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  • Gemma Johnston

My Dog Doesn't Like Treats

Updated: Apr 15, 2021

It is important to reward our dog with food when they do the right thing. This increases the likelihood of the dog repeating the good behaviour again. Some owners have trouble with their dogs not wanting to take food or treats once outside the home. Some owners have trouble with this in all locations, including the home.


  • Each dog has a unique drive for food, some dogs naturally have a high food drive, others lower

  • Breed can play a role in this but not always.

  • Sometimes it’s the actions of the owner or the environment that can diminish food drive

  • Genetics can play a role in this too, make sure when picking a puppy, you pick one that loves food

Dogs with a naturally low food drive are harder to train, as we can’t reward them for their good behaviour, left only with negative styles of training which doesn’t allow for enthusiasm & motivation to do the behaviour asked. It will instead be done slow and sad.

There are certainly things we can do to increase food drive, but it may never be amazing. Recognizing if you as the owner has diminished food drive is important, or if it is just the dog you simply have.

Unlike what Google search tells you, dogs are selfish animals, not loyal. They will do things that are in their best interest. If the distraction, what ever it may be, is in their best interest, that’s what they’ll focus on

Increasing food drive is all about changing what is in the dog’s best interest. Making them value the food over the distraction.

So here are some things you can do to increase food drive!

  • Make sure your dog is a healthy weight. If your dog is overweight, its need & value in food will be low.

  • Make sure you are exercising your dog well, their want & requirement for food will increase

  • Take away their food bowl & make them work for & earn their food. Don’t allow for freebee “centerlink payments”. People who get easy centrelink are less inclined to work for their money, food in this case

  • Using their daily food intake instead of treats. While there is nothing wrong with using treats, if this is only what we use, we haven’t truly made them value all food over the distractions we may be facing. Mix any treat in with their daily food intake.

  • If the dog is un-interested in the food you are offering it for training, simply don’t feed it for that training session. If they are to be distracted by their environment, they miss out. Their values will soon change from valuing getting to their distraction or valuing eliminating the feeling of hunger. This may not work just in missing out on one meal/training session. It will need to become a habit that food is obtained during outings & training

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