Feeding Time Should Be Training Time
Using Food Daily to Promote Good Obedience
Can you guess why feeding time is so important? Simply put, feeding time means your dog is HUNGRY and will therefore do almost anything to get fed. Since you, his loving owner, have the power to either feed or starve your pet, your dog looks to you as its only supplier of food. This means you play a vital role in your dog's life. Now, learn how to use this to your advantage.
Since you possess this role, it is time to use it to your benefit. No longer look at feeding time without the element of dog training involved. This means that whenever your dog is to be fed, he is also expected to do something for the food. Never feed your dog without some sort of request from him. In this case, we want our dogs to do something pleasant such as not jumping or barking, but rather sitting down patiently and waiting for us. This is especially important when dealing with energetic dog breeds.
TIP: Consistent Feeding
Feeding times should be scheduled at the same time daily for sake of consistency. Nothing is worse than a confused dog wondering when it will get his next meal. Feeding time can be in the morning before work, and in the evening after work. The same person should feed the dog as much as possible to reinforce that person as the Leader -- the one your dog obeys and listens to above all others. This is especially important for growing puppies, as they must know who is the leader from an early age.
When it is time to feed your dog, use a command word like "Food?" each time to remind him what to expect. As you begin to fill the bowl and bring out the food, notice the dog's behaviour. Is he jumping on you? Barking? Give him a stern NO and wait. If your dog persists, ignore him until he stops. Your dog will quickly realize that barking and jumping only prolong feeding time.
Before you lay his bowl down, tell him to sit. Do not feed him until he is sitting and quiet.
Don't be discouraged if your dog isn't an angel immediately. As long as you continue to encorce good habits, he will eventually learn. Soon your dog should be waiting patiently every time is it to be fed because he will understand that the quickest way to get fed is to obey!
It Doesn't Stop At Feeding Time
Use other opportunities other than feeding time to encourage good habits. Before you bring him for a walk (You remembered to give him the keyword "Walk?", didn't you?) make sure he is also sitting patiently for you -- otherwise don't leave. Dogs are intelligent pets and they learn from experience. If sitting and waiting patiently mean a bowl of food, then your dog will be more than happy to comply. Just don't forget to give him praise from time to time to further encourage dog bonding and good behaviour.
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