Feeding Your Puppy
Puppies love to eat and always seem to be hungry! Food is your best route to bonding and building a relationship with your new cute little puppy. Your puppy's brain needs a workout just as much as they need physical exercise. Just please keep in mind that they cannot focus for very long so give them breaks and don’t spend more than 5 or 10 minutes feeding and working with them. The older they get the longer they can learn/train. You will bond quicker with your puppy and your puppy will learn faster if they work for their food. Many dog trainers do not use bowls to feed dogs. The dogs are hand fed while working for their food. There was a study done in Sweden about this very subject and it was determined that dogs do prefer to work for food. You don’t want your dog to grow up thinking that everything in life is free and develop selective hearing or simply not listen to you as you try to teach new things. Hand feeding your puppy is the way to go.
- If you have multiple dogs, separate the dogs during feeding time and work one on one with them.
- If your puppy is enthusiastic about taking food from your hand, try wearing a pair of gardening or working gloves until your puppy learns to take the food nicely (wearing gloves is a temporary solution until you can work with a balanced trainer in your area).
- No treats or kibble for going potty outside. Freedom from the crate, spending time with you, and your affection is a pretty amazing reward for many puppies.
- If your puppy doesn't like the crate, play crate games like tossing kibble in his crate a few pieces at a time and when he comes out toss in a few more until the meal is done.
Hunting For City Dogs
What could be better than hunting for food? Giving your pup the opportunity to use his or her brain and nose at the same time can exhaust your pup or dog, just as quickly as hard physical exercise. Taking a walk with your dog then allowing them the opportunity to hunt for their food after the walk is a great way to end the walk and tire out your pup or dog. It allows them the opportunity to be a dog and do what dogs do.
This activity I like to call “Hunting for City Dogs”
Start with the food on a floor or sidewalk making it easy to find and spread it out. Let your dog search for it until they have cleaned up all the pieces.
Once they have figured out that they should be sniffing around to find all the kibble move to a more difficult location. An area with grass is great for them to search in. Keep the kibble closer together the first few times in the grassy area and slowly spread it out over a larger area.
You can add obedience to the hunt making it more challenging. Simply have them sit and wait while you scatter the food in the yard, then release.