How to Train Your Dog to Eat from His Bowl

Medium
2-4 Weeks
General

Introduction

Your pup started out life getting all of his nutrition from his mother's milk, but there comes a time when he needs to learn how to eat from his bowl. You can try hand feeding him for a while, but there is going to come a time when he needs to grow up and learn to eat from a bowl. Not only will this make life easier for you, but it will allow you to keep a much closer eye on how much and how often he eats.

While training your dog to eat from his bowl can be a little challenging, it is a great exercise in discipline for both of you. It also gives you time to spend working on some of the more basic commands such as ‘sit’, ‘stay’, and ‘come’. It will also reduce the risk of your dog being injured if he has a habit of running in a rush to get to his food.

Defining Tasks

The basic idea is to teach your pup that the only place he should be eating from is his bowl and nowhere else. At the same time, you will be teaching him not to rush towards his food dish and that there are specific times when his food will be put in front of him. This is one of the more important general tasks you can teach your dog and should be done at the same time as he is being weaned, if possible, or as soon after as possible.

In reality, you can teach any age dog to eat from a bowl, but the sooner you get started the easier the training sessions are likely to go.  You may want to choose and use a command word or phrase to help with the training such as "Come eat!" or "It's dinner time!". No matter what you choose, be sure to stick to the same command each time and always place his food dish in the same place each time to help avoid confusion.

Getting Started

Getting started is relatively simple, you won't need much to train your dog as eating is a natural process and no matter what, your dog will eventually eat when he gets hungry enough. However, like most types of training, there are a few things you will need in order for the training to be successful.  These include:

  • A hungry dog: You cannot teach your dog to eat from his bowl unless he is hungry.
  • His favorite food: This is not a good time to try an unfamiliar food.
  • A feeding station: Supply a bowl specifically for your dog and choose a spot to place it for each feeding.
  • Time: no training happens overnight, you need to have plenty of time for this process.
  • Patience: Like time, you need to be patient with your pup or you may discourage him rather than getting him to eat from his bowl.
  • Praise: Always be ready with plenty of praise when he gets things right.

The New Bowl Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Fresh start
Start by purchasing your dog a new bowl if he has been avoiding eating out of the one you already have.
Step
2
Choose wisely
The current bowl may frighten him, or if it is a metal bowl it might slip all over the place when he is trying to eat. Also, try smaller bowl as a larger one might overwhelm him. You can always move up to a bigger bowl when he is ready.
Step
3
The right spot
Find a quiet spot for him to eat so that he can eat his dinner in peace and quiet.
Step
4
Jazz it up
Try pouring a little chicken broth or stock in the bowl to encourage him to eat from the bowl and give him lots of praise when he decides to go ahead and eat.
Step
5
Manage mealtime
Keep food availability to a minimum, say for around 20 minutes before picking up the bowl. Keep trying until he is ready to eat the minute you put the bowl down.
Recommend training method?

The Full Bowl Method

Effective
1 Vote
Step
1
Dish it out
Start by placing an appropriate amount of food in your pup's food dish.
Step
2
Call him to the table
Bring your dog into the room where you plan to feed him and stand there with his bowl in your hands.
Step
3
Sit first
Have him sit and then slowly lower the food bowl in front of his face until it is on the ground.
Step
4
Work on those manners
If he tries to move from the sitting position or goes for the food. Raise the bowl and make him sit again. Keep at this until he remains in the sitting position while you place the bowl on the ground.
Step
5
Dig in!
Give him your chosen command such as "Time to eat!" or " Chow down!" or anything else you choose to use. Let him enjoy his food and repeat this process until he eats every time you put his bowl down.
Recommend training method?

The Separate Meal Time Method

Least Recommended
1 Vote
Step
1
Dinner reservation
Plan your dog's meal times separate from your own.
Step
2
Choose a time and cue
Create a time for him to eat and a specific feeding command.
Step
3
Serve the meal
Call your dog into the room where you plan to feed him, have him sit, and place a bowl of food in front of him.
Step
4
Wait for it...
Make him remain in the seating position until you give him the command to eat.
Step
5
Doggie bag
If for any reason he chooses not to eat, after 5 minutes be sure to pick up the bowl.
Step
6
Try again
In 12 hours try this again, chances are good he will be hungry enough to eat.
Step
7
Repeat
Keep repeating this until he eats when you put his bowl down. Be patient, it won't take long.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Amy Caldwell

Published: 11/27/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Lucky
Labrador Retriever
7 Months
-1 found helpful
Question
-1 found helpful
Lucky
Labrador Retriever
7 Months

My dog keeps pooping inside but not outside. He does pee outside, but not poop often. Usually he would just lay down, or chew some cicadas, etc...
He does this after giving up on sniffing for a spot.

