No interest in treats anymore

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Sanna
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No interest in treats anymore

Post by Sanna » Fri Jun 13, 2014 3:39 am

So I'm at a bit of a loss lately.. Precious has always been very food motivated, bu the last few weeks he's lost all interest in food rewards, particularly outside. It's not a question of being over threshold and not able to take treats, he just doesn't want them! In the sense that he'll come to get his treat, then either turn his nose up or if I pop it in his mouth he'll just spit it out :?: :?:
I've tried all different things I can think of- cheese, sausage, steak, liver cake, tuna cake, meat balls, hot dog, pizza crust, dried beef, raw beef, even 'doggy crack' nasty smelly shop bought treats..
So far I've only come up with two possible reasons I can think of; one being he's now raw fed (is it possible that being on a good diet and getting everything he needs in his meals will diminish his interest in treats?), and the other being the warm weather- he really struggles in the heat so is he just too hot to want to eat?

He seems perfectly healthy, enjoys his breakfast and dinner, good poos etc.

So anyway, if he's just not that keen on special treats anymore so be it, but it means I'm really struggling with ways to reward specific behaviour.. I'm experimenting with 'life rewards' when I take him out; I will tug with him for a good recall which he seems to enjoy a lot, and I try to use sniffing/ marking/ going where he wants as a reward wherever possible. He has very little interest in toys.

My main problem is being able to reward brief behaviours instantly without treats, we still have an awful lot of work to do on him focusing on me more and everything else less.. So for example I'd click and treat or even just treat for him looking at me quickly, how do I reinforce this now? If I bring the clicker out he seems to acknowledge the click but does not care about the treat- could I still use the click to mark the behaviour and then let him run/ sniff/ pee as a reward? Cos I'm under the impression the click should always be followed by a treat, so would I just ruin the power of the clicker?
I could use a marker word instead, but again how do I reinforce? 'Good boy' simply isn't good enough I'm afraid, he'll acknowledge praise but won't work for it.
Which is problem number two, if he's not interested in treats he won't work for them obviously- at the moment nothing I do seems to get him motivated enough to work with me... There is just no focus whatsoever, as clearly nothing I have or do is worth his while :roll:
There's also the aspect of not having treats as a bit of a distraction and reward around other dogs, whilst he's loads better and much less reactive he is still veeeery interested in any dog we come across and at the moment I feel like I have nothing at all equally or more interesting (to him) to offer him so I'm worried that'll set us back as well. I'm sure the fault lies with me but I'm just stuck as to how to move forward- please help? Any ideas would be much appreciated :D

Oh and taking him out before meals so he should technically be hungry doesn't seem to make much of a difference neither..

JudyN
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Re: No interest in treats anymore

Post by JudyN » Fri Jun 13, 2014 5:06 am

What happens if you add a treat food to his meal? Will he eat it then? Or maybe straight after, when he's still in 'eating mode'?

I would have said it's probably the heat, but I'd expect that to affect his appetite for meals as well.

If he doesn't seem motivated generally that could be an effect of the heat, too - Jasper is very floppy in the afternoons at the moment! For the time being I would ease up on training and try management to avoid situations where you would normally ask him for a behaviour (e.g. recall from another dog) - it's better not to ask at all than to ask if you're likely to be ignored.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Sanna
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Re: No interest in treats anymore

Post by Sanna » Fri Jun 13, 2014 2:29 pm

If I put treats in his food I reckon he'd eat them ;)

What really baffles me is when he happily takes his treats then just spits them out! Even after dinner- he always gets a piece of whatever we're having (as long as it's suitable for doggies) for lying nicely whilst we're eating, and is always ready to come get the goodies the moment we finish.
Hamburger? Yes please thank you very much, bleurgh, spit, no thanks.. Fillet steak? Yay, nope, don't want it after all thanks.. :roll:

It's just odd. But I suspect the heat definitely has something to do with it. It might not affect his appetite for meals as much as he's fed early and then quite late when it's a bit cooler anyway?
I'm not demanding much of him training wise at the moment as his brain seems a bit fried and he doesn't have much energy in the heat (and I'm a lazy trainer anyway..); it's just I'd really like to acknowledge and give him something rewarding when he does something good on his own accord, you know?

Recall from another dog? In my dreams :lol: :lol:

mansbestfriend
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Re: No interest in treats anymore

Post by mansbestfriend » Fri Jun 13, 2014 10:53 pm

Hi. Some rhetorical questions/thoughts: I disagree with the training principle and meathod of "Nothing in life is free" but, sometimes my dog won't eat up a morning meal until she does a little 'work'. A simple Wait then release, or Sit Stand Sit Stand Sit then release is 'work' apparently, after which she'll happily eat. She's also good at hiding pain - behaves fairly normally but refuses food.

