How To Train Your Dog To Not Eat Cat Food
Dogs and cats share a very strange relationship. Most of us have gained knowledge about them probably through an old cartoon or the various children’s playbooks. In reality, challenges are very different than what we used to see on TV. There would have been times you may have felt something wrong, especially when it comes to their food.
Even after maintaining a balanced and adequate diet for both of them, if you feel your cat has lost some weight. And at the same time, your dog has been putting on some extra pounds. Then there is a chance of theft in the house of the infamous burglar itself. Your dog is probably eating cat food.
This habit is very unhealthy for both the animals as one can be eating more than necessary and the second one may suffer from malnutrition. There are even chances of your dog getting sick and suffer from vomiting, diarrhea or any other stomach related issue.
The most basic thing as an owner will be to train your dog and cat for the most basic of instructions. For example, if you see your dog snooping into the cat’s food space, then you need to have a definitive action or a command. This will be an indication for the dog that he is doing something wrong.
The best call is to have your dog’s training started at an early age. Puppies understand commands and instructions better as they are more receptive. It is very difficult for an old dog to change his bad habits.
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Before entering any playground it is necessary to lay down the ground rules loud and clear. Therefore before getting started with the training, you will need to have a clear distinction on a few things for sure.
1. Very different looking food bowls for the dog and the cat.
2. A distraction-free zone for food.
3. Some treats for your dog or dividing his favorite food into parts.
4. Positive attitude and ton loads of patience.
5. Time out of your daily routine for daily training.
Now you are ready to start the training by selecting any of the below methods
The Leave It Method
1. Treat Lure – You can start making your dog follow your instructions, as you will be giving him a treat for leaving alone the cat food. This will assert your status as the leader on the dog and make him believe that he needs to follow your instructions at all times.
2. Leave It – This command should get embedded into the mind of the dog. Issuing a demand does not need you to shout at him, which can have an adverse effect. It should be assertive at the same time he should be able to understand it and follow.
3. Tempt him – Tempting your dog with a treat, will make him excited, but don’t make it easy for him to get it, so he can give up on it. Just let him have a sneak peek by letting him lick and smell it.
4. Reward – Just as he gives up the treat you should praise him and reward him with the bigger treat. This will make him understand that leaving one good thing can lead to an even better one. A 10 min routine every day is enough to make him habitual to him.
5. Cat Food – It’s time to introduce cat food into the mix and try the �leave it’ command on it. As he follows the command, you should reward him with a treat. After a reasonable number of successful commands, you should gradually reduce the treats as well till the time of no rewards.
The Habit Breaker Method
1. Elevate cat food – You can keep the cat food at a higher place where the dog cannot reach it. When the dog will not be able to see the thing, he will eventually start to get his mind away from it.
2. Move cat food – You can move the cat food to a different location like another room which should only be accessible to the cat to consume.
3. Don’t forget the cat food outside – Get your cat to follow a habit of eating according to a schedule. As soon as the cat’s eating time gets over, you should pack the cat food away in a cupboard.
4. The Baby Gate – These gates are very convenient and easy to install. Make sure that only your cat can go into space where you need to feed it and avoid your dog in the process.
5. Consistency – You need to be alert in snatching the cat food away from the dog before he tries to eat it. Consistency is the key with this habit, which will make your dog understand that this is a NO situation. His habit will eventually fade away due to this.
The Entice & Deter Method
1. Change his food – One reason for eating cat food instead of his own can be that the dog doesn’t like his food. You should definitely try and change his meal and try different options for it.
2. Routine – With the above new food options available with the dog, start feeding them both at the same time. With added taste to his own food, the dog will not go for the cat food.
3. Physical Barrier – While your dog and cat feed you can act as a physical barrier between the two. With this, you will be able to stop your dog from going towards the cat food. Saying NO will work here and make him understand it is wrong to do so.
4. Rewards – When there is a NO, there should be a reward. You can praise him when your dog moves away from that space when you ask him not to. Play with him to make him feel, he did the absolute right thing.
5. Final line – Eventually you can stop being the barrier and just work your magic with the NO command. He will slowly start to follow it and understand the right thing to do to keep you happy. That would be to stay away from the cat food.
Go for the method that you feel will be suitable for you and your dog. Train him to be obedient and save the cat food.