Why Won’t My Dog Take Treats From My Hand? 10 Possible Reasons

Why Won’t My Dog Take Treats From My Hand

There could be several explanations as to why your dog isn’t taking treats from your hand. His mouth could be sore, he could be hand shy, or he could be suffering from stress or fear.

Let’s look at ten possible reasons why he might not be accepting your offerings and how you can fix the problem with your dog if you want to keep working on their training.

Why Won’t My Dog Take Treats From My Hand? 10 Possible Reasons

1. Your Puppy Is Injured

If your puppy is yelping or trying to get away when you try to touch his mouth, he may be injured. Check his gums and teeth to see if they’re bleeding or look sore. If so, take him to the vet right away. Puppies can also be injured by chewing on something hard or swallowing a sharp object, so keep an eye out for any other signs of pain.

2. Your Puppy is Hand Shy

If your puppy is hand shy, it means he’s afraid of hands. This is usually the result of being mishandled or hit in the past. As a result, your puppy may be scared of all hands, or just yours. To get your puppy to overcome his fear of hands, you’ll need to be patient and do some training. Here are a few tips:

  • Start by offering your puppy treats from a bowl instead of your hand.
  • If he takes the treat, praise him and give him another one.
  • Slowly start moving your hand closer to the bowl while he’s eating.
  • Once your hand is close to the bowl, put your hand in it and let him sniff it.

3. Treats are Too Big

If the treats you’re offering are too big, your dog may be hesitant to take them from your hand. He may be afraid he won’t be able to fit the entire treat in his mouth, or he may think you’re trying to trick him by giving him something that’s too big to eat. To fix this, simply break the treat into smaller pieces before offering it to your dog.

4. You’re Not Showing Him How To Get The Treat

One reason your dog might not be taking treats from your hand is because you’re not showing him how to get the treat. When you offer a treat to your dog, make sure you hold it in such a way that he can see it and reach it easily.

Some dogs are hesitant to take food from people’s hands because they’re not sure what to do. If you show your dog how to take the treat, he’ll be more likely to do so.

5. The Way You’re Holding the Treat Is Scaring Him

Why Won't My Dog Take Treats From My Hand
Why Won’t My Dog Take Treats From My Hand

If you’re holding the treat in your hand and your dog won’t take it, he may be scared of your hand. This is especially true if you’ve just started offering treats by hand.

He may be afraid that you’re going to hit him or hurt him in some way. The best way to get your dog to take a treat from your hand is to hold it in an open palm so he can see it and sniff it before he takes it.

6. He’s A Fearful Dog

If your dog is afraid of taking treats from your hand, it could be because he’s had a bad experience in the past. Maybe he was smacked on the nose for taking food off the counter, or he was scolded for begging at the table.

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Whatever the case may be, your dog is now associating negative experiences with taking food from humans. As a result, he’s become fearful and is no longer comfortable taking treats from your hand.

7. He’s Suffering From Separation Anxiety

One possible reason your dog won’t take treats from your hand is that he’s suffering from separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is a common problem among dogs, and it can manifest in a number of ways. For some dogs, refusal to take treats from their owner’s hand is just one symptom of this condition.

Other symptoms may include pacing, whining, panting, and chewing on objects. If you think your dog may be suffering from separation anxiety, it’s important to talk to your veterinarian or a qualified animal behaviorist. They can help you develop a treatment plan that will ease your dog’s anxiety and help him learn to cope with being away from you.

8. Your Puppy is Stressed Out

When puppies are first born, they spend a lot of time with their mother and littermates. They learn important social skills during this time, including how to interact with other dogs and humans. But sometimes, puppies are taken from their mothers too early and don’t have a chance to learn these skills.

As a result, they can be stressed out when meeting new people or dogs. This stress can manifest itself in many ways, including refusing to take treats from strangers’ hands. If you think your puppy is stressed, try giving him some space and letting him approach you on his own terms. You can also try Puppy probiotics which help reduce stress and promote healthy digestion.

9. He Has Another Health Problem That Impacts Digestion

If your dog has another health problem that impacts his digestion, he may not be able to take treats from your hand. For example, if he has pancreatitis, he may not be able to digest fat.

This means that even the most delicious treat may make him feel sick. If you’re concerned that your dog’s refusal to take treats from your hand is due to a health problem, please consult your veterinarian.

10. He’s Deaf Or Hard of Hearing

If your dog is deaf or hard of hearing, he may not be able to hear you offering him a treat. Dogs with hearing impairments can still enjoy treats, but you’ll need to find a different way to offer them. For example, you could place the treat on the ground in front of him so he can see it, or hold it up to his nose so he can smell it.

Should I Feed A Dog Treats from Your Hand?

