For many dogs, feeding time is the best time of the day. Dogs that are highly food motivated enjoy food and treats and will do just about anything to get them. But that can also mean lots of behavior problems- like counter surfing, trashcan foraging, and food aggression.
If your dog struggles with feeding problems, it may take a variety of approaches and techniques to fin what works for your dog. While not every technique is best for your dog, it may work well for someone else’s pup. The key is to remain patient and consistent during the training process. With enough perseverance, you can and will find what works for your dog’s unique problems.
Here are some instructional videos to get you started. While we believe in raw feeding wholeheartedly along with positive reinforcement, not everyone parents their dog like we do. Find one that aligns with your own personal beliefs and give one a try!
- As a pet parent to a strong-willed husky, feeding time was super important for us. While my dog isn’t very food motivated, food communicates other social cues to her instead. Teaching her “leave it” and “take it” was the first step for us. This taught her what was safe to eat, and when, and what was not. Training is not always about “controlling” your dog. Many times, it’s about keeping your dog safe.
2. Timing is also important. For example, our strong-willed husky mentioned earlier had a difficult time accepting the hierarchy of the family. We tried to teach her to respect the (smaller than her) children in the house and the cats who live here. (Those who say huskies can’t live peacefully with cats should come visit!) The “natural” order of things in her opinion was in contrast to what we were trying to accomplish as a family. The timing of when we fed her helped us communicate to her how she was to respect others in the home. The people are fed first, then the cats, then the dogs. If we fed her first, that communicated that she was in charge. By feeding the cats before her, she had to learn not to be food-aggressive and allow the cats to eat their meals. Once she did what was expected, she was rewarded with a tasty heaping bowl of her own favorites.
3. Food Aggression can be a serious problem. A dog who snaps, bites or attacks to “protect” their food in not safe to live with. If your dog struggles with food aggression, please keep them away from all children and pets during mealtimes for the safety of others. If you’re unable to correct food aggression in your dog, please consult a professional to get your dog help immediately.
4. Feeding a puppy is entirely different than feeding a fully grown dog! Here’s a handy guide to help you transition your puppy to adult feeding. Knowing how, when, and what to feed is essential to raising a healthy, happy dog.
5. If you have a counter surfer, try this approach:
6. And if you’re struggling with a trash eater, these tips can be a lifesaver. First, if your dog is known to get in the trash, be sure to never put anything that can harm your dog in the can. Onions, grapes, broken glass, and chemicals should never go into a trash can your dog can access.
If you have questions about how and what to feed your dog, give our TruDog Happiness Concierges a call for a personal consultation. They can devise a personalized feeding plan for your dog and give you additional tips on how to help your dog with feeding problems. (800) 476-8808.