How To Train A Stubborn Dog That Doesn’t Want Treats – Professional Dog Training Tips


Do you have a stubborn dog who just wants
to pull on the leash or do their own thing even when you’re using treats
to train them. In this video, we’re going to talk to you about a dog
training checklist that’s going to help you to get more focus from your dog. And we’re going to let you in on a couple
of secrets that we’ve learned from the more than 90,000 dogs that have been
trained at our training facility. I’m Ken Steepe. I’m Kayl McCann,
welcome back to McCann Dogs. Ken and I just got back from teaching classes
today and it was a pretty exciting day because it was the students very first
time at our school with their dogs. And it’s an exciting time because
the dogs are highly distracted. And one of the most common things that
we hear from people in their early stages of training is my dog. So stubborn
and he doesn’t want to take the food, you know, what else can I do? So we wanted to take some time to talk
to you today about why that happens, why some dogs are deemed as stubborn and
some tips that we can do to help sort of move around that,
that barrier for sure. And this is definitely something that
I’ve heard from a lot of students and I know it’s in the comment
section of our videos. It’s something that I hear
mentioned quite often. So we’re going to outline a few tips that
you need to sort of be aware of while you’re training your dog that you can
check things off and you’re going to very quickly discover the that
it isn’t necessarily the
treats that your dog that’s making your dog stubborn. There’s a few other things that
you really need to be aware of. If you find that you’re not getting
some focus from your four legged family member. One of the most common complaints I get
from my students or frustrations is that when they go for a walk,
they could say, you know, I can put the biggest steak
in front of my dog’s face. And they still don’t want food. They just
want to pull and drag me to the park. And I’ve been there. So I know
that, that that can happen. It’s not uncommon. So one of the
things that, that we will suggest to, to help work on that is, you know, if you can’t control the dog with the
food that you have and you’re not having success in that certain environment
that you’re practicing in, for example, you know, walking to the
park or whatever it might be, the only other option that you have
is to change your dog’s environment. And build the success in something
that’s a little bit less challenging with less distractions. So, you know, it’s a
good idea to rate the distraction level, you know, out of 10. So if you’re going for a walk to the
park and there’s a bunch of other people and dogs and kids and
excitement going around, that’s probably a level 10 distraction
for a lot of dogs. You know, Ken, your dog give you the focus that you
need when you’re in the house and there’s nothing going on that would be
like, you know, a level one. So what people often make the mistake
of doing is they think they have things perfected in a level one or two distracted
environment and then they hit it with a 10 and try to walk in the park and
then everything unravels very quickly. So we want to do is blend in
distractions more gradually. Teaching your dog to be able to function
and focus on you without having things around you that are, are quite
so difficult to compete against. It could mean that maybe in your
house you start to incorporate more distractions. You know, put some of
your dog’s favorite toys on the ground. You know, we will use food containers that have a
lid on them and little hole holes poked in the tops of the Dunkin, smelled
the food, but they can’t get it. And we’ll scatter that everywhere
and we’ll work on our exercises. So it’s not just nothing going on.
The dog has some choices to make. And then we might practice in the driveway
for 30 minutes instead of walking, you know, in the
neighborhood for 30 minutes. So it’s the same amount of time but
you’re just not exposing to the dog to so much stuff. In the beginning. And then of course you can work
into making things a little bit more challenging. But everything, everything about the way we train dogs
here at McKinsey is about building on success and what they learn
first, they learn best. So you want to start off easy and then
as dog showing some, some improvement, then slowly start to make it
a little bit more challenging. And it, these really brings up
the point when people will say, my dog is so stubborn. He always
pulls when we go on walks. He’s not the one making the choice to go
out for the same long walks and pulling down the street. You need to
break down that challenge for him. You need to show him how to be right.