Could it be
toothache or sore mouth?
tummy trouble. or something else?
something practical like new soap or hand wash?
floor cleaner?
medicine (yours or the dog's)?

He drinks water normally, yes/no?
Have you recently taught a behaviour like "Leave it"? Some techniques can have unwanted side-effects.
Has someone else been trying to train or influence your dog?
Maybe present the treat differently.
What happens if you ask someone else to offer a treat while you pretend not to be looking?
What if you offer plain old kibble by hand?
Apart from food treats, what does he find rewarding (eg: your attention, your praise, petting, play, sniffing, 'free' time/exploring, chasing, catching, retrieving, running, ...)?
What does your vet think?
:)
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single Sit.

geenamiller89
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Re: No interest in treats anymore

Post by geenamiller89 » Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:19 pm

Maybe he is bored with the usual treats and his way of telling you is by spitting the treats. You mention the "outside" factor so maybe he is not interested in treats because he wants more activities from you? The outside environment keeps their mind going and I think he just want to explore more. You can substitute treat to non foods reward system such as using verbal praise, rubbing the spine or tummy, light touch on the ears or massage. As long as he is eating his regular meals I don't think you should worry about the treats.
"Understanding your dog and knowing how to control him, develop his potentials, and resolve behavior problems, emotional conflicts and frustrations are no less essential than love and respect."-Michael W. Fox|http://dogtrainingbasics.biz/

Sanna
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Re: No interest in treats anymore

Post by Sanna » Sun Jun 15, 2014 5:25 am

mansbestfriend wrote: Could it be
toothache or sore mouth?
tummy trouble. or something else?
something practical like new soap or hand wash?
floor cleaner?
medicine (yours or the dog's)?

He drinks water normally, yes/no?
Have you recently taught a behaviour like "Leave it"? Some techniques can have unwanted side-effects.
Has someone else been trying to train or influence your dog?
Maybe present the treat differently.
What happens if you ask someone else to offer a treat while you pretend not to be looking?
What if you offer plain old kibble by hand?
Apart from food treats, what does he find rewarding (eg: your attention, your praise, petting, play, sniffing, 'free' time/exploring, chasing, catching, retrieving, running, ...)?
What does your vet think?
:)
Good questions :) Have had a good think on this- think teeth/ mouth/ health is fine as he acts completely normal otherwise; eats, drinks and chews bones etc just fine.
I hand fed him some treats last night and some of his breakfast this morning and he was happy to take it.
We haven't worked on leave it or played its yer choice in a good while so I don't think it's a consequence of that.
You could be on to something with the hand wash- with the warm weather I've been using sun cream every day which I don't normally do, but thinking about it he is also refusing treats if I throw them on the ground and has also spat out treats from various other people :?:

As to what he enjoys- in the house that would be 1. playing chase or tug with his Interball, 2. Attention, 3. Tugging, 4. Showing off his tricks and 5. (Only if he's in the mood) searching.
Out on walks it is very different- I would say 1.sniffing, 2. Free time, 3. Walking in front and deciding where we go, 4. Peeing on things, and finally 5. (Only if he's in the mood) searching or tugging.

He is not very toy driven, enjoys tugging but not fetching or chasing. He is pretty sensitive about being touched so petting is only rewarding in very specific circumstances.

I really am starting to think its nothing more than the heat, thinking back its the only common denominator really; and it makes sense that if he's feeling hot and bothered and panting a lot he's not keen to eat anything? If that's the case then I need some inspiration and fresh ideas, and I'm gonna have to mix things up a lot more to keep him interested so guess my question is what do your dogs go absolutely nuts for ? What's worked best for you as a valued non-food reward?

bendog
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Re: No interest in treats anymore

Post by bendog » Sun Jun 15, 2014 5:53 am

I've spent a long long time looking for the "perfect" reward for Pops. And short of carrying around an actual real live rabbit everywhere, I'm not sure it exists :mrgreen:

My boys go nuts for a tennis ball, but they go TOO nuts and lose their minds and can't focus or do tricks because they are JUST thinking about the ball, which makes using it as a reward for training limited, but as a reward for recall etc it is brill! We have worked on trying to think through the excitement a little bit and they'll do the basics - sit, down, spin, high 5 etc for the ball, but it's no use for new things.

