I used to have a dog with a weight problem. She was a beagle and if you know anything about beagles, you know that they would eat until they pop if they could. Rayme had to have a special bowl to slow her down while she ate her meals. She begged anytime there was food around. And she was especially embarrassing to have around at dinner parties because she would sit under the table and make this terrible Darth Vadar-like snort directed toward me and guests alike.
I know I created this problem myself by giving her little bites of food here and there during meals throughout her life. So, when I recently adopted my puppy, Bosworth, I swore things would be different this time around.
He is going to have a completely different relationship with food. I have seen dogs that could care less that people are eating. I wanted this in my dog.
What I found was that because I was so paranoid about eating around Boz, my own eating habits changed. I snack less because I don't want to bring food out around him. I eat my meals at the dinner table instead of on the couch in front of the TV because I want to put more distance between us. Plus, I am sticking to my rule of no feeding from the table. To know why that's important, read our Director of Training Nicole Stewart's blog about the dog and "people food" controversy.
The good news is that Boz is maintaining a healthy weight, and I've lost a few pounds too. Of course, exercise should play a big role in any dog's life. I'm walking way more now and since he's a terrier, Boz has an unlimited amount of energy. We play chase and throw the ball in the yard. We're working on having brisk walking sessions and taking breaks for sniffing. After about a minute of sniffing time, I end with "Okay, let's go" and start walking briskly again. Walking benefits heart fitness, improves circulation, increases energy, and has a mellowing effect - on both dog and owner. And of course, everyone knows that a tired dog is a good dog!
I once read that "a fat dog means his owner isn't getting enough exercise".
That's not going to happen this time around!