How To Train A Dog Without Treats Effectively

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Kimberly with Sally the dog on a leashLooking for an alternative to treat training? Our foolproof dog training without treats method will help you develop another way to foster a healthy relationship with your dog. We’ll teach you how to effectively train your dog to sit, stay, lay down, leave it and come without the use of a single snack.

Article Overview

My Experience With Treat Training

I tried to treat train my dog, Sally, when I first adopted her. I had always been told positive reinforcement is the way to train, which made me think treat training was my only option, but I was misinformed.

Some things worked with treat training and other things didn’t. For example, putting treats in her house (kennel) to convince her to go in so I could leave the house momentarily worked. However, using treats to keep her from barking at other dogs, fixating on squirrels or lunging at vehicles did not work no matter how proactive I was.

Sally is very food driven, but if there are outside forces (dogs, squirrels, bunnies, etc.), she’s going to be more interested in them than food. So we had to find a different way to obtain her attention without relying solely on treats. This caused us to seek a professional trainer’s help, and thus we were introduced to training without treats, which was extremely successful for us.

While I do believe in positive reinforcement training, I believe that reinforcement can come in the form of positive words and gestures towards my dog as much as dishing out treats. Trust me, Sally still gets plenty of treats, but when we’re focusing on training, I give her confirmation by giving her affection and saying “good girl.”

I also realize that every dog is different and while my Sally didn’t respond the best with treat training, other dogs may have other needs. If you’re looking to try training without treats, I’ve got some firsthand tips for you.

Why You Shouldn’t Lean On Treats For Training

Your dog should love you for more than just dispensing food to them. Leaning on treats to grow your relationship with your dog can prevent the relationship from reaching a deeper, more meaningful level.

I found that looking for alternative ways to connect with Sally outside of food, such as play, life rewards, and affection, deepened our relationship. I also found that thinking about Sally’s behavior and our quality of life more holistically, outside of simple obedience cues, helped me address some overwhelming issues that I wasn’t sure how to tackle at first, such as getting and keeping her attention in distracting situations.

I noticed that when I treat trained Sally, she seemed to be continually looking to please me (which was good) but, in truth, it was simply to obtain food. For us, shifting from treats to verbal praise allowed our relationship to leap to a new level. She was more affectionate and listened to my commands carefully.

While food treats may be the easiest way to train a dog, they might not work for every dog and every situation. Even dogs that aren’t food-motivated can be trained and here are some basic commands to help you work on your dog’s behaviors.

Using Leash Gestures With Your Commands

The way I learned how to train without treats was to use a collar and leash and depending on the way I tugged on the leash would help Sally know what to do. More specifically, I used a pinch collar on Sally, but I urge you to read the articles I’ve linked to and to conduct any other research before using this on your dog. It’s vital that you use a training collar you feel comfortable with and using it correctly.

Throughout this article, I will try to describe these gestures with the leash as well as hand gestures I used throughout Sally’s training. It’s important to be consistent with these things because eventually your dog will be off leash and you still want them to listen, right? So instead of relying on a leash, you can rely on a hand gesture as well as a voice command.

How Do I Establish Alpha Status?

The central theme my dog trainer taught me was that I needed to establish alpha status in my pack. Sally was running the show at home, which meant she didn’t have to listen to me unless bribed with food. She had free reign of the house and could be wherever she wanted except for on the beds.

To establish alpha status, you have to show your dog that you are in charge. This may be difficult to do (I know it was for me) because it feels like you are bossy and less affectionate. Ultimately, this helped us grow a stronger bond with each other.

To obtain alpha status in your pack, you’ll need to focus on all of these training aspects for a minimum of 2 weeks (could be longer depending on how consistent you are and how your dog is responding). Consistency is key. If you give in a little, it can set your dog back in the training process, so make sure you’re sticking to your guns.

Trust me, I know being consistent with all of this can be extremely difficult but I promise, it can be extremely rewarding and give you the most wonderful relationship with your dog.

