By AVE K9
1. Start early. Before you bring a dog home, come up with a feeding plan. You must all be on the same page. If mom gives food off the plate, but dad plays by the rules, it won’t work. If one family member is adamant about people food, then agree to mix in some healthy options, such as low-fat vegetables, with the kibble.
2. Don’t feed from the table. Doling out table scraps will cause your dog to eschew dry or canned food and hold out for more salivating options. It can also cause health problems, such as pancreatitis. In addition, variety or changes to the diet may cause diarrhea, as well as reinforce the inappropriate behavior of begging.
3. Keep dog food and people food separate. Never let a dog associate your food with their food. You have to keep it very separate. Otherwise they’ll start to think they can eat their food and their owner’s, too. Your dog should only eat food out of his bowl, and should never see food as coming from your plate or from something you’re preparing for yourself.
4. Stick to a schedule. Feed your puppy two to three times each day, as recommended by your vet. Gradually increase the volume of food as you decrease the frequency of feedings as your puppy matures. Your adult dog should be fed once or twice daily without leaving the food out more than a short period of time. To ensure equal portions for each serving, use a measuring cup. If you do choose to incorporate healthy people food, mix it into the kibble. Variety may be the spice of life for humans, but consistency is key for your canine.
5. Start over. Lessening people food and increasing dog food bit by bit every day until your pup is off human food entirely is the one way to break the habit. While you are mixing foods, it’s best to use canned dog food as opposed to dry food. That way, your pet can’t separate out and just eat the people food. If your dog refuses to eat, he is likely holding out for people food, but it’s important to hold firm. Just because he skips a few meals, don’t give in and give him what he wants,” Try leaving the bowl out for 15 minutes, and if he’s not finished, take it away–he’ll eventually choose dog food over no food at all.
6. Make sure they’re eating good stuff. Occasionally the problem with a picky eater may be that he doesn’t like the brand of food you’re giving him. Or it may be that he prefers canned food over dry or vice versa.
7. Reserve treats for times when praise is necessary, such as in training. But remember, not all rewards have to be edible–a good scratch behind the ears is a treat in itself!
8. If you find that food treats get the best results, create some boundaries. For instance, only give a treat after a trick, and always do it in the backyard.
9. Limit treats to three a week, and put them in a separate container so that the entire family knows how many have been given.
10. Check the ingredients and sure corn doesn’t top the list. Corn is a filler, and not the most appetizing item on the menu for a pooch.