Problems with food motivation

Discussion in 'Dog Training: Principle and Practice' started by HFMoss, Aug 28, 2019.

  1. HFMoss

    HFMoss Registered Users

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    My 3yo female dog is really disinterested by food which is making our recall training challenging. Will take some high value rewards at home but not really fussed at all once we’re out and about.
    She’s usually fed only once a day and hit and miss whether she eats it so no hope of using her regular food as a training reward... following Total Recall and getting stuck on the early sections involving meals. Any advice?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 29, 2019
  2. Laith

    Laith Registered Users

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  3. HFMoss

    HFMoss Registered Users

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    Thank you. I’ve had a read through your thread, and have tried the cutting down food / removing meals she hasn’t eaten etc. Also she doesn’t get any alternatives, only the high value treats for training but I’ve even cut that down now for the time being. Still no better and would go for days without really eating, I worry as she is underweight anyway and we struggled to get her to the weight she is now so I’m concerned about her losing any more...
     
  4. Laith

    Laith Registered Users

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    That doesn't sound like Bear. Bear will eat, he doesn't show the same excitement about his dinner as my other dog but he does eat it and isn't underweight. If she's losing weight because she's starving herself, I would suspect there is something else other than lack of motivation. I know I may be asking the obvious but have you spoken to a vet and/or a canine nutritionist about it?

    Regards

    Laith
     
  5. HFMoss

    HFMoss Registered Users

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    She will usually eat something eventually if it’s left down , but very very rarely goes to it straight away. She will sometimes take a few bits if I hand feed. Will take human food with slightly more vigour. Have spoken to a vet and they weren’t overly concerned as she is healthy and will eat eventually, just fussy and in her own time! Which is not helpful for using food at the centre of training. I don’t know whether / how long to persevere with taking the food away and then giving her it again later
     
  6. Laith

    Laith Registered Users

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    I'm definitely not the most qualified person to deal with this and the best I can offer is my opinion. Perhaps, if the vet is not concerned, try the taking meal away until the next allotted feeding time. I have always noticed that dogs have no idea how to tell what time it is but they do know when it is dinner time. From what I understand, from Michael's advice in our other posts, the point is not to feed them later but wait until the next normal feeding time. Are you using dry food or wet. I've noticed that if I use the dry food with Bear for a few training sessions before he gets the bowl, he does eat it straight away. Still doesn't look too excited about it but it seems to be working. Bear is having no more treats for the time being so we shall see how it goes. I'm sure we'll get through this and have dogs with a perfect recall soon.
     
  7. HFMoss

    HFMoss Registered Users

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    Thank you. We’ve been doing whistle equals wow tonight with hot roast chicken and she did then eat all her small meal after having not eaten since yesterday (only ate half the meal yesterday so I took it away). I generally give her a combination of wet and dry but on just wet at the moment to make it a bit more appetising!
     
  8. Laith

    Laith Registered Users

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    I have the same frustrations you have. From the advice I've been given, as far as I understand, we will not get a strong recall unless we can get past Whistle means dinner with our dogs being as excited about dinner as they are about treats. I have put the whistle away for a while and am now going to concentrate on getting Bear to be really excited about his dinner. I will then effectively start again. If I can't up his motivation, I'm not sure what to do. I understand that the stronger the association with the whistle means it will make the recall stronger. As it says in the book, I do not want to destroy this. Both my dogs have a recall which is effective until, especially Bear, sees something to chase and then all discipline goes out the window.

    Basically, I think we're in the same boat. I have never had a dog with so little interest in food. From my understanding, the only way this program will work is if we find a way to make them behave like normal dogs. I really wish you luck and I hope I'm going to find a way through too.

    Laith
     

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