Dog Not Training Very Easily?
If your dog training is not going well, he’s not obeying and doesn’t seem to be listenting I wanted to share with you the answer to a recent comment about the blog post I published a while back about the number one mistake to avoid making with a dog that is NOT responding to his training because he was not motivated by food.
>NOTE: If you have not yet seen my video of the number one mistake to avoid when training your dog click here:
*** Question From A Reader ***
I totally agree with this type of programming [you warn about in your blog post] however what do you do if your dog is not food motivated? My dog Jack (lab/american eskimo cross) is not food motivated at all. Even when I offer him cheese he comes slowly and sniffs it and then takes it with the tips of his teeth to drop it on the floor again. Sometimes he eats it sometimes his sister gets to it Quick! It’s been a challenge training him.
>>> My Comments:
Let me first say this about “Non Food Motivated” dogs…
9 out of 10 people who think they have a non food motivated dog, really just have a Full dog.
In a recent BBC article I read that over 50% of dogs in the UK are overweight, and 76% of their owners had no idea they’d fattened up their dogs.
So I’m not saying that your dog isn’t food motivated, but the chances are really good that you just need to cut back his food.
For some reason, animals that gorge themselves are less likely to take food treats — shocker, I know 😉
You might want to run this by your vet, but if I was really wanting my dog to work for food, I wouldn’t have a problem feeding him once a day, and no more then twice.
Again, consult your Veterinarian if you think that’s unwise, but my hunch is they’ll side with me 95% of the time.
That being said, non food motivated animals do exist, but they’re still trainable.
Remember, the only reason I talk about using food to train your dog is because most dogs like it and it’s the fastest reward you can give that allows you to get more repetitions in.
But sometimes the emotional rewards for doing a bad behavior outweigh the desire for a food treat. Or sometimes just ignoring you is more valuable then a food treat.
When this is the case, you have to find something that your dog likes enough to want to work for.
Take the behavior of teaching your dog to walk on a loose leash for example.
We’ve just recently launched a membership site that you can try out for free for 30 days when you order our Hands Off Dog Training course, and one of the newest videos we added was a video on how to get your dog to walk on a leash without pulling… using food as a reward.
If you’d like to see that video you can add it to your order when you get this course:
And that method we show you in that video is the number one method that works for getting most dogs to stop pulling on their leash using only positive reinforcement.
However it didn’t work for my dog!
Again, this isn’t because the technique isn’t good, it’s the best technique their is.
It’s because my dog finds it MORE rewarding to sniff around and go explore his environment, then eating a food treat or playing with another dog.
So I created clever training environments where I was actually able to reward my dog for walking on a loose leash by using the reward of throwing a tennis ball.
If you’d like the full explanation of how I taught this behavior and the best way to do it, it’s one of the many methods I teach in my 8 week Emotional Conditioning program for dogs.
To learn more about that program go here:
So to finally answer Chantelle’s question about how to train your dog to come when he won’t take treats.
If my dog had been the kind of dog that didn’t like coming back to me for treats, I would have had a pocket full of tennis balls, and I’d NEVER, EVER, EVER throw him one for the first 6 months of his life if he didn’t first come when I called him.
I’d take a tennis ball everywhere I went, and would use it as his primary reward for listening to me.
This would condition the dog’s brain to realize that he always gets something he wants when he comes back to me.
And I can almost hear the grumblings as I write this from dog owners who are saying to themselves, “But I don’t want to always have to reward my dog for doing things all the time”.
Or they don’t want to always have treats on them.
And the good news is that you don’t have to.
There’s a process for weaning your dog off of rewards that actually increases their motivation for them to obey you more. It’s a principal I call Random Rewarding and you can learn more about it in my Hands Off Dog Training program here:
Hopefully that helps!
P.S. Do you have a training story you’d like me to share in this newsletter? If so please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org because I’d love to brag about you 😉