- My dog isn't interested in or won't go near the food during training
During Halo training, you will be asked to present your dog with intriguing smells to activate their nose. The nose controls 60% of the brain, so this training method will improve your dog's ability to learn effectively. Many dogs will immediately be intrigued as soon as they smell any food; others may require a bit of creativity to get them engaged. If you find that the smell of the high-value food item* you selected is not effective, try any or all of the following options:
- Try heating up the food, or presenting a wet food (rather than dry kibble). Both hot and/or wet foods will increase the strength of the scent. For example, hot bacon presents a more stimulating scent than cold bacon.
- Try presenting a different food that your dog isn’t used to. For example, if your dog has never smelled barbecue food before, this will be a "new" smell that will prompt them to investigate and learn. Or, try adding unique condiments to change the scent of a common food (like chicken), or provide a smell your dog has never encountered before (like a certain type of cuisine).
- If switching up your food isn't working, try an even more unfamiliar (and strong) scent, like cod oil or quail oil.
- Try experimenting with different containers and environments. For example, you can try putting the food in a small trash can instead of Tupperware, if your dog is trained not to eat human food. Get creative! You can use a variety of household containers, including:
- food storage containers with the lid partially open, or held down with a rubber band
- a trash can or bucket that's around head-or-neck-high for your dog (so he or she has to peer in without easily retrieving the food)
- new or used takeout containers
- a bowl covered in hole-filled plastic wrap
- If your dog has learned not to "beg" for food in the kitchen, you may want to consider setting up your training environment in the living room.
These variations should help to engage your dog's sense of smell and curiosity, ultimately leading to a more effective training process.
*A high-value food item is typically a strong-smelling food, like bacon, steak, or chicken that your dog typically responds to with curiosity or interest. It could also be an unusual smell which your dog has never encountered, or encounters rarely.