What exactly is “food drive”? It’s a fuzzy term for sure, but what do we mean when we talk about a dog’s food drive? Is it a fixed characteristic, or is there something we can do to influence it? (IMHO, there is a lot we can do!)
Why do we care so much about food in dog training? Well, mostly because it’s convenient! It’s easy to dispense. We can carry it around in our collective pockets. And all healthy dogs eat food! (Because living animals eat food or they don’t stay living for very long.) But we also know that some dogs eat more food than others, and there are certain circumstances under which the same dog may eat more or less food. For training purposes, we can arrange those circumstances in our favor… get more bang for our buck/hot dog.
But there are also ethical concerns. What are some things we should keep in mind when it comes to optimizing our dogs’ interest in food without crossing a line into deprivation? There is a lot we can do to make food more valuable as training resource without restricting the dog’s caloric intake to the point of starvation.