How do I make him go more quickly?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
916 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kien, Check out the Wag! article that I have linked below and follow the "Crate Training" method. Since your puppy is older he can go four hours between potty trips though, but only give him two hours of supervised free time after he goes potty outside. If he pees outside, but has not pooped yet during a time when you know he typically needs to, like in the morning after eating, then put him back in his crate for thirty minutes and then try taking him back outside after the thirty-minutes. Also, use a potty encouraging spray like "Go Here", "Training Spray", or "Hurry Spray". If he is still struggling with accidents, then get even more strict for a time and attach him to yourself with a six or eight foot leash whenever he is free in the house between crate training times so that he cannot sneak off to poop and so that you can spot his signals for needing to go potty. He needs the habit of pooping inside broken by giving him a lot of supervision of confinement until he is trained to only poop outside. The accidents that you prevent, the quicker and more solid his potty training will be. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Saki
Teddy bear
11 Weeks
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Saki
Teddy bear
11 Weeks

My 11 week old male Teddy Bear will eat his food but only if I either hand feed it to him or put it on the floor in the kitchen. H rarely ever eats from his bowl. He tends to look for his food right before bed... he also will not owe outside for hours or even inside for hours. I’m worried as to how this little puppy is going so long without going to the bathroom even when I take him outside at least every hour.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
916 Dog owners recommended

Hello Serena, A general rule is that the maximum amount of time a pup can hold it for while awake is the number they are in age plus one. At almost 3 months, that means pup's maximum should be around 3-4 hours. If pup is holding it for longer than this, I suggest consulting your vet - especially since they are hesitant to eat. Pay attention to water intake too. Is pup drinking during the day? I am not a vet, check with your vet. If pup is healthy and not going longer than 3-4 hours, pup simply might be confused about where to go potty. Check out the Crate Training or Tethering method from the article linked below. Pay special attention to the sections on what to do while pup is outside - like keep pup slowly moving on a leash, teach the Go Potty command, reward going potty, and using an attractant spray. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Also, notice if pup seems nervous while outside? If so, spend time simply hanging outside (avoid overheating pup though) with pup, playing fun games, tricks, and simply relaxing to help pup adjust to the sights and sounds outside that might be making it hard for them to go potty due to nervousness while out there. What type of bowl are you using? Some puppies are avoid of reflective bowls or ones that automatically refill. Switching to something that's not reflective can help. It could also be the food you are feeding doesn't agree with pup. It could be worth gradually switching to another food that uses different primary protein and carb sources in case pup is sensitive to an ingredient. Make sure the food is formulated for all life stages or puppies though. Feeding pup too much can also be the issue - consult with the puppy food's amount recommendations and your vet for advice on how much to feed. Finally, if the issue is just picky eating, try purchasing a kibble topper, like Stella and Chewy freeze dried meat toppers. Crush some into a powder, place pup's food and the topper powder into a baggie, let sit overnight, then feed the next day out of that flavored and scented food. Give pup 30-45 minutes to eat the food, remove if pup hasn't touched it at all, and try again in about three hours (at lunch time often). Don't feed extra meals if pup does eat it though, just stick to their schedule. When pup is eating it well, you can slowly phase out the powder by adding less and less to the food overtime if you wish. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Lucky
Labrador Retriever
8 Months
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Lucky
Labrador Retriever
8 Months

My dog keeps barking at my Chihuahua to eat from his bowl. How do I get him to stop? Should I feed them separately?

And Lucky pretends to bark at strangers just to get ny Chihuahua to climb out of her hiding spot, since she hides from people most of the day anyways. After she gets out, he jumps all over her, and she runs back. And he will either demand bark or cry at her, or continue to pretend to bark at strangers.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
916 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kien, When you are there to supervise, feed the dogs and when Lucky begins to bark at your chihuahua get between your chihuahua and Lucky, firmly tell Lucky "Out" and point to where you want him to go, which should be just outside of the room, and then walk toward Lucky, blocking him from getting past you, until he backs up to the location where you told him to go. Once he is there block him from getting back. When he has stopped trying to get past you, then return to your Chihuahua and repeat walking Lucky out of the room if he follows you back. Repeat this as many times as needed. Be firm and calm while you do this so that Lucky does not think that is it a gave. Imagine yourself as a calm but stern drill sergeant or a brick wall while doing this. At first Lucky will probably act crazy and try to get past you but remain consistent. Over time he will learn that you mean business and he needs to leave your other dog alone. For the barking, teach Lucky the "Quiet" command by following the "Quiet" method from the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark When he starts to bark, tell him "Quiet". Reward him when he obeys and whenever he looks out the window and remains quiet, before he barks, even if you know that there is nothing outside. You want to associate looking out the window with being quiet so that he is more motivated to be quiet than try to antagonize your older dog. When he does bark, once you know that he understands the "Quiet' command, then you can correct him for the barking. When he is bothering your older dog while she is hiding, do the same thing that I mentioned doing above, and get between him and her, tell him "Out", and walk toward him until he leaves the room or part of the room where she is. By doing this, you are establishing boundaries for him rather than expecting your older dog to, and communicating to him that you are in charge and want the older dog left alone. This is a firm but gentle way to communicate this, and most dogs understand body language very well. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Maggie
Mini whoodle
10 Weeks
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Question
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Maggie
Mini whoodle
10 Weeks

