The Invisible Dog

Apart from grazing on lower-value food like fruit, it’s highly unlikely a dog outside human guardianship would have an ever ready supply of food on tap without having to put some work into either scavenging or chasing and killing something – a ‘running’ buffet quite literally.

imagesHe would probably also be in competition for the food with other dogs.

Food is a currency with which we can help our dogs in all sorts of ways where possibly a pat and a fuss isn’t enough.

Food is the best means to teach Monty things we want him to learn. Food is the only thing that can be administered instantly and repeatedly in quick succession without stirring him up or distracting him like play or talking might.

Food is invaluable for counter-conditioning, for pairing with anything Monty is wary of.

Food, used correctly and with patience, is the nearest to a magic bullet that we have.

The more value food has to Monty, the more power it has.

imageIf a dog has constant access to edible goodies (unless perhaps he’s a Labrador!), surely this will be reducing the value of his food as a currency. If I were to win lottery millions (I’m often ‘in it’ but never ‘win it’), I wouldn’t get quite so excited as I would now about being showered with five pound notes.

Those of my clients who need to work with their dog and who leave the dog’s food bowl down and topped up all day have been introduced to The Invisible Dog.

Using their Invisible Dog, it’s unlikely their Bella won’t very soon be finishing up her meals.

Having The Invisible Dog doesn’t mean that food always has to be fed in bowls. It merely means that food won’t hang about once the dog walks away from it because The Invisible Dog quickly moves in. Just as another dog might.

Bella is allowed to walk right away from her bowl or food source before it’s removed. It’s not grabbed from under her nose which could encourage guarding.

(There are always exceptions. Sometimes for a particular reason and a particular dog, food needs to be left about).

Here is the story of a dog I went to recently who is very scared of bangs. To help Rio we need to be able to use food. He is currently overweight, he’s given unsuitable extras and treats when he asks for them. His food bowl is left down all the time.

For food to best help him with his fear of bangs it needs more value. Rio needs to be ready to eat – just a little hungry maybe? When working on bangs, food will arrive, almost literally, like pennies from heaven.

For more stories of dogs I have been to, visit my main website www.dogidog.co.uk

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About Theo Stewart

I am a dog Behaviourist (INTODogs - ICAN Companion Animal Behaviourist) and trainer covering Beds, Herts, Cambs and Bucks, a 'Victoria Stilwell' Positively Dog Trainer (VSPDT) and a full member of the IMDT. Graduate ISCP, International School for Canine Practitioners. My main site: www.dogidog.co.uk
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