dog-with-treat

Eliminate Food-Guarding Behavior in 7 Steps

Guarding possessions, whether it be food, a special toy, or any other item, is a normal behavior in dogs. When dogs ran wild, they were forced to guard their possessions to survive. Those who did guard their food, and/or their family were more likely to survive and thrive. Unfortunately, this could become an issue for us, as their family.

Guarding behavior can range from completely harmless to extremely aggressive. Some dogs guard their resources from everyone. And, others guard their possessions from only certain people (like ‘strangers’).

Some dogs guard their bone. Some dogs guard their toy. Some dogs guard their food.

Which of the above is your dog doing?

We’ll talk about how to resolve these issues. And, if your dog isn’t resource guarding, we’ll talk about how to prevent resource guarding as well.

Prevent the Behavior

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If you have a puppy, now is an excellent time to begin preventing resource guarding. Puppies are prone to developing food guarding behavior because they must compete with their litter mates.

As soon as you bring your dog home, you should begin hand-feeding. Sit down with your puppy and feed him one piece of kibble at a time. Speak softly to your puppy as you’re feeding.

Once your dog is comfortable with hand-feeding, you can move to the bowl. Set the bowl in your lap or directly next to you. Watch your dog’s behavior as she’s eating with you. Continue speaking to your dog in a soft, positive voice as she’s eating.

My Dog is Already Food Guarding

If your dog is currently guarding her food, there are ways to desensitize your dog. The process we will use is known as counterconditioning.

While completing these exercises, be sure to listen to vocalizations and watch your dog’s body language. This will help you understand how he or she is feeling during this time.

The First Step: Only Standing Nearby

You need to go about this step-by-step. Try standing a few feet away from your dog while she’s eating her kibble. During the first step, you should not try to move closer. Calmly talk to her in a reassuring manner while she’s eating. This should be repeated a minimum of ten times before moving to the next step.

The Second Step: Standing and One Step

In the second step, you should still begin by standing a few feet away from your dog. But, you can take one step closer to your dog at this time. When you take your step, throw a treat toward your dog’s food bowl. Then, step back to where you were in the first place. Each day, you can take an extra step (as long as your dog is calm/relaxed). Step 2 should also be repeated a minimum of ten times before moving to step 3.

Step 3: Standing and Walking Away

If your dog has successfully mastered steps 1 and 2, you can move on to step 3. If your dog is still uncomfortable, please stay with the first two steps.

In the third step, continue talking to your dog in a soft tone, while walking toward his food bowl. Stand next to your dog’s food bowl, place a treat in the bowl, and walk away slowly. This step should be repeated a minimum of ten times.

Step 4: The Treat Trick

Continue applying what you have learned in the first three steps. In this step, while your dog is eating, you can hold a treat in your hand. Slowly show your dog the treat as he’s eating his meal. This step should encourage your dog to stop eating what’s in the bowl and take the treat. Once your dog has taken the treat, walk away and stand a few feet away from your dog. Continue to do this at each mealtime until your dog has finished eating.

Step 5: Pick Up the Bowl

The next step… raising the bowl. Please only attempt this step if your dog is 100% comfortable with steps 1-4.

Stand next to your dog and pick up her bowl with one hand. Don’t pick it up all the way… only lift the bowl slightly from the floor. Then, return the bowl to your dog immediately.

Step 6: Now She’s Comfy

Once your dog is comfortable with step 5, you can take the bowl away, place a treat in the bowl, and return it. Your dog now associates you with goodies. At this point, your dog should no longer have any problem with you being near her food.

Step 7: The Final Step

The final stage is to help the other members of your family go through all six steps. Be sure everyone in the household completes the steps in the same manner you did. And, don’t skip a step! This will allow your dog to learn there’s no reason to guard his food… not only from you but from anyone.

DO NOT PUNISH

Do not punish your dog for guarding her food. Your dog is guarding her food because she thinks you’re going to take it away and she won’t get it back. Punishment often results in the behavior worsening as the trust between you and your dog is lost.

DISCLAIMER:

If your dog becomes aggressive with his or her food, you should not attempt to resolve this behavior on your own. Please contact a Canine Behaviorist to assist in the process.

 

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Say Goodbye to Kibble with These Home Recipes

Through my previous articles, you have learned about the damage our commercial dog food can do to our dog’s body. But, a home-based diet (homemade dog food) requires adding many ingredients to your dog’s routine. Clearly, it’s easier to buy dog food in a bag from the store, but I have compiled a few simple recipes for you to replace that old, smelly commercial diet. To ensure your dog is receiving all of the necessary nutrients, a multivitamin like EverPup can help.

How Can a Homemade Diet Help my Dog?

Homemade dog food can help your furry best friend significantly — especially a dog who suffers from allergies, gastrointestinal issues and/ or skin problems.

In addition to reducing health problems, you can feel at ease knowing you have complete control over what your dog is eating. You know what ingredients are in there. When you buy food in a bag, you really don’t know what’s in that bag. You just hope the manufacturer is making the right decisions. But, as you can see, the recall list continues to skyrocket.