We've had Maggie for about 1 week now and the first day she ate like a champ from her big bowls that we originally bought her. The second day she ate her first meal no problem but didn't touch her second. I switched to smaller bowls and she was okay for a couple feeds then again she didn't want to eat from her bowl. She would eat it if I took it out of the bowl and put it on the floor. Now even from a saucer she is picky about when she wants to eat by herself from her dish. Any thoughts about her behaviour or what to do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
916 Dog owners recommended

Hello Karen, Did you switch her food when she come home with you? If so, the sudden switch is probably upsetting her stomach, she might be allergic to something in the new food, or simply doesn't like it. If that's the case, then I suggest asking her breeder or rescue what she ate before and switching back to it, then once her stomach is feeling well again, gradually switch her over to a new food over a couple of week's time, or stick with the old breeder's food if it's of decent quality. If her stomach or a new food might be the issue, you can also feed her plain white rice and a little plain chicken meat until her stomach settles, then gradually transition her to a new food over the course of a week, feeding gradually less rice and more kibble progressively. Consult your vet for more details and advice on this. You might also need to check with your vet about her needing to be wormed again, or to check for a bacterial infection, especially if you have not changed foods. Once you have ruled out any medical causes, other possible causes are an allergy to her current food that causes stomach discomfort (in which case switching to a very different food may help), general anxiety because of the move (which usually should get better as she transition if you keep her routine and interactions structured and calm and give her time to adjust), or she is simply a picky eaters in general - some dogs simply don't care for food, but this isn't super common. You might also be over-feeding her, which can cause picky eating. If she is simply being picky, you can purchase freeze dried kibble toppers, like Stella and Chewy or Nature's Variety freeze dried meat topper, crush the freeze dried treats into a powder, measure her daily kibble into a bag, put some of the powder into the bag, shake up the bag to cover the dog food with some of the powder, and let the food sit in the bag overnight to make it smell and taste like the freeze dried food topper powder. The next day feed her as normal from the baggie of food. As she improves, you can gradually decrease the amount of powder in the food until she is eating just plain dog food again. If she has any other symptoms, doesn't eat soon, or you feel worried, I suggest visiting your vet to make sure there is not a medical issue going on. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Lola
Chihuahua
4 Years
0 found helpful
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Lola
Chihuahua
4 Years

I have to sit her on my lap and hold the bowl. She won’t eat or drink if her bowl is on the floor

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
916 Dog owners recommended

Hello Demi, There are several things that could be going on. You will have to experiment to find out what works for you guys: 1. He feels too stressed because of activity in the house to eat - especially if there are other dogs around. Feed him in a locked crate in a separate room so that he doesn't have to worry about others trying to steal his food if this is the case. 2. There is an issue with his food. He may dislike or be allergic to something in his food, causing him not to eat. Try switching to another food that is free of common allergens, such as chicken or chicken biproducts, eggs, alfalfa, corn, soy, and wheat. A dog, like a person, can be allergic to anything but start with the most likely candidates for allergies. Make the switch very gradually to avoid stomach upset and try a new food for a month to give him time to adjust and see how he does so long as the new food doesn't make things worse. 3. He has a hard time bending down to the food. Try a raised feeder that makes the food closer to head height. 4. He is afraid of his bowls. This is more likely if you are using metal bowls, shiny bowls, or something that makes noise like an automatic water dispenser. Try switching to something like a plain, matt finish ceramic bowl. 5. He is being fed too much. If he is overweight or being fed too much he won't be hungry enough to seek out food on his own. Walk with your vet about how much he should be fed and use a measuring cup to measure his food into his bowl for breakfast and dinner. 6. Something happened near his bowl that was scary and he now associates eating with that event and is too stressed to eat there. Switch his bowl and feed him in a different, calm area. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Hash
Labrador Retriever
9 Months
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Question
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Hash
Labrador Retriever
9 Months

I have 2 questions.
1. At first my dog did not eat food from the bowl, so we hand feed him. Now he is not eating food even if we hand feed him. I have given tablet for deworming.
2. He is pooping and peeing inside house. Even if we take him out to pee he is not peeing. After coming home he is peeing. How to change his behavior.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
916 Dog owners recommended

