Cooper may be just a puppy but that doesn’t mean he isn't trouble already. In fact, he has a truly incredible appetite. You can feed him a meal and he will straightaway be charging around the house in search of more food. Or even worse, he heads for the cat’s bowl and steals food from there instead. Now, this may seem harmless and even somewhat entertaining, to begin with. But this can soon lead to serious problems.
Firstly, if your puppy is eating the cat food, your cat will be going hungry, which may lead to medical problems. You also may find it difficult to keep a handle on your puppy’s weight and eating habits. If they become overweight as a puppy, they may suffer conditions such as arthritis later on in life. Finally, your food bill is even higher if you have to pay for double the amount of cat food!
Training a puppy to not eat cat food is actually pretty straightforward. The challenge is being strict and consistent with training. So the first thing you need to do is introduce a number of a deterrence measures. Simply limiting their access to the cat’s food will reduce the temptation. You will also need to use obedience commands to assert your position as pack leader and seize back control. Finally, you will need to get them into a food routine with clear boundaries.
Because they are just a puppy, they are probably just testing the boundaries and should respond swiftly to clear rules. So you could see results in just a week or two. But if your pup has a serious soft spot for cat food then you may need a few weeks. If you stick to training you won’t need to worry your cat is getting skinny while your dog is getting overweight. It will also remove some tension between them and encourage a more friendly relationship.
Before you can start training, you need to stock up on a few bits. Baby gates and cat flaps will be needed for one of the methods. A deterrence collar and a water spray bottle will also be needed. You will also need a smell-proof container to store your cat food in.
While you don’t need to set aside specific time to train, try and be around as much as possible at meal times to react to any problems.
Once you have all that, just bring patience and pro-active attitude, then work can begin!