==> This goes way beyond what you feed your dog

In fact, this topic impacts every other area!

Dog Meals, Meal Times, and Feeding Routine

Whether you have a GSD puppy or an adult GSD, whether your German Shepherd lives with you inside the house, or outside in a garden/yard kennel, the majority of both the perceived Behavior problems and the actual Health issues result from ill-advised Dog Meals, Meal Times, and Feeding Routine.

On MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG you saw under House Training Dogs:

House Training comprises:

  • Housebreaking a dog - meaning Potty training a dog
  • Dog crate training
  • Dog meals, Meal times, and Feeding routine
  • Obedience dog training
  • Becoming the accepted Pack leader in the household
  • Leash training a dog, and
  • Dog Behavior training

In fact, House Training comprises even more, as shown in House Training Dogs To Behave Well - but all that would go beyond the topic of this particular Periodical.

The topic of Dog Meals, Meal Times, and Feeding Routine actually impacts every other area of dog training.

Dog Meals, Meal Times, and Feeding Routine impacts not only House Training (Indoor Training) but also Outdoor Training (like Leash Training, Recall Training, Running next to the bicycle, Stillstand upon approaching traffic, etc). Most dog owners (and indeed most professional dog trainers!) don't know this, hence why the topic of Dog Meals, Meal Times, and Feeding Routine is neglected by far too many dog owners. This will all become much clearer over the coming months and years you are with us, but this particular MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL is the basis for everything.

Everything? - Yes. Everything. Obviously meant training-related. As an author, I carefully choose my words. You will get used to my precision. ;-)

This is what a Top dog expert says:
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Feeding Routine

The beginning of every great dog relationship is a well-established and consistent Feeding Routine, because it is the first and most crucial chance for effective dog training. Conversely, what you feed your dog has less impact on your relationship with your dog, but major impact on dog health.

[Quick Tip] The beginning of every great #DogRelationship is a well-established and consistent #FeedingRoutine: mygsd.org/1kV3NNi

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So, in order to help you build the BEST relationship with your GSD (our mission), you must start here: with the Feeding Routine. Understood so far?

How do you currently feed your dog? Do you fill a bowl of food and then put it down on the floor, saying something like "Food is ready!" or "Enjoy your meal, my sweetheart"?

Or do you go to the dog bowl, having the tin, bag, or pot in your hand, and then fill the bowl while making your GSD wait until you are ready?

Well, both is wrong, both doesn't achieve what you want from your dog. Both of these routines, and all in between, will result in problems with your dog. We get these reports all the time.

Maybe you can't imagine this, but perceived 'dog problems' like for example:

  • Pulling on the leash
  • Constantly seeking your attention
  • Barking at everything
  • Frequent whining
  • Jumping up on you or your guests
  • Digging in the garden
  • Running around panting and restless
  • Mouthing, nipping, and biting

...all of these perceived 'dog problems' and many more are nothing but in fact dog owner problems: they all are directly connected to your Feeding Routine.

Impact of Dog Meals, Meal Times, and Feeding Routine

So, if you are struggling with ANY behavior problem with your dog, consider to apply this Feeding Routine first:


  • Take the dog bowl out of the cupboard and open the fresh food containers, or tin, bag, or pot with the dog food
  • Do not yet fill the bowl, and do not yet put down the empty bowl either
  • Instead, take the dog bowl and part of your own meal (or a simple cookie) in your hands
  • Call your dog to you, and hold the bowl in one hand and your own food in the other
  • Demonstratively eat your food 'from' the dog bowl while your dog is watching you - called Gesture Eating


  • After half a minute, put down the empty dog bowl, and ask your dog to SIT, say 2 meters away
  • If (s)he does not quietly SIT and WAIT, cancel the feeding and try again 15 minutes later
  • If (s)he quietly sits where you said, start filling the dog bowl with your dog's food
  • If (s)he comes closer and interrupts you, ask your dog to go back and SIT
  • If (s)he doesn't comply, let your dog have what's in the bowl, but with the remainder try the entire Feeding Routine again 15 minutes later


  • Don't say anything to your dog during this entire time, and don't look straight at your dog
  • The ideal (once done two or three times) is that your dog quietly waits until you have completely filled the dog bowl
  • Only then you say "Food is ready!" or "Enjoy your meal, my sweetheart" or whatever you like :-)
  • Do not disturb your dog while (s)he is eating, whether it's the first spoonfuls or the entire meal


  • Once your dog moves away from the bowl, immediately remove the bowl if any food is left in it
  • In this case, do not repeat the Feeding Routine before the next scheduled meal time
  • Yes, your dog may still be hungry, but (s)he left the food!
  • Rotate this Feeding Routine among all members of your family, including even your smallest kids
  • In this case, you may help your child but step back as much as possible, try to be 'invisible' in this process
  • If you have a baby, use a baby sling to have the baby in front of you while you 'invisibly' perform this Feeding Routine

This particular Feeding Routine, including the Gesture-Eating at the beginning and the immediate removal of a not-emptied dog bowl at the end, will teach your dog several things:

  • That every family member is the Pack leader, the Alpha, for your dog
  • That you determine when, what, and how much your dog gets to eat
  • Not to interrupt you while you serve the food
  • Not to be interrupted while your dog eats
  • To eat what you serve your dog, instead of eating something, from someone, somewhere (scavenging)
This is what a Top dog expert says:
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Because FOOD has such a significant meaning to a dog (well, after all to us humans too!), your dog will rapidly realize that (s)he is not (or no longer) the Pack leader, but instead you and every family member is. To a dog, the one who controls the food is the Pack leader, the Alpha in the Pack.

[Quick Tip] The one who controls the food is the #Packleader: mygsd.org/1kV3NNi

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With the above Feeding Routine you and every family member control the food. - Understood so far?

Within just two or three times that you apply this particular Feeding Routine your dog will get the message. (S)he will quietly SIT and wait until you are ready to give the signal to eat.

Whether you have a GSD puppy or an adult GSD, this Feeding Routine is your first and most important step to becoming the accepted Pack leader! This will help you to automagically eliminate most of the common 'dog problems'. For example:

  • Suddenly your puppy and adult dog will start to follow your lead - instead of pulling on the leash!
  • Your puppy and adult dog will leave you in peace - instead of constantly seeking your attention!
  • Your puppy and adult dog will only bark in order to warn you of perceived danger!
  • Your puppy and adult dog will only whine when (s)he is in pain - instead of frequently whining to get your attention!
  • Your puppy and adult dog will no longer jump up on you or others to be at your height (face level)!
  • Your puppy and adult dog will no longer dig in the garden/yard to instinctively hide its food possessions!
  • Your puppy and adult dog will be relaxed and balanced - instead of stressed and aggressive!
  • Your puppy and adult dog will not mouth, nip, or bite you or a family member - because everyone is now the accepted Pack leader!

