HOW YOU SHOULD FEED YOUR DOG
One of the first things I ask new clients is how often they feed their dogs. Many people do not understand how you should feed your dog. Most people feed their dog twice a day and the dog gobbles it up. But some people “free feed” their dogs, and this isn’t a good idea.
It’s best to give your dog his food (after he sits for it!) and then, if he walks away, pick it up and try again later.
– Just as you wouldn’t cook a meal for your child and then say “oh you don’t have to eat it now – go out and play and come back and eat whenever you want”, you need to give your dog similar guidelines.
– Dogs are not “grazers”. Dogs’ ancestors hunted all day for food, then still had to catch, kill, and defend it. And that was their only meal until they hunted again. That’s lots of work!! Why just throw a bowl in front of your dog and expect him to be excited and feel challenged?
(See video below on how to teach your dog a sit/stay for food).
– If your dog has 24 X 7 access to food, he’s going to be less motivated to work for food. If your kid has access to all the ice cream he can eat, it’s no longer a useful motivational tool.
– It’s easier to monitor food intake (to determine if your dog is ill – see blog below) and bathroom break needs if your dog is on a schedule.
So, offer your dog his food and pick it up after a few minutes if he doesn’t eat it. He will soon learn to value the food and eat it when it is offered.
Worried that your dog is sometimes a “picky eater” (and that’s why you leave food out)?
That’s one of the reasons we shouldn’t free feed. You can’t tell when he’s just being picky, or if he is sick!
See our blog post: Is your dog a picky eater, or is he not feeling well? https://poochcoach.com/picky-eater-sick-dog/
Video teaching stay
Here’s a short video that demonstrates how to teach your dog to sit & stay for their food. This will further incent them to want to eat, since they worked for it!