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How to Ditch The Dog Food Bowl for Better Behavior

Ever wonder why our dogs need us?

Well, I am here to share, we have thumbs and they do not.  I know it sounds so simple and somewhat silly, but the reality is, they NEED us to provide food for them.

Who else is going to pour food into their bowl every single day?

I am here to share a potentially new idea for you, ditch the bowl!  

Why?  You may ask.....ok I will get to that in a second.

Before I dive in let's talk about the frequency of feeding.  There are many schools of thought when it comes to "how" we feed our dogs.

Some choose to free feed - which we do not recommend and I will have to breakdown why another day.

Some will fee 2x per day, others 1x per day.

Me...I look at food as the perfect opportunity to have a conversation with my dog.  I have something they want, and in turn, they can give me something I want.

This is especially true for puppies or dogs in full training.  When you ditch the bowl, you increase your relationship with your dog, and here is how:

  1. Portion out your dog's food for the day in two baggies.

  2. Use one container for the morning, the other for evenings, a bonus if you are home during the day, as you can use their food all day long. 

  3. Make it a game by getting them excited about the food in your hand.

  4. With an "ok", you can even toss or roll the food away, so they can chase it.

  5. Restain them (hold the collar) then toss the food ahead and release them with an "ok" to go and get it.

  6. Ask them for simple behaviors that they know, or you are working on, throughout the day such as sit or down and pay them for success.

  7. Use offered behaviors, such as a wait at the door, laying calmly at your feet while working etc to pay.

I like to use a treat pouch (this is the newest version of mine), this I always have access to pay my dog and don't have to go searching for the baggie.  This also helps remind me to actually engage my dog and pay them. 

Now, I know some of you feed raw...I do.  So you are thinking to yourself that this is just not an option.  

Here is the deal, if you need or want to build a better bond/relationship between you and your pup, then there is always a way.

 You can use:

  • Treat dispenser

  • Squeeze tube

  • Chunks of raw cut into smaller pieces

  • Make meatballs

  • Put into a mold and freeze

  • Scoop with a spoon and feed

Yes, I will be the first to admit, it is not overly convenient to do this, but the point is to build a strong relationship with my dog, and I personally will do what it takes to make that happen.

Want more tips on relationship building for your dogs? Join our Training Tribe, each week I share additional information on the topic at hand in our Wednesday Reach-out, sent right to your inbox.  This week I will take ditching the bowl to the next level and share how you can be successful even with a super busy schedule.

See you all next week!




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