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June 3, 2013
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June 3, 2013   |   2 Minutes, 16 Seconds

Leerburg Q&A
Ask your training question here

Question: As my puppy gets older I'm finding it harder to get engagement with food. He's gotten to the point where he's not even interested in steak. Do you have any advice?

Thanks for taking the time to read this email. Your previous responses to my questions have really helped. I just finished placing my order for some training videos; retrieve, tug, puppy bite work, and some equipment.

I have a question regarding engagement. I have been training my dog with Michael Ellis' The Power of Training Dogs with Food. It has been a few months now and my pup is doing great. My problem, I have noticed, is that it is harder to keep his engagement with food. Before, I would run around and he was all over me really engaged in what we were doing. I still run around trying to keep his attention and such. Is it normal for a 6 month old puppy not to be very motivated by food? I have used all kinds of treats mostly all natural treats, all beef hot dogs, chicken, and pieces of steak. It has gotten to the point where not even the steak will really interest him. I'm really hoping that teaching him tug will reignite his obedience drive. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks again.

Cindy's Response:

You may need to manage his meals so he’s more hungry. 

It is also normal for some dogs to start preferring a toy over a tug as they get a bit older.  My dog would rarely take food in training as a pup/young dog.  He’s better now because I’ve kept at it but he still will always prefer a toy.

This is the fun part of training, figuring out how to motivate your dog based on what he likes. :)

Cindy Rhodes

For more questions on this topic, see our Q&A on Training with Food.

We get a number of Q&As every week, if you would like to read this week's Q&As, click here and check out the 'Recent Questions' section!

Have a question for Ed & Cindy? Try the Leerburg Search Engine. This search engine was written specifically for Leerburg by our in house IT manager. Our search engine is specific to Leerburg and only searches and the Leerburg web forum. If you can't find the answer to your question by using our search engine, you can email Cindy here at Leerburg at If you have your spam filter on, make sure you set it to receive our replies!!!

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