Expert Author E. Blinn

Do you remember how the house smelled on Thanksgiving, as a kid? The oven warmed the whole house. Your pets feel the same way when you cook homemade dog food for them. They remember the smells, the taste, and the sounds of you cooking for them.

Sharing good food with your family builds strong bonds, and happy memories. Sharing homemade pet food with your dog will strengthen your deep heart bond with her too. The next step is how to get your dog to understand that you are sharing your food with her.

For your puppy, kneel down in front of her, and get her attention. Curl your hand up and slowly reach over your pups head, she'll lean back, she'll turn his head, and sooner or later she'll sit down to look up at your hand. You can also use her food dish. Praise her every time she sits. Good sit! Repeat it a few times. Even young puppies usually catch on quick. Teach your puppy or your dog to sit and stay before each meal.

Stand where her food dish usually sits on the floor, and ask her to sit. Hold her food dish in both hands in front of you, about chest high. She's probably going to stare at her food dish at first. Stay like that a second, you want her to look up at you, when she does, just say good girl. Don't put the food down yet, still hold it. When she looks back up at you, praise her again. The next time she looks up at you, tell her good girl, tell her to stay, put the food down, have her wait before you tell her OK. Do this every time you feed her. I stay in the kitchen with Max while he eats.

Start as young as possible, and teach her to sit, everywhere, before she eats, and before you open the door to take her for a walk. Ask her to sit, praise her, teach her to stay, spend some time until she waits for your OK to go out. On her walk, teach her to sit before you cross the street. Sit. Stay. Have her wait until you say it's OK to cross. I don't care if your mother-in-law is coming, don't cross the street until she sits and waits for you. Soon she'll look up at you for approval. The sooner you make it clear to your dog or your puppy what you will and won't allow, the happier you'll both be. By being patient, and consistent, your dog will want to earn your praise and approval. It's a win, win. Your goal is to get her to want to do what you ask of her. The best way to do this, is with her food. It takes a few minutes to make a home cooked meal for your dog, you want her to understand it's your food, and you are sharing it with her.

Praise your dog when she comes to you, even if you stood for an hour in the rain. Your dog expects praise when you're smiling and clapping. If she gets scolded, next time instead of coming when you call, she'll head the other way. You might fool her once, but remember, she's taking notes. You will lose her trust if you are not consistent.

Here's some advice to help you get started. Spend some time having her come to you. If you feel more comfortable with treats, start with them, but keep in mind that you'll need to cut back on using them later. Keep a hot dog sliced up in a freezer bag. Start by walking her on a leash at the park, when she starts to sniff and explore, drop the leash. Let her go ahead. Stop and kneel down, if she comes to you, praise her. If not, call her, when she comes, have her sit, give her a treat and praise her. After you get more confident, drop the leash and walk with her. Stop and stand still, see if she turns to you. Give her a second, she will start to look back to see where you are. It takes some time, but each time she does, call her to you, have her sit and reward her. She'll start to come back on her own, check on you, and head off again. Work on this in different places, with different distractions.



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