Dog Training: What To Do When Treats Don’t Work

Dog Training: What To Do When Treats Don’t Work

A few years ago I was working with a young pup named Lola. She had been rescued from being hit by a car and brought to my home after she was found wandering around the neighborhood. Her name means “Lucky” in German.

She was very sweet when I first met her, but soon became withdrawn and shy due to the trauma of having someone else’s child taken away from her. I knew she needed some kind of human contact so I started giving her attention and affection. Eventually she began to open up a bit more, but still remained reserved.

I thought maybe if I could just give her something that would make her feel better, then perhaps she’d be able to let go of the past and become social again. So one day while playing fetch with me, she threw a ball at my feet which landed right next to where our couch was located. I figured it was cute that she wanted me to play with her, so I decided to keep doing what I was doing.

The next time we played fetch, she caught the ball and proceeded to throw it back at me. Again, I didn’t think anything of it since she had thrown the ball before and she seemed happy that I was playing with her.

After a couple more times of throwing the same thing at me, I finally asked her why she did it now? Was it a new game we were going to play?

She replied by saying that she wanted to sit next to me while we both played the game.

I realized then that she needed more than just affection, she also needed companionship and someone who could relate to her. Whenever I didn’t have the time to be with her, I would make sure I had someone else either in the house or in the yard with her.

Sources & references used in this article:

Training dogs and training humans: Symbolic interaction and dog training by JB Greenebaum – Anthrozoös, 2010 – Taylor & Francis

Don’t Shoot the Dog: The Art of Teaching and Training by K Pryor – 2019 –

Cognitive therapy for challenging problems: What to do when the basics don’t work by JS Beck – 2005 –

Tricks and Treats: Designing Technology to Support Mobility Assistance Dogs by C Robinson, E Brulé, J Jackson, A Torjussen… – Proceedings of the …, 2020 –

Dog training for dummies by W Volhard, MA Rombold-Zeigenfuse – 2020 –

You can train your Dog! Mastering the Art & Science of Modern Dog Training by P Dennison – 2015 –