Polite Dog Feeding, Not Jumping, Spinning or Barking 🙂
For most dogs, meal times are some of their favorite times of the day. But is feeding one of your favorite activities? Many dogs bark, spin, jump on you, or even knock the dog food out of your hands as you try to place it into their dog bowl. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Here are some dog training tips to make meal time more enjoyable for you.
- Have patience.
- Have more patience. You will be teaching a habit for your dog and you! Habits take at least 3 weeks to really start to sink in.
- Be consistent. Once you set a rule for your dog, you must continue to follow it. If you become wishy-washy, your dog will not have a clear understanding of what to expect.
- If you have more than one dog, plan on individual training time with each dog. It is much easier to
teach a dog individually rather than try to teach them both a new behavior together.
- Teach your dog how to sit. Build the sit behavior by asking for a sit before good things happen. Examples include: sit before being petted, tossing the ball, going outside, putting on the dog leash….. If you instill “good things happen when I sit” your dog will learn to offer this as a default behavior more often.
- Pick a place you would like your dog to sit and wait while you prepare his meal. Make sure it is in a convenient place that you can easily give a treat while fixing his meal. Ideally, this will also be where you feed him.
- Grab a handful of healthy treats and walk your dog over to the above spot. Ask him to “Sit” at his spot and reward him there. Continue to reward him for sitting in his spot at various intervals. Example: 3 seconds-treat, 4 seconds-treat, 1 second-treat; 1 step away-treat, 4 steps away-treat, etc.
- If you have more than one dog, remember to do this individually at first so your dog starts to understand what you are asking of him. Once each dog has a foundation you can do them at the same time. You will be ping-ponging back and forth between the dogs for their rewards. Remember to give the treat only for sitting in their spot. As they continue to sit, continue treating each dog. When you’re done, say “all done,” and walk away.
- The next step is to start the new routine of sitting in the right spot while preparing and feeding your dog. First, make sure you are not rushed and have time to follow through with these steps. This leads to the second, have patience.
- Ask your dog to sit in their spot. Reward with a treat. Start to walk toward the area to prepare your dog’s food, but before you get too far, or your dog breaks his unofficial stay, return to your dog and give another treat. You are going to continue this process while fixing your dog’s meal. Continue to go back and forth, rewarding your dog for staying in his spot. ***If he gets up during this process, you can do one of two things.
1) Stop in your tracks and look at him and wait for him to go by himself to his spot and then you can reward that action. Or
2) Politely lead him back to his spot and start the process over. But, you do not want to continue to prepare his meal if he is not in his spot.
- Once his meal is prepared, walk to his meal spot with his bowl of food. You will want him to still be in his spot. You should continue to reinforce him with treats for staying in his spot while you approach. If he gets up, repeat the previous step 1 or 2.
- As you start to put the bowl on the ground, if your dog starts to get up, swiftly pick up the bowl and have him go back to his spot. Continue this until you can set the bowl down, wait 2 seconds, then release him to eat.
Voila! Dinner is served. This may seem like an impossible task, but it truly can go quickly if you practice at each meal and take your time. Once you and your dog have a better feeding routine in place, meal time will be enjoyable for both of you and effortless. But you do have to put in the time, in the beginning, to get there.
- All behaviors you don’t like (jumping up, barking, etc.) lead to you stopping the feeding routine. Wait for your dog to get back in his spot, or all four on the floor to restart.
- Be calm and patient. Do not yell or get frustrated with your dog. This will only lead to more stress for both you and your dog and more rowdy behavior.
- Those healthy treats you are rewarding with count toward your dog’s daily calories. We don’t want fat dogs just because you are training them!
- Reinforce (food, play, attention) that sit behavior or sitting in their feeding spot often, especially in the beginning. Your dog will learn that sitting is the key to good things and will repeat this behavior.
- If you have a lot of dogs, you can feed in shifts. 2-3 at a time etc. Nothing is wrong with that, particularly at the beginning. Add more as they get the routine down.
Oh, and get the camera!! I would love to see your video footage if you’re trying this at home. Any level you are on. Good Luck~Tonya
Here is an example using the methods above but for unloading the dishwasher.
How do you manage feeding time? Tell me in the comments.