Hello Robbini, I highly suggest a trip to your vet. Refusing to eat at all for several days is not normal, and is something that needs to be checked by your vet. There could be a GI issue, food intolerance, or other issue present - not eating is a symptom of many health issues - I am not a vet. Once anything medical going on is addressed, try switching to something like ZiwiPeak or Nature's variety and see if taste or food quality is the issue. You can also purchase freeze dried kibble toppers, like Nature's variety or Stella and Chewy, and put pup's food into a ziplock bag, crush the topper into powder, and have the food sit in the powder overnight to scent and flavor the food. Adding goats milk to food, and having pup perform tricks and commands to work for food can also help. As far as the potty training, I suggest crate training pup and using the crate training method from the article linked below. That method will give details for some ways to encourage peeing outside - like treats, walking on leash, and scent spray. It will also detail what you should do when pup doesn't pee when you take them, to stop the accidents inside. Check out the Crate Training method from the article linked below. Make sure that the crate doesn't have anything absorbent in it - including a soft bed or towel. Check out www.primopads.com if you need a non-absorbent bed for him. Make sure the crate is only big enough for him to turn around, lie down and stand up, and not so big that he can potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it. Dogs have a natural desire to keep a confined space clean so it needs to be the right size to encourage that natural desire. Use a cleaner that contains enzymes to clean any previous or current accidents - only enzymes will remove the smell and remaining smells encourage the dog to potty in the same location again later. The method I have linked below was written for younger puppies, since your dog is older you can adjust the times and take him potty less frequently. I suggest taking him potty every 2.5- 3 hours when you are home. After 1.5 hours (or less if he has an accident sooner) of freedom out of the crate, return him to the crate while his bladder is filling back up again until it has been 3 hours since his last potty trip. When you have to go off he should be able to hold his bladder in the crate for 5-8 hours - less at first while he is getting used to it and longer once he is accustomed to the crate. Only have him wait that long when you are not home though, take him out about every 3 hours while home. If he hasn't gone poop yet during that half of the day, he needs to be tethered to you or returned to the crate, then taken back outside again in 30-45 minutes if you know he likely needs to go, less frequently if he likely doesn't need to poop. Pooping outside equals more freedom. Less freedom now means more freedom later in life. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If he is not already used to a crate, expect crying at first. When he cries and you know he doesn't need to go potty yet, ignore the crying. Most dogs will adjust if you are consistent. You can give him a food stuffed hollow chew toy to help him adjust and sprinkle treats into the crate during times of quietness to further encourage quietness. Work on teaching "Quiet" by using the Quiet method from the article linked below. Tell him "Quiet" when he barks and cries. If he gets quiet and stays quiet, you can sprinkle a few pieces of dog food into the crate through the wires calmly, then leave again. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Lucky
Labrador Retriever
7 Months
-1 found helpful
Question
-1 found helpful
Lucky
Labrador Retriever
7 Months

There are so many challenges:

My puppy keeps jumping on us whenever we get home and open the door. He runs to the door and jumps on us, and bites our hands and clothes and such. I've tried asking him to sit and then giving him a treat when he does this, but often he would try to jump up and snatch the treat out of my hand

He also jumps on us when we have meals, and refuses to eat his food. He sniffs his bowl and then sits next to us, occasionally jumping on us, trying to sniff out our food.

Since he won't eat his food, very frequently are we forced to put treats or scraps into his bowl to get him to eat.

He jumps up, then snatches the food out of our hand (like a chip or a piece of meat...)

When he is outside in our playpen, when we put him in the playpen, he starts barking for attention, then quiets down. He then demand barks (or cries) at squirrels, neighbors in their yard, other dogs, and us, if we are present or when we get home.

When my dog gets loose, he just takes off. He won't listen, won't pay attention, nothing. And he's been doing this quite frequently. I would like to know ow to train him to at least not take off on me when I'm changing his leash.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
916 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kien, Check out the article that I have linked below and use a combination of the "Step Toward" method and the "Leash" method. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump When you step toward him don't be afraid to throw him off balance and bump into him a bit. You are claiming that space in front of you and showing him with your body language that he needs to be respectful. When he is being respectful and calm, then you can give him attention or a treat, but if he jumps again repeat stepping into him. When guests are over use the leash method if the guest cannot step toward him firmly enough. For thr begging, teach him a "Place" command or tether him to something secure in the other room while you eat. When he is being calm reward him with a dog treat, but not human food. When he barks tell him "Ah Ah" and correct him with a Pet Corrector, which is a small pressurized air canister that you blow a little puff of air toward his side with. Do not do it in his face though. Feed him after you have finished eating so that his only option is to eat his food. If he does not eat it, then take it up at the end of the night and don't feed him anything else unless he has a medical condition that makes that dangerous. He is likely not eating his food because he knows he will get something else and he does not want to fill up on his own food. Let him go hungry if he won't eat and feed him extra the next morning. After a few days he should figure it out. It's important to feed him his dinner after you finish eating so that he will not be distracted by human food though, and to make him stay in the other room while you eat. If he still will not eat, then try switching his food to another brand in addition to the above training tips. Check out dogfoodadvisor.com to find a high quality food in your budget. For the jumping up for food, working on the other things should help with respect, but also teach him the "Leave It" command and practice that with human food after he can do it with treats. Never give him the food he is supposed to be leaving, instead reward him with a different treat so that he will learn to truly leave something alone and not simply wait for it. Check out this article below and follow the "Leave It" method from that article. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite For the outside barking use the pet Corrector and "Ah-Ah". I would also suggest teaching him a "Quiet" command and telling him "Quiet" when he barks and then correcting his barking when he is disobedient to help him understand why he is being corrected and what to do correctly instead. When you put him in the pen and he is quiet on his own, or stays quiet after being told "Quiet", then go over to the pen and toss a couple of treats to him to encourage him to be quiet more often. Reward the behavior, aka being quiet, that you want him to do so that he will do it more often. Use the "Quiet" method from the article that I have attached below to teach him what "Quiet" means. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Teach Lucky a "Come" command and practice it on a long leash around distractions like squirrels, people, and dogs until he will come willingly each time without having to be reeled in. To do this, follow the "Reel In" method from the article that I have linked below. Purchase a long thirty foot leash for this and practice in a safely enclosed area at first, until he will obey well most of the time, then add more distractions. Be careful not to let him pull you over with his size. Call him from a closer distance at first if he is likely to bolt. Do not use a retractable leash for this. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall In general, Lucky would benefit from an obedience class, but look for one that focuses on real world commands and training to help your dog learn to listen at home, not just treat training, although treats are good tools to include. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Toffee
Teddy bear
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Toffee
Teddy bear
3 Months

