Picky Pooch? Not for Long!
By: Hannah Callaghan
On: August 08 2022
If you’re here it’s very possible that you're following on from our last post about fussy eaters. If not. I recommend you go back and read this post so you can be sure that you’re pup is indeed just being fussy and isn’t trying to tell you that some thing is wrong. This post is a step by step guide on how to fix fussy eating habits in our pups.
I’m sorry to say that Fido is going to have some tough love coming his way. If you can relate to some of what I’ve said in this article and want to train pickiness out of your pooch it is time to instigate a mild regime in your household. Welcome to Project Picky Pup!
Step 1 - No More Free Feeding.
A lot of fussier dogs are often given their food from a bowl in the morning and allowed to “graze” all day. In the wild, dogs have to hunt or scavenge for their food. And when they get a chance, they eat a meal. They don’t get to pick and choose to have a snack when they see fit.
Your first step is to introduce mealtimes. The bowl goes down with an allotted portion of food (nothing extra added), and after 15 minutes, it is brought back up again. In a few hours, say around lunchtime, put the bowl down again. In 15 minutes, up it comes. Then at dinnertime, you guessed it, it’s the same thing again.
Step 2 - Hide the treat jar!
If your pooch even gets a sniff of an idea that they might get a treat when you are meal-training, you are only making life harder for yourself. Your dog has learnt that if they don’t eat their food, they will get something better put on top of it already. If they get treats during meal training, this will only reinforce this behaviour. Stay strong through the puppy-dog eyes, it’ll be worth it.
Step 3 - Consistency is key.
They’ll try everything, and I mean EVERYTHING to get their way. They may stare at you while you’re having your lunch, begging you to share. They may sit beside the treat cupboard. I have fostered a dog that once attempted to break into the fridge. You need to keep your cool. Your dog will not allow itself to go hungry. Continue to go about their normal day, walks and playtime remain the same, just with mealtimes. Water should always be available.
Step 4 - Keep at it.
It’s important that the food in your dog’s bowl is always yummy. Meal-training with wet or raw food can lead to some of it being thrown out. There’s no point in offering your dog the same bowl of food over twelve hours if it’s frankly gross. They won’t want to eat that. Kibble is the ideal way to meal-train your dog because it keeps nicely in the bowl at room temperature.
Obviously we think Oscar's Farm kibble is the best for meal-training because it is super yummy and nutritious.
Remember, you are not starving your dog. Meal-training is about giving your dog ample opportunity to eat good quality, nutritious food on your terms. It simulates how they eat in the wild and means that you can control exactly how much food they're getting. Treats can come back when meal times have been established and you know that your dog isn’t “holding out” for a better option.
It doesn’t take too long (from a dog training perspective) to meal-train. The longest I’ve seen a pooch hold out is two days. Routine and structure are two things a dog LOVES and set mealtimes provide both.
And, if you're not already, have them try some of our delicious Oscar's Farm food, it's a firm favourite with many fussy eaters!
If you have any further questions about meal-training, don't hesitate to get in touch with our team.
Best of luck, pooch-parents!