Keep My Dog On Leash At All Times

This was probably the most tedious thing because it means you have to go outside with your dog for them to go potty, you have to take them to their water dish, etc. Your dog does nothing without you by their side. This sends the message to your dog that you are allowing them to go potty, drink water, eat food, rest on their dog bed, etc., which in turn helps you establish pack leader status.

Give My Dog A Job

To be the alpha in your dog’s eyes, you need to give them permission to do everything (in the beginning). They need to have a job and know what that job is. If you’re busy cooking dinner, they shouldn’t be sitting at your feet begging for scraps.

Instead, put them in a sit or down position and tell them to stay. If they get up, put them back in the position you had them in. Your dog is bound to get up because this is new to them. Be patient and know that this will take time.

This not only teaches your dog not to beg, but it also lets them know boundaries. This has been a tremendous asset in my house because Sally knows not to beg when company is over. Although she will try to push her dominance onto others still, I’m still working on this.

Why Should I Keep My Dog Off The Furniture?

The other main thing I had to do was keep Sally off the couch to reinforce my alpha status, which honestly stunk. I love snuggling up on the sectional with Sally, so this was hard on both of us. However, it was only for 2 weeks that we had to do this and we survived. Instead of letting her on the couch, I put her in a down-stay on the floor next to me or on her dog bed.

After the 2 weeks were up, she was allowed back on the couch. We started with always prompting her up on the couch by giving her permission. Now, we let Sally up on the couch as she pleases.

How Do I Teach My Dog To Go Potty  On Command?

Since you’re going to be visiting the outdoor facilities together often, you might as well work on the go potty command. If Sally and I are on a walk and I say “go potty” she will go potty on command. It’s absolutely insane in my mind, but it’s so nice on those days that are cold or rainy, and I can get her to relieve herself sooner than later.

When you go outside with your dog for a potty break, repeat the command “go potty” over and over. Choose a place in your yard that they usually relieve themselves and stand in that area and do not move your feet. Your dog will naturally circle you and smell the area until they hopefully do their business.

This won’t happen on the first attempt. You may need to walk around the yard repeating the command until your dog does its business. You’ll want to work your way to standing in one position and not moving your feet because this sends the signal to your dog that you chose this position for them to go potty in and what you say goes.

Once your dog has gone potty, it’s time to praise them (this is a fun part for both of you). Get down to your dog’s level and give them lots of love and affection and say “good potty” a couple of times. This helps them realize that they did exactly what you asked of them.

After you’ve praised your dog, go back inside immediately after. This shows them that you went outside to do a job and the job is complete, so now it’s time to go back inside.

Video: Dog Commands 101

Watch this short video to see how to teach your dog to sit, stay and come in action.

How Do I Teach My Dog To Sit, Stay & Lay Down?

The essential thing Sally learned in her training was the commands sit and down stay. The trainer had us work on sit-stays and down-stays for 30 minutes each day for a few days. Start your dog on-leash and have them sit-stay by tugging the leash towards their back to help put them in a sitting position and then telling them to stay. When you tell them to stay, hold your hand out in front of yourself towards them.

Keep them in this position for 30 minutes. If they get up, put them back in the position but do not repeat the sit command. This teaches your dog to listen to your command the first time. Feel free to repeat the command stay as often as you feel your dog needs.

During the 30-minutes, you can hold the leash in your hand or place it under a couch or something else around the house. Just make sure they are within eyesight so you can correct them if need be. After a few days, try to progress to doing this for 60-minutes. Again, be sure to correct them if they get up.

After a few days of this, progress to a down-stay for 30-minutes. To get your dog in a down-stay position, put them in a sit-stay, then bring the collar and leash connector to the front of the neck and guide your dog down. Some dogs can be very dominant, so this may be difficult to do at first. This was the case with Sally.

