Hand Feeding Dogs: 10 Awesome Benefits of Hand Feeding Your Dog

Dogs are considered to be man’s best friend, so when it comes to needing to feed them, some people are trying out hand feeding dogs to help make the relationship with their pets even closer.

Hand Feeding Dogs

What is hand feeding? It means you are getting your pet to eat their food or treats right out of your hand.

How often you do this is up to you, some people start when their dog is a puppy, while others do it with a new pet to foster a closer relationship and get the dog to like them. The frequency it is done is up to you!

hand feeding dogs

Top 10 Benefits Of Hand Feeding Dogs

There are many benefits of hand feeding dogs. Here are the top 10 benefits of hand feeding your dog:

1. Your dog focuses on you more

A great benefit of hand feeding dogs is it’s a simple method of getting the dog to truly focus on you. That is because you are the only one it gets its food from, so it turns to you for attention and love.

2. It creates impulse control in dogs

Another great benefit of hand feeding dogs is it helps to create impulse control. That means the dog learns he has to wait to eat until you release each bite of food.

He can’t just grab it or eat whenever he wants, or you could stop feeding him, so he learns not to be impulsive.

3. It helps with a shy or fearful dog

This benefit helps your pet trust you more, as well as get them more socialized if for some reason they are afraid or shy.

Maybe it was abused in the past, and you can use hand feeding to help bring out their confidence and show them people can be nice too.

4. It helps stop food guarding

Some dogs may have had to fight for food or been starved in the past. If you have a dog which guards its food, hand feeding could be a way to get them to stop doing it.

That’s because it helps the dog trust you and they know they will always get food from you and they stop worrying about starving or guarding their food.

5. Hand feeding teaches puppies not to bite the hand

It’s great to begin hand feeding when dogs are puppies, as it teaches them to be gentle and to not bite.

They learn to take the food nicely and this is great for feeding both treats as well as kibble.

6. Shows down a dog that gulps its food

Hand feeding also helps get a dog to eat slower, and not gulp their food. This can be beneficial especially with dogs which are prone to bloat, a potentially life-threatening condition.

7. Builds an intense bond between owner and the dog

One great benefit hand feeding has is that it builds a unique and intense bond between you and your dog. Since he has to rely on you for food, he looks to you for everything.

8. You avoid overfeeding the dog

This advantage is that your dog will not get overweight, which can be bad for dogs.

9. It helps your dog get psychologically and behaviorally healthy

This works because you get to be the one to decide how much the dog eats, what it eats, how often it eats, etc.

Plus their behavior is better since it is more trusting of you and has a closer relationship to you.

10. It makes you the pack leader

Some dog trainers say this is a good thing because if the dog knows you are the one in charge then it will always obey you and look to you in all situations.

How To Hand Feed Your Dog

When you learn how to hand feed your dog,  you open up the chances of developing a closer, more rewarding relationship with your pet.

It’s simple to learn how to hand feed your dog. You just begin by offering him a piece of kibble from your fingers, then slowly feed him each bite of food.

You can also hand feed the dog his treats as well.

You can either feed him the kibble or other food right from the bag or so you can measure better how much the dog eats, you can pour some food into a bowl and take it out piece by piece and offer it to the dog that way.

How Hand Feeding Can Help Your Dog

Pet owners want to know how hand feeding can help their dogs.

Well, while some may not think so, it is truly a great way to foster a better relationship with your dog. It helps build trust and it makes the dog focus more on you since you are his food source.

It also can help teach a dog not to guard their food since he won’t have a full bowl of food to guard and has to wait for it piece by piece.

Plus it helps dogs not be so impulsive since he has to have the self-control to wait for you to give them the food.

As well it helps dogs not to eat so quickly, as that is bad and makes some pets throw up after eating.

Is it bad to feed your dog by hand?

As in the last bit of information, some dog owners want to know if it is bad to feed your dog by hand.

The answer is no, it’s not bad, in fact, it can bring a lot of good benefits and rewards, as mentioned in the last few paragraphs.

