How to Teach a Puppy or Dog to Wait for His Food

Lindsay Stordahl

One of the challenges we’ve had with our puppy is how crazy he gets when we feed him.

He’s so excited he barks and jumps and basically panics in anticipation.

Like, “Oh my God, I’m going to die if I don’t eat all this food right now in 3 seconds!”

I hear this is normal puppy behavior, but it’s annoying to say the least.

I was getting really frustrated with my puppy Remy during his mealtimes. I knew I should teach him to wait for his food but he wouldn’t even sit still for 1 second!

Then … it clicked.

I read on the blog Puppy in Training the important piece I was missing!

Remy the puppy waiting for his food

From Puppy in Training:

Hold your puppy by his collar by slipping your thumb in his collar and set his food about two feet away. As soon as he stops wiggling, say the words “O.K.” and release your puppy.

Read the whole post here. (Scroll down to “Puppy’s First Feeding.”) Also, here is a video of puppy in training “Dublin” working on waiting for his food.

I seriously never would’ve thought of making it that simple. Release the puppy as soon as he stops wiggling.

It’s too much to expect them to wait for even 1 second at first!

Now … if only my food crazed cat Beamer could get the memo!

Do you think this would work with a 13-year-old nutty cat?

How to teach a dog to wait for his food

How to teach your puppy to wait for his food

Note: Unless your other pets are well behaved, I would keep them in a separate room while you work on this with your puppy.

Days 1-2: Hold his collar and release the moment he relaxes.

Days 3-4: Add some cues. I told Remy “sit, “wait” and “OK!” At this point he only waited for a split second.

Days 5-6: Use a leash. Have him sit, and then step on the leash to hold him back while you set the food down. If he tries to jump up the leash will remind him to sit. When he stays relaxed for 1 second, release with “OK!”

Days 7+: Increase the “wait” time to 2-3 seconds, then 5, 10, etc. We’re currently at about 15 seconds.

Ongoing: Increase the wait time to 30 seconds, 45 seconds, etc., and try without a leash.

That’s my plan anyway, and this can work with adult dogs too. They might just be a little noisier and stubborn since they’re set in their ways.

Teach your dog to wait for his food

How to teach a dog to wait quietly while you prepare the food

I could use some help on this.

How do I keep Remy calm while I’m getting the food ready? He barks in his kennel as I’m filling his bowl. So should I just ignore him until he’s quiet? That could take forever.

Am I expecting too much at this point?

Probably. Let me know what you think!

Does your dog or puppy know to wait for his food?

Related posts:

How to stop a dog from begging for his own meals

Puppy’s first night home (from Puppy in Training)

What rules to teach a puppy first?

What to do if your dog is a picky eater

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