My dog has a fear towards his food bowl and water bowl and refuses to eat from it unless we feed him

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
916 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sophia, What type of bowls are you using? Some dogs find bowls that are reflective to be scary, such as metal bowls. Other dogs find automatic food dispensing bowls scary because the food suddenly moves while they are eating. If the bowls are metal, I suggest trying to feed pup out of a food-safe ceramic type bowl for a couple of days and see if things improve. Later, you may be able to switch the bowls out for metal again if you want to - once pup feels secure with food bowls in general. If the bowls are automatic dispensing bowls, I suggest switching these out for normal bowls also, but keeping the automatic dispensing ones around - especially the water bowl, and interacting with the water some yourself - setting pieces of chicken around it and generally just making being near it fun again without setting off the water moving. If pup is refusing to eat out of bowls that are not reflective, moving, or loud, then the issue might be pup's eating habits overall. I would speak with your vet and also make sure pup is being fed the right amount and not being overfed - and is not loosing weight, which could be a sign of a medical issue. A food allergy, parasites, an infection or something else could be to blame (I am not a vet though so consult your vet). If pup is simply a picky eater and there isn't a feeding, medical, or fear issue, have pup work for part of their food by placing it in food stuffed chew toys and having pup earn it as treats for doing commands and tricks, or add a freeze dried kibble topper to pup's food and crush up the kibble topper into powder, placing the powder and food into a ziploc bag and shaking together to flavor the entire food, then gradually decreasing the amount of powder overtime. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Suerty
Teacup Maltese
4 Years
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Question
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Suerty
Teacup Maltese
4 Years

My dog will not eat out of a bowl. We try feeding her out of a bowl but she has gotten use to the habit of when we would hand feed her on the floor. I try putting her food she won't eat it, I put her kible and a bit of peanut butter, she just licks the peanut butter off the sides of the bowl. I don't know what to do, and I am afraid she's too old now to learn even though she's only 4 years old.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
916 Dog owners recommended

Hello Edrina, First, try putting your hand in the bowl so that part of the food is actually in your hand and part in the bowl right around it. Feed her this way for a few days to help her associate eating with the food bowl. When she is doing well with that, begin to move your hand toward the edge of the bowl, one inch at a time, so it's still in the bowl but more of the food is in the bowl than your hand as you go. When you get to the point where your hand is on the very edge of the bowl and she is still eating food in your hand as well as in the bowl, purchase freeze dried kibble toppers. Crush the topper into a powder and add that and pup's food to a ziploc bag and shake together and let it sit together. Feed pup that food and put the food with the topper in it in the bowl and a small amount without the topper in your hand - to encourage pup to eat the food in the bowl next to your hand, more than the food in your hand. When pup is doing well with the food in the bowl, remove your hand entirely. If pup doesn't eat a meal, take the food away and try again a bit later. For example, if pup doesn't touch breakfast within 30 minutes, remove the food and wait until lunch time to try again. If pup doesn't eat lunch, remove the food and try again at dinner time, then again later in the evening finally. Ask your vet how long it's okay for pup to go without eating, to let pup's hunger motivate them, so long as there isn't a medical condition like low blood sugar. Sometimes a dog will be picky for 24-48 hours, then get hungry enough to eat. Consult your vet about that however, because it can vary from dog to dog and I am not a vet. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Brutus
Golden Retriever
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Brutus
Golden Retriever
3 Months

My lab picks up on astry food while he goes on his walk and doesn't let it go. How to make him stop on munching food from waste bins or lying on the road.

