Is Free Feeding Your Dog Ok?
Today is Training Tuesday and I want to chat about feeding our dogs. This week I am going to tackle the question I get about free feeding or feeding multiple times per day.
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Now onto the topic at hand!
Let’s be honest, free-feeding is WAY easier, you just put the food down when the bowl is empty and go about your day. It is the simplest option around.
Here is the hiccup with that……
1. For some dogs, controlling weight is an issue. 2. In a multi-dog home, you never know who is eating what or how much. 3. And the BIG ONE…. if your dog always has access to food, they really don’t need us.
Let’s dive into #3.
When we feed our dogs and expect them to eat all their food within a set time, it sets us up as the leader. Doing so can actually set our dogs up for success on many levels, including curbing some small and even large behavior problems.
If you consider a pack, the alpha hunts and provides for the beta’s, the alpha also eats first…which is yet another way to establish who is in charge of the household.
The reality is, dogs do not have thumbs, they cannot open the container to fill their bowls, so they need us. By feeding 2 times per day (3 times per day for puppies under 4 months of age) our dogs come to rely on us. Which helps with the natural pecking order of things.
I also recommend only leaving the food down for 15-20 minutes each meal. This trains your dog to eat when food is provided, again building your value.
Now, some people will start to get worried at this point, especially if you have a dog that is a picky eater, or one that likes to graze during the day.
Not to worry, your dog is trainable and will adapt. Here is the thing, you are providing the food, for a set amount of time, then you pick it up. Your dog will quickly understand that they need to eat when the food is provided (kind of like small children).
It may take a meal or two or three for them to get with the program, but they will not starve themselves and they will eat when they get hungry. You just have to keep reminding yourself of that.
Starting as early as later this week I am hosting my Essential Oils for Your Happy Healthy Dog webinar, during this time I will share with you the specific oils I use with my dogs daily (which is right in line with a twice a day feeding schedule), PLUS I will also cover how to calm your dog’s crazy.
Stay tuned, I am putting the finishing touches on everything now and I am excited to share more with you. As part of my Training Tribe, you will get the info FIRST!!
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