by Dennis Fisher.

This article is one of a great many articles written by Dennis Fisher about a very wide variety of subjects concerning different  dogs, such as obedience training, breeding, showing, health matters, training problems and other subjects.  All these articles appear on Dennis Fisher's websites.   Visit the site that has been set up specifically for German Shepherd Dog enthusiasts, or  if you interested in a breed   other than German Shepherd Dogs

The refusal of food is very much more than a training exercise, it has unfortunately become a necessity if you  live in an area where is a  great deal of crime.


 There are more and more cases of dogs being poisoned by  burglars and criminals who know your home is guarded by  your dogs.


How do you go about training your dog never to accept food from strangers?


First of all make it a rule that no one besides members of your family are allowed to feed your dogs.  Also make a practice of feeding your dogs in their own dishes.


You can train your dog to refuse food from anyone by asking a friend to try and feed your dog a tempting hamburger.  As soon as the dog attempts to reach the tasty food, you tell him NO, very firmly.


Repeat the process a number of times, especially with a dog that has been trained to understand what this reprimand represents.


After a fairly long period of training and the dog understand understands that he must not accept the food from anyone but you – or  members of your family -  you can extend the training by allowing the dog to accept the food as soon as you give the command OKAY, or some similar sounding command.


This is very useful training exercise because there may be times when you are away on holiday and your dog may have to spend time at kennels.


If you arrange to have someone stay in your home while you are away it is a good idea for the person to arrive a week earlier than the date of your departure, so that the dog can be trained to accept the food from the comparative stranger in your home.


You can start with the NO-LEAVE IT command. Make the dog wait. Then allow the dog to eat the food once you have given the OKAY command.


After the visitor,  who is going to stay in your home while you are away, has been at your home for a few days, you can allow him feed your dog, first of all in your presence, and then while you are not present.


It is unfair to expect a young pup with very little training to accept this restriction simply by your NO – LEAVE IT! command.  But once the dog has been trained to accept that NO means he must immediately stop doing what you disapprove of, he will respond.


The dog should also be trained not to accept anything except that which is offered in his own dish.


Don’t allow him to pick anything off the ground, Be quite definite in your NO command so that he know exactly what you mean.


If  there is a high wall in front of your house, it is a good idea to arrange  to have someone throw tempting food over the wall while your dog – or dogs – are outside.


 You can be watching, unobserved,  from a window in a room inside the house. If the dog makes an attempt to pick up the food from the ground you can act very quickly and reprimand the dog very firmly.


Do this a few times and your dog will soon get used to the idea  that he is not allowed to accept any food that is not presented to him in his own feeding dish, either by you or someone you have given permission to feed.


Your action is training your dog to refuse food from strangers could save his life.