Have you seen dogs that focus on their owners constantly, listening and obeying every command they’re given? If so, do you wish that your beloved pet also had the same level of focus? If you want your dog to pay more attention to you, you should seriously consider hand feeding him. This simply means having him eat his meals from your hand.
Sure, hand feeding dogs can be a bit messy and will take longer compared to eating from the bowl. However, the benefits outweigh the inconveniences by far. For starters, hand feeding helps to strengthen the bond between you and your dog. It also boosts confidence and builds trust especially in shy and fearful dogs, besides getting them to focus more on you. That extra focus will go along way in making training easier.
So, how frequent should you hand feed your pet to reap these benefits? It’s all up to you. You can choose to do so a couple of times per week, or give him most of his meals from your hand. Note that some dogs will eat easily from your hand while others won’t. If yours fall into the latter group, ask him to sit down first, and then see if he’ll eat from your hand as a reward. If this method doesn’t work, let him stay without food for a while and then try again later. When he feels hungry, he’ll definitely want to eat.
Here are some benefits of hand feeding:
Builds Trust In Fearful And Shy Dogs
Under socialized dogs can benefit greatly from the trust and bond that hand feeding provides. However, it’s going to take some time and effort on your part to make your fearful or shy dog gain trust in human beings again, so be patient. Once, he has gained your trust, he’ll be able to eat freely and happily from your hand. Be sure to ask your friends and family members to hand feed him as well. Interacting with other people often will greatly boost his confidence.
Strengthens The Bond Between You and Your Dog
If you’ve just brought in a new dog home, try hand feeding him to help create a strong bond between you two. It’s a simple and effective way to build your new relationship.
Slows Down Fast Eaters
Dogs that eat too fast don’t chew their food well, which can lead to choking. In addition, breeds with large and deep chests are at a higher risk of developing life-threatening stomach bloat when they eat faster. Luckily, hand feeding can help slow your pet down, thereby preventing health concerns associated with fast eating.
Improves Impulse Control and Focus
Dogs that are regularly hand fed focus better, which makes them easier to train. This practice also helps both puppies and older dogs learn to control their impulses and have good manners around food. Hand feeding provides the perfect opportunity to teach biting puppies commands such as “easy” and “gentle”.
Helps With Resource Guarding
Finally, hand feeding doesn’t completely cure resource guarding around food, but it certainly provide the right foundation for you to work from during training. It does so by building trust and confidence, and strengthening the bond between you and your dog.
If you’re not hand feeding your dog yet, you should try it out. You and your dog have so much to gain as you can see above.