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How Diet Affects a Dog’s Behavior

Dog Trainer Chad Culp with Jackson and Nakita

Dog Trainer Chad Culp of ThrivingCanine.com with Jackson and Nakita.

Some of you may be asking yourself, “does my dog’s diet affect the way my dog behaves?” As a Certified Dog Trainer and Canine Behavior Consultant, I can say the answer is a resounding YES. Not only will it affect the way your dog behaves, it will affect the way he learns. Let me offer you an example you’re likely to be more familiar with.

Let’s say you have a set of twin boys who are 10 years old. Let’s say that you sit them both down for breakfast and give one twin a nutritional and balanced meal and you give the other twin sugary cereal, soda pop and donuts. After they’ve both finished their breakfast, one is likely to be focused, alert and feeling great (although maybe a little jealous) and the other will be bouncing off the walls. Now assume you’ve taken them to school and their teacher has asked them both to sit still and pay attention to the school lesson. Which one is more likely to retain the information while sitting still and behaving and which one is likely to be distracted and jittery?

The answer may seem obvious to you, but for some reason this logic doesn’t necessarily cross over to dogs and their diets. I’ll now ask you to read the ingredients on your dog’s bag/can of food and box of treats. Your likely to find a lot ingredients that you can’t pronounce and various types of sugars, additives and preservatives. After doing this exercise it may be becoming clearer to you why your dog has a hard to with his basic obedience training or why he’s just so “crazy” all the time.

Because I am a dog trainer, I hold group classes for basic obedience, agility, puppy socialization and advanced training several times a week. I always recommend that the humans purchase treats that are not only tasty but also healthy. From a training perspective, the dog food treats need to be tasty enough that the dogs will really work hard for them (and I’ve found that dogs love ‘real’ food) while keeping their temperaments balanced so they’re not acting spastic or having a hard time focusing on what I’m teaching that day.

So do yourself a favor and consider feeding your dog a more natural diet. Not only can you expect to see improvements in your dog’s behavior but also his ability to learn and focus as well.

Chad Culp is a Behavior Consultant, Certified Dog Trainer & Canine Holistic Nutrition Consultant. He graduated from the Animal Behavior College and Global College of Natural Medicine and is certified in Canine First-Aid. Beyond these “official” credentials he has educated himself on a wide variety of training ideologies and techniques through workshops, seminars, research and literature. For more on Chad and his work, visit The Thriving Canine website.

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One Response

  1. Yes Chad, you are right. I think ‘you are what you eat’ doesn’t apply to only humans, isn’t it. There are different foods which effect dog’s behavior. We all know the kind of food we should avoid like fried stuff, chocolates, peanut butter etc. They not only are harmful but also give them allergy. Dog treats are a great choice as you said as it works like a reward to them while growing up. Just we need to be careful while choosing them as they should be natural and unadulterated.

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