Helping Your Puppy Behave While Eating

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Pandering to his every need is not a good thingDog image

As your puppy grows, so will their need to assert themselves. Puppies often choose mealtimes as a battle ground. But giving in is a mistake. You need to make sure your puppy knows that you won't respond to every demand. You'll also need to get them to accept you and the rest of the family getting on with life around them, for example, puppies can become very territorial and possessive over their food bowl and will make a fuss if approached while eating. This behaviour can become quite difficult and anti-social, so you must put a stop to it. It's not too difficult to achieve, it just takes patience. Follow the steps below and your pup should develop perfect table manners.


Less is more

Put a small amount of food in your puppy's bowl and move away. When finished, return to the bowl and put in a little more. This will get them to eagerly anticipate your approach. You'll know your puppy is happy if their tail starts wagging as you get nearer.


All together now

Now you're ready to put the full meal down all at once. Stand, or sit nearby and add a special treat to the bowl as they eat. Speak softly and stroke them as you drop the reward into the bowl. Repeat this once every few meals until your puppy is totally at ease.


The extra mile

Your puppy needs to learn that people around them, particularly small children, can be unpredictable. But they need to accept that their behaviour is not threatening. You can help by imitating a child's behaviour: try stepping quickly towards the bowl - then drop in a treat. Gently bump into your puppy, while eating, or roll toys nearby - anything to cause a distraction, but drop a treat in the bowl to reward for continuing to eat calmly. Do this every so often, but not at every meal. If your puppy freezes mid mouthful, growls or glares at you, stop and try again another time. If this continues, it's best to seek advice from an animal trainer.