July 18, 2017
| Dog Training, Fun Games, Helpful Tips, Pet Health, Pet Safety, Training
How To Make My Dog Eat Slower
Does your dog treat every meal like it’s the first time they’ve eaten all week? If your dog eats too fast, we’ve got a few tips you can try to make your dog eat slower.
Why Does My Dog Eat So Fast
A lot of dogs develop their fast eating habits as puppies. They are often competing with their litter mates for food, and they learn that whoever snoozes loses! Dogs develop the habit of eating very quickly and then it becomes their typical behavior when they eat.
Some dog breeds are known to eat very quickly, such as labradors, golden retrievers, beagles, basset hounds, and dachshunds. Dogs all have different personalities and eating styles, and eating fast is a common issue many pet parents see.
Problems If A Dog Eats Too Fast
When your dog eats fast it can become a serious issue, so it’s important to train them to slow down. Otherwise, they could possibly choke from eating too quickly or vomit the food back up. Bloat can also occur from gulping down an excessive amount of air. Bloat causes the stomach to expand and possibly twist, which can become life threatening very quickly. The main symptom of bloat is vomiting mostly foam, or a swollen stomach. If you think your dog may have bloat, you need to take them to the vet immediately.
Bowls To Help Slow Down Eating
The great thing is that getting a dog to eat slower is a problem with a pretty simple solution! The easiest way to slow them down is to change up their bowl.
- Slow Feeder Bowl: There are tons of slow feeder bowls you can buy and they work wonders at making your dog eat slower. Slow feeder bowls separate the food into smaller areas so your dog has to work at getting their food instead of just inhaling it. We love Outward Hound’s clever and cute bowls. Their Fun Feeder bowl did a great job training my puppy to slow down. Now she has graduated to using a regular bowl again!
- Cookie Sheet: A cost-effective method to help your dog eat slower is to use a cookie sheet. Just spread the kibble out in a thin layer and they will be forced to slow down.
- Muffin Tin: You probably already have a muffin tin, which can also double as a slow-feeder bowl. Divide out the kibble in all of the different holes and watch them enjoy finding their food! They have to work harder to get the kibble out of each individual hole, which will take a bit more time.
- Puzzle Feeder: There are a variety of puzzle feeders and puzzle balls that work great at helping your dog eat slower. They can’t get to the food all at once and need to move things around to find the kibble or get it to dispense from the toy. This method is very stimulating and interactive for them, which is always fun!
Alternative Dinner Activities
If you want to take a new, fun approach to dinner, you may also want to give these options a try!
- Make Dinner Be Training Time: If your dog loves their food, they likely will think of it in the same way they think of a treat. This is great because it means you can use kibble as a reward for training. If you’re working on any new tricks or skills, measure out the amount your dog should be eating for a meal and then use that kibble as their reward. Make sure you still are giving them all of the food they should be getting at a meal time. Dinner training sessions are a great way to bond, and you’ll have a happy, well-behaved dog!
- Hide and Seek: Some dogs love to play hide and seek with food. Have your dog sit and stay while you let them see you hide a few pieces of kibble. Then say “Seek” to release them from their stay, and they can go get the food. Once your dog understands the concept, you can make it harder by having them sit and stay somewhere they can’t see you hide the kibble. Then the game actually makes them seek out the food, which is great for mental stimulation.
It’s very simple to correct the issue of a dog eating too quickly, and it’s important so you prevent things like choking, vomiting, and bloat. You have so many choices, from using the simple home remedy of a muffin tin, to buying a spiffy slow-feeder bowl, or you can even turn feeding into an interactive and fun session. Any of these approaches will quickly remedy your pup’s scarfing issues and will make dinner time a calmer experience for everyone!
Charleston Dog Walker provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in your home that is customized to your pet’s needs. We’re so happy you found us (and we know your pet is, too!) and we would truly be honored to be your pet care provider. Give us a call at 843-580-2212 or contact us to get more information about how we can help your pet!
January 11, 2016
| Fun Games, Helpful Tips, Things To Do
We’ve been extra lucky in Charleston this winter (so far… fingers crossed!) that the weather has stayed pretty warm. But there have certainly been those toe-freezing days where you just can’t bring yourself to hook up that leash and take a stroll around the block with your pup. Don’t worry, though, because when the weather gets too brutal for you to suck it up, you still have some options for exercising your dog. Here are our top 5 favorite ways to get indoor exercise for your dog:
- Use the stairs for a game. If your dog loves fetch, sit at the bottom of the stairs and throw the ball to the top of the stairs. This is a fun game for your pup and will get them lots of exercise. Make sure that you are doing this on carpeted stairs (or stairs with a runner), though, so that they have good grip and don’t take a tumble. If you’re up for exercise, you could also leash them up and run up and down the stairs with them. Kudos to you if you are this motivated!