Hand Feeding Helps Shy & Fearful Dogs

One of the best things about hand feeding is hand feeding helps shy and fearful dogs. If your dog is nervous or shy, you can start doing hand feeding to get them to trust humans more.

Just start slowly and build up to feeding them their whole meal piece by piece. It helps the dog learn to trust you since you are the one providing all its food.

How to feed a newborn puppy

There may be circumstances where someone has to know how to feed a newborn puppy if the mom dog dies or can’t produce enough milk to feed all her pups.

The best way of how to feed a newborn puppy is to use a special nursing bottle made for newborn animals or in some cases you may need to feed them with a syringe.

It is vital for the hole in the nipple or syringe to be the right size to properly feed the pup. You can’t feed them either too fast or too slow or it could hurt the puppy.

Too much and they could inhale it into their lungs and aspirate, and too small and they would have to work too hard and may get tired out and not eat enough food.

Be sure to tilt the bottle so the pup also won’t get too much air instead of milk. And the pup needs to be burped just like a human baby when he is done.

Hand feeding dog benefits and problems

Hand feeding puppies problems

Some of the hand-feeding puppies’ problems could be that the puppy can’t go to the bathroom after eating.

Mom dogs stimulate their pups to go to the bathroom by licking their behinds.

Of course, humans wouldn’t want to lick their pup’s behinds, but you use a warm washcloth to slowly rub them instead.

Also, as mentioned in the previous section,  be sure the hole in the nipple is not too big or too small so the puppy won’t have the issues mentioned.

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions About Hand Feeding Dog

Is it bad to feed your dog by hand?

The answer to is it bad to feed your dog by hand is “No.” It is really a great benefit to feed your dog by hand at least some of the time as it helps them develop a close relationship with you, as well as has other advantages.

Why does my dog need hand feeding?

Some owners ask why my dog needs hand feeding?

This answer depends on the situation. Some dogs may need hand feeding to help them trust you more or perhaps to get them to eat slower.

Also, if the dog is a pup and the mother can’t feed them or has died, it is necessary so they can survive.

Why does my dog eat from my hand and not his bowl?

Some folks ask, why does my dog eat from my hand and not his bowl? This could be due to him getting used to eating the food from your hand and he doesn’t want to eat out of a strange bowl.

How long should you hand feed your dog?

When the question comes up, how long should you hand feed your dog, there really isn’t one answer. It all depends on what you want to do.

However, it is good to do it at least from the time they are a pup to the time they are around six months old. It makes for more bonding, etc.

Why is it important to hand feed a dog?

Another question is why is it important to hand feed a dog? Well, as stated before the main thing is it fosters a closer relationship, makes the dog less bitey, less impulsive and it won’t be overeating and getting fat.

Why Does My Dog Want to Be Hand Fed?

So, if you ask why does my dog want to be hand fed, it all boils down to the fact it makes him happy.

When you were little you likely loved it when your mom paid a lot of attention and fed you and fussed over you.

Well, your dog does too. It makes him happy and emotionally healthier.

How to get your dog to eat from the bowl

Some may want to know after all this hand feeding, how to get your dog to eat from the bowl.

Well, first you have to show the dog the bowl and get him used to it. It’s best to start with a small bowl.

Then, move the bowl somewhere quiet where he won’t be bothered at food time. Next, put a little bit of his favorite food or treat in the bowl to encourage him.

Then put his full meal in it. If he doesn’t eat, remove it and offer again later. Eventually, he will realize the only way he is going to eat is from the bowl.

“Hand-feeding only” as a method of dog training? Does it help build attention?

And finally, dog owners want to know if hand feeding only is a method of dog training and does it build attention?

The answer is yes, it builds attention between you and your pet. It is a way to train him to be loyal to you and to trust you more, as well as teach him not to eat so fast or to eat off the ground, where he could find things that would poison or hurt him.

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Dog trainer, Author & Life coach at SmartDogMom.com

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