Thanks

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
916 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ali, First, work on teaching pup the Leave It, Drop It, and Out commands. Check out the section of teaching Commands to deal with chewing - How to Teach Leave It, How to Teach Out, and How to Teach Drop It. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ With a puppy this age, know that you will be working on this for a while - this takes time with a puppy who is developing self-control and naturally exploring the world with their mouth. Pay careful attention to where you are walking when out with pup, be ready to give pup cues about leaving things alone, enforce that command by directing pup with the leash if they try to go for the item anyway, then rewarding with a treat if pup obeys your command and leaves the item alone. Carry a small baggie of puppy kibble or training treats with you on walks to help with training and socialization during walks at this age. Once pup has learned the Leave It and Out commands, have times where you practice your commands with pup and "planted" items you have intentionally set up somewhere like a cul-de-sac or driveway to practice around - just make sure pup isn't successful at stealing the items during training or they will be rewarded via the items they stole for disobedience instead of ignoring the items. Having planted items and intentionally practicing this can help you make the training go how it needs to to succeed, opposed to the surprise things pup finds on a walk that you may not always see. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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sasha
Staffie cross
12 Years
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sasha
Staffie cross
12 Years

hello , my sasha won’t eat out of her bowl , i have to hand feed her, i’ll only hand feed her if the weather is hot but where she has got used to it , she expect it.
she would literally go out food all day even if she hungry and i don’t hand fed her .
sometimes she eats out of her bowl not always.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
916 Dog owners recommended

Hello Mallissa, First, I do suggest checking with your vet, especially due to pup's age. There could be a dental, GI or other issue behind the picky eating, especially if it's more recent. I am not a vet. If the issue is purely behavioral, I suggest mixing his food with something he likes the night before feeding him. For example, 1. Start with a food he likes, like Ziwi Peak freeze dried dog food, and a bit of dog food, then gradually increase the dog food and decrease the food he likes overtime. 2. Test out freeze dried meat dog food toppers, like stella and chewy or nature's variety. If he likes those, crush them into a powder in a ziplock bag, then place that and some of his dog food in the bag overnight to flavor and scent the food. Feed that regularly if he will eat it, then gradually decrease how much powder you use and increase the dog food slowly in place of it - go slow so that eating the new food has become habit and he doesn't think about it changing gradually so keeps eating it. 3. Feed something he likes better that is nutritionally formulated for daily feeding and stick to that food long term at this age. Like Ziwi peak or nature's variety raw boost - which is composed of freeze dried food or has it mixed in, if that's in your budget. If pup doesn't like the freeze dried stuff, then do the same thing but use things like minced chicken, liver paste, or goats milk mixed with the dog food and refrigerated together with kibble overnight to flavor it (you may want to do the goats milk last minute because it will get soggy though). Another option, is to have pup work for all of their kibble. Have pup perform commands and tricks and use the dog food that has been mixed with freeze dried powder from a ziplock bag, as rewards for pup obeying commands. Many dogs are actually more enthusiastic about their food if they have to earn it and consider it a treat. Feed pup entire meal amounts this way so that he is hungry during training in place of the bowl for a while. When you do so, act like the food is treats - you should act like you have a great prize not like you have to temp pup to eat. It may seem opposite but what a dog can't have without working for it, often makes it even more appealing. When you feed pup, try feeding pup three meals a day for a while. Feed pup in a quiet area like a crate if they are crate trained, or room by themselves, so they will relax enough to eat. Leave pup for 45 minutes, then if they haven't touched the food, remove it, and try again at the next meal. You can offer pup a bit of food in dog food stuffed toys or as treat rewards for obeying commands to get enough in them to avoid sickness if they tend to throw up when they don't eating anything at all for a meal, but try to avoid the direct hand feeding as an option. Finally, it would be worth consulting your vet about this if you haven't done so lately. They will know your dogs history and what is safest for them. I am not a vet. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bear
Unknown
8 Months
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Bear
Unknown
8 Months

He is a rescue dog from a kill shelter in rumanian iv had him 7 weeks he will hand feed and eat from floor but shivers shacks wen they a bowl involved I used plastic and clear bowls so they no reflection he will try burning himself anywhere when his food is in bowl iv done his favourite food chicken and he will look at the bowl shack and buries him self away until the bowl is taken away

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I am answering this question with what I would do if this situation was the case in a dog I rescued. Bear has had a lot of trauma - even traveling all of the way from Rumania must have been terrifying. I would buy a simple plastic placemat and feed Bear on there. Based on all that he has been through and his obvious distress when he sees a bowl, I would not bother to use one. Save Bear the extreme stress and feed him from the placemat, which is easily picked up and washed when he is done. Some dogs do not like to be watched when they eat, especially dogs that are tense about eating. Give Bear his food with a pat and an encouraging voice and do something else nearby as he eats. All the best to Bear!

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Puma
Pit bull
10 Months
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Puma
Pit bull
10 Months

Puma hates eating from his bowl, but will gobble anything by hand. He’s 10 months going on 11. I’ve tried multiple types of bowl small and big, same results. Need more ideas to get him to eat from his bowl.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, many dogs have a fear of bowls for some reason. What type of bowl are you using? If it is metal, I suggest trying a plastic bowl with a rubber backing on the bottom to prevent the bowl from slipping around on the floor. If Puma is really frightened by the bowl, I would not push the issue. There are more things to work on, like obedience commands and learning to heel on walks. I would purchase a plastic placemat and let him eat from there. It's easily washable and carefree. Then, place Puma's food there and busy yourself somewhere else in the room. There are many dogs who don't like to be watched when they eat, or they prefer to graze, returning back multiple times throughout the day for a nibble here and there. Good luck!

