Motivation: When Treats Won’t Do

Why Your Dog Isn’t Motivated by Treats

Trainers sometimes encounter dogs who won’t respond to treats. If your dog is rejecting treats, there’s probably a logical explanation and there might be something you can do about it.

Assuming the pet is healthy, there are a few common reasons a dog will turn up its nose to a treat:

  • The dog has just been fed and simply isn’t interested in eating anything.
  • The dog is feeling anxiety. Dogs that haven’t been properly socialized often feel anxious during a training session in an unfamiliar environment. This can happen outdoors or in a location with other dogs.
  • The dog is too distracted. The sight of a squirrel or even another dog can disrupt outdoor training.
  • The dog simply doesn’t like the treat. Would your dog respond to a small biscuit or would he prefer a small chunk of cheese? For most dogs, a meaty or fishy treat gets their full attention.