Book First Walk Free!
The Root of the Behavior
Dogs are very social animals and eating is a very social event. Social facilitation, a phenomenon where the behaviors of others influence your dog’s behavior, can also affect when he eats. He may simply need to see you eating to prompt his own desire to eat. On the same vein, if he is used to your being near him or standing over him while he eats, he may not feel prompted to eat without your presence. Anxiety can also keep your dog from eating before you or without you. Some theorists believe that a dog that struggles with separation anxiety may be too stressed to do anything other than pine for his owner, let alone eat. Dogs that are prone to guarding their homes a bit excessively may be too busy barking at each possible threat to eat their food. When you come home they can feel more secure and eat again.
Encouraging the Behavior
First and foremost, a well-exercised dog is a happy dog. Spending time with you on walks, playing catch, or even training can go a long way in easing his separation anxiety. While home with him, remain calm at all times whenever you hear a noise outside in the hopes that he too will grow to ignore every bump and beep. When you are away, trainers recommend leaving on some sort of soothing background noise such as classical music or children’s television programs. Closing the blinds can help as well.