Advice From The Experts: Training A Food-Obsessed Dog

Many of us struggle with trying to train a dog that only has one thing on its mind: food.

As a professional dog trainer, it’s a problem Tug-E-Nuff Dog Gear co-founder Matt often helps dog owners conquer.

With a few tricks (and toys) up your sleeve, it is possible to use your dog’s desire for food to your advantage so that you can get stuck in to your training and make incredible progress.

Here’s Matt’s expert advice:

You might have read and heard about techniques to attempt to stop your dog from being obsessed with food – but you’ll probably know for yourself by now that if a dog loves food, there’s not a lot you can do to persuade them otherwise.

The most successful approach in our experience is to work WITH your dog, rather than against him.

This is where the right dog toy really can make all the difference. All the dog training toys in the Tug-E-Nuff range are designed with our real life experience of training dogs and solving common training problems in mind.

One of my particular favourites for training food-obsessed dogs is The Clam.

Motivating a dog that thinks with his tummy can make training a challenge, but The Clam is designed to let you reward your dog from a distance with the thing that they love most – food!

The Clam is small so it can easily be thrown and its clever design means your dog doesn’t have to wait to be rewarded – they can get their own treat straight away from within a cleverly designed pouch inside the toy.

This means you can effectively teach behaviours during agility or flyball training to even the most food obsessed dogs.

I also often recommend our Food Bag With Ball, which is the most popular toy in our food bag range. The ball is great for playing tug and the design means it’s easy to throw, and the Velcro fastening means you can securely store food to reward and motivate your dog in the most effective way.

In addition to choosing the right training toys, it’s important to only use positive reinforcement.

Training a food obsessed dog requires plenty of patience – but that only makes achieving success even more fulfilling.

Good luck!


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Elaine - January 18, 2017

I love to train with both the clam and the food bag. My dog is obsessed with food and balls. Neither gives the distance or independence that I need. She finds the ball rewarding but it’s so tricky to control where it finally stops. As a novice trainer I’ve got a fighting chance of her heading in the right direction with the clam. Finding the right toy has been real trial and error but it’s great to be able to try different styles.

Danny Rouse - January 18, 2017

We’re looking specifically at sports dogs, when we’re training distance behaviours such as weaves and jumping grids being able to reward your dog when they are not close to you can be an issue.

Marianne - January 18, 2017

I don’t understand why this would be an issue, and in my work as a dog trainer have never heard this complaint. Food obsessed dogs are by far the easiest to train. Genuinely curious – what issues in training does food obsession cause?

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