So, you've spent countless hours training your dog and are pretty proud of their success with learning and following important commands. Commands that will keep them safe in all instances - such as "come," which is important if they run into the street and "down," a handy command to keep them from chasing after a skunk. But what about when a stranger decides to give your dog food? Is this something you should be wary of? Training your dog to not accept food from strangers is another skill essential to their well-being. Read on to see how it's done!
It can be pretty difficult to convince your furbaby not to eat a scrumptious treat. But to keep them safe (in the rare instances a stranger has bad intentions) and to prevent your pooch from becoming a beggar to everyone they encounter, learning this skill is a good thing. For the most part, dog poisoning is rare, but it does happen. Having a dog who becomes a smooch is more common though, and quite annoying to all those involved.
To start training a dog to not accept food from strangers, it's best to wait until the pup is an adolescent. A young puppy needs to learn basic commands and understand that you are leader and then they can move on to more complicated training like this. The training can take weeks of daily sessions to perfect. This lesson can also be taught to mature dogs; just remember to have patience as you and your dog work together. You also have to take into consideration how broad of a spectrum of avoidance you're looking for. Do you want the dog only to take food from you? Should they eat only inside the house? Would you like to use a special bowl for eating? All of these factors will be at play during training.
Some things to help you along the way are:
Use a variety of tasty goods in your sessions. Get both common dog treats and people-food favorites (think cheese and hot dogs).
If you're going to teach your dog only to eat from one bowl, get one that stands out a bit. It's also important to make sure that it can be easily replaced.
It's much easier to teach a dog this behavior if you have a "stranger" on hand to test out how things are going. Try to get someone that your pup has never met to help you.
To complete food avoidance training, you're going to need to devote time for at least one session a day. And don't expect this to happen overnight. It may take weeks before your pooch understands what's going on.
You can practice these avoidance techniques in various settings to give your dog a chance to test their skills in any environment. Start off at home though, so that your furry companion is not distracted by other dogs. Use an encouraging voice when training and offer lots of praise for effort and compliance. Remember, dogs are often very food-oriented so the task may take several sessions of instruction before they catch on.