We talked a little bit about, you know, using the right kind of food
that maybe that’s part of it, but that environment is such a
really, really important one. The other thing you may not be aware of
is maybe your dog is worried about the environment. Maybe you’re in
a, in a location environment, exactly that’s too overstimulating
or concerning to them and they just, they won’t take food in that situation. So really you know take stock
of what’s going on around you, the response that your dog has and maybe
reduce the challenge for them a little bit. It’s not them that’s stubborn. It’s then you that stubborn insisting
that you try the same things over and over again without any sort
of affecting any change. If you think that you have a stubborn
dog or a dog that’s not really interested in working for food, the most obvious suggestion that we would
make is look at the food that you’re using and make sure it’s valuable. But
what you also need to consider is do, does your dog actually find food to be a
valuable thing to work for in the first place? And I’m a very common question that
we will ask our students is what their feeding schedule is. Because sometimes changing your dog’s
feeding schedule can make all the difference in your dog’s drive to Work for food. Yeah. And this isn’t just limited to what
time of day that you’re feeding them, but there’s some people that will free
feed their dog and if you’re not sure free feeding is free feeding is when you
put down a certain amount of food and then you just leave it out all day and
your dog is able to sort of move around and choose on their own
when they eat from there. And one thing that we’ve discovered is
that it decreases the value of food for your dog. I know some of this, sometimes
you’ll suggest that to a student, you’ll say, are you meal feeding
or free feeding? And the, you’ll suggest them change to meal feeding
and you’ll see 180 degree turn from that by the next week because you’ve
increased the value of the food. So if you’re free feeding your dog where
you placed down food in the morning and there’s, you know, half full
bowl of food all day long, then you want to switch to meal feeding. And let’s talk just for a moment
about what meal feeding is exactly Thing is when your dog has a, you know, a amount of food that they get at the at
breakfast and then again in the evening for dinner. And for little baby puppies, we sometimes even suggest giving them
a lunch once they get about four months though old though, we feed just twice
a day. So we put their food down, we give them a few minutes to eat and
then we will remove the goal from there. And if you’re switching a dog from
free feeding, do meal feeding, you may find you put the food down and
they don’t eat as much as you’d like right away. You’re simply just going to lift the
bowl up and then put it back down at the next feeding time that you’d like
to do. And within a couple of days, the dog will start to eat
much more consistently. Now, the beautiful thing about this is rather
than putting the food down for them, for the dog to eat, you also can then
start to use the food for training times. So I might, you know, take a handful of
their food and have, you know, my dog, do some exercises, some sits and
look at me as things like that. And then I might allow them to eat the
rest of the food out of the bowl so I can start to tie my practice sessions for
the same time that my dog is used to eating their breakfast or
dinner when they’re already, their body already tells
them that they’re hungry. And and as an added bonus to meal feeding, you’re also going to have an early
indication if your dog isn’t feeling well. You know, oftentimes the first sign of your dog
not feeling great is that they aren’t eating their food as they normally
would. And if you’re free feeding, you might not notice something like that. So the added benefit of increasing the
value of your dogs food by meal feeding is is having that awareness of their
intake and sometimes their output can be really, really valuable. So meal feeding,
we suggest that for any dog owner, The last thing that I want to add about
meal feeding is your dog’s weight. We see a lot of dogs that are very, very overweight and typically
those dogs are free fed. It’s hard to control if
your dog is overweight. That also can lead to your dog not being
that interested in working for food while they’re already fall. So really look at your dog’s weight and
make sure that they’re not overweight. Obviously for health reasons,
that’s the most important thing, but also of you’re looking to train your
dog and get them motivated to work for you. You want them to be a little bit hungry
when they’re excited to work for food because it makes it a more enjoyable
experience when they get to eat that tree. One thing that people often
do and something I want
you to be very conscious of is what are you rewarding your dog for? Think about why you’re
giving them the foods. What we want is for our puppies or our
young dogs to really understand that food reward is something that’s earned, that they put in a little bit of effort
and that they’re being rewarded for that. And this is something that we
talked with with our students a lot about, Yeah, people often just sort of feed because
it sort of seems like the right thing to do, but they’re not actually looking to
see what the dog is doing at the time. Are they, you know, on a loose leash, are they paying attention and looking
at you and you’re offering a reward? And rewards need to mean it need to mean
that you know what you’re doing at this exact moment. I love and I want you
to keep doing again. So be really, really aware of that you’re
not just feeding for, you know, them being cute or doing
nothing really at all. We want your dog to understand that
rewards are special and they are given through great behavior. I was actually talking to a
student just the other day, he just signed up for grade one training
and he just found us not long before I think here on the youtube channel,
but he mentioned that he didn’t, he was worried about using human food, like cooked steak or cooked chicken
with his dog because he didn’t want to encourage the dog to beg or hover around
the table when they were having their meals. Now this is something that I think a
lot of people expect that they can’t use humor, human food with their dog
cause they’re worried about the dog Begging for it. Yeah. We often make that suggestion
and then people cringe at us. But what people don’t realize is that
what causes dogs to beg or you know, feel like they deserve food when you’re
at the dinner table is if they’re actually fed in that situation. So if you’re hoping for your
dog not to beg at the table, don’t feed them when you’re at the
table. Don’t feed them from a, you know, from your plate or from the table.