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Ramsey
Saint Bernard
2 Years
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Ramsey
Saint Bernard
2 Years

Hi,

Last year when it got very hot my puppy went completely off his food. We tried every type of food but he would refuse. At that point I spoon fed him his raw mince and he ate it all. From then I have always spoon fed him. He is not food oriented so I am s ared if I "wait until hes hungry" it could be days.

Is there anyway I can get him back to eating out of a bowl?

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
236 Dog owners recommended

Hello! You can attempt to start putting his spoon in a bowl over the course of a week and then wean him off the spoon until he is eating from the bowl. Scoop some food, give him a bite, then put the spoon into the bowl and see if he will finish the food with the spoon in the bowl.

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Nahla
Chihuahua
6 Years
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Nahla
Chihuahua
6 Years

Nahla has had the same bowl since we got her 3 years ago. Last week she stopped eating from her bowl and will only eat from our hands or the floor. She is eating her same food, but not from her bowl. We add broth to her food, pup peroni, etc and she still won't eat from the bowl. i bought a new small bowl and she still won't use it. we are at a loss here. help!

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, my first thought is to have her checked out by the veterinarian. She may have a dental issue that is causing pain and she is associating eating from the bowl with the pain. Small dogs have teeth that are very close together and it is not uncommon that they will need a cleaning or dental work, even at the age of Nahla. The vet can also assess whether Nahla has a stomach upset of some sort. In the meantime, you can try feeding her on a plastic mat that is easily wiped clean after a meal. (Also, If the bowl is metal, this can sometimes scare a dog - even though she always used a metal bowl. You can try plastic instead.) All the best to Nahla!

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Riley
Maltipoo
8 Months
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Riley
Maltipoo
8 Months

Riley is scared to eat from a bowl. It doesn’t matter what type of bowl, plate or material it is. She just runs away from it. We have to throw food on the floor, even then she sniffs and walks away. Initially I thought it was the food itself. I tried almost everybrand out there, even home cooked her meals. She just doesn’t eat. I will be going back to work and she needs to learn to eat on her own, when I put put the food down. She eats fine when there are other dogs. Right now I am at my withs end and fed up. I am almost at the point I want to rehome her where there is another dog. Please help!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
916 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jyothi, First, I would check with your vet to see if a medical issue could be behind this. (I am not a vet) Second, if pup is crate trained I recommend feeding her in there and adding goats milk to her food - with vet's approval. Feed her three times a day in the locked crate. Give her one hour in there without anyone around to see her eating. If isn't eating actively after an hour, remove the food and try again at the next meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner temporarily to give more chances to eat). Some dogs won't eat until the house is quiet or won't eat at certain times of the day, like morning or evening. The milk is to help her associate the food more with drinking to help her get started on the bowl. Use a bowl that won't make noise if her tag bumps it, it's reflective, but still doesn't turn over easily - food safe ceramic is one option, and possibly removing the dog tag for the meal. Another route to take is to put the food into a hollow toy like a kong wobble, classic kongs, or puzzle toys to test whether it's an unwillingness to eat or just the way she is being fed that bothers her. If she will take food from the kong wobble for instance, you can use that toy to gradually transition her to a bowl (it screws apart and the bottom is essentially a bowl once she likes the toy and associates it with eating through play. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Skippy
Shih Tzu
3 Months
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Skippy
Shih Tzu
3 Months

My dog only eat when i put food on her toys. She does not eat on her bowl although she’s hungry and asking for food.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
916 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kurt, First, what type of bowl are you using? Many puppies are afraid of reflective bowls, bowls that make noise when their tags hit the side of it while eating, or free feeding bowls that let the food fall - so it looks like the food is suddenly moving while pup eats. If your bowl falls into one of those categories, I recommend choosing something less intimidating like a glass or food-safe ceramic bowl, or placing plastic tag protectors over pup's tags. If pup still won't eat, look for a food dispensing toy like a kong wobble. Get pup used to working their food out of the wobble, then when pup is familiar with it and associates it with food, you can unscrew the top from it, leaving just the bottom with food - which looks like a bowl. From there you can choose a similar looking bowl to transition to, once pup is used to simply eating out of the open kong wobble bottom. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bandit
Shih Tzu
18 Months
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Bandit
Shih Tzu
18 Months

Our dog is refusing to eat out of his bowl in his normal spot. This started after he saw our 15 month old granddaughter get into trouble for getting into his bowl. I have bought a new bowl, and put it in the living room (gah) just to get him to eat instead foraging outside for his feces and other animal feces. Suggestions on getting him to eat in the kitchen again? I have tried beef broth, wet food & putting his favorite treat (cheese) in his dish. He will NOT touch it.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
916 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ida, If pup is eating fine in the new bowl in the living room, I would very gradually switch pup back to his old bowl and spot. First, place the old bowl a couple feet away from his new bowl in the den, not making a big deal of it. Praise pup when he eats and toss a couple of extra good treats into the kibble at some point while he is eating to get him even more excited and focused on that and not the old bowl being around. Over the course of the week gradually move the old bowl closer to the new one until it sits right next to the other bowl while he eats. At that point, put the food in the old bowl instead and remove the new one, doing the treat toss into the old bowl while eating to get him excited about that and not thinking about it being a different bowl. When he is successfully eating out of the new bowl, move the bowl one foot closer to the kitchen from the den at each meal time, keeping meals fun and happy events. Do this until the bowl is back to its normal spot and meals are kept pleasant and low stress. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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piper
Dachshund
10 Years
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piper
Dachshund
10 Years

piper has never liked her dog food and cries because she is hungry. i always give in and feed her table foods. now she is always hungry. what do i do?
thanks,
katie manahan in nc

