Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pooches: Restraint and Respect

The other day, a friend of ours marveled how we can leave all sorts of food and things lying around, and our dogs won't try to eat them.Sure, they'll get really close to our food and smell it, but the truth is, even though there is nothing our pooches love more than food, we know they wouldn't dare try to eat any of it It is common for us to leave entire meals, including steak dinners, at dog-eye level and we can leave the room knowing it will be there when we get back.
One way that we have trained them to have restraint, is that they need to "wait" before eating. Each meal, we place the bowl between their paws and they need to wait patiently before they're allowed to eat. They take it quite seriously, sitting as still as statues. Once I even left the room, forgetting the dogs were waiting, and when I returned 10 minutes later they were still waiting for permission to eat.
Until we had our dogs, I never really believed it was possible to even have food on the counters without the dogs getting into it. Growing up, we had to keep all food hidden from counters since our Bassethounds would countersurf and grab anything in reach. I'm not sure I could ever have trained our other dogs to have done this.
I'm not sure whether this has been a training success, or a breed benefit where pitbulls are just really respectful. What have your experiences been with dogs, food, and limits?

30 comments:

Two Crazy Coaches said...

I am extremely jealous of your two! I have two incredible countersurfers and theives in my house. They do pretty well waiting for their own food but show way too much interest in our food. I have no doubt that Flash especially would steal food if she could get to it.

Liz said...

Gosh your dogs are so freaking adorable! I love the expression in that 2nd picture! Bogart is awesome if I tell him to wait or leave it even with a nice big, fat juicy steak. However, he is not as disciplined as your dogs. I can't leave food near his eye level and leave a room--guarantee it will be gone. What he will do though is if I see him eat something and tell him to leave it, he will spit out whatever is in his mouth no matter how yummy it is to him. A dog's respect and loyalty are just such amazing things. :)

Liz said...

Oops meant the 3rd picture (but the 2nd one is cute too).

Sam said...

Sam is the same way, with the exception of his food dish. I've always been surprised that he doesn't eat the dish too the way he dives in! You can leave anything at his level and he eats it. Monty is the exact opposite, although in the couple months that we have had him we have trained him to quit countersurfing. I think it depends on how much time you work with your dog. Sam had it since puppyhood, i.e. "Leave it alone, wait". Monty never had much training - we suspect he was left outside much of the time.

Sam

Doc Sinister said...

My pittie will generally leave food alone unless she thinks the human is done with it - so a uneaten sandwich will be safe but a plate with crumbs won't be. I once accidently dropped a giant piece of liver on the floor in front of her. I figured it was a goner, but she waited patiently until I picked it up and THEN she zoomed in to lick up the juice.

HoundDogMom said...

That is totally amazing, can you come to our house and help with training. We sit really good for our kibble every night and treats but No way No how would be sit for all them treats on our paws. You two are a great example as to why Pitties are a great breed. The Hounddogs

Shawnee the Shepherd said...

All three of us are trained like that. Mom says showing restraint establishes her as the boss over us and yup, she do be the boss over us. It is also good manners and to respect each other so we don't put the bitey on one another over our foods. We wait until we have permission to eat, then we only eat ours, don't leave our places until everyone is finished and never try to swipey food from each other. We could care less about mom's food because she only eats veggies (BLECH!).

Corbin said...

Corbin can do the wait thing for his meals and for treas... but when we're not home, he helps himself to anything on the counter! You have beautiful dogs!!!!
-Corbin's mom, Jenn

Kate@TwentySixToLife said...

Molly used to be really good about this too, but over the years a certain husband has gotten lax and has occasionally "dropped" food for the dogs during dinner. On the upside, they've seemed to learn that this food issue is ok only with his plate. My food remains doggie free :)

Maggie said...

Oh my gosh! The picture with the burger is so darn cute! This is something I struggle with because the boys would never, ever touch something - even if it's dropped on the ground - without my permission. Unless I go out of the little range they've decided is safe... then they (and by they, it's all Emmett) snatch up whatever. I hate it because I know they think they're outsmarting me!

Shauna (Fido and Wino) said...

My dogs are good about waiting for meals... we are working on getting them to leave dinner plates left on the ground alone. You guys have done really well! It is a completely normal thing for dogs to scarf food wherever they see it. You have conditioned them to know that they will benefit more from waiting- that is awesome!

Peggy Frezon said...

Okay, well I wouldn't have held out with those cupcakes!
wow!

mayziegal said...

I think it's SUCH a good thing to teach dogs self-control for SO many reasons!

