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Hello! I'm studying to be a dog trainer, and I'm looking to possibly get involved with a specific dog training group (in the sense of offering to do volunteer work and hopefully learn from them). The group gives obedience and agility classes & also runs a dog hotel.

I was reading some information about classes that they offered last year. The classes were Saturday mornings from 9:00-10:30, and they stated that it would be better to not feed your dogs breakfast that day, so that the dogs would be "a little hungry" and interested in working for treats. While I understand the suggestion of not bringing a completely full dog to class, I was uncomfortable with the idea of skipping breakfast entirely. Am I over-worrying?

Thank you very much for your thoughts.
 

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my dogs dont have a breakfast as such. we have some quality time together why i have my coffee, and whilst we enjoy each others company i give them some treats.
they have treats during the day, and their main meal in the evening. so yes i guess i agree with that theory.
my boss at kennels i woked at, ( she was a dog trainer too), used to starve her dogs for 1 day a week, because she said in nature wolfs etc, dont eat every day. its not something i do, unless my dogs go off their food, or are not well.
 

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When I went to training sessions with Chisum I didn't feed him breakfast either. Not only so he was a little hungry, but also because we went through a LOT of treats and I didn't want to fill him up or make him sick.

Generally, as long as your dog is otherwise healthy it's fine to skip a meal. It happens from time to time - even people skip meals! Since the dog gets the treats anyway, it really shouldn't be an issue at all.
 

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If we are going to a class, particularly where I know I have to mass-feed treats (high distraction, reactive dogs, or puppies), I don't feed meals. If we are training at home, I use their meals.

One day a week is not going to hurt your dog. If you're still uncomfortable, you can feed half, or feed when you get back. :)
 

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I've noticed Aayla seems to get a little queasy if she doesn't get breakfast. She has thrown up in the mornings if she has an empty stomach (I fed dinner too early, and the next morning she gets sick). At the same time she prefers saying hello to people and dogs over treats so in our classes it was near impossible to get her attention with treats. So she gets 1/3 of her normal breakfast at 6:00am and the rest of it through training in class at 9:30am. In her class she only gets kibble and freeze dried raw food. So I am filling her up with normal food. This has helped tremendously with her drive to seek a food reward.
 

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It's different than food deprivation generally (like a suggestion to keep an animal on permanent short-rations so they'll be "more motivated"). Food-deprivation is incredibly problematic and should never be practiced...I can see why your alarm bells were ringing. Skipping a meal is not such a big deal though! It's a pretty normal thing to suggest, and is a healthy practice if the class involves a lot of running around.

I've taken classes that coincided with meal times. I usually skip the meal, and instead feed my dog throughout the class. My dog is honestly so food-motivated that skipping a meal makes little difference to her enthusiasm, it just works out better for watching her overall calories! For other dogs, it's definitely a better idea to make sure they don't go in on an empty stomach. Depends on the dog.
 

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Hello! I'm studying to be a dog trainer, and I'm looking to possibly get involved with a specific dog training group (in the sense of offering to do volunteer work and hopefully learn from them). The group gives obedience and agility classes & also runs a dog hotel.

I was reading some information about classes that they offered last year. The classes were Saturday mornings from 9:00-10:30, and they stated that it would be better to not feed your dogs breakfast that day, so that the dogs would be "a little hungry" and interested in working for treats. While I understand the suggestion of not bringing a completely full dog to class, I was uncomfortable with the idea of skipping breakfast entirely. Am I over-worrying?

Thank you very much for your thoughts.
Probably over-worrying, but it does depend on your dog. I know my dog will sometimes puke if I don't feed her for long periods-say if we do an early dinner and last breakfast. This is super rare though, and only really happens after LONG stretches of me having an irregular schedule. Most of the time it makes no difference though if I stretch a few hours to have a willing dog for a class. If you're nervous about it, you can always feed a tiny portion (like 1/3 breakfast or whatever is easy) and the rest during class.

I tend to prefer a bit hungry over satisfied/full for working-it really brings the focus out and my dog LOVES to work (and I bring out better treats), so she doesn't really mind a delay either.

It's really up to you and your dog, but don't feel bad about whatever path you choose.
 

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Thank you all so much for your responses. You were very helpful and made me feel much more relaxed.

Almost a year ago, I went to a couple seminars (here in Costa Rica) given by a dog training group (not the one originally mentioned in this post), and I ended up very disappointed/frustrated/upset by the information given out and certain claims made. It was not what I expected based on looking at their website and reading about the ethics/training methods that they supposedly followed.

So after all of that, I just want to make sure that I'm careful before getting too involved with other groups. :)
 

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You've already begun to see the light but I'd like to add as well that I like to limit a dog's meals or reduce them when treat training a lot because if you don't, the dog might start to become overweight. They're getting calories and nutrition, just not in the same way. Sometimes it's even good to use the dog's normal kibble as treats as training if they're willing to work for them.
 

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When I was doing late morning classes they would recommend this as well. I personally did not like skipping the full meal but I would do a MUCH lighter breakfast on training days knowing that I would be feeding a lot during training.
 

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You've already begun to see the light but I'd like to add as well that I like to limit a dog's meals or reduce them when treat training a lot because if you don't, the dog might start to become overweight. They're getting calories and nutrition, just not in the same way. Sometimes it's even good to use the dog's normal kibble as treats as training if they're willing to work for them.
Thank you for your response. :) Just to clarify, I do already sometimes use kibble as training treats and make adjustments to the daily feedings if there were stuffed Kongs/lots of food rewards, etc. I think I just wished that the rules posted by the training group were offered up as more general guidelines that you should modify as you see fit.

The original message said (in Spanish): "Mejor no darle de comer a sus perritos el día de la clase, o sea que vengan en ayunas. Esto es para que tengan un poquito de hambre e interés en los premios."

I would translate that to: "It is better not to feed your dogs the day of the class, in other words that they come fasting. This is so that they will have a little hunger and interest in the rewards."

I started thinking of situations where maybe it would be best to feed the dog a little before going to class, and I probably would have felt more comfortable if the message said something like:

"We recommend not feeding your dogs breakfast the day of the class, or feeding a lesser amount of the usual portion, so that they are more interested in working for food rewards. However, you know your dog and your schedule best, so keep your dog's body and daily routine in mind and make the adjustments that are right for you."

But I definitely know that the training group didn't mean any harm and most people don't overthink everything as much I do! I really appreciate everyone's feedback here. :)
 

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Keep in mind the sole intent of the advice is not necessarily weight management but rather when training you want your dog to be hungry enough that the training treats are high value to them. If they are full, treats may not be enough to keep their attention.
 

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Keep in mind the sole intent of the advice is not necessarily weight management but rather when training you want your dog to be hungry enough that the training treats are high value to them. If they are full, treats may not be enough to keep their attention.
Yes, I think the point was having a dog willing to work, not concerns about weight management. When I wrote "keep your dog's body and daily routine in mind and make the adjustments that are right for you," I meant it in the sense of: You know your dog best, and you know if your dog might be a little queasy with skipping a whole meal, or if your dog will be too worked up over all the food and unable to concentrate, so they'd do better having eaten a little before class. I'm sorry if I wasn't clear enough. Thank you for your response. :)
 

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Unless you have the type of dog who gets an upset stomach if they are fed too late in the morning then there's nothing wrong with it. If your dog does get an upset stomach then I'd just feed a little bit of her breakfast, then feed the rest after class (minus the treats used for training, so feed less overall). Nothing wrong with it, unless your particular dog needs something in her stomach in the morning.
 
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