Slow Feed from above




Throughout adolescence dogs often struggle with self control. Waiting calmly for things is difficult and this often leads to dogs snatching treats, grabbing items with their mouth or vocalising in frustration.

The more we can do to help dogs develop their ability to remain calm in anticipation, the better. It’s important to carefully gauge the difficulty of self control exercises to make sure that your dog is enjoying the game and not becoming increasingly frustrated.

One game you can play is to slowly feed your dog treats from above.

Start by asking your dog to sit and hold a treat high above their head. If they remain sitting, mark and quickly bring the treat down to reward your dog in position.

Progress to moving the treat slowly downwards by a few centimeters as your dog watches. If they remain sitting, mark and quickly lower the treat to reward them.

If your dog gets up or jumps at any point, simply raise the food up again.

As your dog gets good at this, you can slowly lower the treat more, so that it gets closer to your dog.

Eventually you will be able to slowly move the treat all the way down to meet your dog’s mouth without them trying to reach for it before you mark and reward.

At this stage your dog has taught themselves to control their movement and remain still in anticipation of the treat that’s coming.

This skill can be transferred to many real life situations, such as walking to the park calmly for off lead exercise, sitting and waiting to greet visitors in the home, or waiting nicely for you to put their food down to eat.

Practicing this throughout adolescence will really help your dog to thrive.

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