If you cook food in large quantities, you can also save money by feeding homemade dog food. Most people are ‘turned off’ to the idea of making their dog’s diet themselves because they’re afraid of how much it will cost. They aren’t worried about the time- they just aren’t sure if they can afford it. But, the good part is, most of the ingredients you would cook for your dog you probably already have in your home. After all, they are omnivorous (eat plants and animals) just like us.

But unlike when we cook for ourselves, we can’t add spices to our dog’s food… and there are some ingredients that can’t be added at all that we will talk about in a few minutes.

Be Sure to Consult with Your Vet

Before implementing a homemade diet, consult with your veterinarian or canine nutritionist to make sure you’re not barking up the wrong tree with your dog’s nutritional needs.

Each dog has their own requirements, but there are some general balance guidelines you can keep in mind. Serving sizes depend on your pup’s weight, size and activity level.

Essentially, their diet should consist of the following:

40% Protein – animal meat, seafood, eggs or dairy
10% Carbohydrates – grains and beans
50% Vegetables
Fat – from oil or meat
Calcium – crushed or powdered egg shells; a supplement
Fatty acids – cooked egg yolks, oatmeal, plant oils and other foods

Low Calorie Dog Food Recipes

Homemade dog food is generally better for dogs than their kibble or canned dog food from the store. Because there aren’t any preservatives or additives, homemade dog food is also lower in calories. As with everything though, food should be given in moderation (and never any more than 10% scraps/treats).

Our Favorite Homemade Dog Food Recipes

We’ve written up some of our favorite dog food recipes to share with you. We hope you like them! Here you go!

Doggie Beef Stew: The Alternative to Canned Dog Food

Beef stew is a great dinner to feed our dogs… why? Because it naturally contains both meat and veggies. And, our dogs will happily eat the veggies found in the stew.

Ingredients

1 pound of beef stew meat
1 small sweet potato
1/2 cup of carrots, diced
1/2 cup of green beans, diced
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of water or organic vegetable oil, plus 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil for frying
Total: Makes approx 4 cups (or 32 fluid ounces)

Directions

Cook the sweet potato in a microwave for 5 to 8 minutes until firm but tender. Set aside.
Slice the stew pieces into smaller chunks, about the size of a nickel.
Cook the stew pieces in a tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until well-done.
Remove the beef chunks from the pan, reserving the drippings.
Dice the sweet potato.
Heat the drippings over medium-low heat. Slowly add flour and water into the dripping while whisking to create a thick gravy.
Add the meat, sweet potato, carrots and green beans into the gravy and stir to coat.
Cook until the carrots are tender – about 10 minutes.
Serve cool.
Store remaining stew in the fridge for up to five days.

Easy Crockpot Beef & Rice Meal

This is a great recipe to cook if we don’t have a large amount of time during the day. If you’re thinking, ‘oh my goodness, I have such a long day,’ and are wondering when you’ll have time to cook food for your family and your furry family, this is a great recipe for the day.

Ingredients

2 ½ pounds ground beef
1 ½ cups uncooked brown rice
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 ½ cups chopped butternut squash
1 ½ cups chopped carrots
½ cup frozen peas
4 cups of water
Total: Makes approx 11 cups (or 88 fluid ounces)

Directions

Stir in all ingredients with 4 cups of water in a crockpot.
Cover and cook on low heat for 5 to 6 hours or high heat for 2 to 3 hours.
Stir as needed and cool to room temperature.

The Pumpkin Dough Treats: For When Your Dog Has an Upset Tummy

Pumpkin is extremely beneficial to our dog’s body… and can help keep her healthy!

Ingredients

1/3 cup extremely cold water
2/3 cup pumpkin puree (canned or home-made)
2 cups whole grain brown rice flour
1 large egg (you can omit this if your dog is allergic to eggs)
2 1/2 tablespoonful flax-seed oil or olive oil
Total: Makes approx 24 1 oz balls (or 24 fluid ounces)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 320 – 350 degrees.
Use two baking sheets and baking paper to avoid sticking.
Mix lightly beaten egg and pumpkin in a separate container until smooth. If you don’t want to use egg then just smooth the pumpkin puree separately and proceed to the next step.
In a larger bowl, combine flax-seed oil and brown rice flour.
With constant stirring, add the pumpkin mixture to the rice mixture and slowly add water. Be sure to leave some of the rice to be used as some sort of toppings for the cookies.
Hand mix the ingredients thoroughly.
Using two pieces of baking or waxed paper, roll dough out to desired thickness.
Remove the top baking paper.
Evenly pour rice flour onto the top of the dough and lightly press it to the waxed baking paper.
Remove the paper and cut to desired sizes.
Place in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is completely dry.
Cool and store in a dry plastic or glass container until ready to be served.

Homemade Chicken Jerky Strips

You should never trust store-bought raw hides, many contain a ridiculous amount of additives and preservatives. Plus, we have a recipe that tastes even better-homemade chicken jerky strips are a perfect replacement for rawhide. And, they’re easy to make. Store them in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to two weeks (if they last that long!).

