Once upon a time my biggest challenge was simply getting people to stop free feeding their dogs. I would go on and on explaining how restricting and controlling your dog’s food is essential not just for their health but also their behavior.
Now, I have taken things a step further.
This dog training hack might be the easiest one ever, ditch the dog food bowl.
One Less Dish To Clean
While I do in fact have a strong dislike for washing dishes, that is not my driving motivation for this action. Removing the food bowl from your daily routine means you will have to make other changes to accommodate the unavoidable task of feeding your dog. Whenever the opportunity presents itself I will make sure to stress the importance of two things: leadership & bonding. Eliminating a food bowl can yield growth in both of those very important topics in dog ownership.
How Will They Be Fed?
Simply removing the food bowl leaves much to the imagination. Do you simply throw the food on the floor? Not exactly, after all, it wouldn’t make sense to swap dish washing for floor scrubbing in terms of daily chores.
Perhaps paper plates? Well they are an option, but I’ll get into that later. Still trying to solve the riddle? It’s not really a riddle.
Use your hand.
Power of Hand Feeding
It still amazes me how many people don’t take advantage is this incredibly powerful activity. Whether it’s a brand new puppy or a recuse dog coming from a rough past, handfeeding is one of the EASIST ways for you to accomplish a tons of positive stuff!
Eating, to a dog, is one of the single most important activities next to socializing and breeding. So many people simply toss food in a bowl and put it down on the ground and walk away. Then they go over to their keyboard and search online for ways to get their dog to pay attention to them.
Don’t be that person.
Take advantage of this incredibly important activity by harnessing the dog’s desire to eat. By hand feeding your dog you are turning what was a solitary activity into a bonding opportunity. Any time spent with your dog is a chance to strengthen your relationship with them.
Those who open their hearts and their homes saving dogs trapped in shelters and rescues can especially benefit from this interaction. Scared, lonely, and traumatized dogs have a journey in front of them before they can return to being stable and happy dogs.
Hand feeding provides their new owner a chance to interact and begin the slow process of building trust. Once the dog realizes that food comes from you, the value you present immediately increases. This is the foundation for the relationship you hope to build.
I get a lot of requests for help with a variety of behavior problems from aggression to jumping and nipping. My response is almost always the same and I advise people to re-establish their role in their dog’s life.
This is not done by alpha rolls.
Your dog does absolutely need you to be their leader. However many people do not understand what that means. With many “trainers” still promoting the physically abusive ways of the past, new owners tend to over-react and go to the other extreme being entirely too permissive.
I can understand why they are turned off from the word “leader” or “pack leader” if they think those harsh methods are the only way to be a leader.
Controlling resources is the easiest and most effective way to be a trusted, respected, and loved leader for your dog. Hand feeding is your major tool to demonstrate your roll to them. It is simple. All you have to do is feed your dog by hand, small portions of their daily food, throughout the day, in exchange for them doing various behaviors at your request.
This is nothing new. The term we use is called “nothing in life is free” and it is highly effective way to regain control of an aggressive dog or a dog that simply has lost focus of who is who in the home. Use your dog’s daily food, fed by hand, as a way to reward your dog in your daily training sessions.
You are training daily right?
Got a dog who breathes in their food rather than eating it? Hand feeding is a great way to slow them down and control the pace they consume that kibble. Many people have spent a ton of money experimenting with various ‘slow feeders” which kinda work, sometimes. Handfeeding gives you 100% control of the speed at which the dog eats making the purchase of these other items totally unnecessary.
The Power of Nature
Handfeeding harnesses the power of mother nature. Your dog needs to eat. You need your dog to respect and listen to you.
If you can’t see the connection then you shouldn’t have a dog.