If your dog falls asleep during these 30-minutes that is a good sign because it means they are submitting to you and they feel comfortable sleeping because you are looking out for them. Finally, after a few days of this, you can progress to 60-minutes of down-stays.

Once your dog has done this, you can try leaving the room and see if they continue in their sit/down-stay position. Don’t leave the area for too long because you’ll need to make sure they are still where you left them.

How Do I Teach My Dog To Come To Me?

After your dog has a good grasp on sit and down-stay and they do a good job listening to you inside the house, it’s time to work on the command “come.” This should always be a happy and pleasant command. (Would you come to your parent if they were yelling at you?)

I suggest working on this in your backyard for 5-10 minutes with a standard length leash. Have the lead in your hand and put your dog in a sit-stay. Take a step away from your dog and continue to say “stay” as many times as you feel your dog needs until you reach the end of the leash.

Get down to your dog’s level in a squatting position and say, “[insert name] come” in a happy voice. For example, “Sally, come.” If your dog doesn’t come, give gentle tugs until they reach you and then give them lots of affection and say, “good come!”

Keep in mind that all of this needs to be a positive experience for the dog. Working on this will help your dog listen when you’re at the dog park or if they are in the front yard off leash and you want them to come inside. Remember to only say the command once, so your dog learns to listen the first time. After your dog has mastered a standard length leash distance, try a longer lead (around 15-20 feet).

How To Train My Dog To “Leave It”

The final command that has been extremely beneficial, in my experience, is “leave it.” Dropped a piece of raw chicken on the floor? “Leave it.” Changing baby’s diaper and the scent is intriguing to your dog? “Leave it.” Your dog may not catch on right away, so it’s okay to give a slight tug on your dog’s collar to pull them away from the object you want them to leave. After enough repetition, they will learn the command.

I use this command a lot when I’m snacking on something on the couch of I put a dirty plate on the coffee table. Sally likes to sniff around, and if I say “leave it” in a firm voice, she is generally pretty good at leaving it alone. However, we’re still working on this one, but she has come a long way!

Key Takeaways With Dog Training Without Treats

The most important thing to remember is consistency. As I said, this can be a difficult training process at first. It’s much different from treat training because you are building communication that asks them to work differently for your love and affection.

Remember, this isn’t how it will be forever. My dog trainer told me it takes 2 weeks to create a new habit for a dog. If you can do this for 2 weeks, I’m confident you’ll see positive results. And, if you find your dog only responds to treats, that is perfectly okay. It just did not work for me. If you need help training your dog with other things like whining, digging holes or other dog training subjects be sure to check out these articles.

Do you have a question about treat training vs training without treats? Or maybe you have some tips for other tricks?

About The Author:

Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. She has been writing about dogs since 2014, covering subjects such as dog insurance, training, health, accessories and more. Her natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing and personally testing canine products and services. With every piece she writes, her goal is to help our readers find the best fit for their unique needs.

Kimberly grew up in a family that loved Labrador Retrievers and remembers running and playing in the yard with them as a child. In 2017, she and her husband adopted their Coonhound mix, Sally, from a local shelter. Kimberly's research was put to good use since Sally faced some aggression issues with other dogs and needed some training to be an inside dog. She worked daily with Sally and sought help from professionals to help Sally become the happy pup she is today.

One of Kimberly's favorite pastimes is spoiling Sally with new toys, comfy beds and yummy treats (she even makes homemade goodies for her). She tries to purchase the safest products for Sally and knows that each canine has their own specific likes and dislikes. Kimberly is passionate about dogs, and knows the bond between humans and canines is like no other.

Disclaimer: This website contains reviews, opinions and information regarding products and services manufactured or provided by third parties. We are not responsible in any way for such products and services, and nothing contained here should be construed as a guarantee of the functionality, utility, safety or reliability of any product or services reviewed or discussed. Please follow the directions provided by the manufacturer or service provider when using any product or service reviewed or discussed on this website.

