Improving food drive - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 54 (permalink) Old 05-11-2018, 11:15 AM Thread Starter
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Improving food drive

Hey guys,

I'm curious on how to improve food drive. I'm trying the "marker" method of training, so I follow YES! followed by a food kibble. I can tell he really has no interest in the food kibbles. I'm not sure if he's not hungry enough for the food, if he just doesn't like the food (Victor adult. same thing the breeder was feeding him). It's as if the reward isn't good enough. He'll eat it if I give it to him, but if I move my hand left/right and do like a about to run away move, he has no interest in following the food.

We haven't had him a while, so I'm just doing real basic "sit" commands etc. Nothing crazy. Also trying to figure him out. He's coming up on 8 months.

He eats about 4-5 cups a day, so in the mornings I feed him 1 cup instead of 2 so he's a little hungry and has to work for the food. I'm thinking skipping breakfast all together so he has to work for kibbles. When training is over I can feed him his 1 cup.

Let me know if you guys have suggestions for me to get him more excited about food. I feel he just doesn't have a high food drive, OR he's still too new to the house (had him for 5 days now) and just doesn't feel 100% comfortable. Thanks
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post #2 of 54 (permalink) Old 05-11-2018, 11:22 AM
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Iíve been lucky to never have a dog of my own have little desire for food, but I have also always made them work for ALL of their food when they are young. If you have any interest in tracking, laying footstep tracks with food is a great way to make them work for food. It can get a little tedious to go through 2 cups of kibble doing just obedience (though I have certainly done that in the past). Crate games are another great way to make him work for food AND defelop a love for his crate. I wouldnít feed him from a bowl at all right now, if your desire is to increase the food drive. Genetics do play a part in this, which could be part of the issue. Also, he could just need more time to adjust to his new life. You could see his actual drives kick in when he feels more comfortable in his new surroundings. I would just skip bowl feeding and make him work for everything. Heíll get it eventually!
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post #3 of 54 (permalink) Old 05-11-2018, 11:25 AM
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Use a toy. Mine will work for a while for pieces of meat or cheese, but nothing works as well as a special toy. I have a tug I only use for training.
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post #4 of 54 (permalink) Old 05-11-2018, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by LuvShepherds View Post
Use a toy. Mine will work for a while for pieces of meat or cheese, but nothing works as well as a special toy. I have a tug I only use for training.
Like you mean put food in a toy? I got a kong and I put his kibbles in it. Still very interest. I pretty much have to roll it for him to have food fall out, or his paw accidently hits it LOL

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Originally Posted by GypsyGhost View Post
Iíve been lucky to never have a dog of my own have little desire for food, but I have also always made them work for ALL of their food when they are young. If you have any interest in tracking, laying footstep tracks with food is a great way to make them work for food. It can get a little tedious to go through 2 cups of kibble doing just obedience (though I have certainly done that in the past). Crate games are another great way to make him work for food AND defelop a love for his crate. I wouldnít feed him from a bowl at all right now, if your desire is to increase the food drive. Genetics do play a part in this, which could be part of the issue. Also, he could just need more time to adjust to his new life. You could see his actual drives kick in when he feels more comfortable in his new surroundings. I would just skip bowl feeding and make him work for everything. Heíll get it eventually!
Gotcha. He is just so playful outside that makes me feel he's already warmed up... but honestly, what do I know. I have nothing else to compare to LOL

I got him one of those bowls with spirals in it, so he doesn't inhale his food, but at this point, I'm ok if he does LOL.

the xlarge kongs take about 1/2 a cup of food, so it's alot of kong/kibble training to feed him all 5 cups of his food LOL.

any suggestions for that? Maybe he gets his last 2 cups at night and rest he has to work for it? My other concern is, what if he doesn't want the food that bad, and instead of his recc. intake at 5 cups, he only ends up eating 2 or 3 cups?
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post #5 of 54 (permalink) Old 05-11-2018, 11:45 AM
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5 cups sounds like a lot of kibble to me (I might be wrong). I'd probably be feeding 3 or tops 4 cups a day. Maybe that is why he isn't interested in the treats.
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post #6 of 54 (permalink) Old 05-11-2018, 11:56 AM
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At his age, I would not be terribly concerned if he skips a meal here and there. Itís better, in my opinion, to get him used to actually working for food so that the food becomes valuable. Donít cater to what HE wants. Have him do what YOU want.

If, after a reasonable amount of time of trying to making him work for his food, he STILL doesnít want to eat, then you may need to make some changes. But if you cater to his proclivities too much, heís going to become picky with food and run the show.
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post #7 of 54 (permalink) Old 05-11-2018, 11:57 AM
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No, I use a tug toy as a reward after an exercise is finished. During the exercise, I use verbal praise. For early training, like teaching Sit, I used food. I found other trainers and methods I like better, but for Sit, I used only this video. My dog is not food motivated when he is in drive but as a puppy, when he was hungry, plain kibble worked. As he got older, it did not work at all. He learned Sit from this exercise, but he never learned to stay in an Xpen. As soon as he could lift it up or push it across the room, he did.

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post #8 of 54 (permalink) Old 05-11-2018, 12:08 PM
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@LuvShepherds - I prefer to move on to rewarding with a toy, as well. But I do think itís beneficial to try to increase food drive, if possible. Food drive is a great tool to have when teaching things like tracking or scent work. And itís helpful to have a dog that actively wants to eat their food with no coaxing.
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post #9 of 54 (permalink) Old 05-11-2018, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Mareesey View Post
5 cups sounds like a lot of kibble to me (I might be wrong). I'd probably be feeding 3 or tops 4 cups a day. Maybe that is why he isn't interested in the treats.
That's what the vet recommended. his rough daily calorie burnt is around 1800. each cup is about 400.
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post #10 of 54 (permalink) Old 05-11-2018, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsyGhost View Post
At his age, I would not be terribly concerned if he skips a meal here and there. Itís better, in my opinion, to get him used to actually working for food so that the food becomes valuable. Donít cater to what HE wants. Have him do what YOU want.

If, after a reasonable amount of time of trying to making him work for his food, he STILL doesnít want to eat, then you may need to make some changes. But if you cater to his proclivities too much, heís going to become picky with food and run the show.
kinda how i run the show w my kids lol. if you don't eat your food... fine. you'll eat when you're hungry. lmao
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