Proper dog feeding training includes more than just food. Feeding your dog involves training too if you want it to be a fairly stress free process. Remember, this is a step that you will be doing several times a day for the rest of the dogs life so if you train them now it will be very smooth later on.
Your German Shepherd puppy and dog alike also needs to learn proper table manners if he is to become a reliable and trustworthy member of your family. It is important that you teach your dog things like giving up his food to you without any sort of scene and not to steal food that does not belong to him in the first place no matter where it may be.
If you properly train your puppy both of these important, necessary and basic table manners early on it will also help to prevent both food aggression and food stealing issues later on. And if you start early on, it's not that hard to teach your puppy or dog table manners. Here's how I would suggest you do proper dog feeding training with your own pets.
First, any time you feed your dog or puppy, make him sit and wait as you place his dish in front of him. In fact, you can even use the command "wait" to reinforce the wait time during training. If he doesn't wait, or gets up when you put the food down take it back up, make him sit again and retry the process.
It may take several tries but eventually when the puppy or dog waits after you have put the food down tell him "eat" and release him to eat. Do this each and every time you feed your dog or puppy and they will soon learn not only that you are in control of the food but also that you will share your food with him when it is time to eat.
Later on you can also add more wait time before you actually give the "eat" command once you put the food down. This extra time may come in handy down the road in various situations. Remember, once he complies and follows your commands to reward him with praise and let him enjoy his meal.
In just a few weeks your German Shepherd should have no problem waiting for the "eat" command. This is a very important and complex skill, teaching your dog the ability to restrain himself on command. Once he is solid on this you are well on your way to the next proper dog feeding training issue.
Certain dogs have food handling or food guarding issues. Either of these can be dangerous if not taken care of soon - the best thing to do is to prevent these food issues from appearing in the first place.
Here's one way to do it. From time to time, as your dog is eating, put your hands near his food, touch his food bowl or even his food if possible.
You could even add or take food away from his his food dish while he is eating using your bare hands. Here is the important thing to remember: if the puppy or dog growls or, even worse, nips at you when your hand comes near his bowl, say "NO!" and immediately take away the food dish.
Feed your dog again at his next scheduled meal time as if nothing has happened and again try touching the food dish and food while the puppy is eating. Once the dog accepts your dominance and allows you to play with its food and food dish without question you have taught your dog an important part of proper dog feeding training.
You must keep this up until the dog realizes that you are in charge of the food - if left unresolved any food borne dominance issues will only get worse over time and can be quite dangerous if left untreated. It is important that the dog come to accept you as the provider and source of his next meal and also that he acknowledge your dominance should you want to inspect or even share in the contents of his food dish.
"When a shepherd goes to kill a wolf, and takes his dog along to see the sport, he should take care to avoid mistakes. The dog has certain relationships to the wolf the shepherd may have forgotten." - Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
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Thank you for this web site. Very informative and well written. I
often advise my shepherd people to visit here for information. Again
Laura Page Warden
What a fabulous website!!! I really enjoyed reading about the history of the dogs. There is a ton of helpful information on here and defiantly something for every reader to enjoy!!!
Recently got a GSD again. Last time had GSD no internet etc. Cant believe how much info for free. Kenneth
I love and appreciate the helpful advice I found on your website!