Try these three simple games to help build your dog's food drive — we were surprised by how easy they are!

A beagle dog is lying on the floor next to a bowl of dry food
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We often think of dogs as loving food. We use food as a reward, train dogs not to beg for food at the dinner table, and often get reminded by our pups that it’s mealtime!

The majority of dogs have a high food drive, meaning that you can easily use food as a motivating tool, to help them do what you want them to do — in training sessions, for example. However, some dogs don’t have a food drive that’s quite as high, so using the best dog treats isn’t as fruitful when training. 

Fortunately, there are some easy games that you can try to help boost your dog’s food drive — as the team at Happy Dogs Training, led by founder and owner Piper M Novick, have explained in a recent Instagram post. Let’s have a look at the three games they recommend. 

Being able to use food effectively is so important to any training plan,” they begin, while also pointing out that it’s a good idea to see the vet if your dog has issues with their food drive. Sometimes, a low food drive can indicate an underlying health issue.  If this isn’t the case with your pup, however, these games might help. And we’ve also got another 10 great brain games for dogs for added inspiration, too.

1. Track and toss: Get a treat in your hand and move it back and forth slowly so that your dog begins to track it with their eyes. Use your voice to encourage them, with phrases like “Do you see it?”, “Are you ready?” and “Are you gonna get it?” and then toss the treat. 

2. Chase and feed: Move away from your dog quickly, encouraging them to follow you. After you’ve moved a few steps, feed them! 

3. Restrain and toss: Restrain your dog with either a leash or simply your hand on their collar. Then, toss a treat just a few feet ahead of you. Use your voice like in the first game to build anticipation, and then release your dog so they can get to the treat and eat it. 

All three of these games are easy to try, and all you need to make them work are a few treats — nothing fancy! 

If your dog is struggling with a low food drive but you’re hoping to improve their recall in the meantime, you might find this article useful: I trained my border collie to have perfect recall – even though she had no food drive.

Pupford Beef Liver Training Freeze-Dried Dog Treats 
$16.89 from Chewy

Pupford Beef Liver Training Freeze-Dried Dog Treats
$16.89 from Chewy
We gave these to our tester Isaiah for his dog Hayes to try. He reports back that they're his new favorite treat and are a suitable size for training. "He could and would eat the whole bag if allowed!"

Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering pets, lifestyle, health and culture, and he has six years' experience in journalism. He was senior editor at, and has written for The Independent, GoodToKnow and Healthline

He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' golden retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.