Ingredients

2 to 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Total: Makes approx 10-20 strips

Directions

Preheat oven to 200 degrees
Trim all excess fat off the chicken breasts
Cut into 1/8 inch thick strips using a paring knife
Bake for 2 hours on a baking sheet until strips are dry and hard
Cool completely before presenting to your pooch.

Frozen Banana Treats

These treats are perfect for those hot days. You know, the days where your dog is reluctant to even go outside? Or, is excessively panting because they’re so hot. And, it’s oh so simple. All you need is yogurt, bananas, and peanut butter.

Ingredients

4 cups plain yogurt
2 tablespoons peanut butter
3 bananas, ripe, peeled & mashed
Total: Makes approx 8 1 oz treats

Directions

Blend all ingredients together into a puree.
Pour into 4-ounce plastic cups (ice trays or toddler popsicle trays work well).
Freeze until firm.
Can be kept in freezer for up to two weeks.

Tips on How to Make Dog Food

It’s important not to feed your dog the same dinner you’re eating. Dogs have different nutritional needs than we do. And, our food is considered “table scraps” when we’re discussing it from our dog’s standpoint. Your dog’s diet should never be over 10% table scraps or treats.

What Foods Should Your Dog Never Eat?

As a dog lover, you’ve probably seen these foods on the ‘no-no’ list before, but it’s always good to have a reminder when you’re cooking homemade dog food. The most toxic foods to our dogs are the following:

Chocolate
Onions and garlic
Avocados
Grapes and raisins
Macadamia nuts
Raw bread dough
Alcohol

To see what else they’re not allowed to eat, click here.

Learn About the Dangers of Commercial Dog Food

Click the video below to learn why dog food is so dangerous to our dog’s health. You’ll be shocked, I know I was.

Get to Cookin’

Now that you have some recipes on hand, it’s time to get to cookin’. Have fun, and keep a watch on the Dog Behavior Blog for more recipes!

Egg Puffs for Dogs Recipe: Healthy and Satisfying

Green leafy veggies are great for our dog’s health… and have even been proven to reduce cancer risk! So, why not make our dog a delicious treat out of them?

We have included a simple recipe for you below… feel free to print and save!

Ingredients

  • 6 cups of well-packed spinach
  • 1/2 cup of gluten-free breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of cottage cheese
  • 3 strips of cooked bacon diced into small pieces

Directions

Preheat oven to 400º F. Grease a mini muffin pan and place on a baking sheet.

  • Chop the spinach in batches carefully with a knife or in a food processor
  • Sauté the chopped spinach with a small amount of olive or coconut oil for about 10 minutes. They will shrink significantly in this process.
  • Move the spinach to a mixing bowl, then stir in the cottage cheese and bacon until well-mixed.
  • Stir in the eggs, and mix.

Drop spoonfuls  of the mixture into the greased mini muffin pan. Bake 25 minutes or until the puff feels springy to the touch and there is no liquid remaining.

After the puffs cool down, place in the refrigerator for later consumption.

Your dog will love these!

I’m Feeding My Dog WHAT?

I started paying attention to dog food when there was a chance that I was feeding my wonderful furbabies a food that could have killed them.

Did Commercial Food Kill My Dogs?

I won’t mention the brand but there were advertisements after they passed away within 6 months of each other that the particular brand was said to cause kidney failure. This is what one of them passed away from.

The first dog was 15 years old, so we blamed it on old age. So, how do we know what foods are safe and what foods aren’t? There is the alternative of cooking their food yourself which isn’t too bad if you have a small dog or even just one. I will share a report further down that really makes you want to just make your own.

The Sugar Content in Commercial Food

I recently started feeding my new pet, Racheal Ray’s. I then found an article showing how you can tell how much sugar is included in the dog food!

What I am feeding her right now has 48% sugar. There are some that are like 55% sugar. How can you tell how much sugar is in that bag of dog food? If you add the protein, fat, and moisture ash, you should get the percentage of sugar you are feeding your dog.

Also, just because you are getting your food from your vet, does not mean it is any less in sugar than other foods. Feeding our dogs all of this sugar can lead to illnesses like cancer, diabetes, allergies and even inflammations.  And, there’s even a YouTube video about the connections by Rodney Habib!

 

Since my dog loves to eat and I would have a hefty grocery bill just to feed her homemade food all the time, I am hoping to find a good dog food while still giving her more protein from homemade food.

It seems as though ALL of the dog food I have looked at is just too high from the starches and other carbohydrates making sugar to be actually healthy. For the big question of what am I feeding my dog, the following article shows that companies like GRAVY TRAIN and others have phenobarbital in their food. This is what is used to euthanize a pet! This is the link to that article. There are dog and cat foods mentioned in this article.

Cook Your Own Food

It is looking more and more like the safest way to know your pet is eating safe and good food is to fix it yourself. While it seems overwhelming, there are books that have recipes for dogs or cats so you know your pet is eating well. One book is Dog Talk, written by Amber L. Drake, Dog Behaviorist. Her book is available on Amazon.

For now, until I get the right recipes, and into all of it I am using 4Health Dog Food along with what I fix. No more Milk Bones (included in that article), I will be making doggie treats.

Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

Janice