Training your dog to eat could be one of the most important aspects of overall obedience. Your dog has to understand that you are the provider of all they can eat or drink and also that begging is not allowed during family meals. There are various techniques to adopt in your training but we are going to focus on the most effective plan to ensure that your dog realizes your role in food distribution.
Relevance of Food in Dog Training
Food is the topmost priority when it comes to dogs and they can become pretty restless if they are left short or without. There are certain tricks to use to make sure your dog understands that you are the breadwinner and the one to provide the food, including the choice of food and the time of day to leave it.
One of the key points in controlling your dog’s eating habits is to show it the food, allow it to smell and possibly taste it and then remove it after a few seconds. You will likely be greeted with cries or even growls but the important role to establish at this time is that you are in charge. Your only response to their reaction would be to utter a simple one-worded command, such as “Stay”, “Stop” or “Sit”. This should establish your clear role as the master/mistress and once your dog displays normal behavior and has accepted its food being taken, then you can respond by saying something like “good boy” or “good girl”. However should the dog continue to show signs of restlessness or irritation then the food should be kept away until it accepts the gesture.
Possessive Nature with Food
Dogs have an instinct to fiercely protect their food, from strangers or owners alike, especially if they were brought up in a litter. They would have had to compete with their siblings for any scraps they could get their teeth on. This is where their aggression would have started and will likely continue to be an issue until it has been resolved through proper training. The biggest mistake of dog owners would be to allow their dog to become too possessive with their food.
The placing and removing of food should be instilled gradually. At first you should try this technique every day with every meal for a few days and then progress to once or twice a week for a few weeks. This should give your dog time to adapt and should eliminate the impatience and tantrums.
Another tip would be to allow your dog to eat from your hand for the first few days. Again this will associate the dog’s food with your hand and should help to curb growling and guarding the food. When you put the food in a bowl, the dog has full access and can decide on the type of action to take. It is only once it has learned to accept the rations and understand that it can be taken away at any time by their owner that you can start to allow greater freedom.
Accessories During Eating
It is also not a good idea to give a bone or toy to your dog until they have learned not to be possessive and keep things for themselves. By doing this you will be telling your dog that it is ok to guard and protect their food in the same way as they would do with the bone or toy. It is fine to slowly introduce these accessories once you are fully in control but allow some time for this to fall into place.