One of the most common questions pet parents ask is how to train a dog that doesn’t like treats. I am lucky because Leia is responsive to food, but ONLY certain food. Training a dog that doesn’t like treats can seem daunting. After all, treats are a common reward used in positive reinforcement training. However, it’s important to remember that like humans, dogs have their own preferences. Some dogs may not be food motivated, and that’s perfectly okay. The key is to find what motivates your dog and use that as a reward.
Identifying Alternative Rewards
If your dog isn’t interested in treats, consider other forms of rewards. Praise, petting, and playtime can be just as effective. Some dogs may respond well to a favorite toy or a game of fetch. Others may enjoy a good belly rub or verbal praise. Experiment with different rewards to see what your dog responds to best.
Incorporating Play into Training
Play can be a powerful tool in dog training. If your dog loves to play, use this to your advantage. For example, if your dog performs a command correctly, reward them with a game of tug-of-war or fetch. This not only reinforces the behavior but also makes training fun for your dog.
Using Real-Life Rewards
Real-life rewards can also be effective in training. These are rewards that occur naturally in your dog’s environment. For example, if your dog loves going for walks, use this as a reward. Ask your dog to sit before putting on their leash. When they do, the walk becomes the reward.
Consistency is Key
Regardless of the reward you use, consistency is key in dog training. Be sure to reward your dog immediately after they perform the desired behavior. This helps your dog make the connection between the behavior and the reward.
How To Train a Dog That Doesn’t Like Treats: Final Thoughts
Training a dog that doesn’t like treats may require a bit more creativity, but it’s certainly possible. By understanding your dog’s preferences and using alternative rewards, you can effectively train your dog and strengthen your bond. One of my favorite training channels on Youtube is for McCANN dogs, but they also have a variety of helpful resources on their website!