Please note: You must apply this Feeding Routine consistently. Every day. If one family member diverts from this proven Feeding Routine, then it will not have all its benefits and it will result in an imbalance in your family, ie in your dog's Pack. This is the secret reason why in many dog owner households the dog behaves with one family member better or worse than with the others - up to and including biting a family member!

The 'Pack' structure is ingrained in every dog's mind because it is part of the dog's genetical heritage. Likewise, part of the dog's genetical heritage is that every dog notices, understands, and accepts that "The one who controls the food is the Pack leader". This is what makes our particular Feeding Routine so immensely powerful once you apply it consistently.

Without really knowing the mentioned methodical reasons, I did apply most of this Feeding Routine already as a child (children love to 'perform' like in a theater). Thus when (only a couple of years ago) I finally found one professional dog trainer who does apply such Feeding Routine too (it's only one yet), I was delighted and still am. He too solves 'dog problems' with what feels like the adept move of a wand. Of course I am speaking of the one dog trainer I suggested you in the last Periodical to check out if you find you can't learn from my words alone.

WandThus, set yourself and your family the goal to try this Feeding Routine, say for a week or two. Before the first week is over, you will have noticed that not just one but the majority of your dog's perceived behavior problems are gone! It may feel like magic. Doggy Dan Abdelnoor shows this in his videos of course, but I don't, and I find it important that you understand all the things I write, ie the underlying concept and reasons why one thing works, and another doesn't.

It's important for you because this allows you to avoid making the same mistake that thousands of dog owners have reported before you: They all paid a local professional dog trainer to train their dog. And after say a year they have already paid a thousand bucks but their dog still gives problems - sometimes new problems, sometimes still the same problem they started out with!

Paying a dog trainer to train your dog is foolish, it cannot work. Your dog knows that you are a different person than the trainer, and so your dog behaves differently with you when the trainer has left. You must be the trainer, and so first you must learn how to change your dog's behavior (and this includes a change of your own behavior).

So, as for the Feeding Routine, perform it consistently, then it works very well.

It is now when, for us people, the most difficult time starts: When problems are gone, we forget why they are gone. We stop doing what we were doing in order to make the problems go away. That's why past problems so often re-appear. And that's why I stressed above that you must apply this Feeding Routine consistently. Dan says for the entirety of your dog's life. I feel you can decrease the frequency when all is well with your dog, but yes, you must never stop this Feeding Routine entirely if you seek to avoid 'dog problems'!

To stick to something consistently that requires a bit of effort, this is difficult for people when we don't perceive a problem. Much less so for dogs: They instinctively apply the same routine over and over again, even long after the initial benefit has disappeared! This is why your dog will continue to follow your command, long after the last time (s)he got a reward for that. :-)

All of the above was only a quarter yet :roll:

Meal Times

Directly related to the Feeding Routine are the Meal Times.

[wpsharely id="4431"]

For example, imagine you apply the suggested Feeding Routine the first time, and your German Shepherd won't quietly watch you when you Gesture-Eat and when you fill your dog's bowl - because your GSD is not used to this. So you end up cancelling your dog's meal.

And now say, your GSD is getting only one meal a day. Then you have a problem, because you have a hungry GSD for an entire day!

This is not advisable and not acceptable. Regardless of the Feeding Routine that you apply, I strongly recommend to feed your German Shepherd at least two meals a day. We feed our German Shepherds three meals a day, because we eat three meals a day as well and we value our German Shepherds as being full family members. More so, we even expect them to safeguard the family, so we always strive to treat them the best way we can!

[Quick Tip] Feed your #dog at least two meals a day and at consistent meal times: mygsd.org/1kV3NNi

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Now here are the more generally accepted reasons why you should consider to feed your GSD at least two meals a day:


  • For dogs, as much as for humans, it is much healthier to eat smaller amounts of food at several consistent meal times during the day, rather than one large meal once a day. Dogs in the wild will eat many times during the day, and evolution has made their intestines, metabolism, and psychology of the mind exactly that way. Several smaller meals calm and balance both your dog's body and mind.
  • Although you may rightfully argue that the socialisation of dogs over the past 14,000 years and the seemingly huge difference to wolves and wild dogs no longer require your German Shepherd to eat several times per day, note that the genes of every dog are still 99.8% (or was it 99.98%) the same as those of an ancient wolf in the wild! From the tiny Chihuahua to the great German Shepherd. All differences among dogs in looks and size result from less than 0.01% difference in genes.
  • If you serve your GSD only one meal a day, then your GSD necessarily gets a large meal, probably heavy on carbohydrates, fats and proteins, in order to keep your dog sufficiently fed, rather than permanently hungry. A large meal that is heavy on carbohydrates, fats and proteins promotes health issues ranging from Bloat or Gastric Torsion, Vomiting, Diarrhea and Obesity, to Gastroenteritis or Pancreatitis, Hypothyroidism, Diabetes, Kidney Failure and Heart Failure!
  • The modern German Shepherd, as well as a dog in the wild and the ancient wolf, can easily cope with one meal a day, no question. A dog can survive several days without food (but not even a single day without water!). But this doesn't mean that the dog will live and behave well when (s)he gets only one meal a day. See above: Evolution has prepared the dog's intestines, metabolism, and psychology of the mind to eat several times a day.

This leads over to the next area.


  • Because evolution has prepared dogs (and humans alike) to eat several smaller meals a day, your German Shepherd needs several smaller meals a day to exhibit the behavior you desire: Being calm, relaxed, and balanced - until there is real danger looming.
  • Under normal circumstances there will be countless situations at day and night where you expect your German Shepherd to remain calm and balanced, or even quiet. Whether your kids or other kids are pestering your GSD, or your dog sees a bird, groundhog or caterpillar, hears an opposite-sex dog barking in the distance that you cannot hear, feels a draft from an open window or heat from a radiator or a skin rash or internal pain, or senses a looming thunderstorm, a returning family member, or an imbalance of yourself or another family member.
  • For a dog that is hungry because (s)he got the last meal 8 or even 24 hours ago, all these small things that you won't even notice may constitute a real challenge to remaining calm, balanced, and quiet.
  • A hungry dog instinctively will search for food because, unlike us, a domesticated dog doesn't know when (s)he will get food again. The dog cannot relax thinking "I'll get a good meal in two hours anyway", because the dog knows (s)he can't go hunting in case you don't provide food. When the body sends the signal to the brain "Hungry!", the dog's genetics require to search for food immediately - like the dog in the wild would do.
  • Even if you think "My GSD is fine without food for another day", if you only watch your dog consciously and prolonged you will recognise the restless behavior as being the search for food. If in such a moment say, a child is pestering the dog (from the dog's point of view) then the dog faces an internal battle between its instincts and its trained behavior and socialisation. A battle of the dog's psychology (also see Core Areas of German Shepherd Psychology).
  • Of course the dog won't 'eat the child' now, but the crucial point is that its internal battle may exhibit the kind of behavior that you really don't want to experience!

