Lio’s pretty intense about his food. He used to dive right into his bowl and inhale his meal. He used to get indigestion from eating too fast and once snapped at my mom because she walked into the kitchen when I was prepping his breakfast (no broken skin). However with a lot of training we’ve helped him learn how to relax before eating!

We started by leashing him before putting down his bowl and walking backwards away from his bowl while calling his name and treating him as soon as he turned around and looked at us. We would then slowly walk towards his bowl. We’d treat him if he stayed at our side and looked up at us when we called him. As soon as he pulled on the leash we walked backwards and called his name and start again. When we were able to get to the point where we were right up to the bowl and he wasn’t pulling, we’d drop the leash and walk away to let him eat.

Eventually we got to the point where we didn’t need the leash. He’d run to his “place” (the carpet he’s sitting on in this picture) and would wait for us to give him the go ahead to eat. When we started teaching Lio his down and sit commands, we incorporated meal time into his training to make it more interesting for him.

Now he runs to his spot and sits without any prompting and waits patiently. He even looks up at me to double check when I accidentally mumble the go command or something.

I’m very proud of him! And I’m glad he doesn’t feel so anxious around his food bowl anymore.

Lio stays in his crate when he’s home alone because he paces and tears things up when he’s anxious. Lio does okay in his crate but he’d never retreat there on his own. To help build up positive associations with his crate, I like to occasionally hide pieces of kibble in the folds of his blanket; it’s sort of like a doggy Easter egg hunt :)

I don’t mind if he always chooses his bed over his crate; I’m happy with him going in there on his own every now and then to just sniff around.

(P.S. Excuse the mess! Today’s cleaning day so I piled things up onto his crate to get them off of the ground.)


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