How I Hand Feed My Dog

How to hand feed a dog

Since hand feeding my dogs has become part of my regular routine, I wanted to share my experience of how I hand feed my dogs.

The time spent hand-feeding is rewarding for the dogs and myself.  I learned the negative aspect of hand feeding is a wet slimy hand and that can be remedied with a paper towel.   Even more important are the positive dog behaviors that are developing.

An article found on the AKC website shares more benefits.

Cozyq.com

Hand Feeding Goals

Slow down eating

Improve impulse control

Increase socialization

Create a bond

Keep in mind, that hand-feeding can’t be rushed.

Especially in the beginning set time aside to sit with your dog as your work to improve their behavior.  Watching their body language is important.  Things like maintaining eye contact let you know your dog is focused on the task.

The routine for hand-feeding my dogs looks like this.

  • Feed one dog at a time
  • Measure the food and place it in their bowl, then I sit on the floor
  • I place a small amount of food in my hand and close my hand
  • I hold my hand out in front of the dog and wait for the dog to calm down
  • Once the dog has calmed down, I open my hand.  If the dog lunges for the food I close my hand and wait for calm
  • When calm, I open my hand and try again
  • The dog is rewarded with food for slowly eating
  • Verbally praise your dog by using his/her name as you see the behaviors you want to reinforce

With time the dog will make the connection that the hand opens when the dog is calm.

Louie waiting for hand feeding

Hand feeding my dogs is a great opportunity to build a better bond.

They also learned good manners and better self-control.  Confidence has increased for the dogs and me as we practice feeding.   Cozy has slowed her eating and has experienced fewer digestive issues.  This is a great exercise for building trust.

Summing up, I still don’t enjoy having a slimy hand, but the opportunity to improve my dogs’ behavior is totally worth the minor discomfort that is easily remedied.

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