Domestication has made it possible for dogs to receive their food without having to hunt it down themselves, but it’s still in their nature to feel the need to work for it.
Before my dogs eat, I take them for a walk. In this way, I ask my dogs to work for food and water. This is a form of waiting, which is psychological exercise that helps nurture a balanced, happy dog.
The morning routine should look like this:
- You project calm-assertive energy before you give your dog affection.
- You walk your dog to exercise her body and allow her to explore the world.
- When you get home, prepare her food.
- While you fill the bowl, ask your dog to sit.
- If she sits quietly and projects calm-submissive energy with no negative behaviors, place the bowl of food in front of her.
Some of my clients think this routine sounds too rigid, but from your dog’s perspective, it is instinctual. Focusing the mind and body brings the dog back into a more natural, balanced state.