Puppies are energetic and rambunctious, and while that might make you feel happy most of the time, there are moments when their lack of discipline can become a problem. For instance, puppies tend to think that all the dog food bowls in the house are theirs, so they have no issue with nibbling at the kibbles belonging to other dogs in the household.
Why is this habit an issue?
To put it simply, puppies should eat food for puppies and not anything else. The formulas that are designed mainly for puppies are richer in protein than the recipes offered to dogs in other life stages. Some varieties even contain more vitamins and minerals, which are essential for a healthy development. If your puppy starts eating the food you use to feed your older dogs, that can cause problems in the long run.
A structured schedule can work wonders
Your puppy does not know to follow the rules because you are not enforcing any. That is why the first step you should take is to create a schedule for feeding your dogs. Puppies cannot be expected to keep from eating all the time if there’s a bowl of food lying around all day long.
Mature dogs need to feed about two times daily, and puppies two or three times. That will help you with deciding on a schedule that is enforced. The entire plan will be detailed right away.
Hierarchy matters in a dog’s world
Dogs and even puppies know the importance of hierarchy. This is the point you should learn as a dog parent who needs to set some ground rules. You are the leader of the pack, and you should act accordingly.
That being said, always be the first to eat. It is ideal to feed your dogs the first meal in the morning. Have your breakfast before feeding your dogs, so they know who is in charge. Do not think that this could be seen as cruel by your pets because this is not how their minds work.
Follow the hierarchy by feeding the oldest dog first. Take him or her to another room and fill the bowl. Let the dog eat for a few minutes and then empty the bowl. Continue with the next dog, until you get to your puppy.
Always let them eat only for a few minutes, and then empty their bowls. They need to see the empty bowls and understand that mealtime is over.
At first, the dogs will not eat everything you put in their bowls, especially if they are used to feed at any time of the day. However, within a week or two, they will understand that they need to eat at the designated hour, or they will have to endure until the next meal.
Also, the empty bowl rule is essential. If the puppy sees that the other bowls are empty, he or she will have no other choice but to eat from the only bowl available. It may take a bit to get the puppy used to this schedule, but the effort will be worth it.