Saturday we had a really nice event at the Buehler's grocery store at Nobles Pond in Jackson Township! Thanks to them for providing the free space and exposure to several pet adoption agencies. There are so many to place. Their support is wonderful.
I had the occasion to speak to a very nice older gal that had a question on the behavior of her dog. This is the kind of lady that after three minutes of conversation, you KNOW you want her as your grandmother! Sweet with a kind voice.
She spoke with a noticeable German accent. I asked her if she'd speak German to Lexi, my German Shepherd. She smiled and spoke to Lexi. I have no idea what she said. Maybe I should’ve asked! Well, somehow we got on the subject of food. She proceeded to tell us how she gives her little Schnauzer a LOT of people food. When I asked why she didn't give her dog dog-food, her face looked mildly disgusted that I would suggest she feed her dog with dog food. "I have dog food out, but want her to eat well, so I give her people food!" was her response.
I asked her if the dog appeared overweight; "yes". I asked her how often she took the dog on walks; I could tell by the look on her face that she never walked the dog. She asked why that was important. (See this past post on dogs, food and gulping down food.)
"Why can't I give my dog people food?" I asked her if she thought she'd be healthy eating only dog food.
I proceeded to give her my two minutes on dog diet and benefits. "But what if she doesn't like dog food?"
It can be a challenge to find dog food your dog will eat. My German Shepherd will not eat some of the "best" dog food out there. It took us three/four brands to find something good she would eat, yet good for her. It can be really hard when we love an animal to do "the right thing", when for a day, two or three the dog may not eat.
We must remember that dogs are predators. In nature, they may get to eat twice today then go three or four days before another meal crosses their path. The next time you see your dog eat something disgusting (to us), remember that when they get hungry enough, they will eat.
I advised her to immediately stop people food. Stop 'over-treating'. And to go into the grocery store and get a good dog food and feed her dog that only.
Remember your dog has different diet needs than you do. A puppy is different from an adult. A German Shepherd is different than a Schnauzer (even though they are both "from" German heritage). Depending on the brand and where you purchase your food, you may find specialty food that serves the need of your specific dog/breed.
Your dog needs exercise. Your dog needs directed exercise. Directed means YOU walk the dog on a loose-leash so the dog knows you are the leader. This is different than your dog running around the yard for an hour.
Start treating, hmmm bad choice of words...
Begin to feed and exercise and otherwise act like your dog is a dog with dog needs and dog requirements.
The sooner you stop humanizing your dog and giving it an inappropriate diet, allowed behavior and other "nice human" stuff, the quicker your dog can become a dog. It will be healthier, more balanced, and LIVE LONGER for you both to enjoy!
Grant Holmes is Dog Obedience Professional and the owner of Perfectly Pawsible Dog Obedience & People Training. He loves working one on one with your dog in your home, working on the goals you've set for obedience & behavior! Any dog, any size, any challenge.
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