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Puppy Doesn’t Like Treats: 4 Reasons Why & What To Do!

Many of us assume that all puppies enjoy treats. We typically know dogs to be food driven, so it can be alarming if you have a puppy not interested in the snacks you offer.

You may wonder if this is normal for some puppies and how this will impact your training plans in the future. 

Just like humans, some puppies are a bit pickier than others. Let’s dive into why your puppy may not want treats and how you can encourage them to eat more snacks moving forward! 

Not All Treats Are Equal For Some Puppies

We don’t like every food item that is placed in front of us, and our puppies are no different.

Some treats simply are not appetizing to some canine friends, and they shouldn’t be expected to eat every food we offer them.

While some puppies may scarf up every food item they cross paths with, other puppies are simply picky with their food choices.

Ultimately, as long as your puppy eats their main meals each day, this is nothing to be overly concerned with. 

puppy doesn't like treats

Should I Be Worried About My Puppy That Doesn’t Like Treats?

As we mentioned above, there is no major need to worry about your puppy that doesn’t like treats.

  • As long as they are getting adequate nutrition from quality dog food each day, they are not missing out on any essential nutrients.

However, many do worry that it will be challenging to train a puppy that does not enjoy treats.

Most training is treat-based due to how food-driven dogs are, so many wonder how they will encourage their pup to pick up on basic obedience.

We will discuss this topic in depth below, and make sure you have all the tools needed to help your picky pup succeed. 

Psst. A quick update on puppy training! Brain Training For Dogs is so far one of the best training regimes we’ve seen for puppies. It works with any breed and improves obedience and behavior quicker than we thought possible. It’s a must for any new puppy owner. Okay, back to the article!

Why Doesn’t My Puppy Like Treats?

Now that you know you shouldn’t be worried about your puppy that doesn’t like treats, let’s discuss some of the reasons why puppies shy away from snacks!

  • They are picky
  • They just aren’t the snacking type
  • They are nervous or stressed
  • They are too full throughout the day

1. They Are Picky

Have you ever met someone that is extremely picky when it comes to their food choices?

Well, this can be the case for some growing canine friends as well.

Some puppies will not enjoy every food we place in front of them, but we can also experiment in an attempt to find an option they will enjoy. 

2. They Just Aren’t The Snacking Type

Some puppies and adult dogs are just not very interested in snacking between meal times.

This is actually quite common in dogs that are known to “work”, as their mind is occupied by other things they consider more important.

This can include breeds that are known to hunt pests, herd, and even guard their families.

If it seems like your puppy is always focused on their job throughout the day, they may just be too busy to snack. 

3. They Are Nervous Or Stressed

If your puppy is nervous or stressed for any reason, this can easily impact their snacking interests.

This is quite common in puppies that have just been adopted, as they are not yet comfortable enough in their space to relax.

If your puppy’s disinterest in snacking is related to stress or anxiety of any kind, they will typically dive into their treats once the stressor has resolved. 

4. They Are Too Full Throughout The Day

If your puppy is getting full from their morning and evening meals, they may not be interested in snacks throughout the day.

This may be perfectly normal for some puppies, but we do suggest reaching out to your vet for approval on your feeding amounts if you think this could be the case.

Sometimes we feed our pups way more than they require, so it’s always best to have their feeding amounts approved by your veterinary team. 

My Puppy Suddenly Won’t Eat Treats. What Could Be Wrong?

Though we’ve discussed how it can be normal for some puppies to never enjoy treats, it is more concerning when a puppy that always eats treats suddenly turns them away.

A puppy that likes their treats should typically jump at the chance for a serving, so suddenly turning their nose up to snacks can point to an underlying health complication. 

If this is the case for your puppy, we suggest keeping a close eye on their habits with their standard meals.

If they are eating their standard diet without issue, they may just have formed a dislike for the treat you are offering.

However, if they are also shying away from their standard diet, we suggest having them seen by your vet as soon as possible.

This is especially true if they are experiencing any other signs of an upset stomach, such as vomiting or diarrhea.

How Can I Get My Puppy To Eat Treats?

Now that you are aware of the potential reasons why your puppy is not interested in treats let’s list a few ways in which you can encourage them to enjoy snacks from time to time.

While not all puppies will enjoy dog treats, there may be other safe options that peak their interest. 

Our all-time favorite (healthy) treats for puppies and adults: Zukes Mini Naturals

  • Offer them a variety of treats, as one may peak their interest at some point. This variety of snacks can include dog biscuits, dog jerky, chewy treats, bones, and any other option you find. 
  • Make treats more interesting by putting them in an interactive dog toy. This can include kong toys, treat puzzles, and even sniffing mats. 
  • If your puppy is not interested in dog treats, try offering them a variety of safe human foods. Some of the best human food snacks for dogs include blueberries, bananas, green beans, watermelon, boiled chicken, boiled turkey, carrots, and cucumbers. Just be sure that these snacks are free of any seasonings or other harmful toppings. 
  • If all else fails, you can always give them extra pieces of their kibble throughout the day. If they enjoy their standard diet, then this will still serve as a tasty treat. 

How Do You Train A Puppy That Doesn’t Like Treats?

Most dog training is based on food motivation since many dogs are food driven.

If you have a puppy that is not as interested in treats, this can make training more challenging to maneuver. 

To make sure your puppy still masters obedience training, let’s list a few training tips for puppies that don’t like treats below. 

  • Try to understand what motivates your puppy, as this can help you in your training process. By finding out what they enjoy most, you can use this as a reward in your positive reinforcement training. This could be their favorite game, belly rubs, their favorite toy, and anything else your pup is motivated by.
  • If they enjoy the kibble they eat each day, then you can always offer a few kibbles as treat rewards.
  • If you could determine a safe human food your dog enjoys, then you can always offer this as a training reward!
  • Make sure you are not free feeding, as this may impact your dog’s appetite throughout the day. It’s best to have a set feeding schedule for many reasons, and keeping them excited for training is one of them.

Final Thoughts

Just like you and I, our beloved pups will not enjoy every food item we offer them.

We suggest offering a variety of snack options to see if any spark your pup’s interest, but as long as they are eating their standard food, this is nothing to worry about!

Additional resources:

Dogster – Training dogs that aren’t food driven


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.