In order for this to happen you need to build a relationship with your dog and you can do this by training your dog with food.
Training with food helps to create a working relationship with your dog and during our Cadence K9 Miami Bootcamp Programs, we train every dog with their kibble to help create a relationship faster.
This type of training is not limited to just our canines, this can apply to any animal under the sun.
The idea is simple, ask your dog to perform behaviors in order to receive kibble. Just like anything else, there is a normal progression in difficulty throughout the training.
Start out by just allowing your dog to eat a little bit of kibble out of your hand or close by, this will make sure they are comfortable eating from your hand and we will gradually increase the difficulty of behavior.
Food is a necessity to dogs. They have to eat, whereas they do not need affection, chew bone or a ball being thrown.
Most dogs lack mental activity and working for kibble makes them think to get food, stimulating their mental activity, resulting in a well rounded and behaved dog. Incorporating mental activities into your dog's life will ensure they are satisfied mentally as well as physically.
To do this, visit your vet to determine the appropriate amount of food per day for your pup. Keep in mind it is common in our modern society to overfeed our dogs because we love them so much.
Dogs that are overweight need to reduce food slowly and carefully to ensure their well being and safety.
Next, measure your dog's kibble for each feeding/training session.
You can choose to have one training session, three sessions, or feed kibble throughout the day as rewards.
Instead of putting the food in a bowl and setting it on the ground, you want to make your dog do something for the food and there are many activities you can do with your dog.
Below are just a few of the many examples of activities you can do.
Lure your dog into these positions: sit,down, place, handsome and bow for the food.
Ask for a behavior:
Once a dog knows the commands with luring as mentioned above, we name the command. We would say “Sit” and briefly pause, then use our lure for the command. Once the dog sits we release with a release command “Yes.”
We start small when asking for behaviors, and only ask for one small thing at a time. Over months we can start combining commands and increase distance, duration and distraction.
Star Mark Bob A Lot
This is one of my favorites interactive food toys because the dog has to actively work and engage to get the kibble. If your pup no longer wants to work for food they will stop playing and stop eating. This toy has survived the worst of my chewers, although it is advised to never leave any toy alone with a dog unsupervised. We sometimes use these toys to feed dogs in our Miami Dog Training Bootcamp programs.
Snuffle mats are easy to make for the DIY’er and another great option for your pup to enjoy their kibble. It allows dog to use their natural foraging skills to search and hunt their food. The dog becomes mentally and physically satisfied because the dog uses their sense of smell to search and find the kibble. Below is a link to a similar we used in the video, but there are many different options.
Puzzle games/ Food Toys
Luckily due to the internet we have access to find hundreds of dog puzzle games and toys online. They have toys you insert food into or peanut butter such as the Kong, and puzzle games where dogs use their brains to figure out the puzzle.
Reuse and recycle Toys
Do not give Fido all the toys at once, rotate them in and out of your house-hold. This way our pups get excited about the toys and they become more fun because we do not always allow access to them.
Find it game
Meli created a great video about playing find it that you can watch after this video. Essentially you have your dog in a sit stay or another room. Hide treats around objects and tell your dog to find the treats.
More on fun, effective dog training tips to come!