Dog not food motivated? Try this trainer's two genius tips for a successful training session

Beagle dog waiting for a treat
(Image credit: Getty Images)

While there are plenty of dogs out there who can't get enough of the best dog treats and longest lasting dog chews, a growing number of pet parents report that no matter what they do, their dog simply isn't interested in food.

There's no denying that this can make training a challenge, but according to expert dog trainer Amelia Steele, there are some simple things you can do to increase your dog's food motivation - and they couldn't be easier.

In a video shared to Instagram, which you can view above, Steele says that the first thing you want to do when it comes to building food drive is to make sure you have a really good quality treat. Once your cupboards are well stocked, there are two things you can do to get your dog to respond to food.

1) Rule out overstimulation

"If your dog gets really worked up before a walk, chances are that their adrenaline levels are going to skyrocket and as soon as they get outside it's just going to be tunnel vision and they're not going to be interested in you at all," explains Steele. 

Thankfully, there's a simple solution. "All you're going to do is grab your treats and bridge the gap between inside and outside. Work on calming routines before you go out and help your dog to listen where it's really nice and easy. Even if it just means standing in front of your front door and working towards opening it while getting your dog to listen to you."

2) Make food easy to obtain

"It can be tempting to think that restricting access to treats builds its value, but actually, if you're asking your dog for too much to get a really small treat, sometimes they just feel like it's not worth it and they get put off," explains Steele. 

"Instead, make it really easy. Ask them for really simple things and if your dog is still totally disinterested in treats, start offering them to your dog for free. This can really build back up trust and make the food worth working for again because your dog's going to understand its value."

For more great training tips, check out our guides on how to crate train a dog and how to reduce separation anxiety in dogs.

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.