ditching the bowl

Photo credit: Devon Dogs

Ditching the Bowl by Kelly Murrell 

Why you should ditch that bowl

Do you struggle with the concept of using your dog’s daily food to train? Are you worried that this is depriving them in some way? I’m going to be sharing some of my thoughts to encourage you to look at ditching the bowl as inspiring rather than depriving.


First off, check out the term contra-freeloading. This term describes the act of preferring to work and earn rewards, rather than getting it for free. Not only do dogs prefer to work for their food, but when they do, value for the food is added. If you have a picky eater, the BEST way to develop them into a more food driven dog is to ditch the bowl and use their food for training games, fun and play!

Value Added to Relationship

Your dog’s daily food is like a pot of value. If you choose to spend that value working on training games, fun and play with you, you will enhance your relationship with your dog. Relationship is everything! Having a healthy relationship bank account is key!

So Many Skills, Only So Much Room in the Tummy!

Let’s face it, there’s always a skill that needs honing or a concept that needs enhancing. Training is an ongoing process, a journey. We are never done! And that’s exciting! To me, training sessions have become entwined into our lives. It’s become part of what we do, training is infiltrated into our days!

That said, my dogs only have so much room in the tummies…..although, Bryn would keep eating if he had the opportunity!…..With so much to train, feeding your dog from a bowl and then ADDING training rewards on top is only going to result in either a dog who won’t work with you because they are full or an overweight dog! Using their daily food will eliminate those two scenarios!

It’s Better for Digestion

Some who struggle with the ditch the bowl concept envisage that the dog only gets a couple bits of kibble here and there throughout the day. They are constantly being drip feed tiny, tiny amounts, meaning their tummies are always rumbling. This isn’t entirely accurate. Granted, I sometimes train multiple times in the day, for 3-5 minutes a time, but it is amazing how much food you actually feed in that short space of time!

My dogs for sure receive a mini meal each time we train! Added to this, in terms of digestion it is better for your dog to have smaller more frequent meals, rather than 1 or 2 large meals in the day.

Do you need help with a training struggle? For more info, head to: https://www.bowerlandcottageholidays.co.uk/dog-training-packages/

Check out more of our Thursday training blogs HERE.

Do you have a training issue you want to tackle? Come and stay with us in our cottage style apartments, right in the heart of Dartmoor, and make the most of our fantastic training facilities onsite.


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