How to make the dog “food oriented”

Author Baskina Sofya

Translator Maxim Moroz

ЛеслиDog owners are often complain that the dog is not interested with a treat and this causes a lot of problems with a training efforts. Of course, there is a solution even for such dogs. You can use the game promotion, or use the “mechanical” training approach. But, to be honest, I’ve never faced such problem in my training work.
Or if such problem arised, it was solved to the second training lesson. Usually, when the owner says that his dog is not interested with a treat, I ask: “Do you like tasty food?” If the answer is “yes”, in most cases the problem is in dog’s nervousness, rather than in her antipathy to treat itself. If the answer is “no”, the most likely the owner cannot present food to the dog like something promoting and thus the treat sense as a promotion dissapears.
So.
1) Do not feed your dog in the morning before the training.
Even if the dog eats the treat — anyway. Full stomach + active movements = gastric torsion. If you didn’t fed the dog in the morning and he is not eating (or eats less) on the training at 10 AM — do not give her a dinner in a previous day. Some dogs are better, then others, remembers, that a long time ago they were predators, hunted in a duck and rested in a daytime. Such dogs are not breakfast fans, even without training, and they are rather eat in the evening. You can appoint the training on the evening, or leave the dog hungry from the evening. If the dog has stomach problems, you may give her a half or a third part of her complete dinner.
2) Never leave the dog’s bowl with a food for more than 5 minutes and, if the dog walks away to other room? you shall immediately put the bowl into the refrigerator or discard the food. If the dog’s bowl with leftover food is in place around the clock, than you risk (in addition to dog toxication) that the dog will come do desicion: “why to make efforts for a treat, when I always can eat at home?”
3) The dog eats 2-3 slices and refuses to eat anymore. It means that your selection of treat was not right. There are three options: the slice is too large, it is too small or it is a slice of what dog doesn’t like. First option — the dog is satiated with 3 slices. The solution is obviuous — you should cut smaller pieces. Second option — take a handful of slices in your fist, but give only one or two slices for a single performed action, to let the dog know: all other slices will follow! Third option — the treat shall have a strong odor. Based on my experience, boiled chicken stomaches and hearts are the best choice. For dogs with no hepatic problems — beef liver. You can mix meat and cheese slices with a dry dog food, wrap it in a plastic bag and leave in a fridge for a day. Then you can remove cheese and meat, and the dry food pieces, absorbed the smell, attractive for dog, will become more valuable for her and you can give in larger quantity without any misgivings.
4) If the dog eats with appetite at home and turns away outdoors and yawns, it means that he is nervous. Outdoor fears is a behaviour problem, that has to be solved separately from training lessons. Sometimes the dog takes the outdoor space normally and gets nervous only on a new place, for a example, on the dog court or in presence of instructor. In such case he needs time to get familiarized. You will see that on a second lesson the dog will be much confident and this time, or on a third lesson, he will begin to take a treat.
5) the dog takes a treat with interest and then spit it out and shifts his attention. And the result did you expected while chasing her and shouting “off!”? For the dog, especially for the puppy, being new in a house, is not easy to understand, that the treat you give belongs to him, and the treat, found outdoors is prohibited. To make the dog start taking the treat, you need to start feeding her at home from a palm. For example, each time the half of the food he will eat from your hands and the rest — from the bowl in your hands. This should be accompanied with favor words.
6) You praise the dog and he holds ears down and turns away from the treat. Some owner has a bad habit — commenting the dog’s manners — saying that dogs are eating like hippos, or like lazybones, or grasping painfully with fingers, or dropping everything like pigs… Watch yourself and never mix the appraisal and disapproval. If you gave the dog a slice — you should alwaise praise her. The reason is not only that the dog will cease to understand the treat as a reward, but also much worse consequence may follow. Severe behaviour dosrders of dogs are ferquently based on some repeating situation, where they are being praised or punished for the same action.
7) And, finally, you have to make a treat not only the crouton, but a symbol of your attention, joy. If you will give a treat to the dog in silence, with a serious face, the dog will suspect a nasty trick and will not believe you. Always treat her with a smiling face, joyful exclamation, praise. You can also use a slice of treat to play with newly adopted puppy (before the use of treat as a reward in training): pass the slice low above the floor, like it is a mouse, that creeping to the puppy’s nose and running away immediately. Let him hunt this slice and you should encourage him and congratulate him when this “mouse” will be caught!
Try it — any dog may be successfully trained with a treat!