The Ritual of Feeding Your Dog
Now is a good time to think about your dog's daily feeding ritual. At the Dog Psychology Center, the pack receives a nice, long morning walk and has about 30 minutes to cool off before getting their meal.
We have to make sure every dog is on the same frequency to avoid trouble. We feed them when they are at the highest level of hunger. It's like opening a restaurant and knowing that your customers are extremely hungry. We keep the doors closed until everybody says please. It makes them feel like they have worked for the food, and that makes them appreciate it more.
The calmest dog is fed first. Asking your dog to wait patiently is part of making him or her work for the food. Challenge your dog to maintain a calm-submissive state, and then reward him or her for a job well done! Never feed a dog that is excited, anxious, aggressive, or displaying any other negative behavior as this reinforces the unwanted state of mind. If you have trouble with food aggression, even if it is mild, you should call in a professional. Food can throw your dog into a very primal state, so it is best to get help before the problem intensifies.
Feeding is a very social activity for dogs. It fulfills every side of them - the body, the heart, the mind, and the spirit. It can help them feel connected to their family and give them a high level of satisfaction. What can you improve about your dog's feeding ritual? How can you use meal time to reinforce your dog's good behavior?
Stay calm and assertive,
For more tips on the feeding ritual, check out Cesar's book A Member of the Family.