Even most experienced dog trainers cannot see or 'read' a dog's search for food, the dog's food-drive. They argue "this behavior has to do with bad training or lack of training". Or, if they are better educated dog trainers, they argue "this behavior has to do with you not being the Alpha in their Pack". - But it's none of these.

Because a domesticated dog that is held in the house or a garden/yard kennel cannot wander off into the wild and search for food, upon the first body signals of hunger the dog faces an internal battle between its instincts and its trained behavior and socialisation. In that moment, the more the dog feels pestered, and the stronger the feeling of hunger becomes, the more of a challenge even for the best-trained and socialised dog!

So, again, if you value your GSD's well-being (and your own and that of your family!), at least consider to feed your GSD two or three meals a day. Even if all members of your family have to leave the house for the entire day (work, school, whatever), you certainly have the chance to feed your German Shepherd two meals a day: One morning meal before you leave the house, and one evening meal after you come home.

However, in this case please note:

  • There are some common-sense rules to observe regarding when to serve your GSD a meal (see below).
  • Also, you must plan for enough time for the entire Feeding Routine before you leave for work and after you come home, ie including the Gesture-Eating and removing the food bowl if your dog has left any food in it. And if you need to defer the meal for 15 minutes (see above), you must have the time for this as well.
  • If you leave your GSD alone for most of the day, you must ensure that your dog gets enough exercise and socialisation during the day nonetheless. Autonomous exercise your dog can get with the Varsity Ball (either in the garden/yard or in an empty room inside your house), but sufficient socialization you must provide - through arrangements with neighbors etc, and when you come home.
  • Also, you must ensure that your GSD can relieve whenever needed. An indoor dog potty is not enough in this case. If you leave your GSD alone for most of the day, I strongly suggest that you provide your dog with a chance to freely move in and out of the house, to relieve in a specified area of the garden/yard.

Depending on the weather conditions in your region, you may be able to leave your GSD outside all day while you are away. However, in this case your dog should have the chance to freely move around outside the house, ie NOT be chained! In future editions of the MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL we will discuss why a locked outside kennel is UNsuitable to keep your German Shepherd, and what you can do instead if you think this is necessary.

The frequency of dog meals aside, another aspect of Meal Times is when to feed your dog.

When to feed your dog

  • No dog meal should be before your dog went for its first urination in the morning, or after your dog went for its last urination in the evening
  • No dog meal should be within the last 90 minutes before a long walk or exercise session
  • No dog meal should be within the first 60 minutes after a long walk or exercise session
  • No dog meal should be within the last 60 minutes before going to sleep (dozing is okay though)
  • If you insist to serve only one large meal then the rest periods above must be doubled, so that most of the food has been processed before any activity or sleep.

The rest of course depends on how often you feed your dog:

3If you feed your German Shepherd three meals a day, it makes sense to serve your GSD a morning meal (breakfast), a midday meal (lunch), and an evening meal (supper or dinner). If you stick to the recommendations above, this will be very beneficial to your GSD both health-wise and behavior-wise.

2If you feed your German Shepherd two meals a day, it makes sense to serve your GSD a morning meal and a late afternoon/early evening meal, particularly if you take your dog for exercise sessions during the day (but please never in midday heat). If you stick to the recommendations above, this will still be beneficial to your GSD both health-wise and behavior-wise.

1If you feed your German Shepherd only one meal a day, you should switch immediately to two meals a day (see above why). Other than that, you may want to try if it's best to serve the meal in the late morning/around midday. However, you might find out that in this case your GSD behaves better if you serve the meal in the morning as a large breakfast (too large for sure).

The way to try out different meal times: Say, your fed-only-once GSD currently is on midday meals. To try out if instead a morning meal would be beneficial, you serve the meal one hour earlier every day until you reached the desired time (eg before you have to leave for work).

But in this case please note:

  • Never make abrupt changes (in this case say from midday meal yesterday to morning meal today), instead give your GSD time to adapt.
  • Stick with the new Meal Time for at least two weeks before you determine whether the change is beneficial.
  • Remember not to serve the morning meal before your dog had the chance for its first urination, ie after many hours of holding on to the urine during sleep!

Dog Meals

The final consideration is what you feed your dog. While Dog Food Recipes for our German Shepherds will be the topic of future editions of the MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL, here it's about the general aspects of DOG MEALS for your dog.

Like people too, dogs are different in both what they like and what they digest well. And in terms of German Shepherds, food allergies are very common indeed. The GSD is the dog breed with one of the most sensitive GI tracts (gastrointestinal tract).

Also note that there is so much nonsense to be found about dog food (well, any topic really!), including from presumably well-informed sources (eg that double-doctor-title dog site we won't even mention, because they are happy to recommend anything if only it earns them money), that you need to apply some developed common sense yourself.

This is what a Top dog expert says:
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We will always encourage you to do exactly this (to apply developed common sense), as you may already have noticed in the MYGERMANSHEPHERD Health Manual and on MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG. Developed common sense here is:

Introducing new foods

You must always carefully introduce a new food to your dog by mixing just a spoonful into its ordinary diet the first time. I would even suggest not to feed any new food on an empty stomach, that's why I said above mixing into it. Better safe than sorry.

A great example is the popular Peanut Butter. Like people too, some dogs will be in agony if they eat anything with peanuts, to the extent that they can die! Just because they EAT it, or even LOVE it, doesn't mean that they digest it well. The problem with dogs then is that they may not always avoid the 'No'-Food the next time. They eat it again and get sick all over again!

Another great example, of the opposite type, is tomatoes and garlic. All those cheap 'copy-and-paste' dog sites advise against tomatoes and garlic for your dog, just because their authors have simply copied what they found on existing dog sites and pasted it onto their own site. A terrible practice, including from veterinarian websites!

Developed common sense here is:

Good or bad for dogs?

  • Every food becomes unsuitable for your dog (as well as for you) if eaten in too large quantities.
  • Some foods are toxic for your dog (but not for you) even in small quantities.
  • Boiling, Steaming, Roasting etc will kill off almost all impurities and pathogens, and will make the food more digestible - but only Steaming will retain its nutrients to a large degree!
  • The more fine-cut the food, the easier to digest.
  • Nutrients are best absorbed when you puree the food. This is particularly easy to achieve and sensible to do with the harder to digest veg and fruits.
  • Every dog meal should be made up of mixed ingredients so that no ingredient is served in too large a quantity.

Now briefly back to tomatoes and garlic: While the leaves, stem, and unripe green tomatoes are toxic to dogs (just like to people too), the ripe tomato fruit is not. Many dogs eat both tomatoes and garlic (and so does our dog), and they thrive on it! Think: How can tomatoes and garlic be "toxic to dogs" when the largest commercial pet food brands even add them concentrated? For example Taste of the Wild has tomato pomace and say Purina Pro Plan has garlic oil!

