I had the same problem with Brutus. I put hot dogs in there, but he couldn't get it to pay off fast enough and he gave up. I fixed it by pulling the rope out (which you can do if you open up the end that screws on). I put the food in there then. Every time the dog moved the thing, it paid off in the food department. I did this for a day or two and then put the rope back in. Worked perfectly.