It's funny because we never really had to "teach" Ranger restraint. He never tried to get in our faces while eating food or tried to steal things off our plates. We got so used to just sitting down on the couch with something to eat and not being bothered that it was a shock when we adopted Mayzie (who'd never lived in a house). She was practically climbing in our laps for our food. It took us awhile but she is a pro at "wait" and "leave it" now. She's even doing well with your "cookie on the paws" trick.

HOWEVER - I'm not entirely convinced that I could leave her in a room with food and expect it to be there when I got back. Ha!

The Two Country Poodles & Uncle Puppy said...

WoW now that is quite impressive. Sadly I would fail that test...I have stolen food from anywhere I can get and once even out of my moms hand. BOL


Wags and Licks,
Mollie Jo & Bobo

brooke said...

Quite impressive! I love Miss M's face!
Darwin's generally pretty good about not taking our food, even if we leave it on the coffee table.. she may sniff or try and lick, but usually will leave it alone. Though, once I had a loaf of French Bread on the counter and Darwin grabbed the end of it and walked to the living room. She LOVES bread.

Roo said...

Definitely NOT sharing this post with Mom. No way no how is she gonna see it's possible to train me not to eat the meatloaf when she is silly enough to leave the room!

Shhhhhhh, must be very quiet so as not to alert Mom to this potentially disastrous training exercise,
Roo

Mr. Pip said...

Wow! No one in my family has this kind of restraint - dog or human!

Your pal, Pip

Mary said...

Levi is also very good around food. When we lived with my mom, we taught him that the cat's food on the floor is off limits and after he was told "no" once, he never had to be told again. Even if we go over there now, months later, he doesn't go for the food even if we leave him alone. I've also freaked out on him so many times about chicken bones in the street, he doesn't even pay attention to them anymore. Oh, and that small detail of not eating the birds is pretty good too.

I do admit he will try to get a lick in if we leave something on the coffee table, but he snatch anything. My husband is a much bigger target than I am though, either because he gives Levi "last bite" rights or because I don't eat meat.

houndstooth said...

For the most part, we have really good luck with them leaving stuff alone, but Blueberry has always had a weakness for hamburger buns and can't resist stealing them off the counter after my husband puts them out and goes to get burgers off the grill. Lilac in her old age has gotten a bit untrustworthy, too, but what can I do? She'll be fifteen next month. She's past caring what I think about food theft! lol

Benny and Lily said...

Oh my word! Kids..you have goodies on your feets!!
Benny & Lily

Lola said...

My humans have had different experiences with different doggies. We're pretty good, although we're not specially trained like that and my humans probably wouldn't walk off and leave a steak hanging around at eye level. But we're not a problem around food either. My family had two different dogs, over the years, who'd experienced real food deprivation prior to being adopted. They were incorrigible around food if the humans belonging to the food so much as to their eyes off it for a second. They were very good dogs in every other way, but they never got over having been starved. The rest of the dogs they've had have been about average, but I think we're probably the best.

jet said...

Our cats will eat anything left on the bench, so teaching the dogs restraint is a moot point. :P

Rescued Pittie Family said...

That's it.
I'm packing my kids up and sending them to Chicago.

Wyatt said...

Nothing is safe here...could you come out here and train a couple of Airedales, I mean Airheads(Mom and Dad)! Ha Ha

Wyatt

Gofer said...

My greyhound girl counter surfs so we have to make sure to crate her if food is going to be left out but my pitties Mona and Chewy will smell but wont jump up to look> We dont make them wait for there meals but they do have to wait for treats and usually at the end of meals they will get our last bites as their treats.

parlance said...

In general, Penny is the same. She waits to be told she can eat and, as far as I know, doesn't steal food in the house. But, when we walk, it's open season on any little bit of food anywhere.

Bobby said...

That is so good, I admire them so much, and you for the training. I will say it is the breed just because I am envious I can not get the dogs that come in on foster to do it. They either wof it or we spend ages getting the to eat.

Kari in WeHo said...

Mesa and Baily won't touch food. Even if we put our plates on the floor. Big Carl is a different story...


Don't forget, we moved to http://dogisgodinreverse.com/

Kitty+Coco said...

Your pups are so very good. Ours are good to a point. They are clear on not being able to take a bite out of what we are eating whether on our plate or in our hand, BUT, if a crumb drops they are on it like white on rice. They won't touch our plate, but if something drops onto our TV trays they swizle their tounges to get it. We can leave food out on the counter or table and they are pretty good. Let's just say it is a work in progress.

Stop Making Excuses said...

You are not sure if you could have trained bassett hounds to do what your perfect pitbulls can do? Who in the world do you think you are kidding? Bassett hounds are way smarter than Pitbulls, please stop fooling yourself.

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