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By: Jace MacDonald

By: Jace MacDonald

     There’s plenty of styles and methods for training your dog. However, without one key factor, all those methods will fail. That one key factor is Motivation.

     Without motivation you cannot train. Some trainers will force the dog into positions or to do behaviors, but that is not training. You are not teaching the dog anything by forcing it. Instead, you need to have something that the dog wants, something that will “motivate” the dog.

     Some may ask, “Well, what can I do to motivate my dog?” Simple. If you can learn to control your dogs’ resources, then you can use those as motivating factors to get the dog to want to work with you. Thus, making the dog want to learn what it is we are trying to teach them.

     The easiest example of this is your dogs’ food. It is something that our domesticated dogs cannot get by themselves and is something they physically need to survive. This introduces us into our topic of hand feeding. Hand feeding is the practice of only giving your dog their food through training, or some sort of interactions with you.

     This practice has many major benefits.

  1. Your dog will look at you as a vital component of its survival

          1a. When your dog views you in this way, it will do everything in its power to obtain what you control.
          2a. Your dog will have a learned respect for you, which is something most pet owners do not have.
     2.You create motivation for your dog, allowing you to train it.
     3.You do not need to spend extra money on treats to “bribe” your dog with higher valued items
     4.Builds a strong bond between you and your dog.
     5.While training your dog, they will be less distracted by other things. They will learn that during this interaction they need to give you their full attention in order to obtain their most valued resource (food).
     6.Allows you to spend quality time with your dog, in a productive manner (through training).

     If you do not hand feed your dog, and simple fill up their food bowl whenever they want, and give it to them for free, then how can you ever expect for them to work for food and be motivated by it later in training? An analogy I like to use with my clients is: Imagine a kid whose parents are rich and has provided everything that kid could ever want. The kid has never learned how to clean, cook, work, or have any values instilled in them. Then all the sudden you say to that kid they need to go get a job, get their own place, and do their own cleaning. That kid is going to respond with “No way, I’ll just ask my parents and they’ll give me and provide me with everything.” That is exactly how your dog thinks when you give it everything it needs to live and cannot motivate it during training because it receives all its motivating factors for free!

     Hand feeding your dog solves this common issue. When training with my own personal dog or any dogs in my board and train program, I use either Bil-Jac Frozen food or Royal Canin large breed. My reasoning? Because Royal Canin large breed diet has big sized kibble allowing me to effectively and efficiently train. I do not have to worry about dealing with small pieces of kibble falling out of my hand.

     Bil-Jac frozen diet can be rolled up into a ball and shaped as to make a larger sized piece of food as well. Dropping food during training can be detrimental to your training session, and small pieces of kibble are just annoying to deal with. I’ll link below where you can get both of these diets.

Bil-Jac Frozen dog food 

Royal Canin Large Breed 

     To answer your question as well, yes, I do use “large breed” formula for all the dogs, no matter the size. I just ration out the food appropriately. Honestly, it’s just a money-making scam. These food companies come out with a thousand and one “specific diets” that are “tailored” to your dog so you’ll go and buy the more expensive diet. As long as the food your feeding is providing the nutrition necessary for your dog to live, then you’ll be fine.

     Now let’s get into the Cons of hand feeding.

     The only Con is that you will have to spend more time working with and interacting with your dog for them to get their meals. That’s it. To me, if you do not want to take that time to do things with your dog, especially things that will make your lives and theirs better, then why did you get a dog in the first place. Make the commitment to only giving your dog their food through some style of training, and I promise you, you will see the benefits!




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