Friday, March 10, 2006

Hungry Dog Is An Angry Dog

My Miniature Schnauzer Cocoa, loves eating!
He is a vacuum cleaner and his weight is totally normal due to his crazy activity level.
He gets 5 soup spoon full of dry kibbles and some fruits. Of course, every once in a while I give him a treat or two when he sits or is a good boy.

My first Maltiese puppy Tymmie never wanted to eat and we would have to sit on the floor with him till he would eat his breakfast and dinner. Feeding time was not easy for Tymmie or us, especially when we had plans to go out for the night.

Meal time is very special to puppies and they often look at the person who feeds them as the dominant figure. This stems from the same territorial instinct that causes a dog to mark his territory and that makes crating an ideal way to help house break a dog.

So, to make sure both Tymmie and Cocoa understand that my family and I are humans who dominate the house with authority, we take turns feeding them. By doing this, we want Tymmie and Cocoa to realize we are both the ones in charge and we feed Tymmie first, as he is older.

There are never any worries about Tymmie attacking Cocoa over food, we free feed Tymmie so he knows if he wants food, there is never an issue.

Cocoa is the one piggly wiggly runs over to Tymmie’s food trying to scarf down both his own and Tymmie’s food during breakfast and dinner!

The trick to not have food dominance is as a puppy, the owner should perform certain tasks.

· Put the food down but do not allow the puppy to run over and begin eating till you give the OK.

· In the middle of the feeding, stick your hand by the food. If the puppy growls or tries to bite you, take the food away and let the puppy know you are in charge.

· Always remember, the owner is in charge and the puppy needs to understand this.

I knew that there would always be people, sometimes children, around both Tymmie and Cocoa, even when they are eating.

By practicing with the two of them as young puppies, it alleviated any worries that if my niece or nephew stuck their hand in the dog’s food bowl, they would get bitten.

Of course I can’t say the same thing for my niece and nephew when the dogs try and beg for their food!

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