We feed our 5 year old mixed breed 3 times a day (Royal Canin, gastrointestinal, 3/4 cup recommended dosage per day for her 10 lbs weight), around our own meal times. She never gets table scraps, unless it is an accident and some food falls down. Our dog stays under the table, but she does not beg for food, nor is she problematic while we eat. She may get the occasional Rice Krispies or rice, but we stop her if it's something more significant, such as meat.

The actual behaviour we notice is I come in with my 1/4 cup full of her food. The dog jumps off from my wife and will follow me. She sits or lounges closes to the bathroom's door, waiting for me to put the food in her bowl. Once I do that, I will usually tell her "Bon appétit" (we're French Canadian!) with a hand signal to signify "OK, go ahead". She will usually walk fast/run to her food, sniff it a bit, then either look at me or start eating. If she looks at me, she will wait, and wait, until we encourage her to eat. We only encourage her vocally, not by giving her food from our hands. She has been eating this particular brand of food for at least 3.5 years.

Sometimes, I will come in the bathroom, and the food from last meal is still present. In those cases, I add a kibble or two, just to make some noise, then I will return the 1/4 cup back to her bag.

We're not really worried about her health, as the dog happily welcomes guests and family members. She plays with us, and loves to sit on my wife's legs to nap the day away. We don't walk the dog enough, for sure, but sometimes manage to play 5-10 minutes throwing ball in the house with her. Our dog is also on a yearly checkup with her veterenarian, the last one less than 6 months ago.

I'm pretty sure the dog was "trained" by us, and I'd like her to unlearn that beahviour. I've found https://pets.stackexchange.com/a/1477/1283 which I've read today. The only addition to our routine is to remove the food after 30 minutes, and feed her after we've already eaten.

Are there other things I've overlooked that I should be doing?

1 Answer 1


I don't see any real problem with this behavior. Your dog is very well trained and submissive (in a positive way) and respects your authority. That's why she patiently waits until you signal her that she's allowed to eat the food.

Whenever she looks at you instead of eating, she's probably not hungry. The looking at you is actually begging for tasty treats instead of her boring old food. As suggested in your linked question, you can take the surplus away without having a bad conscience, or you can leave it in her bowl and skip the next meal.

The recommendation on the packaging of the food is just that - a recommendation based on mean values for a big number of different dogs. It's not uncommon that an indivudual dog has a different need. Some have a tendency for obesity and need less food, others are physically active and need more food. It's okay to adapt the amount of food to the individual needs of your dog.

What you should not do is fuss over her or give something more tasty instead. Right now she's self-regulating her body weight by refusing to eat when she's not hungry. If you start making her food more tasty or special, she'll probably start gaining weight and she realizes that her begging is successful. She won't become spoiled over night, but she might start begging in other situations, too.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.