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french bulldog eating from owner's hand

Contrary to what you may believe or have heard, hand feeding your dog can actually be a good thing.

Here's a few reasons why you should consider hand feeding a few meals to your dog each week.

1. Relationship and trust building. Hand feeding your dog teaches him that when you reach toward him good things happen, like he gets to eat! It also teaches focus since your dog is getting fed when he pays attention to you.

2. Resource Guarding. Hand feeding can help a dog who is already a resource guarder and help prevent a dog from resource guarding. By only feeding your dog from your hand, you show her that you are the gateway to valuable things and when you reach into her space it means food.

3. Impulse Control. Close hand feeding is accomplished by simply keeping your hand closed until your dog stops mugging you for the food. As soon as your dog backs away, looks away, or just stops pawing/licking at your hand, open your hand and feed him some food. Soon he'll realize the quicker he shows self-control, the quicker he gets to eat.

4. Inhalers. Feeding by hand will definitely help dogs who eat too fast. And it's a bonus opportunity for you to get some training in at the same time. Practice some basic obedience skills between feeding your dog small handfuls of her meal.

5. Shy or Fearful Canines. Dogs who are nervous around people benefit greatly from hand feeding, especially if you get other members of the family, and eventually friends and neighbors to hand feed your nervous dog too. Don't rush this process, Start wherever your dog is most comfortable and gradually work up to more contact.

For more tips and training advice, enroll in the AKC GoodDog! Helpline – a seven-day-a-week telephone support service staffed by experienced dog trainers:

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