Are You The Alpha When Feeding Your Pet?
While most dogs will dig in the moment you place the bowl on the floor, you may find that your adopted friend is not treating you as the alpha. According to a recent piece by Mic in partnership with GE “Not only do dogs seem to love us back, they actually see us as their family. It turns out that dogs rely on humans more than they do their own kind for affection, protection and everything in between.” Keep in mind that dogs are pack animals. We want to care for these wild tamed beasts like children that we can smother with love the moment we see them. Although dogs can be our little angels, they need to be disciplined to establish your alpha status.
One of the most overlooked alpha moments that we have with our furry friends is feeding time. Dogs rely on us to feed them because let be honest.. they have no thumbs. Unfortunately, most dog owners will leave a bowl full of food and leave it there unattended for the dog to chow on. This creates two major major issues:
1 – Your dog will NOT see you as the alpha pack leader because it has access to food at all times.
2 – Irregular feeding times with improper portions can lead to health problems.
Regularly-scheduled feeding times not only establishes a routine, it also allows you to monitor your dog’s health. Most importantly, it establishes dominance by showing the animal that you control its food source at all times. Contact any dog trainer and they will tell you, a hungry dog is an obedient dog.
So how should I feed my dog?
Most experts recommend feeding your dog twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Here at DoggyCrap, staff feeds their pets at 9:30 in the morning then again at 7:00 pm. If you can, try feeding your pet after taking them outside to use the bathroom. Feeding will be a reward for good behavior and dramatically reduce accidents in the home. LETS GET STARTED!
Here are the simple steps to establishing your self as the alpha:
- Fill the bowl with a healthy portion of food. ( See the back label of the packaging for nutrition facts and portion sizes for different type of dogs). Click HERE for healthy food options.
- Hold the bowl by the feeding station and have the dog sit.
- Establish eye contact. Make sure the dog is staring you in the eyes. Place the bowl behind your back if you have to. ( We will make a post on how to teach the “on me” command.)
- Place the bowl down but do NOT let them eat. Make sure the dog remains seated as you stand back up. Pick the bowl back up if your dog walks toward the bowl and repeat.
- While keeping eye contact, give your dog a command when its okay to eat. We simply say “OK!”
- Let your furry friend enjoy the meal.
What does this mean ?
If you follow this simple routine daily, your dog will see you as their main source of survival and will be significantly easier to train. This is an extremely powerful exercise to develop obedience. Remember, dogs cant speak our language. They communicate through experiences such as rewarding them with a treat or firmly saying no! With time, your pet will only touch the bowl on your command. Sasha, my German shepherd will not touch that bowl even if I leave the house. She sees me as her alpha and will never leave my side even when off the leash.
Humans have a difficult time understanding dog behavior. We simply think that some dogs are nice and some are not so nice. The reality is simple, those obedient, well behaved pets you see are the ones that understand boundaries. Like people, if you raise an animal, giving them what they want when they want, chances are they will do what they want when they want. This simple exercise will not solve all the problems but its a powerful start. Understand that this will take time. Understand that each dog is different and may require a different approach. Most importantly, understand that dogs are animals that just happen to love humans. They think and see the world from a different perspective. If you understand that simple concept, you will have a much more powerful relationship with your furry friend.
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