The crucial point, as always, is the amount you give to your dog. One tomato and one garlic clove (not bulb) mixed into the meal generally are excellent components of a balanced diet for many reasons. Just do introduce everything new carefully as described above.

A nutrition-rich and balanced diet will keep both the GSD puppy and the adult German Shepherd healthy, and also promote the BEST relationship with your GSD.

What does nutrition-rich and balanced diet mean?

If the label of a dog food tin or bag describes the food as nutrition-rich and balanced, is it really?

  • Fact is, in our hectic modern times many dog owners simply overturn a tin of industrial dog food into the dog bowl, with the typical 'plop' sound that this makes.
  • Even more dog owners simply tip dry industrial dog food (kibble) right out of the bag into the dog bowl until it's full (no 'plop' but a 'cling' sound).
  • Hopefully both of these groups of dog owners also fill a large clean drinking bowl with fresh water!

These overall statistics are the same for GSD owners. Why? Because it is convenient, it is quick. And in modern times everything has to be quick, right?

No, not everything. If you set yourself the goal which of your daily activities have to be quick and which you want to savor, then you'll find both of them much easier to accomplish. And much more enjoyable too.

Personally, I for example explicitely want to savor time with our dogs, and I want to learn ever more about building and retaining the BEST relationship with our GSDs. So I spend time on both, and rather save time on other things. It really is your choice, even in hectic modern times.

With what the majority of dog owners do (see above), no wonder that they have problems with their dogs! If we don't even take the time to learn about the first and most important step to becoming the accepted Pack leader in our dog's 'Pack', and hence we don't know how to perform the right Feeding Routine as set out above, then we must not be surprised (or upset) by the fact that we face numerous "dog problems", right?

When I see dog owners on the street, in dog classes, on TV or in Youtube videos, I am regularly thinking: "Don't they know any better?" - If they don't know because they don't care, then I'd argue they don't deserve to have a precious dog like a German Shepherd. Or in fact, any dog.

It seems you are different, you do care: You subscribed to the MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL because you seek to build the BEST relationship with your GSD, right? That's a pleasure. Thank you!

Components of a nutrition-rich and balanced diet

Nutrition-rich and balanced diet

  1. Fats
  2. Proteins
  3. Vitamins, Minerals, and Micronutrients

In this order, indeed.

Did you notice? Carbohydrates and Fibers aren't listed anymore. Because modern Nutrition Science has discovered many flaws in the nutrition advice that has dominated the mainstream for the last 60+ years. Carbohydrates and Fibers neither are nutrients nor needed for a balanced diet. Old school thinking taught us "To have lots of energy, eat lots of carbohydrates and avoid fat", while in fact the right fats are very healthy but even the right carbohydrates are not. And fibers aren't needed at all if the diet is right, in particular avoiding sugars!

Fats. Not any fats, but good fats: Polyunsaturated Omega-3 fatty acids (NOT Omega-6). Did you know that fat provides more than twice the amount of energy per pound than what carbohydrates provide?

Old school thinking taught us: "Fat is bad and makes you fat".

Meanwhile we know: Fat is essential for life (both human and canine) and carbohydrates make you fat.

Not just fat. It is carbohydrates that cause or trigger the majority of today's costly and life-threatening disorders: Diabetes, Obesity, Arthritis, and even cancer.

The shortest explanation (not to digress too much here): Sugar excess in the bloodstream causes inflammation, and constant inflammation causes or triggers all the above disorders!

Back to dogs: Forget plain school summaries like "dogs are carnivores". If you see the amount of plants (twigs, grass, flowers, berries and other fruits, etc) dogs eat in the wild, you'll realize that this popular wisdom is nonsense. In fact, dogs are omnivores, not carnivores! Exactly like people are. No surprise really, once you think about it: Our domesticated dogs only exist because dogs emerged as scavengers of human food leftovers. And precious meat rarely was a leftover.

What means dogs are omnivores?

It means that dogs in general eat all types of food: Meat, Veg, Fruit, Fish, Dairies, and Plants. By their organism, dogs are no more carnivores than people are. Like there are people who happily and healthily live 'vegetarian', some dogs do too - if the dog owner gives the dog a choice!

By the way, currently almost all 'vegetarian German Shepherds' are owned by our subscribers from India, who know very well what kind of food is tasty and healthy. Certainly MUCH healthier than feeding your dog antibiotics and steroids laden industrial meat products - or worse: rendering plant waste products marketed as kibble and tin food! Over time you will learn here MUCH more about the right dog food.

Only if we consider the proportion of meat compared to other foods that wild dogs eat, then we may say "dogs are carnivores":

Wild Dog Diet

The diet of wild dogs consists of about 75% meat, bone, and innards such as tripe, liver etc, and 25% greens like grasses, twigs, leaves, dandelion, chard, apples, pears, berries, parsley, kale, parsnip, yam, squash, etc.

Why I highlighted wild dogs? Because reportedly 90% of domesticated dogs these days live on kibble and tin food, and most of that is an artificial concoction of rendering plant waste products void of real meat! Don't argue with what package labels say - they say anything to deceive you into buying it. Real meat is stripped off the bones to be used for human consumption. Only the waste that is not fit for human consumption (eg tumor tissues) enters the rendering plant, and what comes out is pet food.

Important to note is that if your GSD is accustomed to a different diet, an abrupt switch to the wild-dog diet would nonetheless almost certainly lead to digestive disorders. Either way, there is nothing better than homemade dog food.

If you stick to the recommendations above, particularly gradual introduction of new foods (ideally homemade) and mixed ingredients in every meal then it's health-wise and behavior-wise sensible to move towards a diet that combines a good mix of a few of the following ingredients:

Healthy GSD Diet

  • Real fresh meats like beef, pork, lamb, venison, and even bacon
  • Poultry like turkey or chicken meat - not the head, feet etc that go into pet food!
  • Innards like liver sausage - not the liver itself!
  • Vegetables like cabbage, kale, lettuce, carrots, cucumber, celery, broccoli, spinach, sugar snaps, etc
  • Fruits like pumpkin, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, pear, clementine, nectarine, apple, banana, watermelon, cantaloupe, mango, etc
  • Fermented dairies like cottage cheese, plain yoghurt, cheese, scrambled eggs - not raw or processed milk or other non-fermented dairies!
  • Fish like (boneless!) salmon, hake, tuna, etc
  • Real grains like rice, quinoa, millet, and even pasta - not the husks, flour, and mill sweep that go into pet food!

Ideally, feed your dog only healthy homemade food, no commercial pet food, as commercial pet food regularly is chock-full of harmful substances!

