Helping Your Puppy Behave While Eating

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Pandering to his every need is not a good thingDog image

As your puppy grows, so will his need to assert himself. Puppies often choose mealtimes as a battle ground. But giving in to him is a mistake. You need to make sure he knows that you won't respond to his every demand. You'll also need to get him to accept you and the rest of the family getting on with life around him. For example, puppies can become very territorial and possessive over their food bowl and will make a fuss if approached while eating. This behaviour can become quite difficult and anti-social, so you must put a stop to it. It's not too difficult to achieve, it just takes patience. Follow the steps below and your pup should develop perfect table manners.

Less is more

Put a small amount of, food in your puppy's bowl and move away. When he finishes it, return to the bowl and put in a little more. This will help him to eagerly anticipate your approach.

Keep him happy

You'll know he's happy when his tail starts wagging as you get nearer, but now you'll need to get him used to you approaching while he is eating.

All together now

Now you're ready to put his whole meal down all at once. Stand, or sit near him and add a special treat to his bowl as he eats. Speak to him softly and stroke him as you drop the reward into his bowl. Repeat this once every few meals until your puppy is totally at ease.

The extra mile

Your puppy needs to learn that people around him, particularly small children, can be unpredictable. But he needs to accept that this behavior is not threatening. You can help him do this by imitating a child's behavior: try stepping quickly towards his bowl - then drop in a treat. Gently bump into him, while he's eating, or roll toys nearby - anything to cause a distraction, but drop a treat in the bowl to reward him for continuing to eat calmly. Do this every so often, but not at every meal. If your puppy freezes mid mouthful, growls or glares at you, stop and try again another time. If this continues, it's best to seek advice from an animal trainer. Click here for more information on Training.

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