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
916 Dog owners recommended

Hello Katie, I recommend feeding pup the table scraps in her bowl at first - always only giving her those treats in her bowl and not elsewhere to get her used to eating out of the bowl again first. Second, I recommend purchasing something like ziwi Peak and feeding her that into her bowl a bit at a time, as if it's your food and you are giving her table scraps. Once she is used to eating that, I recommend increasing how much you put in her bowl at a time, until she is being given her meal into the bowl just once, like a regular feeding. If she is refusing to eat to the point of loosing weight I would also speak with your vet and make sure something medical isn't going on like an infection, parasites, allergy, lack of digestive enzymes, bacterial imbalance, or other Gi issue. I am not a vet. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Cassius
Shih Tzu
3 Months
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Cassius
Shih Tzu
3 Months

Sometimes he just refuses to eat food from his bowl but occasionally doesn't mind when we feed it to him. But, even worse, he'd eat his poo instead.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
916 Dog owners recommended

Hello Davey, I suggest mixing his food with something he likes the night before feeding him. Start with a higher quantity of food he likes and a bit of dog food, then gradually increase the dog food and decrease the food he likes overtime. Test out freeze dried meat dog food toppers, like stella and chewy or nature's variety first. If he likes those, crush them into a powder in a ziplock bag, then place that and some of his dog food in the bag overnight to flavor and scent the food. Feed that regularly if he will eat it, then gradually decrease how much powder you use and increase the dog food slowly in place of it - go slow so that eating the new food has become habit and he doesn't think about it changing gradually so keeps eating it. If he likes the kibble topper, you can also feed something like Ziwi peak or nature's variety raw boost long term - which is composed of freeze dried food or has it mixed in, if that's in your budget. You will need to choose a puppy formula though because the nutrition ratios are different in puppy vs. adult formulas. You can consult your vet about what may be a good option for your pup. I am not a vet. If pup doesn't like the freeze dried stuff, then do the same thing but with your vet's approval, use things like minced chicken, liver paste, or goats milk mixed with the dog food and refrigerated overnight (you may want to do the goats milk last minute because it will get soggy though). Another option, is to have pup work for all of their kibble. Have pup perform commands and tricks and use the dog food that has been mixed with freeze dried powder from a ziplock bag, as rewards for pup obeying commands. Stuff durable hollow chew toys like Kongs, kong wobbles, and similar toys with kibble for pup to work out. Many dogs are actually more enthusiastic about their food if they have to earn it and consider it a treat. Feed pup entire meal amounts this way so that he is hungry during training in place of the bowl for a while. When you do so, act like the food is treats - you should act like you have a great prize not like you have to temp pup to eat. It may seem opposite but what a dog can't have without working for it, often makes it even more appealing. Finally, it would be worth consulting your vet about this if you haven't done so lately. Regardless of whatever else you try to get pup to eat, I would check in with your vet. Puppies tend to need several rounds of worming and are susceptible to various parasites, infections and viruses. It's always a good idea to check with your vet when pup isn't eating well. I am not a vet. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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winston
cockapoo
1 Year
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winston
cockapoo
1 Year

Winston won't eat from his bowl and now, he's hesitating about eating at all. He loves health dog treats and bully sticks, but not any of the food we have tried. Help!

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
236 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Here is a great article that goes over all the possible reasons as to why your dog may not be eating his food, as well as solutions. https://www.pupbox.com/training/dog-wont-eat-food-will-eat-treats/

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luna
Shih Tzu
14 Months
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luna
Shih Tzu
14 Months

She does not want to eat. She is still playful but after that she won't eat anything. She just wants her treats. I tried switching dog food, chicken, pork, sawdust, liver, vegetables. still nothing. That's why I force feed her and it's been going on for 7 months now. Now, she learned how to spit out food. She does not want to eat but she drinks water all the time.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
916 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lyka, I would check with your vet. Since pup is avoiding eating so much, there is a good chance there is an underlying medical cause. An allergy to a certain ingredient, bacterial imbalance, infection, obstruction, parasites, lack of stomach acid or enzymes, ect...There are numerous things that could be related to a dog not wanting to eat. Pup seems to have a bad association with food for some reason - like eating makes pup feel ill. I am not a vet, and am not medically qualified to diagnose anything, so I highly suggest speaking with your vet. This sounds like more than just a behavioral training issue in my opinion though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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