[Quick Tip] Ideally, feed your #dog only healthy #HomemadeFood, no commercial pet food: mygsd.org/1kV3NNi

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Please Note:

  • You can always add a spoonful of Omega-3 rich oil to the meal (has many benefits)
  • There is nothing that speaks against a reasonable amount of dog treats like crackers, peanut butter sandwich, ice cubes, popcorn, etc: domesticated dogs are domesticated dogs because they evolved as scavengers!
  • But note that what most people eat today - and thus what dogs would scavenge in the household - is highly processed, harmful junk (crisps, sweets, etc). This your dog should not be able to scavenge!
  • Many dogs' favourites are ice cubes thrown into their bowl with water - then you can easily add nutrients by trying if your GSD likes ice cubes from your left-over frozen tuna water, unsweetened(!) pumpkin juice, steamed-meat water, or whatever
  • You need to try out what your German Shepherd likes and digests well, the above can only be general suggestions
  • You may need to give your dog eg skinless apples - and never the seeds!
  • You may need to cook many of the above foods (best, steamed) - and then of course cooled down to room temperature
  • Particularly vegetables are easier to digest if they have been cooked
  • Every meal must always be accompanied by a bowl of fresh water - and if you insist on feeding dry food(?) the bowl must be brimful as dry food deprives your dog of essential fluids!

In addition, GSDs need the supply of a full bowl of fresh water throughout the day. The risk of the medical condition of Dehydration is enormous for a dog breed with the metabolism of a German Shepherd.

In fact, try out our unique German Shepherd Health Profile Assessment (which is accessable on all 'German Shepherd Health' pages), not least to see how much water and food your individual GSD requires per day under optimal conditions (60F / 15C - if it's warmer, (s)he will need more water).

Water intake should also increase when ill and, obviously, when your GSD exercises, and in warm weather. Exercise level as well is factored in when you enter your dog's amount of exercise in our GSD Health Profile tool.

Always apply common sense:

  • Eg don't feed your dog rhubarb, because your dog could choke on the stringy texture (unless you cut the rhubarb in really small pieces, or puree it).
  • Don't give commercial food that has been 'enriched' with preservatives, sugar etc.
  • Fish and poultry can contain hidden bones!
  • Even beef ribs and other bones can splinter when chewed heavily!
  • Safest is to introduce a new food item in cooked form (steamed), and only once your dog digests this well, consider whether the raw form might be good too (or better).
  • Steamed food is the best (because it is safe and nutritious).


Checklist * (see note at the bottom)

  • Dog Meals, Meal Times, and our Feeding Routine impact on every other area of Dog Training, Dog Behavior, and Dog Health!
  • The first and most crucial step in becoming the accepted Alpha in your dog's 'Pack' is to establish and maintain a proven Feeding Routine!
  • If you stick to this Feeding Routine, the vast majority of your 'dog problems' will disappear like magic

  • Consistent Meal Times are important
  • Serving your dog two or three smaller dog meals rather than one large meal has many health and behavior benefits
  • Use an Eat-Slow bowl to encourage slower, healthier eating!
  • Meal Times should respect the dog's metabolism, rest periods and exercise regime
  • If you can't be at home during the day, ensure that your dog is able to freely enter and leave the house to relieve in dedicated places
  • Also, if you can't be at home during the day, provide your GSD with an autonomous exercise instrument like the Varsity Ball
  • Arrange with neighbors, the postman or binman (anyone!) to provide socialization for your dog!
  • Changes to Meal Times and Dog Meals (diet) must be introduced gradually

  • Initially, serve only small amounts of new food items, and mix them under existing food
  • Particularly veg and fruits are easier to digest if they are cooked (steamed)
  • A nutrition-rich and balanced diet is crucial to your dog's health and behavior
  • Ideally feed only homemade fresh foods
  • Try out what your German Shepherd likes and digests well

  • To avoid Dehydration and behavior problems, always provide a drinking bowl full of fresh water, day and night!
  • Don't fall into the trap of the widespread copy-and-paste misinformation on the internet, instead always apply some developed common sense!



==> Next edition: Dogs' Native Language <==

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    Thank you so much! I'm not getting my German Shepherd until next year but I'm learning so much through your periodicals! I feel a lot more confident about doing things right from the start :)


      The breeder where I got my GSD said they promote the grazing method letting their dogs eat whenever they want. They've been breeding GSD for 30 years. However I'm going to try this for a couple weeks and see if it solves the problem of my dog having to be wherever I am, she won't even go outside to the bathroom without me and she's almost 9 months old. I'll keep you posted. I start tomorrow.


        Right, and my neighbor's sister's grandma said she promotes the 7-meals-a-day method. But what has she - or your breeder(!) - got to do with you and your dog, and your dog problems??

        Nothing. Hence why I would never do what a breeder says he does! See HOW MUCH SH.T "breeders" do:
        breeders' work


    Wow...great info. We just got our GSD 5 weeks ago and have been reading all your periodicals. Thanks for taking the time to do this.


    I started using this method with my 7 month old male GSD. He is beginning to bond with me like never before. Thank you so much for your periodicals. I am learning so much.


      And thank you so much for saying so, Sherry! Always great to hear my continuous effort here finds some open ears, and it helps! :-)

      Yes, THIS very Periodical is the MOST important TRAINING Periodical I'd say (but few people realize that, they think "Feeding = Food")
      Ah well!


    How much should we feed a 2 year old gsd who is about 50 pounds we feed him 2 times a day, once in the morning and again in the evening.


      Heather, feeding twice daily is spot on if you have to go to work during the day. Isolate the Meal Times as explained (no exercise right around them).

      If you sought specific amounts to feed your GSD(?), why don't you use our splendid GSD Health Assessment Tool, it does give free advice so accurate that you would normally pay for (namely at the vet)! In fact, its accuracy only depends on how accurate (and complete) your input data is. - Feedback welcome :-)


    Brilliant periodical! Just a quick question though. I totally understand fish bones could be problematic, I'm just thinking though that if they were fending for themselves they wouldn't fillet a fish and would crunch through it bones and all?


      I have no idea Julie, I haven't seen a dog filleting a fish, no :-)
      Some people say fish is bad. I say, without the bones, it's healthy for them (and you).
      What do you think?
      Are you feeding fish?


