While I'm not going to suggest our house pets and couch potatoes are wild, or very closely related to wolves, they are still an animal and if left to their own devices would spend most of their time searching and hunting for food for survival.
When we deprive them of working for a meal we are missing out on so many opportunities for your dog to have more fulfillment and enrichment in their lives.
Ways you can add more to your dogs day by using their meals constructively:
Feed by Hand throughout the day as rewards for behaviors you want to see more of
- Notice the things your dog already does well and reward them!
- Teach a new behavior, or a trick and reward by hand while your dog thinks and works with you
- Have them perform a command before releasing to their food.
- Sit, you set bowl down - release
Sit, you set bowl down and walk around the room before releasing them
- Sit, you set bowl down and walk behind them - call them to you - then release to food
- Put bowl down, heel with them around the food -then release them
- Use a Slow Feeder Bowl, so they have to work a bit to get to their food.
- I've tried many of the licki mats and i'm personally not a fan... every dog has lost interest quickly or chewed a hole in a matter of moments and I prefer something more durable for their safety.
- Use a Food / Puzzle Toy that your dog has to move around and play with to get the food out.
- Some of my personal favorites ....