How to Train Your Dog to Wait Before Eating? – Pro Tips

In order for training your dog to wait before eating, train with the help of wait command and use a leash and a bowl during training. Keep rewarding your dog and you can also opt for a professional dog trainer.

Dogs are one of the interesting pests that we keep at home. Training your dog to wait before eating food and treats is crucial. One of the challenges that most dog owners face is how the dogs get so excited and crazy during mealtimes and treats. The behavior can be annoying and frustrating.

Therefore, training your dog to wait before eating improves their mealtime manners and you will have an easy time feeding the dog.

Why is it helpful to train your dog to wait for food?

  1. Training, your dog, to wait before eating has many benefits in the long run. Firstly, your dog will learn how to be patient. You will be able to prepare their meals and serve them as they wait patiently.
  2. Secondly, your dog will have self-control. Every time you give your dog something to eat; the dog will always wait for your permission.
  3. Thirdly, when your dog learns how to wait before eating, they will improve their mealtime manners. When a dog has eating manners, they will not get to their meal in the fastest way possible and start eating in a hurry.

What are the challenges?

When training your dog to wait for their meals, it can be quite challenging. Here are some of the challenges that you may face.

1) Dog Being Impatient

Some dogs may take time before they learn how to wait before eating. Some people may become very impatient and give up. It is important that you be patient with your dog and at the end, they will learn everything.

2) Lack of consistency

When training a dog, it is important that you are consistent. The more consistent you are training, the faster the dog will learn how to wait for their meals.

3) The dog may disregard the training

Some dogs, especially the older ones, may disregard the training. Once this happens, you can start giving the treats and go back to the start of the training.

Tips on training your dog to wait before eating

Tips on training your dog to wait before eating

1) Introduce wait command

The first step to train your dog is to introduce some commands such as wait. Every time that you give the dog some meals or treats; you should use the command “wait” until they learn the meaning. Once the dog has learned the “wait” command, you can introduce others such as “sit”, and “okay” among others. When issuing these commands, make sure that you are not harsh to the dog.

If you want to kick-start your dog training with no treats or force or punishment then do check my article on how to train dogs without treats.

2) Use a bowl for training

To start, you will need to use your dog’s empty bowl. Let the dog watch as you put place some food or treats in the bowl. Then hold the bowl so that the dog can see you have his bowl and he cannot get it.

Ask the dog to sit or stand depending on the comfortable position for eating the meal. Then lower the food bowl towards the ground. In this step, you should ask the dog to wait as you bring the food down. If the dog moves towards the food bowl as you lower the bowl, you should not give him the food and repeat the process.

If the dog does not move towards the food, you can use the command, “OK” after a few seconds to allow the dog to eat the treat. You should start with a waiting time of a few seconds then increase to about 10 seconds.

3) Use a leash

If the dog cannot wait before eating, you should use a leash. In this step, you should let the dog sit and hold the leash tightly to hold the dog back while you place some treats or food on the ground.

The leash is to remind the dog to sit and wait. If the dog stays relaxed for a few seconds, then you can release it or use the command “OK.” If the dog starts to move immediately after you place the food down; you should hold him back using the leash for a long time until he learns to be patient.

The most common issue with a puppy on a leash is that they would pull the leash a lot. Just with simple steps outlined in this article on training your dog to walk on leash without pulling will help a lot.

4) Practice

If you want the dog always to remember to wait before eating, you should practice the above steps. Make sure that every time you give him food, you repeat the same steps until the dog learns how to be patient with food.

5) Reward the dog

As you train the dog, it is important to reward him or her for good behaviors. Make sure that you do not reward in the first steps of training but on the advanced stages.

Once the dog obeys your commands, you should praise and give him treats. Once the dog finally learns how to wait before eating, make sure you give him treats and praises regularly so that they do not go back to their old behaviors.

6) Hire a professional dog trainer

If you have some puppies and you are not able to train them due to your schedule, you can hire a professional. The benefits of having a professional dog trainer are that your dogs will learn fast, and you will have a hassle-free training period.

A professional dog trainer will first pay attention to your dog to understand if there is a serious reason for them being impatient. Some dogs are unable to wait for their food due to stress, hunger, and other issues.

However, even as a professional trains your dog on your behalf, you should get to learn about the commands the trainer is using and how they going the training process. Failure to learn through the process too can lead to misunderstanding between you and your pet.

Dos and Don’ts

When training your dog to wait patiently for their food, there are some dos, and don’ts that you need to know. They include:


  1. Allow the dog to interact with other dogs that have learned how to wait before eating. Being in a company with other dogs who have learned the process makes them learning through copying. By far, this is one of the easiest and best methods through which dogs learn how to wait.
  2. Give the dog enough food to prevent them from being hungry, which can interfere with training. However, it is worthy to note that enough is relative. Knowing your dogs’ eating habits and capacity is one sure way to determine when they are full. If you do not give your dog enough food, chances are they will be highly aroused or very hungry when they see food; hence, leading grabbing of food from your hands even before you place it on their bowl.


  1. Don’t give the dog too many treats.
  2. Don’t shout at the dog. Shouting only worsens the situation. It makes your dog not t to feel loved. Therefore, whenever your dog makes a mistake, it is essential to handle the situation with great care. In this way, they get to learn and you become best friends.
  3. Don’t give up on your dog. Even if they do not live up to your commands from the start, never give up on them. Dogs are not like human beings who learn about things on their own; hence, even if they don’t pick up the commands first enough, be patient and encouraging, in the end, the result will flow in.

Learn More With the Help of Video

Teaching your dog to be gentle with treats

When it comes to treats, some dogs are like sharks. If you have a dog who eats your hand in the process of giving them a reward, you can easily train them on how to be less grabby. Notably, some dogs might snatch food when they are stressed, very hungry or very aroused.

Thus, it is critical for you to pay attention to their body language in order to ensure that it’s not a reason that makes them lack impulse control.

To make them gentle, begin by placing the treat in your hand and close your fist tightly. If your dog tries to grab it, shout “ouch” and get your hand away from their reach. Wait some minutes and present your hand to them again.

If they start nibbling or licking your hand, then proceed and gently say to them, “Easy, be gentle”. Next, open your hand and give them the reward. Repeat the commands every time you are giving them a treat.

This will ensure that they learn not to be grabby and take things only at your command. One thing to be sure about this is being patient. Not all dogs will learn the process easier.

However, with patience and endurance, they will always understand and learn. As a rule of thumb, try setting this pace when they are still young and they will learn through it quickly and safely.

Teaching your dog to be gentle with treats


Training your dog to be patient before eating their food is not easy. You will need to be patient and practice until they learn how to wait. The above steps and tips will help you have an easy time training your dog. However, if you face more challenges while training, you should go for professional help.



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