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Ruby
May 19, 2020 1:10 pm

Hi Kimberly,
I stumbled upon your article when looking for ways to train our dog Charlie without treats. Love it!
Upon further consideration, some questions have come to mind which I hope you could help me with. Briefly about us: we adopted our 3-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Charlie from another family about 5 weeks ago. He’s smart (only responds to treat whilst training), mellow and responds well to our voices when outside. He also does not chase after birds, squirrels or similar when outside. Initially, he was scared of going outside (we guess it’s due to the drastic environmental change from a more quiet town to a big city). After leash training him to leave the flat/building/street where we live, he now happily obliges. But within the apartment, we still need to lure him to the door with treats.
Since leash training to go outside worked so well, we thought we could follow your approach and continue leash-training indoors. However:
– Use of pinch collar: we would not use a pinch collar on his rather small build. A possible substitute would be his normal collar or harness (we used the latter to lead-train him to leave home for a walk). Is that a suitable substitute in your opinion?
– Establishment of the alpha status: you said that following the 2 weeks of training, Sally followed you around all day and waits on your command. While this is something we would love (Charlie is very independent indoors: does not always come when called, only responds with treats), we would not want him to be that dependent on us as we will return back to work after the current lockdown. He’ll need to be able to stay alone for 2-3 hours per day. Would your described method work nevertheless? How do you deal with Sally when you leave home once the training period is over?
– Suitability: as opposed to the highly energetic Sally, Charlie’s temperament is rather mellow and soft. He also tends to be nervous when confronted with unknown sound or things. Initially, he would even shake when called to go outside. Do you think your leash training method is suitable for Charlie regardless?

Thank you so much for your advice!

Sharon Teves
May 6, 2020 1:09 pm

Mom’s chihuahua “Bindy” starts barking for attention every time she gets on the phone. She gives her a stick to chew on to quiet her down. Now she is gaining weight…from the treats. How do we stop this cycle?

Apiffany Gaither Billings
May 6, 2020 9:26 pm
Reply to  Sharon Teves

It sounds like Bindy has become conditioned to believe she will get a treat each time she barks. Changing treats to something healthier can help such as carrots or smaller treats. Also, ignoring her behavior or training her to not expect a treat when she barks.

Jesse
May 4, 2020 7:04 pm

Thank you for your post! Have a couple of follow-up questions… a week ago, we adopted a rescue 14lb Terrier mix. He seems to be mostly house trained, and a very sweet boy, but he jumps up on all the furniture and has attached himself to my fiancé. He’s sweet with both of us, but when she’s not around, he gets anxious and howls, whines for at least 30 minutes.

Come sleep time, we crated him for the first 2 out of 3 nights, but when we realized he was housetrained (except for a couple small accidents), we stopped… and he insists on sleep on the bed with us. Spceficially close to my fiancé. The last couple of nights, he growls at me when I am about to join the bed, protective of his space, and my fiancé. It’s frustrating!

He doesn’t seem motivated by treats. We have tried different types, and he eats some more ethan others, but isn’t heavily motivated… so we are looking to try your method.

Would love any thoughts on the above, but here are the specific questions:

1) What do you do when there are two people in the house, as far as keeping him on leash at all times? I would think that I should be the one to have his leash, to establish my alpha status. Is that correct? Can my fiancé share that duty, pass him between us throughout the day? With his attachment issues, I can see him being stressed and anxious if just with me, as my fiancé and I work in different rooms in the house.

2) What do you suggest we do at night? Shall we go back to crating him? His new bed came today, and we were planning on having it in our bedroom within eyesight. We could move the crate in there, for the two weeks at least, and use the bed as its base or (preferably) just use the bed… we welcome your thoughts!

Thank you again,

Jesse

Brittany
April 29, 2020 12:33 pm

Hi I have a 4 month golden that is not treat motivated at all. He learned sit very fast but has refused to learn anything else. I’m interested in this training method but my roommate also has a puppy and they want to play when he’s on the leash… should I allow that or should I keep them more separate?

