So in my quest to make my little girl a good-mannered civil puppy, this is my next challenge: Molly goes totally bananas when she sees me preparing her food. I understand that she looooves her food, and it's an exciting part of the day. I want her to be happy when she eats, and I hate to be grumpy with her around her meals (plus, first thing in the morning, I don't want to fight) but oh my goodness, she barks, she jumps, she gets up on the back of my legs, etc. Once I put her bowl down, she knows she has to SIT, and WAIT, until I say OK! (she's so cute, she licks her lips as she waits!). So that part is working, but I would really like her to be a little better behaved before I finish preparing the bowl. The trainer at puppy school told me to pick up the bowl, and if she barks, etc., put the bowl back on the counter, until she stops. I've started to do this, and the last two meals it took us about 10 minutes to finally get somewhere. But I have to raise my voice to get her to SIT, to be quiet, etc. I know I'm not doing this right. I tried putting her on the leash once, to be able to control her better, but it didn't really work. Yesterday I said "fine, no food until you behave", and went to sit on the couch and turned the tv on... eventually she ran out to bark at me like saying "what? where's my food", so I went back to the kitchen, said SIT, she did, and she sort of calmed down. How can we do this the right way, without so much excitement and drama? I want meal time to be happy, but not an over-the-top party!
You're on the right track with what your trainer advised. You have to have patience. It's going to take more than two tries to get to where you want to be. Unfortunately, there are no instant fixes to behavioral issues or any other issues, for that matter. Keep up the good work and, eventually, you'll get to where you want to be.
Gunny, I do try to down her, or sit her, but she is way too excited at that point, and I end up having to repeat SIT, or DOWN a few times, which I understand is not the way to properly give commands. She is good at SIT in almost every other situation, but in the presence of food, it's like nothing else in the world matters! LOL! We're still working on DOWN, because she is used to doing it with me close to the ground, and she responds very well, but not so good when I'm standing (it's getting better though). If I do get her to SIT for a brief moment, I give her one or two pieces of kibble, but as soon as I turn my back she's like a jumping bean! Am I being way too neurotic or strict? I know it takes time and patience, so I will keep trying! The main issue is that I live in an apartment, and if she's barking up a storm early in the morning, I'm afraid the neighbours will complain. Maybe if we lived in a house I wouldn't be so concerned. But I think good manners are always a must.
What if you put the food farther away when she starts barking. Like on top of the fridge. When she quiets down bring the bowl back down and if she starts barking put it back up. This way she will know she she has to calm down if she wants to get closer to her food. Just an idea it might be worth trying.
You might also try putting her in a sit stay in another room. When you have finished preparing her food. Then put the leash on her and make her heel to the kitchen(already have the bowl on the floor). Put her in a sit stay(still on the leash) when she is calm, then in a calm voice release her from her sit stay and allow her to eat. Just a suggestion and it worked for a friend of mine!
"I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God's business" Michael J. Fox