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The Benefits of Hand Feeding

Updated: Oct 10, 2023


Nope, I didn’t know it was a thing at first either! But stay with me, because it makes sense.

Hand feeding is one of the fastest and easiest ways to start building a great relationship with your dog, it can teach and reinforce impulse control and confidence and is a great way to get some mental stimulation into their day.

So what is hand feeding? Hand feeding is literally just that, feeding your dogs meals by hand. You measure out their food like normal but instead of putting it in a bowl, pop it in a pouch or cup and over a period of 5-10 mins, feed them a few pieces at a time, until you run out.

It’s up to you if you want to reinforce behaviours while you do this, like asking for a Sit and rewarding, asking for a Down and rewarding etc but it’s not compulsory- just make sure you’re not rewarding any behaviour you don’t like (eg. if you don’t like jumping and they jump up, we don’t want to reinforce that)

Hand feeding is great because for that 5-10 min window, their attention is solely on you, reinforcing to them that you are the most exciting and important thing in their world, which will directly help your outdoor recall. Their confidence will also improve as their trust in you grows and they’ll become much more at ease in your company.

Another benefit is that it slows down your dog’s feeding time! Do you struggle with how to slow down your dog’s eating? Many pet parents face issues with dogs that wolf down their dinner too fast and give themselves stomach pain or vomiting as a result- but hand feeding means you can set the feeding pace.

You don’t have to do it every day, but like anything, you get out of it what you put in. Happy Training!

P.S. - You can even do it with raw food. Just wear gloves or wash your hands thoroughly afterwards! (I’d recommend a good hand wash for kibble too)

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