be a great way to combine a fun reward with mental stimulation for you pup.

Be Patient And Keep Adapting

Training a dog that is not food-motivated may take more time and patience, but consistency and positive reinforcement will eventually pay off. Dog training is never fully over, and it can take a lot of time for your dog to learn a specific skill. Training requires patience and time, so don’t get disheartened if things don’t move as quickly as you’d like. Keep at it, and you’ll eventually get a dog that respects you and behaves well in most situations.

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