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Feeling Frustrated Because Your Dog Won’t Work for Treats? – Dog Obedience SLC

Red Heeler -Dog Obedience - SLC

Four Legged Scholars LLC – Dog Obedience SLC

Are you frustrated because your dog won’t work for treats? You want to use reward-based dog training but your dog won’t work for treats. Now what?

Guess what? You are not alone. I have ran into this issue many times and know the solution. I am ready to share it now.

Throughout my years of training, the main reason a dog will NOT work for treats is due to one of the following:

  1. The dog is so stressed that he doesn’t want to eat.
  2. The dog isn’t hungry.
  3. The dog isn’t motivated enough to eat that type of treat.

1.) A dog that is super stressed won’t eat. This is same for humans.

When I work with dogs that struggle with anxiety, fear or aggression many of them will not eat when they are too close to the trigger that is stressing them.

As a result, we need to work at a slower and easier pace. Generally, this means we need to increase the distance between the dog and the trigger. As a result, the dog will them begin to eat.

I also have worked on decreasing dogs’ stress by using remedies rather than through dog obedience SLC.

This can be done through a remedy, Ttouch, classical music or anything else that might relax the dog.

Throughout my years of teaching group dog obedience SLC classes, I have experienced my share of fearful dogs in my classes.

The dogs didn’t want to eat. I had the owner use Ttouch on their dogs. Within 5-20 minutes the dogs started eating treats.

2.) A dog that isn’t hungry definitely isn’t going to work for food. Before dog obedience SLC, I tell clients to not feed their dogs their meal or to feed a smaller meal. This makes them more motivated for training.

Many owners free feed their dogs. Free feeding makes their dog less motivated to work for food because the dog knows that his food will always be there.

Putting your dog on a consistent feeding schedule can definitely help.

It is also a good idea to measure your dog’s food so you know how much you are feeding him everyday.

If your dog isn’t motivated by treats, you can cut back on his meals. Generally reducing the meals by 10% can help a ton.

3.) Your dog may not want the type of treats that you are using. There are many kinds of treats.

Over the years, I have found that harder treats are generally less motivating for dogs. The smell is less for harder treats.

Softer treats generally work best

  • Zukes
  • Blue Buffalo Bites
  • Natural Balance Dog Food Logs
  • Freshpet Dog Food

If those treats don’t work, most dogs will work for meat or cheese. Try the following:

  • string cheese
  • chicken
  • turkey hotdogs
  • lunchmeat
  • hamburger
  • etc.

Keep experimenting until you find the “right” treat.

Of course, if you need help in motivating your dog through reward- based dog training you can contact, Four Legged Scholars LLC, Dog Obedience SLC. We will definitely help you.

Johanna Teresi, SLC Dog Trainer, Four Legged Scholars LLC – Dog Obedience – SLC


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