Have you seen those dogs that are constantly focused on their owner, listening to commands with such intensity and reliably obeying every command? Do those dogs make you envious? I was as well, but once I started hand feeding my dog I realized I could get that same level of focus.
The results have been nothing short of amazing.
Hand Feeding Your Dog Has Multiple Benefits
Hand feeding your dog is an easy way to get them to start focusing more on you, and all that extra focus will make any future training easier.
It also has the benefit of creating some really great manners and impulse control
But hand feeding your dog isn’t just great for training, it’s particularly useful for shy or fearful dogs because it provides socialization, confidence building and it helps build trust.
It’s a great way to strengthen the bond with your dog — and it’s an easy way to get your dog to really start paying attention to you.
Why I Started Hand Feeding My Dog
Almost all of the articles that I read, had one principle in common: you start managing and gaining trust, by hand feeding your dog.
It does build a really good foundation for us to work with our puppies, to provide security and confidence from them, and as well, it strengthens our bond and it builds trust.
And it does provide additional benefits.I recommend hand feeding any new dog or puppy you bring into your home.
It’s a simple way to create a bond and it’s great for teaching good manners around food.
How To Hand Feed Your Dog
Hand feeding is having your dog eat meals out of your hand. The frequency is up to you.
Some people choose to hand feed the majority of their meals, while others do it a couple times a week.
We do this with our puppies first thing in the morning, to teach them, when they are weaning off of Mom, and to ensure that they have something in their little tummies, from not eating all night.
I love having them eat out of my hand. I like the feel of the puppies touch, and the bond it creates.
This is their happiest time, is in the morning, and so I sit on the kitchen floor with them, drinking my coffee, and having them hand feed, while I get to pat and stroke them, and start my day off right with all of their appreciative puppy kisses!! ♥
I don’t stick to a strict ‘she has to eat every meal from my hand’ schedule.
I just made sure that occasionally, in the mornings, that the puppies are hand fed.
Measure out your dogs meals and begin letting your dog eat from your hand.
Pull your hand away if they get too pushy
Once they act calm again you can put your hand back down and let them eat
If your dog refuses to eat from your hand let him go without and try again later
If your dog doesn’t want to eat from your hand, teach him to sit and see if he’ll take it as a reward
Some dogs take easier to hand feeding than others.
If your dog doesn’t want to eat from your hand try again later (dogs won’t starve themselves).
If you want to entice your dog to eat from your hand try asking them to sit first.
Some dogs prefer eating treats more than having them handed out for free.
You can switch things up from time to time and put some kibble in his food bowl or a treat dispensing toy.
As long as the majority of food is eaten from your hands during this period you’ve completed hand feeding training.
How Hand Feeding Can Help Your Dog
The more I hand fed my dog the more I began to question why I didn’t start earlier.
Yes it’s a little messy from time to time, and yes it takes a bit longer than just letting your dog eat from her bowl.
But the benefits far outweigh those two slight inconveniences.
The benefits of hand feeding you dog are:
Adds focus & impulse control
Works for training bite inhibition
Builds a strong bond
Slows down quick eaters
Builds trust in shy/fearful dogs
1. Hand Feeding Builds Up Your Dogs Focus
Hand feeding your dog is an easy way to get your dog to focus more on you.
It’s not an answer to all behavioral issues but it will build trust in your relationship.
If you have a brand new puppy hand feeding creates a quick, strong bond with your new companion.
If you’ve ever seen those dogs doing agility and were jealous of how much attention they were giving to their owners chances are some of them have definitely been hand fed.
It’s a common training technique for dogs in obedience class, those practicing agility, and many service dogs in training.
Hand feeding is a great way to teach your dog to have manners around food and it helps them develop some basic impulse control.
2. Hand Feeding Helps Teach Puppies Not to Bite
If you’re struggling with bite inhibition it’s a perfect opportunity to teach him the commands “gentle” or “easy” in order to get more treats.
Dogs that are hand fed will develop a trust and respect for the human hand.
You can practice the closed fist method to teach your dog self control while hand feeding.
Put a handful of kibble in one hand and get your dogs attention.
Once your dog is in front of you with his eyes on you slowly open your fist to where he could reach over and grab it.
If your dog makes a move to snatch any food close your fist.
What you’re trying to do is modify his behavior so he doesn’t “mug” you for treats without permission.
Eventually he should realize your hand opens up when he’s sitting calmly.
Once he’s given you some good focus without snatching you can reward him with the food.
3. Hand Feeding Creates a Strong Bond With Your Dog
Hand feeding can help new dogs bond quickly with new owners.
If you’ve recently added a new dog to your family doing some hand feeding is a great way to start building up your new relationship.
It’s a simple way to gain a dogs trust. Your puppy can benefit from the bond and trust that hand feeding gives.
Once you’ve gained that trust you can help your puppy socialize by having other members of the family or friends offer them food as well.
It’ll help boost their confidence when it comes to interacting with people.
Hand feeding builds trust in your dog when it comes to food. They’ll begin to relate a fistful of kibble with positive associations. ♥