You may have already seen this scenario on YouTube. Several dogs lined up in the kitchen waiting patiently for their owner to finish portioning their dog food in their respective bowls. They wait without complaint for their owner to put down their food bowls on the floor. And even when the bowls are already set, the dogs remain in their sitting position. Only when the owner gave the signal that they can eat do these dogs head to their respective bowls and start eating.
Camera Trick? Are These Dogs Robots?
No, what you saw is no camera trick. The dogs aren’t robots either or were staked to the floor using an invisible leash. What is happening here is that the dogs have undergone dog food training. You, too, can teach your dog good table manners. And if you do manage to train it well, you’ll be rewarded with additional benefits that extend well beyond the four walls of your kitchen. Since the behavior is largely related to your dog’s overexcitement, teaching it to patiently wait for its food bowl helps it learn to temper its boundless energy. There will be no more jumping hounds as you prepare their meals and no more tripping on your pet as you set its food bowl on the floor. Dinner time for your pet will be so much easier.
There are several important things that have to be in place before you start training your dog to patiently wait for its food bowl.
- You’ve got to show patience yourself. It really isn’t easy to train dogs, especially if this is your first time. Patience is one of the most important virtues that all good dog trainers have.
- You have to show consistency in training your pet; otherwise it will only get confused with what you are trying to teach it to do.
- Always stick with a magic word or a verbal cue that you will use throughout the training process. This is what your dog will remember as a command that it needs to follow.
Let’s Learn How to Teach a Dog to Wait for its Food Bowl
Get an empty food bowl or one of your best dog bowls and let your pet see you pour several pieces of its favorite treat inside. Now, hold the bowl at the level of your chest. This should be high enough so your dog will not be able to reach it. Command your pet to sit, but do not give any treat even if it does sit on its behind.
Slowly lower the bowl and issue the command “Wait”. This is your magic word and it is what you will have to use each time Fido gets overly excited. Of course, you can think of other words to use, but make sure whatever verbal cue you use the first time should be what you’ll use throughout the training. Remember consistency.
Your first goal is to lower the dog food bowl up to your knee level without Fido lifting its rear off the floor or moving towards the bowl. As you lower the bowl, your pet will not be able to resist standing up to ‘meet’ it. Stop lowering the bowl as soon as your dog lifts its buttocks off the floor. Stand up and bring the bowl to the starting height at chest level.
Repeat the process by commanding your dog to sit. As you begin to lower the food bowl, issue the Wait command. If you reached your knee level with your dog keeping still in its position and location, click and then give your pet its treat.
You have to be patient as your dog may not be able to get it the first few times. Eventually, with patience and consistency, your dog will learn what you expect it to do.
Once your dog is able to wait for its food at knee level, you can then start training your dog to remain seated and wait for its food bowl to reach the floor. Again, you have to start with the food bowl at chest level, issue the Wait command as you start lowering the bowl. As you reach the knee level, your dog might expect its treat to be given, so you have to issue the command ‘Wait’ again. If it still moves towards the bowl, stand up and start over. Your dog will soon associate the word ‘Wait’ with ‘not yet time to get my treat’.
Repeat until you are able to set the dog bowl on the floor without your dog ever moving its bottom from the sitting position. If it is able to hold this position, give Fido its food bowl and the yummy treat inside.
It is possible that your dog will also pounce on its food bowl the moment you set it on the floor. It is important to keep on issuing the ‘Wait’ command so that it stays in its place. Move back and issue another command such as “Eat”. That’s the only time that your dog is supposed to move towards its bowl. You can also try using slow feeder dog bowls so it doesn’t gobble up its food in a flash.
It takes time to train your dog to patiently wait for its food bowl. That is why it is important that you show patience and perseverance as well. How can you expect to teach your dog to be patient about its food if you don’t have the patience as well?
Moreover, it is important to keep the training sessions short. You don’t want your pet to grow bored of listening to the command ‘wait’. Keep the sessions no longer than 10 minutes every time. But you can always conduct the training session several times a day.
Teaching your pet dog to wait for its food bowl requires patience, consistency, and perseverance. Above all, you need to be judicious in the issuance of the command and the giving of rewards. Keep this to heart and you’ll have a dog with good table manners.