My dog is a 3 year old Pomeranian. He is very happy, active, and loves to be around other people. He used to eat only when people were around him so I used to accompany him during his eating times, which are during the morning and the night. Nevertheless, I have been having a problem regarding his eating habits.

A few months ago, an aunt stayed with us and hanged around the home most of the day. She loves animals, so my aunt spent a lot of time with my dog. She pet him, took him out, and started feeding him by putting the food on her hand and then he would eat it from her hand. She would pretty much feed him like if he was a little kid, which I thought was ridiculous. I talked to her about the issue, but she disregarded my conversation and did it behind my back. My aunt left a week ago, but now the problem is that my dog refused to eat unless I do the exact same thing. I am worried because I do not like to see him not eating for one or two days, but at the same time I don't like having him eat from my hand. How can I make my dog forget this habit of only eating from someone's hand?

I was thinking I would just stop doing it and he will eventually get really hungry and be forced to eat. However, I am worried he will just stop eating completely. What is the best approach to this issue?

  • 2
    My dog once did something similar. I found that taking some food out of his bowl and placing on the ground next to the bowl would (for some reason) attract him to the food on the ground which he ate. After he got the taste of food in his mouth, and saw that there was more food readily available in his bowl, he began to eat the rest.
    – Timmy Jim
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 2:47
  • 2
    Possible duplicate of Why won't my dog eat on her own?
    – Timmy Jim
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 17:21
  • I have a Pomeranian dog 1half years old got him from a lady who miss treated him and hand fed him spoiled him etc now I’m struggling with feeding he doesn’t eat from the bowl and when he does it’s only just once. I put his food in a ceramic bowl but he doesn’t eat from that and wants for me to feed him to hand he ha very picky and now it’s getting too much can anyone help me plz
    – Sarah
    Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 21:55

8 Answers 8


A stubborn dog won't stop eating completely, he will eventually eat. Place the food in his bowl or on a plate and wait, once you see him eat out of his dish reward with treats and praise.

Feel free to add something really yummy on top, something he goes bananas for to break his will power and go for the bowl :).


Maybe he got used to being fed by hand and expects it now. Eventually a hungry dog will still eat, 20 mins isn't long for the dog to not want to eat, just leave the bowl and see if he eats at all throughout the day. Otherwise if not, what I'd recommend would be to gradually reintroduce the dog to eating out of the bowl. Feed him out of your hand right on top of the bowl, little by little or through multiple sessions, move your hand closer to the bowl of food until it's basically eating out the the bowl without your help, if that makes sense. Good luck!


I had the same issue with my guy. My aunt started hand feeding also, to get him to eat. Turned out he didn’t like the sound of his tags clinging the bowl. I switched to paper plates and it solved the problem. If u have noticed ur your dog being interested when u empty the dishwasher, it may me sensitive ears keeping him away from bowl eating. I also got him a new tag that weaves onto his collar, but he still won’t eat out of his metal bowl. Hope this helps frustrated fur parents


It sounds like he equates the hand feeding with affection/attention. Try spending time with him playing and or going for a walk before his normal feeding time. Praise him often. Then at feeding time, place his bowl down and crouch down beside him as you put him at his bowl. Talk to him; praise him. I think he will begin to eat on his own.

  • I crouch with him for at least 20min, yet he just turns his head and refuses to eat
    – Pablo
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 1:43
  • How about the playing with him, walk before meal, extra attention, etc.?
    – M.Mat
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 17:35

Ny silky terrier stopped eating so vet took test and found his blood test chemistry showed beginning of a kidney problem. He lost his appetite because kidney seems to affect the smell and taste. I'm not saying your furpets have such a problem just mentioning it for my petbaby. Sometime they just don't like the smell of certain bowls or pick up on what it's on or just don't like the smell anymore .... it could be anything. But a clean had is much better than a bowl anyday from whoever it is that loves them. (:(: P.S. He's okay now but sometime wants the hand....!


I had to feed my traumatized puppy the same way. I allowed it until I was certain he was bonded to me. And then I would give him a piece of food from my hand, but close to his dish. I'd offer him the next piece of food even closer to his bowl. For the third piece, I'd hold my finger in his bowl. When his mouth was in his bowl and taking food on his own, I could remove my hand. It did take a little longer for him to stop following me if I walked away to let him eat. These things take a lot of patience. Remember that animals do not think like humans -- but humans have the ability to experiment with different ways to train and "reason" with animals. If one way doesn't work, try something else. Be firm, but loving and reassuring. Your dog won't die if he goes without a meal or two (be sure he's getting water!). But if he continues refusing food, you should speak with your vet and get professional advice. Good luck.


Make the dog sit in front of his food until he eats. If he tries to move away put them back. My dog is spoiled because i make her breakfast lunch and dinner...so sometimes shes picky and or wants negative attention. Usually in 15 min she will eat. enter image description here Lucy..sitting in front of food.


It sounds like the situation is more that your dog doesn't like to eat under certain circumstances, and that he wants to eat when everything is calm, quiet, and still.

When it is time to feed him, recreate a calm, quiet, and still situation. Perhaps play some games on your phone with the volume low. Try doing this where he can see you and eat at the same time.

You can also see if the hand-feeding is tied to other preferences around his eating circumstances, such as the cleanliness of the bowl, preferring a different material of bowl, or preferring a raised bowl rather than the bowl being on the floor. Many pet stores will let you try their products with your dog in-store, but if you aren't sure, you can ask an employee if it would be okay.

The biggest concern in hand-feeding situations is that it can be covering up a health alert that the dog doesn't want to eat his food at all. But this doesn't sound like your situation.

We have a dog that is both picky and sensitive, and we had to investigate all of their preferences in order to get the most consistent eating as possible. Your situation is uncommon, but not unheard of, and the take-away is that it isn't the hand-feeding but something around it that your dog is preferring more.

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