Teaching a Pack of Dogs to Wait for Permission to Eat to Develop Self Control

By: David Codr

Published Date: September 28, 2018

For this Los Angeles dog training session, we added some structure to meal time to help this trio of dogs (Teddy a 5 year-old French Bulldog, 5 year old Maltese Chloe and 3 year-old Bear – from left) develop self control and build up respect for their humans as authority figures.

When we originally booked the session, the guardians were most concerned with Chloe who they seemed to think was the ringleader. She got very worked up which caused the other dogs to get worked up. She also occasionally would nip guests who visit her home.

I waited outside after the guardian answer the door for the dogs to calm down. The dog I anticipated to be the most difficult, Chloe was actually the easiest. She simply climbed up on to the leg of her guardian and remained there as well I gave a treat to Bear and then Teddy.

Eventually Chloe came over and I popped a treat into her mouth while she was calm. From that point on Chloe was a peach.

After sitting down with the dogs guardian to discuss the situation I learned that while they received a decent amount of exercise, they were lacking rules and structure. This resulted in several unwanted behaviors as well as some that were potential he dangerous, Chloe and Bear teaming up on the more docile Teddy.

I believe that many of these dogs unwanted behaviors is result from their perception that they have the same or more authority than their humans and lack of practice at restraining themselves.

I made a number of dog behavior suggestions that should help the dog start to see and respect the humans as being authority figures.

Throughout the first part of the session, Bear perked up and ran over to door barking anytime he heard something outside of the home. After an hour or so of this, I started to disagree with bear the instant he started. It was wonderful to see how quickly he responded and stopped this unwanted barking behavior.

I suggested that the guardians just start to pet the dogs with a purpose as well as reward desired behaviors through passive training. I also suggested a number of rules and ways to incorporate structure that should help these unbalanced dogs stop their unwanted and inappropriate behavior.

One of these included adding structure to the feeding ritual. You can watch me teach these dogs to wait for permission to eat food waiting in their bowls by watching the free dog behavior training video below.

I only had to correct the dogs a couple of times to get them to stay away from the dog that was eating. Bear was the most difficult, trying to act like me a few times to get to his food bowl.

If the guardians repeat this structured feeding method for a few days, the dog should start to catch on and wait for permission to eat the food waiting in their bowl without challenging the humans. Adding structure to meal time is a wonderful way of helping the dogs practice some delayed gratification.

The more that the humans ask the dogs to earn things, delay gratification and enforce rules, the more the dogs will respect their humans and stop thinking that they are in charge of or need to correct and police the world.

Based on how quickly the dogs responded, I am very optimistic that the humans now have the tools they need to bring balance to this pack of dogs. You don’t have to be a professional Maltese trainer or have experience as a French Bulldog trainer to apply the techniques that I shared with the guardians. They just simply require good timing and consistency.

We wrapped up the session by shooting a roadmap to success video where I summarized all of the major themes of this in-home dog training session.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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