    I agree oily fish is a fantastic food for them!
    I was only asking as we walk Chief with a Sunday group of GSD's and a lot of the owners feed raw. They include offal, chicken feet, necks, (all to correct & very important meat/bone/offal ratio!), veg, fruit and fish. The fish in a photo was that of the head & I suppose that's a differing bone make up to the smaller ones of the body but just thought I'd ask :0)

    On a different note, I always made Chief wait for his food whilst I got it together but I thought I'd try with the empty bowl first then add to it whilst it's down as you said......Not a whimper! Very proud of him :D


      Yes, I know that dog food (particularly raw) is a highly controversial topic for many dog owners, Julie. Personally, I have my concerns with raw feeding (eg feel disgusted by the raw meat smell out of the mouth; raw meats often contain pathogens that can easily be killed by steaming etc; where to get quality raw meats locally; GSDs have a VERY sensitive GI tract; what to do when traveling; etc etc).
      Any change in food must be implemented very slowly or I upset their sensitive stomach. So I guess, a certain owner lifestyle is needed to even be able to implement a raw food diet. In any case, it's certainly healthier than kibble - particularly if you/they add "veg, fruit and fish". Sounds like their dogs are dining à la carte :-)


    We haven't yet gone raw. I'm just researching at the moment. There is a good quality local human grade supplier. A lot of the group found that skin problems went away, the stools became 'normal' not sloppy, sensitive stomach issues resolved and their dogs were heaps calmer. Upon researching I've found that there are companies online which supply raw food in ready ratio'd packs (look like ready meals) so travelling wouldn't be a big issue although yes it's a little more expensive but for ease every so often it wouldn't hurt the bank balance too much. Food for thought though, pardon the pun ;0)


    Tim, My husband has raised 7 GSD over the last 35 years. He tells me that it is okay to give our 12 and 6 month old GSDs chicken and turkey scraps (with the bones in!) I was always taught NEVER do that because the bones will splinter. Is that just an old wives' tale, or is there truth to it? I do not want Kai to have the bones, but my husband sneaks scraps to them at times. Your advice will be greatly appreciated. Thank-you


      Sher, get your husband to study our Periodicals ;-)
      No seriously: Your husband is right in regards that modern domesticated dogs still can eat a LOT of people foods. Their ancestors, 'domesticated wolves', could eat everything left behind by their human host (some 30,000 years ago humans didn't leave behind what we leave behind in today's times).

      1) Many modern processed foods(!) are not digestable for modern dogs!
      2) Today's German Shepherds do have a more sensitive GI tract than most other dog breeds! Many GSDs cannot even tolerate foods other dogs can eat with ease (caused by excessive inbreeding of this popular dog breed!! Thank the stupid breeders when you have high food bills for your GSD!)
      3) While your husband may be a lucky man (having found you), and his past GSDs may never have had a problem with splintered small chicken bones and such (really?, was he aware?), I can only strongly advise AGAINST feeding that! (rather ask the breeder to pay you for better dog food :-) )

      Why? Because, like always in life,... it may go well 100 times ... and then suddenly (be it #101 or #107) one such splintered bone pierces the throat or (worse) the stomach! And your dog dies. - Though your husband will still be there, no worries, he will (likely) then feel grief too, no? Ask him, or ask him to subscribe ;-)

      (PS: You may already have noticed my sometimes weird/crazy humor, hope you don't mind too much? Seriously, I often laugh my head of when I write such things. There's only one (short) life, and if we take all things too serious, ... well, we miss the fun we could have, no?)


    Are you kidding me? Been reading your periodicals recently and you totally crack me up. Have a real tendency to take life too seriously and there are times that I literally laugh out loud when I read what you wrote. Thankyou for that!
    Today (don't be offended) I'm actually going to put into practice. My soon to be 10 yrs old, GSD Anna Schoen has had aggression issues since she was about 5 months old. Addressed the veterinarian about it, he said as long "as she's good with people don't worry about it". Have since changed veterinarians. Went for obedience training before she was a yr old and we were kicked out of the class, because of her aggression, though there was never any physical contact between dogs. She really is a sweet, sweet dog. Her aggression is toward other dogs. Once in a pet friendly store she saw a dog and pulled so hard my feet went out from under me and I fell and she pulled me around, granted I'm only a hundred pounds however there was no obedience when correcting her or giving her that quick jerk of her leash. She is totally human friendly, with children and adults alike. She ONLY barks when a dog walks by or when we take a walk and she sees another dog, No one would even know that I have a dog because she is always so quiet. Have had so many suggestions, advice , read books over the last 9+ yrs. Maybe those ideas made things worse. Where were you when I needed you to Tim? Have come to the conclusion that im just very limited were I can go with her, we just have each other, and I've always wanted (still want) so badly to take her everywhere and anywhere that I go. Have had to turn down camping trips, kayaking trips, spending weekends with friends out of town, whom also have dogs, because of the situation. Maybe I'm hoping too much, but I do believe in miracles. So today im going to try your "feeding routine". Any other special periodicals you can send my way I would appreciate it. For the most part she is obedient. She puts her own toys away, she does many tricks she plays well with children, she helps me take the garbage to the curb, really don't have any other complaints.
    Sorry for the lengthy email but wanted to give you a little background.
    Thanks again,
    Annie and Anna


      Annie, I don't understand the first paragraph (am not english native speaker), but seems you were ironic.
      So I take your GSD has had dog-dog aggression for 10y-5m= 9.5 years? And only now you start to act?? Puuh, you prove endurance!
      Well, since I always say no dog is too old to learn, I guess I have to put meat to it now. So what can we do?

      - perform the Feeding Routine every meal for 4 weeks min (normally not for 10y old dog but in this case...!)
      - forget jerks with leash and whatever else you do, forget all Obedience Training, and instead focus 100% on Behavior Training her now (at 10yrs)
      - keep her calm all the time, but particularly when I walk her
      - when I see another dog, I'd use Distraction tools and Sedatives from the Toolkit
      - I'd gauge how her energy level develops, and before she builds up aggression to that dog, I'd perform the Collar Freeze (on the road, yes)
      - If C.F. and all the other tools are insufficient, I'd know she has a serious issue that must be desensitized
      - If it's sufficient, I'd know it's just learned dog aggression (routine behavior), ie. then she must have learned from someone to behave that way, so I'd unlearn her that.
      I feel there's still a good chance to get her to behave well with dogs. I assume, as a puppy, her socialization wasn't taken serious. And now she hasn't played with dogs for 10 yrs, and thus it will take a lot of work to teach her to enjoy the company of other dogs.
      Oh, also I notice, you aren't the accepted Pack leader when she meets a dog. Finally, your free adult dog training essentials as well.

      "she helps me take the garbage to the curb" - I'd like a photo of that please, I lack imagination.


    Hi Tim, I can't tell you enough how much I love your periodicals!! So much information...love it, love it:) I wanted to tell you how much Max loves cooked sweet potatoes. But not all the time, he has to be in the mood. A bit finicky he is.
    Am going to try some of your suggestions.
    Thanks again, Tim


    Hi Tim,
    I have an 11 month old GSD and he is totally skiddish of men. We have small get-togethers or cook outs and he is afraid of men. He will come and try to hide behind me the entire time. They try to lure him with toys and play time but he wants no part of it. He has been in a family home with 2-3 grow men (my husband and 2 guys in early 20s). We do not believe in physical punishment of any kind so I know he has not been abused. We got him at 10 weeks old from a wonderful breeder/friend and though the breeder is female, her husband is a doctor and very busy--but helped with him when he had time. Do you have any ideas on how to help?
    Eg, my brother-in-law was visiting last weekend from Florida. He has never been here around Anouk but he was here all weekend, tried all weekend to pet him and no luck for the entire 3 days. He hid behind me all weekend. I don't understand.
    Thanks for all you do and the many smiles!!


