Hand feeding your dog their day by day meals is some of the powerful tools to coach your dog recent skills. As well as, you’ll construct motivation, develop a stronger bond, and improve their behavior. I exploit it to show dogs recent behaviors in all of my training.
The explanation hand feeding your dog is so powerful is since you turn into the bearer of one in every of their most vital life necessities–food.
Dogs need food to survive, and due to this fact, they can be more motivated to perform and learn after they are hungry.
While you feed your dog from a bowl twice a day, then they turn into less motivated to work. Not only are they full, but additionally they know that you simply’ll just deliver one other bowl of food later that day.
Imagine for those who showed as much as work every single day and there was a check waiting for you in your desk.
Would you then work for eight hours?
Probably not, because there’s no motivation. You’ve already been paid, and you already know there’s going to be a check waiting for you the subsequent morning, so what’s the purpose?
Feeding your dog from the bowl is a wasted training opportunity! Hand feeding is hands down the among the best ways to develop an obedient, go anywhere, do anything dog.
Using Treats vs Hand Feeding Meals for Dog Training
Many dog owners and trainers use treats for dog training. Nevertheless, treats are like dessert.
Unlike food, dogs don’t need treats to survive.
Using treats for training, on top of already feeding your dog their day by day food poses a couple of issues:
Your dog isn’t hungry. As I’ve mentioned earlier, for those who provide your dog with their day by day food served in a bowl twice a day, they won’t have any motivation to work for more food. They’re full.
Consequently, the consequence of not working is to remove the food and check out again later. Nevertheless, if the food has no meaning, then the punishment is pointless.
Nevertheless, after they’re hungry, you bet they’ll be motivated and engaged to earn their food.
Treats are essentially dessert. Don’t get me incorrect, I like me some dessert, but I don’t love eating 45 cookies in a row. It makes me feel gross and eventually, I don’t want anymore.
Treats can contribute to obesity. When you’re not accounting for the quantity of treats your dog eats along with their day by day meal, then the additional calories could possibly be resulting in weight gain. In line with the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 56% of dogs within the US are chubby or obese.
Obesity is a serious and increasingly common problem within the pet world and results in plenty of preventable health issues.
Methods to Hand Feed Your Dog for Training
Hand feeding is sort of easy, really!
As a substitute of feeding your dog their day by day amount of food in a bowl, add it to your treat pouch to make use of during your training sessions.
Before you begin training commands, it’s essential first teach your dog marker words. This lays the muse for training and builds engagement with you because the handler.
In case your dog doesn’t yet know the command by name, then they’re still in the training phase. Set them up for achievement by rewarding for effort and engagement as you progress toward the brand new skill.
Use your dog’s day by day amount of food to coach
Training sessions can occur throughout the day, multiple times a day. They don’t have to occur during your dog’s typical feeding time.
The good thing about feeding your dog throughout the day is that they don’t turn into accustomed to eating at specific times after which they don’t demand food at certain times.
Training sessions can last anywhere from one minute to twenty minutes. When you’re pressed for time, put the food in your dog’s bowl and make them work for it (except for just sitting and waiting), then reward them with a jackpot.
Otherwise, spend anywhere from five to twenty minutes working on basic obedience skills like place, loose leash walking, or establishing marker words.
Note: You don’t need to feed one piece of food at a time. The truth is, it’s useful to differ the quantity of food you give your dog since it leaves them guessing whether the subsequent command will end in more food!
My Dog Isn’t Food Motivated!
This may increasingly be true straight away, nonetheless, all dogs are food motivated.
Because they need food to survive. They need to have food motivation.
In case your dog doesn’t show interest in working for his or her food, then stop the training session, crate your dog, and check out again in a couple of hours. It’s alright to drastically reduce the quantity of food your dog eats at first to be able to construct that food drive.
It’s necessary to not cave in and provides your dog their food from the bowl in the event that they haven’t eaten after a couple of meals.
Now, I’m not saying that you need to starve your dog to be able to construct food motivation, nonetheless, I’m saying that to be able to construct food motivation, then a dog might decide to go without food for a time frame.
Let me say that again. A dog might select to go without food.
