Why Do Rescue Dogs Not Like Treats? [6 Reasons + Do This]

When you bring a newly rescued dog home, it’s natural to want to celebrate their arrival with treats. However, you may be surprised to find that your furry friend is uninterested in these goodies. In this discussion, we’ll explore why rescue dogs may not prefer treats and what you can do to help them.

There are several reasons why a rescue dog may not be interested in treats, including stress, illness, associating treats with negative experiences, unfamiliar surroundings or people, or treats aren’t as appealing to them. However, introducing new treats and giving your dog time and patience can help reduce these complications.

Since treats are an essential part of training for many dogs, it’s important to find ways to make your furry friend interested in them. In our upcoming discussion, we’ll explore the reasons why rescue dogs may not prefer treats and provide you with tips for introducing new treats and making training more effective. Don’t miss out on this informative conversation that can help you better understand your dog’s unique needs and preferences.

Why do some rescue dogs don’t prefer treats?

A rescue dog might be hiding many things about their behaviors and preferences. So it is very important to find their preferences regarding treats as you, the owner, have to use treats in their training.

Doggy friends often learn from actions; in that procedure, treats go hand-in-hand while reflecting a positive outcome.

So, training a rescue dog might be a little hard, and treating it is easier. But, first, you should discover why they do not prefer treats.

Well, let’s find out why some of the rescue dogs do not prefer treats.

1. New surroundings.

You should never forget that your home or apartment is entirely new for your rescue dog.

Dogs do not prefer to have treats when the place is alien. Your rescue doggy might feel embarrassed or a bit nervous in your place, and he might need some time to settle.

Give him his time!

2. Strangers!

Maybe you have brought home a grown rescue doggy, or perhaps he is still a puppy. If he were a puppy, the job would not be so hard.

But if he is a grown-up, he will quickly notice that there are so many strangers around.

In such situations, they do not prefer to have treats until they get used to the whole bunch of new people.

3. Stress.

A rescue dog can get easily stressed out due to the two factors mentioned above: strangers and the new place.

This stress might wait for some time, and things will become okay. But, in such a condition, if you give them a treat, they will not have it for sure.

He might tend to sleep in the corner of your house or sometimes might stay in hiding until he feels the place is safe. So, it is better to just let him stay and try giving him treats after he gets settled.

Suggested Reading: Read this if your rescued dog seems depressed.

4. Not appealing.

If your rescue doggy is okay with your place and family members, do not think there is no reason for him not to have treats.

Are we supposed to eat something which is not appealing to us? Then should dogs have treats that are not appealing to them?

Simply because the treats are not appealing can be the only reason for him not to prefer treats.

Until you find everything, especially their treat preferences, you better try a range of treats.

5. An ill condition.

Sometimes some rescue dogs do not prefer treats due to an ill condition. It can be just a bad tummy or something more severe than that.

So an illness can be a reason for a rescue dog to avoid treats. You better consult the vet in such situations.

6. Born that way.

Some rescue dogs might not have any treats because they are just born that way.

No matter how firm you try to make them contented with treats, they might not find any interest in having treats.

Finding other ways to train and appreciate them in such situations is better.

Therefore, understanding your doggy’s situation is key, and you can go for the solutions. No worries, there are tips and tricks if your rescue dog doesn’t like treats.

Suggested Reading: Why do some rescue dogs don’t leave the crate?

What can you do if your rescue dog doesn’t like treats?

Now you have come to the most important part of the issue. After identifying the exact reason for your doggy to reject treats, you should focus on the solutions.

Well, there are some methods which you can try and see when your dog doesn’t like treats. But, it is essential to remember not to force them at any moment.

So, we’ll look at what you can do if your rescue dog doesn’t like treats.

1. Go for new treats.

As you know, there is a diversity of dog treats with various flavors, textures, and sizes.

If your pooch is not interested in having the treats you give him, just try changing the type. A rescue dog can be very picky; until you get to know them better, try a variety of treats.

You can find,

  • Jerky treats
  • Biscuit treats
  • Freeze and dried treats
  • Soft baked treats in the market.
  • You can try some fruits and vegetables and carrots; bananas and berries are favorites of some doggies.

2. Give them time.

When your newly rescued doggy friend is home, it might be a completely alien place for him. So, you should let him be and give his time until he gets comfortable.

Do not rush to give him treats or any meal. First, let him inspect the place and ensure safety. When he is okay with your place, slowly start with some jerky treats, which will positively affect you.

3. Use appealing treats.

Always make sure the treats are appealing and feel like gobbling at first sight.

Dogs are interested in smelly treats; if the texture is appealing, you do not have to worry further. They will start searching for treats all the time.

4. Treat ill conditions.

If your rescue dog does not have treats because of an ill condition, attend to them with care and take him to the vet.

After treating their ill condition, they will slowly start having treats.

If it does not work with any of the above methods, then do not force him with treats as it might be the way with him. Some doggy fellows do not prefer treats and find joy in something else.

So, let them be and think of other ways to train them without treats. 

How to train your rescue dog who isn’t interested in his treats?

Yes, bonding with rescued dogs is easier with treats. But, what can you do if he is not interested in treats? How are you going to train him? These might be the real questions going through your mind.

A dog’s training is necessary if you want to balance your life and doggy’s. The easiest way is to use dog training treats to get them on the right behavioral track.

Anyway, if your rescue dog is not interested in treats, you cannot use treats in training them, no matter how smelly or tasty they are.

We’ll look into other methods to train your rescue dog without using treats.

1. Use toys.

You can go for the toys if your rescue dog is not interested in treats during their training sessions. Make sure they like them first.

Choose one of the favorite toys of your doggy and let them know that the toy will be theirs if they do the things you ask them to do. 

Use various toys and make them more interested in chewing or playing with them.

2. Use verbal appreciation.

When they perform very well in their training, do appreciate them with phrases such as ‘Good job, man!’, ‘well done,’ ‘you did well’ etc.

Verbal appreciations motivate your doggy to engage more in training with colors. Tell them you are proud of them if they are doing well in training.

3. Take to a favorite place.

When he did well in training, take him to his favorite place and let them play freely.

Spend some happy time together and let him know that it is because he did well during the training. 

These might depend on the age and the breed of your rescue dog. Before doing all these, you might have to set his mind or mentality and become friendly with him.

Do not ever rush into things, and let him first be comfortable and okay with you and your family. As he is a rescued dog, there might be some doomed memories in his mind.

Things to be aware of.

Be considerate about the protein levels of treats when selecting.

Pay close attention to the dog after giving treats, as they might be prone to allergies.

Be careful when selecting toys and make sure they are not harmful.

Communicate with them always, and do not ever let them stay alone.

Be patient in training them without treats as things are not accessible.

Be with your little pooch and be kind and loving.


A rescue dog that doesn’t prefer treats is a normal condition; all you need is to identify their matter and attend carefully. Suppose you have a complete idea about the issue and know what to do.

Do everything you can with love and care, and do not force your doggy to have treats at any time. Gradually move on with the procedure; trust me, you will have good results.

Cheers until next time!

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