I'm going along the lines of trying to rely on treats slightly less and make MYSELF more reinforcing, so I'm still using treats, but rolling them for my dogs to chase, or to sniff out in the grass, getting the dogs to chase me and THEN tossing a treat, using life rewards as reinforcement e.g. to go see another dog, or to go sniff, or go chase squirrels etc etc. So that it keeps them guessing a bit. Poppy especially is very reluctant to do ANYTHING unless she knows EXACTLY what the reward will be, so she can decide if it's worth her while. So I'm trying to incorporate more variety and be less predictable.

The flirt pole, squeaky toys, and rabbit skin on a string, getting to chase me, all work as rewards for us (sometimes) but my dogs are very very different from P.

Rottie cross I walk likes getting to chase me or pull me (on harness) as a reward.

ClareMarsh
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Re: No interest in treats anymore

Post by ClareMarsh » Sun Jun 15, 2014 6:15 am

bendog wrote:I've spent a long long time looking for the "perfect" reward for Pops. And short of carrying around an actual real live rabbit everywhere, I'm not sure it exists :mrgreen:
I love that you've given this some thought :lol:

Ted is a bit like this in as much as he's not that food motivated (Ella would sell me for a pin head of dried liver :lol: ), so although I use food it's not the be all and end all for Ted, and it's not going to motivate him to do something when there's something interesting afoot. So I use life rewards with Ted a lot ... following the scent, going the direction he wants to go, meeting another dog etc etc. It does mean I use some management when we're out and about to avoid a situation where I'll struggle to out reward what Ted wants to do. But mostly I can give him what he wants he just has to check in with me first.

Not sure how much that helps you :shock: :lol:
Proud owner of Ted and baby Ella
My blog about Ted http://tinkerwolf.com/
Ted's Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Tinkerwolf
Ted's You Tube Channel http://www.youtube.com/user/TheTedVids

mansbestfriend
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Re: No interest in treats anymore

Post by mansbestfriend » Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:41 am

Hi. In my/our situation, I guess I'm a little spoiled. My dog is pretty easy to read RE what's rewarding for her, but it may be tough if food treats weren't an option for rewards.

=Depending on the excitement level I think suits the training, food rewards from puppy kibble for low excitement, through jerky, cheese, hotdog, "Chunkers", to slivers of steak for controlled high excitement (a raw meaty bone as one, big, reward)
=She'll (KelpieXStaffie) go crazy for a tennis ball (mainly seeing chasing and catching it). Retrieving and dropping the ball had to be trained, using the tennis ball itself and/or a game of tug as reward. Been learning some agility for fun using the ball as reward, but, it has to be the right ball and that might change two or three times in a 'session' :) .
=Tug, but the toy she likes the most changes like the weather
=Access (or return) to play
=Mainly used on walks while on-leash, access to the environment (to sniff, to explore, to rest, whatever)
=Access through a door, or gate
=Verbal praise (can seem from quite rewarding to a little rewarding, mainly as a everyday reward, and/or fading food rewards)
=A rub on the ear, pat on the rump, (like verbal praise but with touch)
=Chasing cats and possums (not sure if it's rewarding as such or if it's just like reflex, but it's usually intense)

Other treats she likes and I understand are 100% safe - cooked carrots in gravy.
Lots of shade, rests, swims, air-con, etc. in the summer especially if it's hot enough to cause panting.
Cheers. :)
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single Sit.

Erica
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Re: No interest in treats anymore

Post by Erica » Sun Jun 15, 2014 9:26 am

Hmm...just pondering here, no idea if it will work - if it's the heat that's bothering him, maybe frozen treats? I think frozen meat would work pretty well; ice cubes of broth or whatever would melt back into broth, but cut up steak, for example, would still be solid even if it thaws.
Delta, standard poodle, born 6/30/14

Sanna
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Re: No interest in treats anymore

Post by Sanna » Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:38 am

That's IT! I need a CAT! A CAT for Precious that I can release from my pocket! (How hard can it be to teach a cat to recall..?) :lol: :lol:
Erica wrote:Hmm...just pondering here, no idea if it will work - if it's the heat that's bothering him, maybe frozen treats? I think frozen meat would work pretty well; ice cubes of broth or whatever would melt back into broth, but cut up steak, for example, would still be solid even if it thaws.
That's actually not a bad idea, for short walks anyway- I reckon he'd quite enjoy a little frozen beef when he's hot :D so funny I had this idea of bringing ice cubes the realised they would just melt (doh!) but never progressed to think to freeze meat or fruit for him..

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minkee
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Re: No interest in treats anymore

Post by minkee » Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:54 am

My cats have excellent recall, Sanna, but not in the face of a charging hound :lol:

edit: Oh, perhaps if you got a recalling mouse, the cats could follow that back? :lol:

edit2: I've been considering getting some baby mice or baby chicks (frozen) for the cats to munch on. Good reward or too grizzly?

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