      Hi Tiff,
      physical punishment is not the only treatment that results in a trauma. Are you sure that NO one has "teased" your dog badly in the past?

      The behavior you describe is not hereditary (at least not that I have heard of it), thus it MUST come from "nurture" if it can't come from nature.

      One point for sure: The dog was NOT properly socialized as a puppy! - You can see in the Puppy Development Guide all that puppy socialization should have included.

      Now at 11 months you need to hurry up in making sure that the current fear of men does not grow into aggression with the adult dog! Make a plan to systematically socialize the dog, incl. with men - and stick to it. Also reflect on how YOU behave when he's "skiddish". YOUR behavior will make all the difference: whether he slowly but steadily feels comfy around men, or turns from skiddish to aggressive soon. Key is: Don't baby him when he is fearful, instead support him with your body language. Eg hold your hand on him when someone else tries to pet him, sit down, relax, make sure there's only one man at a time for now, that the man ignores the dog(!) etc.

      Never ever push or even enforce likability. It can only develop over time when every man ignores the dog. Not in a bad way, just not that "They try to lure him with toys and play time", "tried all weekend to pet him", etc.


    I was so relieved that there is an answer to many of the questions that I had. My GSP has every problem that is listed and now I know that I am the problem. I just hope they go away quick with the Feeding Discipline. So, thanks again for the advice. I will try this.


    I have been doing it all wrong. This is really great information. Thank you for all the time and effort you put on these periodicals. Zulu ( my GSD) and I really appreciate them.


      Thank you too Mayra, feedback is very welcome in this lonely endeavor.

      Wishing you with Zulu the best of progress.


    I have put down a deposit on a GSD female puppy, due next spring. I have been reading your articles and you are making me even more certain that I have chosen the right breed. I work out of my house and would like a dog that can accompany me when I am out and about. A protective friend. A GSD.


      If you can be a confident leader, not dictator, then yes, the right breed. But first time dog owners getting a GSD puppy struggle enormously. However, by spring you'll have studied enough Periodicals to be well prepared. ;-)


    Thank you so much for your very informative periodicals. I (as well as my daughter and 2 grandchildren who reside with me) are definitely going to have to do this with our 6 mo old GS. He has a habit of coming up to us and nipping/biting at our hands and even sometimes other body parts and right now, we are afraid to leave Duke alone with the 2 grandchildren b/c although he doesn't bite hard, we don't want it to become more aggressive. The place we took and got him neutered gave us a flier saying that playing tug of war with a dog will also make them bite & nip, is this true? Again, thank you so much for your advice, as we want Duke to be a family dog.


    Hi, I found this article extremely helpful. I plan on implementing this technique with my 20 week old GSD. Although, currently he waits for his food by his food bowl holders and sits until I put it down, but once it's down he practically devours his food before I can say eat. I don't want him to have problems in the future. I am experiencing him scratching at my old floor and pulling up the lanolium that's in the kitchen, and telling him to leave it is not working. I really hope this works. Thanks again


      WHICH OF THE ~20 articles above did you find extremely helpful? All of them? So the entire Periodical? Good!


    The feeding periodical


    Thank you SO much for this article on feeding. I was acting like I was eating out of his bowl but not exactly like you described and I didn't do it every day. I'm going to start exactly at the next meal. I'm looking forward to going through everything you have to offer.


    another little gem Tim

    thanks very much.


    Hi - I think there needs to be a word of warning here - I have made a mistake with Baxter. My 6 year old GSD is beautiful, my best mate. Well trained, obedient, thinks for himself but don't they all. He is kind, good with kids, dogs and visits the old people in the village so they can spend ages stroking him which he loves. He is intelligent but a big softy. I did the food bowl bit with startling and not good results. He watched me eat from his bowl, his head dropped and he slunk away. I couldn't get him to come back. For the last two weeks he has been very down, I would say depressed and what is worse which ever house we go in - he is cocking his leg on the furniture - he has never ever done this before. The Home for the Elderly that we visit don't want us (understandably) and I have fallen out with the pub ( he lies under the table at my feet) and my friends. He is a completely different dog. I have spent the last few days playing his favourite games but he has lost his sparkle. I am sure I can get it back, the leg cocking thing I am not so sure, but just a word of warning maybe if you have got a dog who knows you are the Alpha Male/Pack Leader and has always accepted that, is a bit older and all is well - I am not so sure you should try it. I ask myself now - why did I do it?


      No, I am simply asking myself what you Linzie really did???
      Certainly your dog's alleged behavior change has some other reason(s), I have never heard of someone drawing a correlation from coincidence as elegant and convinced as that. Impressive.

      As you see here, everyone else has reported nothing but very positive behavior changes when they applied the Feeding Routine as laid out here. And in case you mistrust everyone else here, please ask Doggy Dan Abdelnoor as he does professionally apply the Feeding Routine with all his clients (who actually PAY him for the help he provides), and again, no one has ever complained (he told me in an interview).

      When (if) you've lost some of that firm conviction and you start pondering a bit without bias, you'll likely realize the real reason(s) why you are currently so upset. ;-)


    I am not criticising what you suggest and I really enjoy and thank you for your periodicals they are brilliant. I am not biased at all. I love GSDs always have and the fact that you are helping so many people - including me is brilliant. I just wanted to let you know that there is always one dog that takes what you do the wrong way. Slowly his sparkle is coming back and you may be right its just a coincidence - it was the slinking away as I did it that made me connect the two. Keep up the good brilliant periodicals and thank you. I was not complaining, just talking I don't mistrust you at all. Sorry if I offended you.


      Thanks Linzie, and no, it takes rude spam to offend me (we get ~1000 per hour(!), so to keep my nerves intact for you all, I arranged for automatic deletion of anything that the system suspects as spam; as heads up, that may sometimes affect subscriber comments if similar to typical spammers).

      Like I said I am sure that our Feeding Routine cannot possibly harm any dog, but likewise I am sure that the dog owner's reaction to the dog's behavioral reaction to the Feeding Routine (as well as to anything else really) can be so wrong that the dog feels insecure for some time (a certain outcome when eg you beat or kick a dog).

      The top dog behavior expert Brenda Aloff said sth I remembered when I read your earlier comment (it's of course in the Dog Expert Interview Series, but audio doesn't work in the comments here), and it made me smile when I read your earlier comment. It goes along "do not baby the dog", and she lists the situations. One of them is, when the dog feels insecure about sth. Do not baby the dog.

      Whatever the lesson that you aim to teach the dog (here, that you are the Pack leader because you control the food!), the dog won't learn your lesson if you start babying the dog as a result of an unexpected reaction. And an unexpected reaction by no means is a bad reaction. And the immediate reaction by no means will have permanent ramifications. And most things we think we do, we did very different to what we were told (this applies to me too; giving advice is much easier than following it ourselves). Very rarely we change only the one thing we are told - yet we draw correlations where there is only coincidence. In science there is the catch-all "ceteris paribus" (~ all things being equal) - which rarely they are. ;-)

      But if you study say Brenda Aloff's dog body language, you can often see why the dog behaves in a certain way. You can read what the dog "says" without barking it at you. Because dogs rarely do that (only when they get frustrated by their owner's misunderstanding of their body language - Brenda covered that as well in the Interview Series).


