Understanding a dog’s relationship with food is vital when comes to dog training. Genetically, dogs, like people, have varying drives for food. Some dogs can be extremely disruptive from birth and others have a more laid back temperament. No matter which genetic traits your dog has with food, it can be a useful tool for us humans to shape our relationship with our dog.
When a puppy or older dog arrives in a new household or is around people they are unfamiliar with, they can become slightly anxious and take time to adjust to this new environment. This settling in period can take a few hours or even weeks, and during this time, dogs may be picky with their food or refuse to eat.
As dog owners, it is human nature to worry and add high value food to the dogs meal. Whilst being good-intentioned, this is probably the biggest cause of fussy eating in dogs. Dogs are smart and can quickly pick up on patterns of behaviour and even dogs with good food drive can become fussy.
When introducing a new dog to your family home, it is important to follow these steps when it comes to food; Put food down at the same time for each dog; use the same food; leave it down for a set amount of time (usually around 5 minutes) and take the food away after this amount of time if they aren’t actively eating it; if the dog has finished eating, make sure to take the food bowl away even if there is food left.
It is tempting with a new dog or puppy to treat them a lot or buy their affection using human food. We would strongly advise that you don’t use treats or high value food until your dog has a settled, healthy eating routine.
Treating a dog is more about how it makes the human feel than any benefit to the dog. Please do treat your dog but not at the expense of or instead of a healthy meal.