Should I Feed A Dog Treats from Your Hand
Should I Feed A Dog Treats from Your Hand

One common question dog owners have is whether or not they should feed their dogs treats from their hand. While there are pros and cons to this, ultimately it’s up to the owner to decide what’s best for their dog. Here are some things to consider when deciding if you should feed your dog treats from your hand:

  1. What size of treat are you giving your dog? Is he choking on small pieces of food? If so, feeding him larger pieces may be safer than feeding him small pieces that could get stuck in his throat.
  2. Does your dog seem like he enjoys being fed treats from your hand or does he refuse them by turning away or walking away as soon as you show them to him? If he doesn’t enjoy it then you may want to refrain from doing it in order to keep his stress levels down. It can also make sense to stop feeding treats from your hand if he has an allergy or is suffering from any other medical condition that requires a specific diet. Some conditions may also require certain types of exercise which will provide more incentive for your dog to take the treat willingly rather than feeling threatened by you offering it at close range.
  3. What type of treat are you using? There are many different flavors and textures of treats that many dogs would enjoy more than others. Think about the reasons why your dog may not be taking treats from your hand before deciding on a new flavor or texture.
  4. Does your dog live with another animal who acts aggressively towards him? In this case, it might be better to avoid feeding anything to him since he won’t feel safe around anyone while dealing with these behavioral issues.
  5. Are you trying to train your dog in order to teach new tricks such as fetching objects? You might need to use rewards other than tasty food in order for these tasks to succeed since getting rewarded with good tasting food each time they complete a task might become boring quickly.
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Pros and Cons of Feeding A Dog Treats from Your Hand?

There are a few pros and cons to think about when deciding whether or not to feed your dog treats from your hand.


  1. It will be easier for you to monitor how much food your dog is eating, which can be beneficial for their weight control.
  2. Your dog will see you as the provider of their food and feel more secure in the bond with you.
  3. It’s a good way to make sure that they are being fed an appropriate amount of calories, which can help with weight control if necessary.
  4. If you have an older dog, it may be easier for them to chew on treats coming from your hand than regular kibble, as they might have difficulty chewing on larger pieces of food these days (6).
  5. Many dogs love the feeling of their owner feeding them and want more attention during meal time!


  1. You could overfeed your dog by giving them too many treats.
  2. You could accidentally give your dog too many junk calories by giving them unhealthy snacks like cookies, chips, and ice cream.
  3. Feeding your dog from your hand can encourage bad behavior like begging for food at the table or jumping up onto counters looking for any kind of human food within reach (7).
  4. You may risk spreading bacteria or germs between yourself and your pet by handling both human and animal foods without washing up first.

How Do I Get My Dog to Eat from My Hand?

There are a few things you can do to get your dog to take treats from your hand:

  1. Start by offering him the treat while he’s in his crate or behind a baby gate, so he doesn’t feel like he has to take it from your hand.
  2. Once he’s comfortable taking the treat from that position, move a little closer each time you offer it to him until you’re able to hand it to him directly.
  3. If he still won’t take it from your hand, try offering it to him on a spoon or piece of bread so he gets used to the idea of taking food from your hand.
  4. You may also want to change up the type of treat you offer him and see if that encourages him to accept something new from your hand.
  5. Another option is teaching him to shake for a reward before feeding him. Most dogs love this game and will be more willing to take food out of your hand if they know they’ll be getting another game as well!
  6. Be patient and consistent with these techniques and soon enough, he’ll be eating right out of your palm!
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If your dog is normally a treat-loving pooch but has suddenly stopped taking them from your hand, there could be several explanations. Perhaps his mouth is sore, he’s become hand shy, or he’s feeling stressed or fearful. If the behavior persists, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian or certified animal behaviorist to rule out any underlying health issues and help you identify the root of the problem. With a little patience and training, you should be able to get your furry friend back to his old treat-taking self in no time!

FAQs On Why Won’t My Dog Take Treats From My Hand

1.Should a dog eat from your hand?

Ultimately, the choice is yours! If you decide to incorporate hand feeding, be sure to do it consistently and focus on creating a positive and rewarding experience for your furry friend.

2. Do dogs like to be touched when eating?

Most dogs likely don’t prefer being touched while eating. They see mealtime as a focused activity, similar to how we might view a work meeting.

3. Should I ignore my dog when eating?

Ignoring your dog can be a useful tool for curbing attention-seeking behavior during mealtimes. However, consider your dog’s personality, potential anxieties, and any recent changes in their eating habits. If you’re unsure, consult a professional dog trainer for personalized advice.

4. Can I punish my dog by not giving food?

No, withholding food is not an effective way to punish your dog.

5. What does it mean when your dog chews on your hand?

your dog chewing on your hand depends on their age and how they’re acting.

  • Puppies often chew on hands during play or teething.
  • Adult dogs might do it for attention, over-excitement, or redirected frustration.

Watch their body language (relaxed vs stiff) and bite strength (gentle vs hard) to understand their mood.

Redirect them with a chew toy and stop playing if it gets too much!

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