As you probably know by now, I feel it is essential that your dog sees you as the leader of the pack. This should take place by structured obedience training, by real life dog training and by everyday real life living.
One subtle method of becoming the leader in your pack occurs everyday at feeding time. With many families, feeding their dogs is an act of servitude.
I bet some of you didn’t realize that, did you?
Why not take that few minutes of interaction and start changing the way your dog perceives you? Here is what I do with my dogs and what I recommend to my Winston-Salem dog training clients.
Always run your hands through the dog food. I like for my scent to be all over his food. Why? In the dog pack, who eats first? The leader. By putting our scent on the food, we are essentially passing the food down after we have finished with it.
I don’t just put the food down for him to eat. I hold it and make him perform for it first. Many dogs are excited to eat and rush their food and it becomes a chaotic process. I slow down the event and I am showing my dog I have control. Believe it or not, you are also giving your dog mental stimulation in this process by making him calm down and be patient. Call it a mental exercise which is just as important as physical exercise.
I also make sure I praise him for good behavior and I never give in without getting the outcome the leader deserves. If you give in, you are just showing your dog you are not leader that you are pretending to be.
That’s it (for this segment anyway)! If you have a food aggressive dog defer to a dog training professional before you do this; but, this should be a relatively safe event as long as you are not trying to remove his food while eating.
Note: Jim Hodges is a certified master dog trainer training dogs in Winston-Salem, NC. He also trains dogs from other areas of the country via his Residency Dog Training Program. The information he shares is from his many years of training and observing/studying dog behavior.