Why should you use this daily method for feeding your puppy?
It’s undeniable that one of the most important aspects you have in your puppy’s life is satisfying their hunger. In fact, according to them, it’s definitely the most important! In this article, we will explain the benefits of overhauling the way you feed your new puppy in order to help you all have a more harmonious lifestyle and home. In the method that we will explain, the majority of your puppy’s daily feed will come directly from you instead of their food bowl. You can place the food in all sorts of locations around the home, which will all have different benefits and outcomes for your pup and their training. If you want to find out more about this method of feeding and what it can do to help train your puppy into one to be proud of, keep on reading!
Firstly, what is the best food to use for this sort of training?
We don’t usually go too far into the kibble vs raw vs wet food argument. After all, there are strong advantages and disadvantages for all types of feed when it comes to your dog’s health, which is a debate that we won’t get into here. However, if you want to use this strategy, it’s far easier to use a quality kibble diet such as Eukanuba. But why do we recommend a kibble-type food for this method of training specifically? Well, with this method, we suggest that you feed your puppy in various places around your home and when out and about. So, a kibble-type food is the easiest to transport, and by far the least messy type of food, which will make your life a whole lot easier when doing this type of training. However, you can of course use other types of food using raw or wet food if that works best for you. Kibble just tends to be best for most families.
Why try the strategic use of daily feed?
Here at Royvon, we are big advocates for positive training methods when it comes to all dogs, not just puppies! The ultimate aim is to build positive associations in your pup towards the behaviours that you desire them to have, and behaviours that help towards harmony in the home. Some examples of the sorts of behaviours that puppies may learn with positive methods include:
Getting your puppy to like their crate or den
Helping your puppy to settle in their own place when you settle in your place, for example on your computer or on the sofa
Teaching your puppy to sit and wait when you arrive home or guests arrive into your home, rather than jumping up or becoming generally boisterous
Focus games, which increase your puppy’s focus (this is useful for all sorts of further training and desired behaviours)
Recall games (These will help your pup’s recall, so you can quickly call them back to you when out and about. This is really useful in a huge variety of situations, from seeing another dog on a lead, to potentially dangerous situations for your dog).
These positive associations can be formed in many ways. However, one that is really key is when the puppy performs the desired behaviour, and then the consequence is an enjoyable food treat. After all, many dogs are extremely food motivated, and even if they are not, they will still enjoy a treat!
Dogs are not interested in dominating us. They are simply motivated to do all sorts of various things, and they will sometimes do whatever it takes to get what they want. This behaviour from your puppy is sometimes mistaken by some new owners as ‘my puppy is trying to dominate me’. To avoid unwanted behaviours, rules and boundaries are fundamental in order to experience harmony in the home. So, why not provide their favourite thing- food- as often as possible when they show you the behaviours that you want? In essence, this method involves distributing their regular daily food allowance periodically and strategically throughout the day in order to benefit your puppy and your training efforts. Up next, we will discuss the method in more detail, and how to use it in your day-to-day lives.
How to use this daily method
This method is actually really simple once you know what to do and the best way to do it! To start, simply follow the guidelines on your chosen brand of quality kibble and measure out the daily amount. Place this amount to one side in a container. This is the amount of food you will give your puppy each day. However, instead of giving it to your puppy three or four times a day in a bowl, as you may be used to doing, you will instead give it to your puppy throughout the day from you directly. Usually, we would suggest separating your pup’s daily allowance into several little pots which you then place in strategic areas around your home. The usual areas that are used for this are:
Near your dog’s crate or den
Where you and your puppy usually hang out together
Near the main entrance and exit of your home
Near the area where you play obedience games with your puppy
You only need a small amount of food, like this, in each location
In order for this method to work as planned, you need to use games and engagement. So, when you receive attention and focus from your dog, they are rewarded with a small portion of their daily food allowance. There are so many fun games you can play with your dog to utilise this method! For example, you can toss a kibble to your dog, play catch with them, or even toss the kibble around the room so they can go and find it. Whenever you throw a piece of food away from you, your dog will be engaged to reconnect with the source of that food. And, that source is you! This improves recall, focus, and attention, which we have already discussed the huge benefits of. But, it will also help you form an even better relationship with your lovely dog, and what owner doesn’t want that?
But what about when you’re not playing games with your dog, when can you use this method? Well, this is where the idea of ‘sprinkles’ comes in. You can use this option if your dog has been displaying some good behaviour at home or out and about. This could be anything, such as paying good attention to you or settling nicely. Whatever it is, you can then offer your dog a handful of their daily food allowance from your strategically placed pots to reward them for showing the good behaviour. Also, you can leave a little of the food in your dog’s crate when they have been elsewhere in the home or outdoors. This will reinforce to your dog that their den or crate is a positive place to hang out, so they will be more willing to spend time in there in the future.
Whatever behaviours you want your dog to develop when you’re out and about, you need to spend time and effort throughout the day training, rewarding, and reinforcing good behaviours in your home and garden. You should be working to encourage your dog to care what you are doing, where you are going, and if you are offering them any commands. This is so that they can obey these commands and then the yummy food rewards that they know are coming!
So, instead of placing your dog’s daily food allowance in a bowl and missing out on a great opportunity to help train them and further improve your relationship, why not follow this proven strategy? I would love to hear how you get on with it below. It’s a method that lots of dog owners love, and for good reason. It’s a positive training method that both you and your dog will really enjoy, and it definitely gets results for most pups!
Food training video
On the Royvon YouTube channel, we have lots of help on ways to implement this strategy, plus lots of other dog training tips! For example, check out this video on five ways to use food in your dog training to get some inspiration for some fun ways to implement strategic daily feeding in your dog’s training routine:
More about Royvon
Royvon has been a family-run business for over 60 years, making us the UK’s longest-established pet care company! We were also the nation’s first specialist for dog obedience training and behaviour management. As a result, we are used to dealing with dogs of all breeds who may have a variety of behavioural problems, from mild to severe! If you and your dog need a little extra training help, Royvon is here for you. It’s our mission to help dogs and owners build great relationships so that you can feel proud to take your pup anywhere! From group puppy classes to one-to-one, residential training options, we have something to suit everyone. If you would like to find out more about all of the options we offer, please visit our website today. Or, don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss what we can do to help you!
Darren is the Managing Director of Royvon Dog Training & Hotels. The business has been in his family for over 60 years! Darren uses this blog to share knowledge and information about dog training and more.