Apiffany Gaither Billings
April 29, 2020 5:55 pm
Reply to  Brittany

Hey, Brittany. If you are training your dog, you should make sure he has as little distraction as possible at first. Then you can slowly allow distractions, such as your roommate’s puppy. It is okay that they play for stimulation and socialization. However, if he is unable to focus on your commands because he is focusing on the puppy instead of focusing on you.

Jaclyn
April 10, 2020 3:09 pm

Super helpful! My rescued 5-yr old female Jindo/Shephard mix definitely thinks she’s the alpha and only comes/responds to my commands when she wants (both indoors and outdoors). In fact, she comes up to me when she wants a treat and without thinking, I just give it to her – she’s training me! I would like to try this because I want to continue letting her off leash outdoors, but she hasn’t been responding to “come” on the first time (or, second or third..I know, no repeating). It doesn’t matter how “high value” my treat is, if there’s a squirrel in sight or something tempting on the ground., she’s going after it. So, a few questions if you’re able to share insights:
– During your two weeks of having the leash on – what did you do when you left the house? Shiloh is very she’s chill at home/doesn’t get into anything, so we let her have free range of the apartment except for the bathroom. She has a crate, which she loves, but the door is off. Is it okay to still let her have range in the home when we’re not there?
– Also, I know you mentioned only saying the “come” command once, which is fine when they are on-leash and if they don’t come when you call, I assume you can gently pull them towards you with the leash/harness. But, what if they’re off leash and they don’t listen to the first come? What do you do? I know not to chase and instead try to get their attention/run the other way to make them chase you, but if that doesn’t work? If we’re in a controlled space, should I just say it once and wait for her to come to me? Even if that takes 10 minutes? Or is that reinforcing bad behavior as well, since once she does finally come I praise her for doing so (since I’ve also read that you should always praise them for eventually coming). So, I’m a bit at a loss for how to handle this situation and want to make sure I’m reinforcing the right behaviors and keeping associations positive, etc.! Thanks for your help!

Linda
February 23, 2020 11:04 pm

Just the article I was looking for!
Our 6 mnth old Staffordshire/Pit mix has been quick to learn and has been great at obedience, but recently getting lackluster in a big way without the treats. We have a great relationship, but I know it would be even better without the treats between us 🙂
Now . . . no couch tonight. Hey … I can stretch out!

Red
December 30, 2019 10:40 am

Wow, what a great read! I just picked up our puppy and am eager to get to know him better. This was a great article to see where to begin and what to work on. I will focus on consistency and this, as he is eager but doesn’t respond to treats all that much. He is so calm most the time, it’s kind of unnerving, but I’ll take it while I can haha, or over a super high energy dog. Thank you for writing and sharing this, I’m glad I found it!

Kamya
December 5, 2019 12:38 am

Thank u so much.i loved the way u explained each and every thing in so detail

Julie S.
November 29, 2019 5:02 pm

Kimberly – I really appreciate your article & sharing. Myself & two children have a 1 year old chocolate lab who has done well with trainers. But we have difficulties ourselves at home getting the same response. I’ve been also told I need to get in his head. How do I do this??We kennel at night & when not home. We practice wait before going outside. He has been on leash since beginning training to go outside – except when I cheated a couple times & let him go hiking free & when he has broken free. He is strong!! Willing to try staying on leash full time for two weeks like you suggest. When you say stay on leash – do you mean the leash is attached to one of us or does he have it on in the house & drag it around? Thanks for your input!

Tyson Coolidge
November 14, 2019 3:45 pm

I like what you said about finding ways to connect with your dog other than food to train them effectively. My wife and I would like to get a new dog in the new future, and we want to make sure that it’s well behaved. We’ll be sure to look into our options for training it in the future.

