Feeding Your Dog Dos and Don’ts

Dog Food

Almost everything dogs do is related to food. Offer the dog a treat when s/he performs well and you’ve taught the dog that the behavior results in a favorite food.

Dogs instinctively eat all of their food.

Dogs usually will not share their food even with their best doggy pals. But dogs that are overly protective and won’t allow their human to touch the food bowl when eating need to be trained to prevent any aggression. Each time your dog has finished eating, pick up the bowl in front of him/her. Place a special treat in the bowl and set it down. Do this a few times. After your dog is used to having you touch his/her bowl, pick it up while the dog is eating, add that special treat and set it down again. Do this several times during feeding. Your dog will quickly learn to associate treats with your handling his bowl.

Have regular feeding schedules and stick to them. Soon enough your dog will remind you it’s time to eat. I like splitting the meals, half at about 7 a.m. and the rest, about 5 p.m. Keep a check on your dog’s weight and the amount you are feeding.

Leaving food available all day is not a good idea. Your dog may lose interest in food bits during training or may decide s/he doesn’t like what you’re offering any longer. One of the biggest problems with leaving food out all day is weight gain. Obesity leads to many medical problems. Allow your dog the pleasure of anticipating the meal, you’ll be doing him/her a favor.

Eating is a pleasurable experience. Your dog shouldn’t have other distractions during a meal. If you have a multiple dog household, designate separate eating areas for each dog even if it means feeding in separate rooms. Even the best of friends will fight over food and separate feeding is a deterrent to any aggressive behavior.

Making feeding time enjoyable in a calm atmosphere helps your dog (and you) to be happy and healthy. And has the added advantage of discouraging unwanted behavior.

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