Golden Rule Dog Training

Proudly serving Toronto, Ontario

Bowled Over

                                                      Bowled over
You're probably going to be surprised by one piece of equipment I never use with my dog. There are actually several, but most of them are obvious; prong and choke collars, shocks and sprays. All positive dog trainers avoid these items, but there is one on my list that might surprise you; a food bowl. My dog never eats any of her food from out of a food bowl, we don't even own one anymore. I do feed her of course, I don't shove her out the door at dinner time and tell her she better start hunting or find a job, instead I make her meals FUN! There are a few different ways you can do that, and not only are they easy, they will make your life easier.
The first thing I recommend is getting a Kong, or maybe several. A Kong is a durable hard rubber treat hiding toy. The first time I gave my dog a Kong I was SHOCKED how much fun she had with it! I popped a few treats into the Kong and she had a blast trying to shake or roll the treats out. I even put some loose treats on the floor, but she didn't even notice, she was focused on getting inside that Kong! You can get creative with your Kong, I like filling my dog Buffy's Kongs with a couple different kinds of treats and then freezing them in place with peanut butter. The benefit for your dog is Kongs are FUN! The benefit for you is it keeps your dog occupied while you concentrate on other things; it can be used to keep your dog busy when they are home alone, crated, or when you want to distract them from something scary.
Kibble Balls
Another great item that I love to use with my dog is a kibble ball. A kibble ball is a hollow ball with 1 hole for filling with kibble. If your dog eats dry kibble, or even something semi solid like Beef Rollover, you can fill the kibble ball with that. The dog then needs to roll the ball around the room until he gets all the kibble out. Like a Kong, it can be fun, mentally stimulating, and a great way to keep your dog busy for a while. Buffy gets nearly half of her daily allowance of food from her kibble ball.
Puzzle Games
I also like to give my dog some of her food in puzzle games. Puzzle games for dogs come in a variety of types, the one I have for Buffy has several sliding lids covering compartments, and the dog has to figure out how to slide the compartments open to get the treats inside.
Hand Feeding
I also feed my dog at least a handful of food per day directly out of my hand. When I am sitting on the couch and watching TV, I invite my dog up onto the couch with me (this is allowed in my home) and if she lies calmly next to me I feed her a piece of kibble every 2 or 3 seconds. This keeps her focused on me and also encourages her to engage in calm behavior when she wants something. It's also a nice, easy, bonding experience.

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