Commands to Keep Your Dog Calm Before Meals

We’ve all seen those dogs who jump around crazily as soon as a meal is presented in front of them, right? Although it’s great to see a dog so happy at being fed, this happiness shouldn’t result in craziness each time your dog is being fed. This post is all about training your dog(s) to keep calm before each meal which is important to start as early as possible. This training may be needed even more if you are feeding your dog a diet that consists of raw meat, due to how it is a lot more exciting for dogs than just dry food.

Command 1- Sit-Stay or Down-Stay:

How to teach this:

  1. You can teach your pet this by using a treat to lure your dog into a sit or lying down on the floor position, then say the command in a firm but calm voice and then give them the treat

  2. You can also look at the natural behaviour of your dog- whenever they are sitting down or lying down on their own, you can give them a treat and say the command

Using these commands during feeding time:

  1. Firstly, put your dog in the ‘sit’ or ‘down’ position

  2. Prepare their meals- sometimes they will break this position if you are making something particularly tasty, but just correct them by putting them back into their starting position and then reminding them with another ‘stay’ command in a firmer voice

Command 2- Release:

How to teach this:

  1. This command allows the dog to break from the position they were in

  2. You can break this by moving away whilst your dog is adopting the ‘sit’ or ‘down’ position, and then switching from the firm voice to a more upbeat and happy voice

  3. Now you can choose what you say to them- maybe ‘enough’ or ‘go’- it’s your choice

Using this command during feeding time:

  1. Prepare the meals and carry them to the place where your dog eats

  2. After waiting for a few moments, you can say something like ‘Ok ____, go eat!’ or ‘Enough__ , go eat!’ in a happy voice

  3. This releases them so they can devour their lovely meals!

Command 3- Leave It:

How to teach this:

  1. Let your dog play with a toy

  2. Offer them a high value treat e.g. a cut-up sausage in order to persuade them to drop the toy

  3. When they drop the toy, you should then say ‘Leave it’

  4. Once they obey this, reward them with the high value treat

Using this command during feeding time:

  1. This one doesn’t really have any steps because it depends on personal feeding routines

  2. Basically, it can be used when you’ve put a treat or food in front of you dog, and then are teaching them to be patient and to listen to you before eating

Overall Tips:

  1. Make sure you are consistent and patient

  2. Make sure you are doing this without being frustrated or cranky

  3. Sessions do not have to be very long- perhaps one or two three-five minute sessions a day

  4. Training can be better after you have taken your dog on a walk/some form of exercise as it improves focus, so consider taking them on a long walk beforehand each day

  5. If your dog is being fed by someone else, make sure they stick to the same approaches as you in terms of this training

If these commands do not work, there are other methods that you’ll be able to research into, such as using a clicker. Each dog is different and it’s all about personal preferences.

I hope this has been helpful and your dog (s) is/are now much calmer during mealtimes!

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