Animals and Food Motivation

You’ve got your pooch home and are starting to train him using treats. The dog might need some severe correction in his behavior. But what if your dog is not food motivated? Some dogs seem to be more treat motivated than others. Some seem to respond better to the clicker train method. 

In reality, though, scavenging behavior comes naturally to all dogs. If your pooch isn’t responding, there might be an underlying issue, or you might not have the right lure. In this post, we’re going to look at why your dog might be acting this way, and how to change it. 

Reasons Dogs Seem Non-Food Motivated

Whether you have a Labrador or fox terrier, he should feel motivated by the promise of a tasty treat. If not, it could be for one of the following reasons: 

  • He’s hurt or sick.
  • Overexcitement
  • Fear
  • He’s too distracted.
  • Your behavior is intimidating.
  • You’ve been asking too much of him.
  • He doesn’t like the food.
  • He’s just eaten or can access his food whenever he wants.

 If there’s something that your dog wants more than food, you won’t usually get him to budge. 

How to Train My Dog Using Treats

Your first step is to establish why he doesn’t respond to food. Is there something that’s distracting him at training times? If you’re not sure, a professional trainer can assist you with this.

The next thing to check is how you’re feeding your dog. Make sure that you’re feeding the canine the right amounts for his activity level. If you’re allowing him to free feed, stop it, so you have more control over his intake. Your vet can tell you if you feed your dog too much.

It’s also worth trying to change up the treats or using a combination of toys and treats to train him. 


Dogs are, by nature, food motivated. If your dog doesn’t seem to be eager for treats, it’s worth establishing the reason why. If you’re not sure of why the pup won’t eat training treats, speak to your vet or a professional trainer about it. It could be something as simple as not having the right treat. 

If some other training method is working for you, it might not even be an issue. But if nothing works, there’s nothing like the right snack to motivate your petulant pooch.

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