Avoid allowing your dog to manipulate you where food is concerned. It is important to set boundaries that your dog will understand. If you feed your dog from your plate while you are still eating it will cause confusion and encourage the dog to beg while you are eating. It is a nuisance to have a dog sitting on your feet, drooling over every mouthful that you take.

Decide on a good diet, put the food down and leave it for ten minutes. If there is anything left in the bowl, clear it away and offer nothing until the next regular mealtime. Fussy eating habits tend to develop very quickly if you constantly offer alternatives and plead with your dog to eat.

Establishing a feeding pattern also helps to judge potential illness and the chance to seek early veterinary advice when neccessary. If your dog is a fussy eater, it will take longer to find out if the dog is refusing to eat because of illness. Unless you know better, refusing a meal could just mean that the food on offer for the last couple of days has not been up to the required standard.

Encourage your dog to feel confident about humans being near the food bowl while he is eating. Unfortunately owners are still often advised that it is neccessary to pick up their dog's bowl 'to prove they are boss'. In reality, this can actually stress the dog and encourage growling and guarding of food or bowl. A simple and effective alternative is to add tasty extras to the bowl while the dog is eating. It becomes potentially rewarding for people to be near the food bowl. On a very rare occasion that you may have a valid reason to remove the bowl there is unlikely to be a problem as the dog has no reason to feel defensive.


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©  Marie Miller - Tellington TTouch Instructor