Jenna Hunter
October 31, 2019 4:38 pm

I liked what you said about why pets shouldn’t be on the furniture. My cousin is thinking about getting a german shepherd. It could be really nice for him to get it trained by a professional.

John
October 9, 2019 12:00 am

Hi Sally. Great article. We just rescued a 2 1/2 year old female Beagle & Blue Tick Coonhound Mix. She has bounced around from Shelter to shelter so she is very “treat” oriented. I thought I had trained her to sit, but found out quickly she sat whenever she thought there was a treat to be had. Sometimes she would sit, sometimes not. I think there was NO association with the command “sit”. She is able to stay in her crate overnight for 7-8 hours and does not eliminate in her crate. But the last two days she has defecated and urinated in the house. I think we were not consistent enough so now we are taking her out to a specific spot in our yard and telling her to “go potty” for 5 minutes. If she goes, we praise her heavily and go right back in the house. If she does not go, she also goes back in the house. We are taking her out first thing in the morning, hen feed her, then take her out again, then take her out every hour. We have only tried this one day so we will hope this works. My question to you is to clarify what you mean by taking her everywhere on her leash for 2-weeks. Does this mean you keep her on leash 24/7? We have her So, it is hard to train her when she is so excited and can’t focus. Please advise as to what we should do first. Also, we use the martingale collar the shelter gave us, but it doesn’t seem to do much good. I think a choke collar would be better for her. I am thinking of training her with collar for a couple days to sit, down & stay and then start taking her everywhere with us. Does this make sense? Also, does taking her out to potty every hour make sense also?
Thank you for your consideration in answering my concerns. BTW, Sadie is about 35 lbs and is very strong, especially when she sees squirrels, rabbits, etc. I look forward to hearing your response. Please help us as we are struggling, and she is so loving and cute that we have to make this work.

Donna
September 26, 2019 7:36 pm

Thanks Sally. Food motivated works like a charm for my Golden puppy (3.5 months), not for me though. Seems I’ve always had food motivated breeds and the wheels fall off a various ages and situations. I’ll definitely put some of your suggestions to work asap. Appreciate you taking the time to post your thoughts and suggestions.

Sherelle,N
July 10, 2019 11:37 am

Hi Kimberly thank u for these training tips u didn’t have to share them wif any one but u did and to Ms Lisa S good for u for standing up for her gr8t job!! There is a lot of laziness out there when it comes to pets and kids and see people are just Buthurt cause they don’t have what it takes to get that most simple of tasks done and others are probably fake dog trainers that are jealous !! Do u Ladies and let Dem go get a life !! Know better do better !!

Lisa S.
July 1, 2019 12:19 am

Kimberly, Hello! I wanted to say it bothers me seeing negative comments regarding your dog training. I understand people have various opinions, but the experience I have had with dogs was very negative using food and treats. Each time, I had issues with begging, refusing to do anything unless a treat was given. Not coming unless a treat was involved, and it did absolutely nothing for getting a dog to focus; which is, in my opinion, the most important thing to teach a dog in order to teach other commands. My experience/thoughts on treat training is that it is comparable to teaching children by paying them to behave with candy/snacks/money, or do chores etc. or learn. This is from my thoughts and experiences. Now… I just wanted to say that I appreciate a different view. I appreciate the information you have shared.

B.B.
June 17, 2019 4:02 am

My dog is union, no pay no work. I noticed that at dog shows many of the handlers use treats. They are professionals aren’t they?

Dani pierce
April 20, 2019 11:35 pm

My pup is food oriented, and she sometimes talks back by pinching me,and grabs the treats she is 4 mos,also wants to chase one of my cats. She know down sit shake

Rachel J
April 17, 2019 11:08 am

Hi— you mention not to repeat command. But if the dog gets up from the sit stay or down stay how do you signal them back into the position without using command?