When you offer food through training they usually don’t need to work, then that’s on them. Some dogs will go 3-5 days without food. That’s okay.
In the event that they don’t need to work, then we take the food away. That’s the consequence of not working and the negative punishment that pairs with positive reinforcement training, something many +R trainers don’t discuss.
If a dog doesn’t need to work, then the one method to construct motivation to work is to create hunger by removing the food. That is negative reinforcement that pairs with using food for training.
Once we offer our dogs food delivered to them on a literal silver platter twice a day, then what motivation do they need to work for his or her food?
Without motivation, then all you’ve left to coach with is force, and that’s not fun or ideal.
Existential Feeding and Motivation
In line with humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow, all humans are motivated to meet basic physiological needs before moving on to more advanced needs. He introduced his concept of a hierarchy of needs in 1943.
His theory explained that humans are born with a desire to be self-actualized. That’s that they need to serve a purpose and seek personal development. As a way to achieve self-actualization, nonetheless, individuals are motivated to meet basic needs first. He created a pyramid demonstrating the hierarchy of needs that has turn into one in every of the best-known theories of motivation.
The five-tiered pyramid is split into deficiency needs and growth needs.
Deficiency needs are physiological survival needs and are categorized as: biological, safety and security, and social needs.
Biological survival needs are: food, water, shelter, air/respiratory, and sleep.
Safety and security needs include: physical and mental health, employment, law and order, freedom from fear.
Social needs are: family relationships, friendships, romantic relationships, and community groups
Growth needs are those which help a person realize their full potential through creative and mental means.
Growth needs are those related to self-worth, and include confidence, achievement, and respect of others.
At the highest of the pyramid are self-actualization needs, which need to do with the conclusion of full potential in creative and private development endeavors.
What does Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs have anything to do with dog training?
In line with Maslow, when deficiency needs go unmet, individuals are motivated to meet those needs because they need to survive.
The longer they go without those needs, the more motivated they’re to meet them.
Methods to Hand Feed Your Dog without Getting Bitten
It is a pretty common occurrence I see in quite a lot of dogs and it will probably definitely be annoying and painful!
If you’ve an enthusiastic eater in your hands, simply hold the food in a fist in your hand and slowly open your fist once your dog stops being so mouthy. Then, you may slowly allow them to lick the food out of your hand.
Refrain from delivering the treat pinched between your thumb and forefinger. That’s just asking to get bitten!
As a substitute, tuck the food into the pocket of your thumb when it’s pressed against your hand, let your dog nose it out of that space.
I Feed My Dog Raw, Can I Still Hand Feed?
Absolutely! I feed my dog raw and still hand feed him quite a lot of his meals.
There are a pair of the way to do that. One is more messy and requires a bit more planning, the opposite is probably dearer.
The primary option is to feed your dog their regular raw meals and train where you already know the food won’t turn into warm.
To do that, you’ll want a couple of accessories to guard your hands and to store the food:
Gloves – Nitrile gloves are perfect for hand feeding raw (I even wear them with client dogs who eat kibble because dog saliva mixed with kibble is gross!). For a more sustainable option, look into reusable silicone gloves.
Silicone Treat Pouch – Silicone is great because it will probably pop into the dishwasher. I’d recommend either this one from Dexas or, use your regular treat pouch and just use a silicone zip top bag to store the food, like these from Stasher.
Squeeze tube – When you prefer to depart your hands out of the equation all together, you can use a reusable squeeze tube. I exploit these for running and GoToobs for travel and camping.
The second option is to make use of freeze-dried or air-dried food, which is what I do. I feed Sitka one meal that’s his refrigerated raw, and his training meal is air-dried.
I personally use Max Meat from Only Natural Pet. I’ve found that it’s probably the most inexpensive option, especially for those who do auto delivery. Freeze-dried and air-dried raw could be pricier than refrigerated raw, so just play with different options for those who’re committed to raw!
Other brands I’d recommend include:
As you may see, hand feeding your dog their meals through training sessions has a ton of advantages! It’s fun, easy, and doesn’t take way more time than feeding them from a bowl, truly.
Have you ever began at hand feed your dog their meals? How has their engagement and motivation modified because of this?