“I heard the silliest thing the other day – apparently, if you follow the Dog Listening method you always have to feed your dog after you yourself have eaten. That sounds ridiculous!”
Welcome to the second video in my Dog Listening myth busting series!
My purpose with this is to talk about some pretty common misconceptions concerning Dog Listening that I’ve seen on the web or heard people say.
Right then, what about this nonsense that you have to wait until you’ve eaten yourself before you feed your darling dog? Is it nonsense?
Let’s start by looking at what importance food has in the wolf pack. Because remember, we may have taken the dog out of the wolf pack, but we haven’t taken the wolf pack out of the dog. A dog is still very much a wolf inside.
In the wild, the alpha pair are the oldest (usually) and most experienced members of the pack. They make all the decisions about the most important matters in the pack’s life.
Food, obviously, is one of those important matters. I won’t talk about the hunt itself now, that’s a topic for another time, but about when food is already available for the pack members.
What’s important here is who is in charge of the food? As you would have guessed, it’s the alpha pair. They are the most important members of the pack since they are the most experienced and leads the pack on the hunt. They have to stay strong and healthy or the pack is in trouble.
This means that food does have an impact on how your dog will perceive its position in the pack and what responsibilities it has towards the other pack members.
So, this leads us back to that statement that is actually quite often heard when people who don’t know the whole story talks about Dog Listening, you can’t feed your dog until you’ve eaten yourself.
If this is true, I think that puts a whole lot of stress into the relationship with your dog! What about if you want to do intermittent fasting and skip breakfast and maybe even lunch altogether? Or maybe you want to do a water fast for a couple of days? Can’t my dog eat then either? Or can’t I do intermittent fasting because of this?
Now that does sound like nonsense! And it is, even from a Dog Listener’s perspective.
It doesn’t matter at all when you or your dog eat or in what order. What does matter though is how you feed your dog and what you do at meal time.
Like always, the initiative must come from you, not because your dog stares at you, follows you around in the kitchen or scratches at the fridge door.
When YOU decide it’s time, you prepare the bowl with your dog’s food, and then call your dog to you. Unless it’s already there of course, my dogs recognize the sound of the bowl against the kitchen counter and arrive in seconds.
What you want to do next is what will tell the dog who is in charge of the food.
Before you prepare the bowl, you prepare some tiny snack for yourself and place it by the bowl on the counter. A couple of grapes, a small piece of chocolate, a piece of a cracker, whatever you like, it doesn’t matter. Now, before you put the bowl down, you eat those tidbits, in front of the dog. Take your time and chew carefully, and ignore the dog/s meanwhile.
Then, when you’re done immediately put the bowl down without looking at or saying anything to the dog, and leave it to enjoy its meal in privacy. You don’t have to leave the room, just don’t stand over your dog while it’s eating. As soon as it has finished and left, pick the bowl up again, even if it’s not empty.
That’s it! Very simple and uncomplicated, and absolutely no need to plan your own meals after when you want to feed your dog, or vice versa. The dog gets the important information that you’re in charge and it can relax and enjoy life without any responsibilities for the pack.
Giving your dog the best life possible is what Dog Listening is all about.
So, myth #2, busted! At least kind of 😉