My dog isn't affected by lure training?

asked 2016-03-20 13:14:01 -0600

Exactly as the title says. I don't think my puppy is too interested in the treats I give him, he likes them, but he isn't one of those puppies who'd do anything for it. How should I train my puppy if he doesn't follow or think too highly of treats? He does like rawhide, but I'm afraid of the dangers rawhide poses and I don't think that's exactly a treat. My family also doesn't allow me to use real meat or veggies (Because they're afraid that the puppy will get hooked on the yummy food and refuse to eat his kibble).

I just noticed this recently because when we first got him, he seemed to like treats just fine, but slowly lost his interest in them. Now, he barely responds to treats, he responds to treats just like how he responds to kibble... which isn't much interest unless he's hungry (meal time). I can try a few different brands/types of treats but I can't spend too much money on such. Any suggestions?

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answered 2016-03-20 14:26:39 -0600

There are a few options you can try. First, if your pup is only interested in treats when he's hungry, there's no reason he has to eat his regular meals from a bowl. Instead of putting out regular meals, use that food for his training sessions throughout the day. He gets to eat, and you get to train when he's hungry.

Second, increase the value of the treats. You say your family won't let you use higher value treats for fear your pup won't want his regular food anymore. That's just not the case. We all have foods we LOVE, foods we like, and foods we eat because it's what's available. Dogs, like any other animal, won't starve themselves. Of course they'll be more excited to eat when it's a food they LOVE, but they will eat when they are hungry, and they will eat whatever happens to be available to to them. Think about how you respond to foods depending on what it is and how hungry you are. If someone puts out a food you love (pizza? cupcakes?), you might eat some even if you are full. But if someone puts out something you're not as excited about, you'll probably ignore it unless you're hungry, and then you're happy to take whatever is available, even if it isn't your favorite thing. It might be worth changing up his regular diet if he really doesn't seem to enjoy it--there are so many options out there, why keep using one he's not thrilled about? But either way, he won't stop eating entirely if he occasionally gets the good stuff.

Finally, look for other things in life that motivate him. Does he really enjoy toys? You can lure with a ball or rope toy just like with a treat, then toss the toy or play tug for a few seconds when he's successful. Or you can try capturing rather than luring (waiting for him to spontaneously perform an action like sitting or laying down and rewarding him instead of actively encouraging the behavior with the lure). Just find his motivator and use it to your advantage.

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We have tried once with higher value treats. He loved it, but from that day onwards, he eats only about half the amount of kibble he usually eats. I don't know if that's the cause but that's what we think the cause is. And he's only interest in leaves and stick lying outside... and he EATS them!

Jennifer L.'s profile image Jennifer L.  ( 2016-03-20 17:50:23 -0600 ) edit

We don't think sticks are really edible so we try to prevent him from doing that....... other than that, he's not interested in anything. He does like some of his toys, but not to the point of following it. And, any idea why he would eat sticks and leaves but not treats? Or is it just a puppy thing.

Jennifer L.'s profile image Jennifer L.  ( 2016-03-20 17:51:58 -0600 ) edit

A lot of dogs seem to like the feel of sticks and chew/eat them. As for the food, growing animals go through storage phases and growth phases. They tend to eat more during storage phases and less during growth phases, when all that stored energy is invested in development. And some dogs just don't have a huge appetite, which is fine.

Laura R.'s profile image Laura R.  ( 2016-03-20 17:59:41 -0600 ) edit

I'm not so sure if he actually eats the sticks but he does like to chew on them a lot. Before, we found a little piece missing here and there and I don't think we ever saw him spit it out. Sometimes he does, but that was only big pieces that he ripped off. The little ones were almost never seen...

Jennifer L.'s profile image Jennifer L.  ( 2016-03-20 18:00:04 -0600 ) edit

But it sounds like training with capturing may be more effective if you can't find something your pup really wants to work for. As I mentioned before, you just observe his behavior and wait for him to do something you want to attach to a cue, like sitting, laying down, etc, and reward him when he does it all on his own. After many repetitions, he'll start offering that behavior more often because it has been reinforced, and then you can start to attach a word to it - say "sit" right as his bum touches the ground - and repeat as often as you can. Eventually you can say the word, and he'll perform the associated behavior. It may take a little longer than luring since it's dependent on waiting for the behavior to occur naturally, but it works. I like capturing because you don't have... (more)

Laura R.'s profile image Laura R.  ( 2016-03-20 18:04:31 -0600 ) edit
answered 2016-04-17 02:19:07 -0600

I see that your question is more about the training aspect of the treats so I wanted to write to you to let you know that praising him on a very exited voice is as good as giving him treats as a reward. Like if you are trying to teach a dog to play fetch you would get exited at small improvement like looking at the ball/Frisbee, going in its direction, smelling it... Or if you are trying to get your dog to stop chasing something/pulling you can pretend to be exited about something to get his attention on that instead. Maybe you can ask specific questions on the training you are working on.

If you insist in using treats you might want to keep in mind that your dog's reaction/dislike of treats can be a comment on your leadership/a way to tell you that he doesn't think that you are in charge or are deserving of his full attention. Taking him on longer walks on a loose but short leash along with other simple changes will help, like trying to get him to look at you and hold the stare before you give him his meal.

Good luck.

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answered 2016-05-30 00:28:18 -0600

Praise is free.

Carrots, apples, cucumbers are cheap and healthy.

Puppies change the amount of food they eat all the time.

If your family absolutely refuses to allow you to train him with high value treats, I recommend sitting them down for a family meeting. Let them know that you vaule their opinions and respect their ideas. Remind them that as GOOD dog owners we make sure our pets are well behaved. There are alot of dogs that aren't trained well, misbehave and then are dumped at shelters. That it is important to you to have a dog you can bring anywhere wih anyone because he's polite. Really try to help them see the vaule of training and how that trumps any loss of appetite.

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answered 2016-06-01 07:38:05 -0600

You can try to use his favorite toys and something else that he loves in order to train him.

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