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Dog Training Motivation

Finding your dog's training motivation is key. Every dog is different and not all dogs are motivated by the same food, training treats or rewards. Find out how to help your dog stay motivated during dog training sessions.

Understanding your dog's training motivation is key to success on your training journey

dog training motivation treats

Motivating your dog during training sessions is key, so finding that dog training motivation is key. Not all dogs are the same in what will motivate them. Most dogs are food motivated but some dogs are not. There are also dogs that have certain digestive issues so they can’t eat all of the traditional treats that are sold out there so dog parents are very limited on what they can give their dogs. Your dog may fall in to one of these categories. I am going to try to help you keep your dog motivated. I recently had a couple of 4 legged clients who reminded me of how to “pivot” when a treat(s) wasn’t working.

Not all Rewards are created equal

The first thing to remember in dog training motivation 101. Not all treats have the same value. Think of them in terms of monetary value. 

  • Basic training treats = $1 – 10 (depending on flavor and type)
  • Freeze Dried Treats = $15 – 50 (flavors range from beef, chicken, lamb, cheese, turkey, etc) That’s why this is a broad range.
  • Real food, ie. hot dog, slim jim, cheese, gold fish, chicken, deli meat = $50 – 100

Variety is the spice of life so just having one type of treat and one flavor,will cause your dog to get bored. I strongly suggest having a variety of basic treats and a variety of freeze dried. That way you don’t automatically go from $1 to $50 because you need to increase the value. 

Next thing to remember, for your own sanity. Don’t use low value treats when you know you are going to be doing training in highly distracting environments. So bring out the freeze dried treats or higher value. 

To Treat or Not to Treat?

If your dog is not food motivated and you have tried everything. Then use their toys for motivation for training. I had to do this with a client of mine yesterday who would take any of my treats when he is normally very food motivated. Fortunately, he is tennis ball motivated, so I used the ball as the reward. 

Every dog has some kind of motivation – food, toys, play, tug, etc. Understanding your dog’s motivation for training will help you and your dog on their dog training journey. If you would like more guidance on your dog training journey, please feel free to schedule a consultation.



boston terrier and tennis balls



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