My dog is not interested in food is something I sometimes hear from new clients. When I look down I often see a well feed or overweight dog looking back at me.
Food is a biological need for all of us including our furry friends.
What owners usually mean is their dog is not interested enough in the food they are offering at that moment in time.
Most puppies start their life with us enthusiastically eating what is put in front of them but over time some realise that if they wait us out then we will give them something “better” e.g. a little bit of gravy poured over their dry kibble or even a tin of wet food. As time goes on they may wait for some fresh chicken to be mixed in. We have then created a “fussy eater”.
It could be time to get your dog weighed and checked over by the vet and reduce his food a little if necessary. It’s great if you are spending time training your dog with treats but you may need to reduce his daily food allowance a little to compensate.
We may ask our dog to come back in the park and when he does we give him a dry biscuit. The dog may have run back from playing with all his friends and so is a little disappointed and therefore next time does not bother to come back. You could try using a higher value treat like Natures Menu (95% meat) which are tasty and have a strong scent to make his recall worth while.
Perhaps you have a nervous dog and when friends visit you ask them to offer him a biscuit but he still keeps away. In this situation the dog does not want the treat enough to risk the meeting the scary visitor.
Your dog may not like travelling in the car so you try to lure him in with a treat but the fear of the car journey outweighs the pleasure of the treat.
Treats are incredibly useful for training your dog in a positive way but the benefit for him has to outweigh the cost.
If you are worried about your dog not eating enough then please get him checked out by your vet to rule out any veterinary problems.
Please feel free to contact me if you need any help with your dog’s behaviour.
Mike Garner is a dog trainer and behaviourist at Rainbow Dogs in Brighton & Hove, Sussex.
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