- Play hide and seek. You can hide in various spots around the house and then call for your dog to come find you. If your dog is more food motivated, you could also introduce him to the “search” game where you hide small treats around the house and then tell the dog to go search for them. This is great for keeping him moving and scent work is a good mental game, too.
- Set up an agility course. This sounds daunting, but start with something simple like a broom stick propped up on two low boxes. Teach your dog using treats to hop over the stick. You can get more creative by adding obstacles for your dog to weave around. Take it one step at a time, and as they master each part, add to it!
- Tug of war is a classic! You can even watch tv while hanging on to your dog’s favorite tug toy.
- Doggy dancing is always a hilarious way for you and your pup to work out! Turn on some of your favorite tunes and dance around your dog. This will probably get her excited and start bouncing around with you. Give her more of a work out by holding her front paws while she dances a bit on her hind legs. Remember to let her down for breaks, but you may find that she enjoys being upright, too!
Here’s hoping the sunshine holds out and we can enjoy the outdoors, but for those days when it is just too cold or rainy, these are the perfect things for indoor dog exercise!
April 29, 2013
| Fun Games, Training
So the weather man says there’s going to be rain today and tomorrow in Charleston… which is always sad for the dog who loves to run around outside. If you’re anything like me, you start out saying “what’s a little rain?” and go out for some fun with them. But after 10 minutes of being soggy, I’m ready to look for some alternative entertainment for my dog. Luckily, there are lots of fun things to do inside that will keep your pup happy. Here are a few games you can try, courtesy of The Dog Trainer:
- The Find It Game
- This one is simple and fun – start out by taking a few pieces of your dog’s favorite food or treats and tossing it close to them while saying “Find it”. Do this a few more times, making the distance between the dog and the treat a bit further each time. Once they get the idea, have your dog sit and stay while you go hide the treat. This is a great way to keep your dog happy and help them use their noses!
- Hide and Seek
- A few weeks ago I mentioned how to play this game outside – but of course you can do it indoors, too. Grab a friend and have him stay with your dog while you go hide. Then have your friend encourage your dog to go find you. Once found, make sure to give lots of praise and love to keep the game exciting.
- The Muffin Tin Game
- Grab a 6 muffin tin from your kitchen, 6 small treats and 3 tennis balls. Place the treats in each cup and put the tennis balls over 3 of them. Now let your dog do the work – once he eats the 3 exposed ones, he should sniff around to find that 3 more are hidden under the balls. Train your dog to be an expert by only putting a few treats under some of the balls and see if he can figure it out. Then you can advance to a larger muffin tin with more balls.
- Go Wild and Freeze
- This is a super fun game to try out – and it’s a helpful training game. Find your dog and start dancing around all crazy until she joins in. After a minute of some crazy action, all of a sudden you stop moving. When you do, ask your dog to sit. As soon as she sits, start dancing again. Repeat this until you tire yourself out. It’s a great way to get out their energy and helps teach your dog self-control as she learns to respond to your cues even when excited. Make sure to end the game clearly by saying “All done” or something similar and then sit down or do something else to signify that the game is over.
I hope you all enjoy this lovely April rain and get a chance to try out some of the new fun games above. A tired dog is always a good dog!
March 8, 2013
| Fun Games, Training
Training our dog to “come” was certainly a challenge. He grew up mostly as a city dog, so he was rarely off-leash. Coming when we were playing inside was never an issue, but that’s mostly because there weren’t any distractions for him. No squirrels in the hallway or birds flying by! So when we tried to train him outside with those distractions, it took some effort. If you are still learning how to train your dog to come, here’s a great way to start the process. Play a game of hide and seek!
I found this blog to be helpful when training our pup – http://www.naturaldogblog.com/blog – and one fun activity was Hide and Seek. The idea is to increase your dog’s attraction to you by engaging their prey instinct. With repetition, you become more appealing to them than any distraction (like a squirrel) that may be present. Take some time to try this fun game. Just find a secluded place to play that doesn’t have a lot of distractions (a trail in the woods is perfect). Then here’s what you do:
- Have someone hold your dog’s leash
- Run down the trail and then find a place to hide that your dog can’t see
- Once you’re hidden, loudly call your dog’s name
- As soon as your friend hears you call, they should drop the leash so your dog can come find you
- When your dog finds you (they always do), give them lots of praise and some treats
- Play this game for a bit, but stop before your dog loses interest
*Check out the full post about the game here.
This game is lots of fun for your dog and helps you become the focus of their attention. Keep doing this, along with other recall training techniques, and your dog will love to come when you call him!