How To Train Your Puppy To Behave While Eating | Hill's Transforming Lives

How To Train Your Puppy To Behave While Eating?

Resist the urge to give in to puppy domination

Puppies will start to assert their need for dominance as they grow and you should know that they often choose mealtimes to draw these battle lines. However, giving in to their whims is not the answer. They need to accept that you won’t respond to every utterance and that your family’s lives continue to happen around them when they’re eating.

Puppies can get very territorial while eating, guarding their food bowls with jealousy, and growling or yapping when you come near. This antisocial behaviour can become problematic if not addressed, so you’ll need to nip it in the bud. But with a bit of patience, it will be easy to teach your puppy good table manners. Just follow the steps below. 

Just a little bit at a time

First, place only a little bit of food into your puppy’s bowl, then move away. Wait for the pup to finish eating, then approach the bowl again to add a little more food. In this way, you will train them to eagerly and patiently wait for you to approach. How will you know it’s working? Well, a surefire sign that will let you know that you’ve succeeded is when your pup wags its tail as you get closer. Victory! 

Graduating to a full bowl

In the next part of this training, you can give your pup a full bowl of food. Be in the vicinity, and put a treat in its bowl while it's eating, stroking it and speaking soft words of praise as you do so. Do this every few meals until the puppy is completely comfortable with your presence around their food while eating. 

Preparing for unpredictability

Your puppy needs to learn that people — especially little ones — can be unpredictable around it and that they pose no threat. You can train your puppy to become tolerant of children by imitating their behaviour. One strategy is to approach the puppy’s bowl quickly, as a toddler might, and drop a treat into the bowl. Another is to create a distraction while it's eating, like bumping into your pup or rolling toys towards it, and then dropping a treat into its bowl as a reward for continuing to eat without getting upset. Do this only now and again. If the puppy stops eating, growls, or stares at you, stop the training and try again at another mealtime. If their behaviour continues, ask an experienced animal trainer for advice or even assistance.