Ditching the Bowl – why your dog will thank you for it!
Each and every day, your dog has a daily food allowance. We like to look at it as a pot of value. As owners we get to decide where that pot of value is spent. If we pour that pot of value into training and games, rather than a bowl, we are boosting that relationship bank account with our dog.
Ditching the bowl and using your dog’s food for games and training is probably the single biggest thing you can do to transform your relationship with your dog. This is huge! You become the centre of all things fun!
Working for Food
Not only will using your dog’s food enhance your relationship with your dog, but your dog actually prefers to work for their food, rather than get it for ‘free’ in a bowl. The term is known as contra freeloading. In 1963, Glen Jensen, an animal psychologist conducted a study on around 200 rats. The rats were given the choice between food in a bowl, which was present in their environment, and a food dispenser that required the rat to step on a pedal a set number of times in order for the food to be released. The study found that the rats preferred to opt for the foot pedal, rather than the ‘free’ food on offer! Since this original study, further studies were conducted on other mammals, and you guessed, also dogs, with the same results!
How cool is this?!
Using your dog’s food for training, games and enrichment and them working for it, is actually their PREFERRED option! By ditching the bowl, you are bringing true fulfilment to your dog’s life.
Now, we get it, it can be a little overwhelming at first, especially if you own a large breed who requires a hefty amount of food each day. The thought of using ALL of it for training and games alone can be a little daunting. So, get creative with how your dog can work for their food. As well as training and games think about using food enrichment toys, food puzzles, kongs, scatter feeding your dog’s food around the house or in the garden.
Ditching the bowl is our VERY first suggestion to all of our students and once they embrace it, they don’t look back! Trust us, you won’t either!
Check out our Top Tips and Advice at Devon Dogs!
We hope you enjoy these training tips, and just to let you know that we are also offering online classes where you can join us and train your dog from the comfort of your own home. And if you want specific advice on any training issues, check out our Behaviour Consult Calls and Zoom Training Calls. To learn more about how we can help, visit our website, or email us HERE.