Structure Your Dog’s Obsession With Food: Learn how to be in control of strong food drives
On this snowy day in Ohio we are working with Maui, a 9-month-old Rottweiler. Maui has a great food drive—in other words, she is very food motivated! That’s great because it means she’s a good eater. But, it is also important that when you have a dog with a strong food drive, the dog knows that YOU are the boss of the food, not the other way around! You need to have control over how and when she takes food, which includes doing so without nipping, biting, or any other undesirable behaviors.
Managing your dog’s food drive
When training your dog’s food drive (how and when to take food and treats), the reinforcer is of course food! Food is the driving force in this scenario and is the best way to establish good eating behaviors. I like to use Bil-Jac frozen dog food—dogs love it so it makes a great motivator and reward.
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Remember, practice, patience, and perseverance are the keys to success when working with your dog no matter what behaviors you are trying to teach her. Ultimately what you want from your dog is attentiveness, willingness, gentleness, and compliance—that’s what it’s all about. When it comes to food drive and feeding time, this may take a bit more practice and patience. If your dog is highly motivated by food, chances are she attacks her food excitedly and messily. The goal at feeding time is to teach your dog that she must wait for your permission to eat.
Another trick I like to use is to let the food soak in water for a few minutes prior to feeding. It allows the dry kibble to hydrate a bit, therefore making it easier for your dog to digest and also less likely to end up scattered all over your floor.