How many of us have looked at our Canine family member and asked ourselves, “What did I do to deserve this?” Whether your dog is the best behaved dog in the world and you’re asking that question in gratitude or you are rolling your eyes to heaven, while your dog seems possessed and is chewing holes in your furniture, we have all been there a time or two. Just remember there is always a reason why “Fido” is in your life. Now for those of you who have the “Bad Dog”.
Let’s start by asking:
“When do you feed your dog?” - It is important to feed your dog after YOU eat. This establishes the ranking hierarchy. You are the leader, not the dog. Dogs have a “Pack Mentality”. If you don’t lead, the dog feels insecure and will take the leader role from you by assuming you are there to serve them. This leads to them not listening when called, uncontrolled barking, impatience, thinking they come first by running into the room before you, growling at you when you tell them to get off the furniture, and many other issues that stem from this.
Solution - At feeding time, instruct your dog to sit. Those of you who have never taught your dog to sit, here is an easy way. Give the command “SIT” firmly. Then with the feeding dish in one hand, keep it at nose level, and with the other hand grab the dog’s collar. Hold the collar and move the dish toward their face. The dog’s head should bend back, following the dish. By doing it this way the dog is least likely to jump up and will sit easier. If the dog does not sit, repeat the command again. Remember not to yell. Let’s say this did not work. Then holding the dog in the same position, place your foot that is closer to the dog’s rear behind the dog’s closest leg, and gently nudge behind the leg. Like us humans, a dog will buckle when someone bumps them behind their knees. Once they sit, give the command firmly “STAY”. Then place the dish down. Before they move, give them a release command, “OK”. If the dog moves before the release command repeat the above steps again. Be patient. This takes time in some cases.
“Do you just leave the food out?” - If so, you are sending the Canine family member the wrong message. You are telling them you are there to serve them. Stop placing the food out and follow the suggestions above for feeding your dog. For many of us, leaving food out can be hazardous to our dog’s health. They can over eat causing obesity and bloat. Bloat affects barrel chested dogs mostly. There have been some cases where it affected small breeds. Another reason for a feeding time is it establishes a disciplined structure and shows the dog that you control their food. A hungry dog makes for a focused dog that can be molded into a well behaved dog.
By: Joel Allen