Dog Training at Meal Time
You might have heard the old saying, “The shortest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” It is also true that the shortest way to dog’s BRAIN is through his stomach. Dogs love meal time. Meal time ranks right up there with a good romp or a leisurely nap on a cold winter day. Meal times are GOOD, from a dog’s point of view. So why waste this training opportunity when you have his full and undivided attention as you prepare his food bowl? The answer is that you shouldn’t.
Getting a dog’s attention is the first part of any training session. The dog MUST pay attention to the trainer, or there will BE no training session. Actually I discovered this mealtime training technique quite by accident.
I had a mixed breed dog several years ago that I was trying to obedience train, and to say that I wasn’t having much luck would be a gross understatement. “No luck at all” would be a better description.
Finally, one day after a particularly nonproductive training attempt, I went into the kitchen to prepare the dog’s supper dish. The dog was fixated on my every move and I thought, “Ah HA”, you little rascal, “now I have your attention”! So, holding the bowl in my hand and in my most authoritative dog-training voice AND with the sit hand-gesture, I said, “SIT.” I got a blank look — along with a lot of tail wagging. I sat the bowl on the kitchen cabinet and started to walk away. The dog gave a loud bark that said, “What’s the matter with you? That’s MY bowl and I can reach it!”
I again picked up the bowl and gave the same “SIT” command. Nothing. I sat the bowl on the cabinet again. There was another bark. I picked up the bowl and again gave the “SIT” command. And lo and behold — this time, that stubborn little doggy behind hit the floor in a perfect sit position!