Updated: May 4, 2020
Here is another "Top of The List" behavior we want to ensure we DO NOT
Many owners are ill-informed on what they should be doing to "Show their
dog who's boss" around food. The information often being provided includes
CREATING a ton of conflict and often times causes a dog to feel they need to
protect their food source - that's right. Challenging a dog by putting
our hands in their food bowls, in their mouth, taking food away, etc. can
absolutely push them into feeling they need to guard/protect their source
of survival. So, let's not be an unnecessary ass hole when we don't need to. We don’t want to create competition and conflict over food, It's dumb, not macho !
Instead we will teach you how to maintain a pup that holds onto their natural ability to read and understand space and time.
And yes, that has no insecurities or ill intentions when you approach the food bowl - we will do this WITHOUT creating conflict in the relationship.
At The Hounds Grounds we work on this in two parts. For this easy reading blog I'm going to use a pup for my example.
**** Now, if you have a soft, timid, shy, insecure or fearful type of puppy that is sensitive - I WANT YOU TO REVERSE THE STEPS. I want you to do Step Two first and you may not even need Step One for a while.****
Prepare. Measure out pup's food, place about 1/4 in the bowl, keep the rest with you to use during the time the pup is eating.
Step One: for a pup, would simply be to create space, like a bubble around the area you place the food in before putting the food bowl down. Once we place the food bowl on the floor the pup is welcome to move into the space and eat their food. We don't ask our pups or dogs to sit, wait, make eye contact, etc. Shit if it was my food I guarantee the loss of a finger if you made me wait to eat. Ok, all kidding aside (or not). Creating space is a little more visual learning than reading. (See The Video Treasury)
Step Two: sit down within a foot of the bowl. When the pup is about 3/4 of the way done with their 1/4 meal - reach over and drop a small handful of food in the bowl for them to continue eating, move your hand away after dropping the food in. Again, before pup is done eating drop another small handful of food in the bowl for him/her to continue eating. You are a source of food flow, that's a positive thing if you ask me. Rinse and Repeat that until all the food you hold is given to the pup. Do this exercise once a day for a few days.
*****For those soft, timid, shy, insecure or fearful type of puppies - We don't need to create space/bubble. We simply sit down, place the food next to us and begin, Give a little space between us and the bowl and allow the pup to begin eating, follow above steps for dropping food in the bowl.
After a few days you can give them all of their food in the bowl and stand next to the bowl. As pup is eating drop HIGHER value food or treats in the bowl. Drop 3 - 4 (One piece at a time) over the course of the pup's meal and one special one right at the end.
Ok - now for movement toward the bowl. Place your pup's bowl down and walk a few steps away allowing the pup to feel free to eat. Step in and drop a piece of hotdog or lunchmeat in the bowl. Again, drop 3 -4 pieces in (one piece at a time) over the course of the pup eating his/her meal. When your pup is done and before he/she moves away from the bowl, drop a nice chunk of hotdog or lunch meat (something high value) in the bowl. Do this for several days and keep in good practice by doing it weekly.
If you are interested in visually learning a some of the above, head over to The Video Treasury and check it out..