In the previous post we talked about some reasons why a dog might be labelled as “not food motivated”. It is certainly true that some dogs will work for any type of food with lots of enthusiasm, and some will carefully pick out only their favourite treats in a food scatter. You are unlikely to change your food-cautious dog into a swallowing machine but you can make them a “better eater”!
All living beings are “food motivated” – otherwise they’d be dead. And dogs specifically are opportunistic scavengers, geared to eat whatever they find whenever they find it.
When we say that a dog is “not food motivated” it usually means that they won’t eat in certain contexts. That’s because *the behavior of eating* is influenced by learning, so it is more or less likely to occur in certain contexts. Just like it might be easier to ask your dog to “sit” at home than in the dog park.
Let’s have a look at some reasons why a dog might be labelled as “not food motivated”:
Giving food doesn’t have to always look the same. Actually, changing the way you deliver it can make the food more valuable to your dog. It’s a very useful trick if your dog can only eat a few types of food or if they have just done something amazing and you only have kibble on you.
straight from your hand
This is the simplest way of delivering treats, but simple doesn’t mean bad. Giving treats in the same place (for example in front of you or by your leg) and with the same speed creates a predictable pattern and it can help keep the arousal level down. Well-planned reward delivery can make training faster and more precise.