Food Motivation

One of the big differences between Julius and Ray is their various levels of food motivation. Julius is completely food motivated and Ray is more treat motivated, in the strictest sense. Ray has never, ever been one to wolf down his kibble, no matter what kind it is. True, when I switch food, he may have finished a new one more quickly, but as a general rule, he has always been a grazer, if left to his own means so I nearly always have to put some sort of topper on his kibble.

Treats, he loves and there isn’t really anything he won’t eat if it’s hand-fed to him. This includes all fruits and vegetables that have ever been offered. The only other quirk is that he wants someone there while he eats. A kong given to him before our departure is usually left untouched until a human returns home, so I’ve learned to not stuff a huge kong and freeze it for him but rather give him a kong with a bit of peanut butter smeared on it with maybe a small treat inside.

Julius, on the other hand LOVES food of all kinds…at least he loves the idea of it. I have not yet worked too extensively with Julius on commands, though he knows “sit” and sometimes remembers “down,” but some words he always knows are “breakfast,” “dinner” and “who wants one?”

The proper responsed to breakfast and dinner is that Julius runs to his crate and the proper answer to “who wants one” is a polite sit. Julius learned that really quickly but “one” can be kind of tricky. Julius always wants “one” but has been pretty shocked on more than one occasion when “one” has turned out to be such delicacies as asparagus, broccoli, beans, or romaine lettuce. His shock and disbelief is almost comical: not only is that “one” not tasty, but his big brother LOVES it.

Does your pooch have a picky palate?

12 thoughts on “Food Motivation

  1. We have a mix-match between Ray & Julius. While both are very food motivated, the novelty of kibble has worn off for Tess and she takes her time. She will also not eat alone (some mornings, she won't finish her kibble unless someone is in the kitchen with her). She's also picky like Julius – she used to NEVER eat anything green. Only just recently has she started eating green veggies — I think because Edi always got so many extra “treats.”

    Edi is SUPER food motivated. He LOOOVES his kibble, love veggies, loves anything you give him. When we first got him, I couldn't get him to jump into the car. So I picked up a piece of dirt and threw it in — that did the trick!

  2. Haha, that must be pretty comical to watch his reaction. Though Kaya was very picky when she was younger, she'll inhale her food and her treats now. It makes training her a whole lot easier! I don't give them people food so I'm not sure how they'd feel about fruits and veggies:/

  3. Shiner is pretty food motivated too. But it sounds like she's similar to Ray. She will leave her food there all day if no one was home with her. Treats are another story of course.

  4. With Joker he is pretty both food, and toy motivated. Of course I have to always make shure to choose the right treat/toy for the situation. If there is tons of distractions around, a piece of kibble doesn't worth anything for him. 🙂

  5. Every foster I have ever had has been completely disinterested in fruits/veggies but will totally take kibble as a “treat.” Is it because they were homeless? Their palate isn't as refined as our hoity toity dogs? I don't know… but Turk and Rufus go bonkers for a carrot and will go a whole day eating only a bit of kibble, while every foster will wolf down their meals as if it was their last and turn their nose up at carrots. So strange.

    Emily @ Our Waldo Bungie

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