Treat Preference Test

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We use small treats to reward and reinforce good behavior. If your dog doesn't like the treat, then it isn't rewarding and they're not going to work for it! Especially when other things around ARE rewarding.

How it's Done

Get 3 - 5 different types of soft treats (non-crumbly).

Cut them into pieces about the size of a pea.

Take your dog outside, somewhere they get distracted.

Offer them one of the treats.

If they don't eat it, go to the next treat.

If they eat the treat, try another one.

Repeat with each of the different treats.

Go somewhere else where your dog is distracted and do the test again.

EXAMPLES

String Cheese

Happy Howie's Dog Food Roll

Red Barn Naturals Dog Food Roll

Ziwi Peak

Stella and Chewy mixers

Pure Bites liver

Beef Hot Dog

Chicken

My dog is not treat motivated!

We need food to survive, so it is rare for a dog to be completely uninterested in treats. If your dog will not eat treats, here are some things to consider.​

Are they eating too much in their regular meals?
Dogs are often overfed because the dog food bag recommends the max amount. If your dog is eating too much and constantly full, treats may not be motivating.

SOLUTION: reduce their daily meals slightly


 

Are they free-fed?
If your dog knows they can eat for free anytime they want, they may not be motivated to "work" for it.

SOLUTION: feed twice a day and pick up the bowl after 15 minutes


 

Are they too anxious or stressed to eat?
If your dog gets really excited about treats at home but won't eat them somewhere else, it could be stress. If you are in a scary situation, you wouldn't want to eat even your favorite dessert. 

SOLUTION: Your dog may need time to adjust to new environments before they are able to learn, so they may just watch in class at first. Their confidence will grow with experience.


 

Is the treat not rewarding enough for them to ignore distractions?
Treats are not the only thing that dogs find rewarding. Sniffing and scanning the environment might be more interesting than the treats you have.

SOLUTION: Get treats your dog likes better.


 

Do they find it more rewarding to get praise and petting from you?
SOLUTION: Use praise and petting to reward your dog instead of treats.

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