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Not food motivated?

2960 Views 5 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Adara
Anyone have suggestions for a pup that doesn't seem to be food motivated? Hard to train if he losing interest quickly... any suggestions? I do use a clicker.
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How long are your sessions? Your dog is what, 6 or 7 weeks now? I would keep training sessions very fun, and maybe 1 or 2 minutes, and that's it. And that's working on the absolute basics. Also, for many dogs, a treat is not the best reward. Find whatever motivates your dog most, and use that as a reward. Don't be afraid to think outside the box, rewards can be anything. A pat on the head, running around in the yard, getting to nap on the couch, chewing a stick... I would also just keep in mind that at this age, there is no attention span. So, unless you're sure your pup is not food motivated, I would keep trying with shorter sessions. This is one of my sessions 3 days after we brought Dakota home. Looks impressive, considering Dakota was a rescue in a kill shelter at 6 weeks, with zero human attention and/or training. At this point, I believe she understood "sit", but that was about it. How was she instantly responding to an off lead recall on day 3? You can see me using things she likes to do to my advantage. When I tell her "come", she wasn't responding to "come', per se... She was responding to me crouching down, and if she saw me crouched like that, she would come over without a command. With her having such a rough start to life, she LOVED our attention. Since she was so small, I would often crouch down like that to pet, rub, and love her. So, when she saw me crouched, she began to associate the crouching with the loving. Once I learned that, I started using that motion to get her to associate the word with the behavior. Over time, I crouched less and less, until I was able to give the command without bending down at all. This is how I like to train a dog... Take your dogs natural instincts, desires, abilities, etc. and use them to your advantage. The more you learn your dog, the easier it will be to train him effectively. I don't believe any method works for every dog right out of the box. They may work fine, but not to their full potential by making a few slight modifications.
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Kevin, I think this is a different puppy than the one she initially had on here.

You may not have found the right type of treat yet that your pup goes nuts for. My dogs like string cheese, dried green tripe, bananas. You can try other treats. Otherwise, figure out what your puppy LOVES and use that as a reward. If your pup loves to tug, then playing tug is the reward.
I have the same question that Kevin had. How old is this puppy? And how long are the sessions. The one thing I learned in my years with Dobes is that short training sessions are much more effective than long ones and if you are going to use food as a motivater you really need to make sure it's highly desirable.

With puppies under six months any given training session is for minutes (usually no more than two or three minutes) only and the treats are something that they really like not anything they get except for training.

My older dogs are all so food motivated that I can use pieces of their kibble for training new things.

I've had the odd dog or two that really weren't food motivated--one of them ended up getting trained with a ball and a dog I trained to track worked on the theory that he got to play with and kill the end article when he found it.

The Afghan Hound that I trained through Open Obedience worked for Pounce cat treats when learning new routines.

But if the dog is a young puppy keep the session very short--you can always have several session a day but you may be able to drill a Lab or Golden in training it definitely doesn't work well for Doberman (or Afghans).
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Anyone have suggestions for a pup that doesn't seem to be food motivated? Hard to train if he losing interest quickly... any suggestions? I do use a clicker.
Have you tried:

string cheese
Liver (cooked and thin sliced)
chicken breast cooked with garlic, cooled then thin sliced
Laske Kronch fish treats
Yummy Chummy fish treats (Costco $9.99 for 2.5lb)
egg omelet, sliced or cubed
sardines (messy)

Make sure you have 2-3 levels of treats on you when training. Start with the lowest level for regular stuff and use the higher levels for rewarding difficult behaviors or excellent results.

Same with toys - make sure you have several but only use one at a time - ball, felt ring, braided fleece tug, riot sticks, frenzy ring (make your own).
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Anyone have suggestions for a pup that doesn't seem to be food motivated? Hard to train if he losing interest quickly... any suggestions? I do use a clicker.
I'd use some of his food and create the drive. IF this is a puppy from the ame litter, if I recall they are still very young. If not, sorry about that.

I specifically PICK puppies with food drive. It's a criteria for me when I get puppies. As well as toy drive. If you search for a thread on working ethic, Doberkim posted a fantastic response on how to increase/rbuild food drive.
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