Dog training is critical in successfully managing your dog’s behavior. But, does it seem like your dog doesn’t really care what you say? Does your dog ignore your requests when asked to do certain things?
If your dog has reached a point in his dog training with you where he seems to think any command you give is optional and subject to how he feels right that moment, then just maybe it’s time to take a look at where to begin to regroup your thoughts and your approach to your dog training.
I have found that for most dogs like that, everything in life is and has always been, free for them. Their toys are on the floor accessible for play and with a demanding nudge, love and affection is available on demand 24/7.
Unlike their ancestors who had to forage for food, most domesticated dogs just keep one eye on the door and the other on the clock just waiting for your return so they can do the one thing that may be the highlight of their day: EAT. Worse yet they may not even have to work for their food. Some dog owners even free feed.
It’s no wonder that dogs don’t find their human owners “relevant” at all. And when it comes time for them “do what you say,” they just don’t “care what you say” enough– to really do what you say.
This can be very frustrating, can’t it?
It all starts with a Primary Resource
So let’s start with the basics and that’s a scheduled feeding. Food is instinctively thought of by most all dogs as a “Primary Resource.” Even if you think your dog is a finicky eater, it’s still true.
Controlling your dog’s food is an excellent way to become relevant to your dog. And it’s a really great way to teach your dog that listening to you and obeying your commands like sit and down is a good way to earn his food. If you are consistent with your feeding ritual twice a day, it can teach your dog that good behavior matters.
You are now relevant to your dog!
If your dog is a finicky eater, then you’ll have to spice things up a bit. Let me explain because it all depends on how serious you are about becoming that relevant force in your dog’s life.
If every morning for breakfast your mom put a box of cereal on the kitchen table and said, “The milk is in the refrigerator,” that’s not very appealing, right? And you probably would care much about breakfast.
On the other hand, if you knew your mom was in the kitchen cooking a hot breakfast every morning and each morning she surprised you with something different, WOW! Your mom would suddenly have relevance and you would know that she cared.
For the finicky eater (that’s also a trouble-maker by not listening) spice up his meal. Add some canned food to his dry kibble. Put some beef or chicken broth (warmed from the microwave) over his food. Or, add a dollop of yogurt to his food. Keep it interesting. We add chopped spinach, chopped broccoli or sometimes a piece of sweet potato to our dog’s food to make it interesting and they love it. Leila and I do have relevance at our house, do you? Well, you can!
On the other hand, if your dog is highly motivated by food then count your blessings. You have a highly trainable dog.
Other benefits to a scheduled feeding program
It’s easier to monitor whether he feels well. You’ll know the instant your dog goes off his food as a possible indicator that he is not feeling well. It’s impossible to do that with free feeding.
Food guarding opportunities are kept to a minimum. Picking up his bowl after each meal helps to eliminate the possibilities of food guarding. Continuous feeding allows your dog to develop guarding instincts of his food bowl and the surrounding space. Don’t forget to pick up the bowl after 15 minutes.
A scheduled twice a day feeding also keeps your dog from running on empty for half a day and helps to stave off hunger tension which could create other behavior problems.
Everyone wants a dog that listens because they know you have relevance and well, they just care about you and what you say. Try it I know you’ll like it.
So, come tell me on Facebook what you think? I truly hope you found answers and hope for helping your dog. Did you think the fix would be this easy?
“Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”
Jim Burwell, Houston dog trainer for 25+ years, serving 8700+ clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad. Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.
His Ground Rules for Great Dogs is your must have easy, step-by-step process to helping your dog. Your dog must and wants to understand what you expect of him. But you have to empower him to be able to give you the behavior you want and you must empower him to be successful at living in a human home. Ground Rules gets you there. Grab them now.