Encourage your dog to go, you know, and lie down and do something
productive. So they’re, you know, not hanging around. But we actually suggest that you use
things like cooked chicken, chicken, wieners leftover steak, those types of things as
your high value reward. So one of our favorite things to
do when we’re training our dogs is, is use a number of different rewards
and then we rate them from like, our dog’s favorite. So like a number five, treat all the way down
to a number one treat. And then we would utilize those different
treats based on the exercise that we were working on and how difficult
it was. And B, you know, where are we practicing in, are we in a low distracting environment
or are we in a really tough place? Like walking the kids
to the school, you know, where there’s kids and
dogs and stuff everywhere. I would be taking my greatest highest
value tree in that moment. So using, you know, food items like
that that we eat. You know, they’re exciting for the dog. There’s not, they’re not something that the dog gets
all of the time. They’re semi moist, easy for the dog to eat. There’s a lot of pros to using that and
you certainly don’t need to be worried about the dog starting to beg
if you use them correctly. Yeah. And you mentioned briefly some
behaviors that you might think at home, my dog is so stubborn, he’s just not
going to pay attention to the food. W dogs are going to do what’s rewarding.
So what you need to keep in mind, if you feel like your dog is not that
interested in your food is Kale had mentioned is this is when you’re going
to bring up that you need to unlock that drive. So you need to figure
out what’s that thing. They absolutely love more than going to
visit another dog more than pulling you on a leash or visiting another person.
This is where you start to you know, see the world from your dog’s
eyes. What’s more valuable? It’s not your dog that’s stubborn. You just haven’t discovered the way to
you know, really encourage that focus. I had attention, I’m smiling because earlier today I
was teaching a class and a woman was teaching, we were towards the end of the
class and the dog had done quite well, but it was starting to fizzle
out, wasn’t as interested, and she was trying to work on teaching
the dog to come when it was called and it was looking all over the place and the
woman was trying so hard and she was getting so frustrated. So I just pulled some of my treats and I
had dried liver at the time and I said, why don’t you try this? And she
let her dog sniff it in her. That dog’s eyes just lit out, right.
And we ended up getting, you know, three or four fantastic repetitions
of the recall and she was so excited. She was taking pictures of the treats to
making sure she could go get some from her dog. But even just switching the
treats to something higher value, you can make your and your
dogs experienced training
together that much more fun and positive For sure. And I think that’s the
perfect segue in speaking of segues. Something people often overlook
when they’re training their dog. And we see this in classes a lot. I know in talking to students when
they go out and train in, you know, their regular environments, whether
it’s on their street, in their house, wherever something they overlook is the
variety of reward and talk about the benefit of, you know,
changing it up a little bit. Yeah. Often you could have a really high value
reward like steak or hotdog wieners or whatever it might be. And you know, it’s not uncommon for dogs just to sort
of get sick and tired of that particular taste or flavor. So we find it
extremely effective to use several tip, a different types of rewards. You
could have them separated and you know, have a little baggy of hotdogs,
have a little baggy of block cheese, have a little Baggie of you know, dried liver or whatever might be and
switch it up depending on why you’re working on. Or You could
go for the whole, you know, trail mix routine where you put a whole
bunch of treats and mix them together. So each time you bring something
out, it’s something new for your dog. And that can also be a much more effective
way to keep the engagement from the dog from a little lot for
a little bit longer time. We have talked a lot about
food in your training, but our ultimate goal is to have a dog
that listens even when you don’t have food in your hand. That video right there is going to show
you how to have the perfect timing to accomplish that. If this is
your first time on the channel, make sure you hit that subscribe button. We publish new videos every single week
to help you to have a well behaved four legged family member. On
that note, I’m Ken. I’m Kale. I be training [inaudible].

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