Is your puppy, leaving a bowl half full? Lots of half-eaten bags of food in your cupboard? Does your puppy turn up their nose at perfectly decent food?
If these things are frustrating you this blog de-mystifies common beliefs about puppy feeding and will help you train your puppy to eat without fuss.
Belief number 1 - If my puppy doesn't finish his bowl it means he doesn't like it
Puppies have small stomachs and are easily distracted. Just because they don't finish the meal doesn't mean you have to go out and buy different food. This can be a never-ending waste of time, money and effort. Solution: Check you have got the feeding amount correct. Your puppy could be just telling you they are full. Keep feeding time relatively calm, children playing, visitors or other dogs can cause your dog to leave a meal to investigate. Do not immediately assume your dog doesn't like it. They catch on quick and if they know you will give them a tin of fish instead, all you are doing is training your puppy to be fussy. Simply take it away, check the amount and don't feed anything else until the next meal.
Belief number 2 - I need to provide special food for training like sausage, ham, cheese or fresh chicken
This is common practice in the dog training world and yes, puppies do like these foods! However, if you are serious about training your dog you will be doing quite a few training sessions every day. If you are using this type of food it is likely your dog will be getting too much and may start to refuse other food or simply be not hungry when it comes to dinner time. Solution: Weigh out their daily allocation of Wolfworthy and use a small handful of this allocation for training or better still use the entire meal as a training opportunity. Sausage, cheese and ham are high in salt and should be avoided.
Belief number 3 - I need to add other foods or toppers to my dog's meal to make sure he eats it
For humans, feeding is a form of love. In fact, one of the best things about owning a puppy is giving them food and seeing them enjoy it. However, heed this warning: If you start to add titbits to your puppies meal they will come to expect it and you have just taken a step onto the slippery slope of constantly looking for the next new food to please them. Solution: Get your dog used to eating his food without any extras. Establish a consistent feeding routine and keep treats for exactly that - occasional use not additions to every meal. This will ensure you do not find yourself in the ridiculous position of your puppy walking away from a high-quality meal because you didn't cover it in Bisto or cheese!
Belief number 4 - We only have one dog in the house so it is fine to leave his food down to eat when he is ready
Wrong. If you do this he is likely to graze and never really feel hungry or ready for his next meal. Introducing a window when food will be available to him will sharpen his attention and make him much more interested in eating when you say it is dinner time. If you leave it for your puppy to decide this puts him in charge and you are left pandering. Solution: Weigh out the food accurately, put it down for him, if he doesn't eat it take it up after 20mins. If he doesn't finish it, take it up, do not leave it down. He can make it up at the next meal or you might need to recheck the amount you are giving is not too much.
Belief number 5 - Dental sticks are a good way to keep my puppies teeth clean
Puppy teeth are so white we want to keep them that way! You can, just not with a dental stick. Just because something is marketed as 'dental' doesn't mean it is healthy. Most dental sticks are made with very, very poor ingredients. Including powdered cellulose (plant fibre, usually wood) and derivatives of vegetable origin (anything created from the treatment of vegetables). These are difficult to digest and filling up your puppy on low-grade rubbish will take the edge off their hunger. Solution: Clean with a toothbrush and offer a rubber dental chew toy (a large range of different styles are available online).
We believe fussy dogs can be cured and it is up to us as owners to make sure we understand the nutritional needs of our dogs and meet these needs no matter how cute their eyes are.
Starting out in the right way is much easier than leaving it until your dog is older and has developed unrealistic expectations of the menu or worse, learnt how to train you!
If you are experiencing difficulties like these with your dog and want help to change give us a call on 01625 359 359 for support and help.
To read the Complete Puppy Guide to Feeding Wolfworthy click here.
If you would like to read more about How to deal with Fussiness click here.
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