Robin
October 4, 2019 4:07 am
Reply to  Kimberly Alt

Kimberly,
You repeated a command in the video and you said to repeat a command in one of you responses butin the the above response you say not to repeat. I enjoyed your article and thought it was good but am confused about this one issue. If and when is it okay to repeat a command?

Nicholas
February 14, 2019 5:59 pm

What age was your dog when you began this? What is typical with puppies?

leah
January 24, 2019 11:09 am

I like training my dog with treats because she is not even a 1 year old dog

Marcela
January 15, 2019 9:34 am

I was hoping you could go a little more in depth on having Sally on a leash everywhere you went? What is the progressesion after the two weeks?

Lisa S.
July 27, 2019 9:09 pm
Reply to  Kimberly Alt

Kim, I tried this with my dog,but she keeps chewing the leash! Any ideas?

Diana
January 15, 2019 12:31 am

Great article, Kimberly. Thanks so much. I’ve been looking for info on no food training. I’ve had 5 dogs over the past 20 years, all rescues, all adults. The only one who has been food motivated is the one we got as a young puppy. I started training her right away w/ treats, which worked great for a couple months but I’ve noticed her responsiveness is decreasing as I decrease the use of treats w/ training (and we do a ton of training- adv obedience, tricks, agility and find it) so I’ve been looking for guidance on how to make the transition go more smoothly. Thanks again. Great info! Sally looks like a happy well loved dog.

Kate Welling
December 17, 2018 9:21 pm

You mentioned that during the 30 minutes, you can hold the leash in your hand so you can always see them and correct them. I am a way to busy to train my dog, so I think that finding a company to help train my puppy, Maxwell, would be perfect! I would love a trained dog.

Steve H.
November 24, 2018 11:49 pm

Hi Kimberly,

I’m hoping you can give me some tips on how to get my dog to pay attention long enough to teach her more commands than “sit” without treats. Emily is a 4 month old golden retriever who I feel is too smart and stubborn for her own good…or mine. She learned to sit in four attempts, but that was with treats and she won’t pay attention without them. Even with them, I can’t get past that stage because she is so anxious to get another treat that she jumps on me if she as to remain seated for too long. If she isn’t treated for the sit, she can’t pay attention long enough to hear the next command. Then she adds biting to the jumping. She would rather fight me than listen or pay attention. If I get loud or try to demand compliance she ignores me and, if unleashed, she walks away pretending not to hear me. It drives me crazy listening to or reading so many trainers telling me to turn around and ignore her if she wont stop biting, as if she isn’t then biting me on the ass and ankles and tearing my shirt.

I don’t want her pretending to like me for food. As it is, she only shows affection through snuggling or licking to get close to items she isn’t allowed to have that are placed behind me so she can’t get them. When she is close enough, she disregards me and grabs the item and tries to run with it. Occasionally, “leave it” works when she gets her teeth on something she shouldn’t, but most of the time I have to take it away and she she immediately begins to try to get it back with force or sneaky behavior.

My only success has been through isolation. Immediately upon biting, I put her in her crate, which has a doggy door to escape to the outside, for 5 to ten minutes and sometimes longer. It took over a week for her to be lonely enough to not immediately bite me upon release. We had two great days where she was so good, I took her to a friends for dinner without incident. I got rid of the crate because I do not want that thing looming in the background so she’d only be obeying to avoid jail. I woke up one morning and she was sleeping by me with her head on my shoulder. It was wonderful. Then, today, she relapsed and is sitting in her cell or outside again. I hate it. I’m missing her puppy months and I feel like she thinks I don’t want her around. So much wasted time. This breed is supposed to consist of people pleasers. My last dog was a golden and was an angel. Please help before my feelings for her mirror hers for me.

Steve H.

Taylor Anderson
October 11, 2018 10:58 am

My brother is thinking of adopting a dog, but he’s been wondering how to train them without treats. It was helpful when you said that giving a tight tug to the collar can help dogs learn to leave things alone. These tips could really help my brother out, so thank you for sharing this!