Training Both ends of the leash

Free Feeding

Food Bowl (640x360)

The disadvantages of Free Feeding

Leaving a huge bowl of food out for a dog to eat whenever it wants is called free feeding.

Free feeding your dog is a huge mistake.  People tend to adopt this practice for the sake of convenience, as well as believing they are doing their dog a favor by having plenty of food available at all times.  However, with free feeding there are many disadvantages and poor outcomes for this type of feeding practice.

Some problems associated with free feeding are:

  1. Dogs will over eat if food is left down all throughout the day.  Even if the dog is not hungry, he will continue to snack.
  2. A loss of appetite is one of the first indicators your dog may be getting sick. It is more difficult to pick up on this if your dog is free fed.
  3. Leaving food out all the time is not very sanitary. You’re inviting insects, rodents and who knows what else into your house for a free meal.

Developing a schedule

Developing a schedule, especially with feeding your dog. Routines and structure are comforting for a dog.  You should feed your dog on a regular schedule, which means you feed your dog at the same times every day.

Feeding on a schedule teaches a dog that when you put the food down at a certain time he should eat it.  Follow through with picking the food up after 20 minutes.  If you pick your dog’s food up before your dog eats, don’t worry, they will not starve; however, you can bet your dog will eat the next time you put down their food bowl.

Putting your dog on a regular scheduled meal also makes housebreaking much easier. Typically, a puppy and most dogs will need to go outside 20 to 30 minutes after eating. So by putting the dog on a schedule you know when they eat and when to take them outside.

An Important Aspect

One very important aspect, which is lost when a dog is on a free feeding regiment, it’s the connection between you and your dog.   A dog will bond and learn to trust from a person when they provide food and care.  If the bowl is laying out all day, the dog sees the food as just being available.  They cannot make the connection, that its you that provides his needs. This is a very important point because trust is one of the basic instincts they have and it cannot be broken.  As the pack leader everything in the dogs life must come through and from you to developed that unbreakable bond between human and dog.