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FEEDING RITUAL: WORKING

Cesar Millan wrote:

Domestication has made it possible for dogs to receive their food without having to hunt it down themselves, but it’s still in their nature to feel the need to work for it. Before my dogs eat, I take them for a walk. In this way, I ask my dogs to work for food and water. This is a form of waiting, which is psychological exercise that helps nurture a balanced, happy dog.

The morning routine should look like this:

You project calm-assertive energy before you give your dog affection.

You walk your dog to exercise her body and allow her to explore the world.

  • When you get home, prepare her food.
  • While you fill the bowl, ask your dog to sit.

    If she sits quietly and projects calm-submissive energy with no negative behaviors, place the bowl of food in front of her.

    Some of my clients think this routine sounds too rigid, but from your dog’s perspective, it is instinctual. Focusing the mind and body brings the dog back into a more natural, balanced state.

  • FEEDING RITUAL : NEGATIVE BEHAVIORS

    Food carries a powerful message in the dog world. Puppies work for food by waiting patiently for their mother. This is a form of psychological exercise, and it’s important for a healthy state of mind.

    Domestication has brought about a change in the way dogs receive their meals and in the way they behave before mealtime. Dogs will often become excited, anxious, or aggressive at the prospect of being fed. If you feed your dog when he displays negative behaviors, you are reinforcing the behavior, and it will almost certainly reoccur.

    I feed many dogs at the same time with no problems. Dogs that show calm-submissive energy get to eat first, and dogs that show negative behaviors such as aggression or nervousness must wait. When these dogs project calm-submissive energy, I reward them with their meal - much like their mother or pack leader would do.

    Mealtimes are a useful tool to help you connect with your dog and work to shape his demeanor. Make sure your dog has reached a calm-submissive state before you place the food bowl in front of him. By doing so, you are not only providing him with nutrition, you are helping him lead a balanced and happy life.

     

     

     

     

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