With a treat we reinforce the dog’s proper behavior, treat = paycheck. Something the dog is working hard for.
A man once came to my class with a Labrador. The Labrador was about a year old, and the man had been raising him honestly since he was small, but nothing worked out for them. According to the owner, the dog didn’t pay attention to commands, didn’t want to train, and only wanted to run amok and play. The class began. Man commands labr “Sit” – and tries to entice him with food, labr naturally does nothing but look at the other dogs. “Stop,” I say. “And do you always encourage him with food?” – “Yes,” says the man, “What else?” We replaced the food with dried tripe, it turned out that the Labrador is very much able and willing to exercise, one of the best students on the course was in the end.
For a dog to work with pleasure for a treat, it should not only be very tasty, it is not enough. The dog should have a desire to eat it, i.e. hunger of sufficient strength, which will override his laziness or desire to play with other dogs, to smell the bushes.
In one of my groups, a girl came to me with a Spitz, already old enough, about a year old. He wasn’t motivated at all, the only thing the dog wanted to do was bark and tear off the leash. We tried several kinds of treats, offered him and sausages and raw meat, cheese. Reaction is weak, respectively, the result in training zero. I asked the owner when the dog ate before the class, it turns out that they feed him almost before going out, and three hours do not pass before training. Gave the assignment before the next class to skip two feedings and come to me really hungry. At the next lesson the dog was almost flying, ready to do anything and more for a piece of treat.
There are times when a pet doesn’t seem to be much interested in the goodies, then what should you do? First, he may simply not be hungry enough for training. Some dogs even a day’s hunger before training may not be enough, so try to go 12 hours without food before training.
Secondly, maybe this particular treat is not as tasty to the dog? Doesn’t eat cheese, try sausage, doesn’t eat sausage, try dried tripe, etc.
Third, there are dogs who are really, really more interested in other things, even if they are very hungry. Canines usually work on two kinds of motivation: food, i.e., a treat, and play, for a toy.