Whole Dog Journal Tips December 16, 2013

(Positive Perspectives 2 Tip#2) - Meals Versus Free Feeding

I cringe internally when a client tells me she free-feeds her dog­—that is, keeps the bowl on the floor filled with kibble all the time. I’m a strong believer in feeding meals for a number of reasons, in addition to the medical fact that a dog’s digestive system is designed more to gorge than to graze. There are numerous advantages to feeding your dog specific amounts of food at specific times:

  • You can monitor intake. If you feed meals, you’ll know the instant Buster goes off his feed – sometimes the first sign that he’s not feeling well.
  • You minimize your dog’s opportunities to guard his food.
  • You can utilize feeding time as training time.
  • You can take advantage of feeding time to reinforce your role as the higher-ranking member of your social group. You can’t be the “alpha dog” – your dog knows you’re not a dog – but you are a member of his social group.
  • You know when he’s full, and when he’s empty. Your training sessions are more likely to be successful if you train when Buster’s stomach is empty rather than full.
  • You can use his meals as training treats.
  • You can control your dog’s weight.
  • You may spark his appetite. People with fussy eaters often make the mistake of leaving food out constantly. The dog grazes all day, never gets hungry, thus never gets eager for food.

For more feeding and training tips, read Pat Miller’s Positive Perspectives 2. Click here to purchase from Whole Dog Journal.