Your Always Hungry Dog | Bryant Dog Photography

It is unusual when I meet a dog that isn’t motivated by food. They are out there. But in my experience, probably only 1 out of every 40 or so dogs I meet isn’t food motivated.

My dogs are certainly food motivated. If I haven’t fed them by their usual time, they are after me to feed them. They are pouting wondering where their food is, just like Maxwell up above. My whippet Sophie always wants to be fed before it is time and when I tell her it is not time, she exhales this loud sigh and turns and walks away.  She’s back in 5 minutes to try again.

My dogs get fed twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. I do not free feed my dogs because they would gorge themselves on the food. (Don’t ask me about the time they got into a 15 pound bag of dog food…. It was not pretty…)

But even if you have dogs that will not gorge themselves on food, there are still other reasons to not free feed them. First, lets make sure you understand what I mean by “free feed”.  Free feeding is when a bowl  of food is always available whenever they want to eat. That may be easier for you, but is not always good for your dog. It is nearly impossible to maintain a healthy weight on your dog if you free feed them. Then there is the issue of training. When you free feed a dog, they are not dependent on you for their food. When you stop free feeding and make your dog dependent on you for their food, their responsiveness to you and their receptiveness to training is greatly improved. 

Years ago I helped train some SPCA dogs. This one sheltie in the class ignored her owner. She didn’t even respond to her name. We asked the owner to change how she fed the dog. No more continuously available food, and new scheduled feeding times. Two weeks later the sheltie was like a new dog. She was very attentive to her owner and much better behaved. The training class went much better for her after that. It is amazing how much of a difference there was for such a small change. If you are free feeding your dog, consider changing it and see if it helps both you and your dog.

Is your dog exceptionally food motivated? Comment below and tell me about it.

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  • TonyM - September 13, 2012 - 6:33 am

    Maggie, how long do you let the food be available before you pick it up?

  • Margaret - September 13, 2012 - 8:07 am

    The time varies. Five to ten minutes. Certainly no longer than that. Dogs catch on really fast that if they are going to eat that they need to do it when you put the food down. Now if Cesme is not food motivated, then you might not really see a difference.