is the Perfect Time -- for Dog Training, That Is
Eating is one of the most primal activities for dogs. They love it, and
they have respect for whoever gives them food (the leader in the pack).
You can use your "power" of being pack leader to enhance your dog
training efforts -- every day.
following suggestions will help you establish your role as pack leader
and reinforce dog obedience, deferment to your leadership, dog training
techniques, and overall attitude and disposition (yours and your
A good habit to have in feeding your dog is consistency. Dogs love
routine and food is a very important subject to them.
example, feed your dog at approximately the same time(s) each day (some
modification is fine for weekly schedule changes.) If feeding two times
a day, pick two windows of time that you can be consistent with, for
example, between 7:00 and 8:00 am and then again between 5:00 and 6:00
a window of time helps prevent anxiety in a dog expecting to be fed at
a specific time each day (5:15 pm -- yes, dogs can zero in on a
specific time of day like 5:15).
is a very real concern for dogs and some dogs can fall apart
emotionally and physically if they are expecting food at that time and
dont get it. Ever hear of the dog that is panting and spastic and
throwing up or having diarrhea? This dog is anxious. Setting a window
of time and sticking to it will help your dog remain calm. Practice the
same routine every day.
2. NO RUNNING BUFFET
A big mistake is to offer up the running buffet, where food is
available around the clock. This is actually a pretty common feeding
program in many homes because its simple for the humans -- add food as
why not do this? Because it leads to an obese, lazy dog who doesnt
listen to your commands, respect your leadership position or adhere to
rules youve set forth in your dog training.
3. MEALTIME IS DOG TRAINING TIME
Wonderful things happen at mealtime -- for you and Fido. You get the
opportunity to have your dog perform (reinforcing all that dog training
youve done) for his meal. This could be sit, down, come,
what, you say? Well, this is the easiest way you have of getting your
dogs affirmation of you being the leader and reinforcing dog training.
If you arent the leader, guess who is. It will be the demanding,
obnoxious dog bossing you around for a meal.
exactly does it look like? Hold the food bowl in your hand. Your dog
may be spastic, jumping, yipping, and pawing at you for the food. This
is another dog training opportunity for you -- teaching him to be
calmer at mealtimes.
your command once and wait (good to start with a sit, which is usually
the easiest). Your dog sits and the bowl of food goes to the floor with
praise for a good sit and a release "OK" that they can move to get the
your dog complies with your command, he has just deferred to your
leadership in the pack. (When beginning this program, you may need to
help your dog with completing his command and praise warmly and then
your dog has the program down, you can introduce other feeders such as
spouse, responsible children, etc to gently let your four-footed family
member know her position in the pack.
By changing your dogs feeding routine, you change so much more. You get
to reinforce all the dog training and dog obedience youve worked so
hard on -- and it feels effortless. You get increased respect from your
dog for providing the important commodity of food and for being a
consistent provider. The more you establish yourself as leader of the
pack, the more your dog will want to please you and dog training will
be a snap.
ONeal Hendrix is a premier professional dog trainer in Atlanta, GA.
Considered a "miracle worker" by clients, vets, groomers, and even
other dog trainers, she has helped many human clients create loving and
respectful relationships with even the most difficult-to-train dogs.
She has a wealth of knowledge about dogs, what works and what doesnt,
as seen on her Trainers Pick Dog Supplies site, http://www.dog-supplies-dog-accessories.com.