    Leo is 18 weeks old and from an untrained eye such as mine he seems to be trying to dominate my 13 year old half blind and half deaf staffie. My point is can these methods of feeding be used with my dogs so that leo accepts my staffie Bud as the pack leader also. I'm not suggesting that the exact process is used but a dog version if you catch my drift.


      Yes you can. I would start by always feeding Bud first and making Leo watch the whole routine first (SIT at a distance).


    Thanks Tim

    I will give it a try.


    Dear TIM, thanks for your effort it is my first time i am handling GSD and they survived now 5 month i bought them when they were 2 month, all those that i bought earlier on died but since i found your website i do read and practice. With this peace of article Feeding routine is very educative as for me i feed them when i am back home or when my husband and house made is at home so here becomes a challenge, they also bark at every thing, if they see a srwnge animal, sometimes to family members and at me they like jumping on me which is something i do nt like. I will try your advice here and see the results. Thank you


    Wonderful advice. I look forward to enlightening myself by reading your knowledgeable and simplest way of working with dogs.


    Hi there, Tim.
    I wonder, if a GSD can´t survive a single day without water, but it can a few days without food, is there a "gesture drinking" or something we can do while giving them water, in order to attain pack leader status?



      I wouldn't go that far, no. Gesture eating is enough, AND food is their quest #1.
      The science behnd it is: In nature (not domesticated dogs), dogs find water "everywhere", without effort. Getting food requires effort (hunting).


    Been following the feeding ritual for a few days now. Just this morning I had to attempt the third time! 5 mth Heath was so hyper! I admit by the 3rd time he probably sensed my frustration though I tried to display calm and confident.

    I thought I was going to be in for it with such an intelligent and intense breed, but to my suprise, this day has been like magic. He waited at the gate before we set out for our walk. A peaceful car ride to 2 diff locations where we we were exausted playing in the deep snow. He started to take off when a dog ran out to the fenceline barking, but I knelt down and called him back and he came running seeming grateful for a safe place!

    He and my other dog actually walked behind me, and he did stay close by. When my Boxer took off across the field to say hi to her 'friends,' Heath stayed with me. When he was ready to go home, he trotted toward our car, but not out of the gated area.

    Back at home he played fetch perfectly, followed me everywhere throughout the house, seemed to quiet his barking quicker when I would say 'thank you, good boy, it's okay now' and wonder of wonder did perfectly with dinnertime feeding!

    He even offered only one or two barks when he spotted the vaccuum. This has been his biggest fear and he will scurry off and bark when he would see it sitting anywhere. I put his food bag behind it. Feed him homecooked meals but throw some premium kibble in for extra, (and hide them around the house for great scavenger hunt - kids love to) I save the extra attention and phrase, 'I'm so proud of you!!! You're so brave!!!' for any display of conquering fear of the vaccuum and today has been the best day yet!

    Thank you for sharing this ritual, I believe I see greatness coming in my boy... I just thank you so much and wanted you to know your amazing suggestions seem to be workin and fast! The rest of the family isn't as persistent as I will be, though they have participated and gave it a shot, even hubby! There are 7 of us here so Heath gets lots of loving.

    Do we need to do this ritual for more than 2-3 weeks... as in from here on out? I thought in one place I read for the couple weeks, then in another place not to slack off ever...


      Great Cindy, what you achieved in a few days as you write, takes others who don't do this years. No, some never get there.


    Hi Tim

    First I want to say how great your periodicals are and how much I love reading them.
    I was wondering how would I go around this feeding routine with my new puppy gsd and my older dog? Both at the same time or one then the other?


      Todd, if the older dog is used to it(?), he'll normally teach the puppy how to behave, and you don't need to do much. If both dogs are new, I'd do it as described in one of my books: First I'd feed the older dog (for the puppy to watch and learn), then the puppy. I would not feed both at the same time (only later when behavior is good, both among each other and in the house).


    Thank you for your fast reply. Yes both are rather new dogs. That is the way I was going about it any way. I was just double checking.
    Again much appreciated thank you


    Hi Tim.

    This feeding routine works. With a young pup it can be hard to get them to stay sat or even away from the bowl whilst you put the food in and it takes a lot of time and and commitment to start over 15 mins later but it works. For the first 2 days my Loki would dive for his bowl as soon as the food started going in. So I would have to wait and start again. But I stuck with it hoping things would change.

    He is young so I expected him to not understand what I wanted right away. But By the end of the first week he would sit and wait as soon as I started eating out of his bowl. And continue to stay there until he was told to eat.( he would cry every now and again)

    I'm glad I had the patience and put the time and effort in as Loki now no longer begs whilst we eat. (He knows he will be fed soon) he has also stopped digging too. But as he is still very young I'm waiting for him to grow out of thinking every thing is a chew toy haha. But hey I know if it's on the floor it fair game. So we have to be more careful with what we do, so he can learn what he can and can't.

    Thanks Tim!!


    Tim, thank you for the periodical on feeding routines. I have been doing this feeding ritual with Buddy my 6 YO GSD (we rescued 2 years ago), however; my husband ans three sons do not agree. Buddy has started nipping my 15 YO son. My son has begun the feeding ritual with Buddy today. Unfortunately, if I'm out of town he is fed in the traditional way and often begs snacks from my husband. Buddy also has become super protective of me. Can I correct these two problems if I can't get everyone on board?
    Ps. Love the plaque off you recommended in another article.


      Sandra, in my experience everyone in the household has to take turns in feeding the dog the suggested way. If not done, typically problems occur soon: like the ones you mention. If teenage sons and husband don't want (are stubborn), it will be difficult to avoid more problems going forward.


    Thanks for your advice. My 15 YO son has begun feeding buddy according to pack rules. Buddy is still very jealous and nips if said son hugs me. Will this change if my husband and other son begin the feeding routine?


      Sandra, every family member has to perform the Feeding Routine as a minimum. If problems persist, then also all the other means to become accepted Pack leader.


    Thanks so much for the present of the training guide printable. I have posted and will require all family members to read today. Thank you so much for you work and interest in this beautiful breed.


    Feeding routine is really very successful and valuable activity, I am giving all 3 meals 7 AM, 12 PM, 6 PM with this gesture eating routine and my 5 months Diana has been changed a lot... she is complete house trained but sometimes having digestive issues. Is my meal timings correct or need change.
    Thanks for such great articles.


      I wish I were that consistent with meal times! I am only surprised that your 5m pup is satisfied with just three meals, my new puppy got five meals at that age. One at midnight, to avoid your 13 hr gap, that's excessive for an always hungry puppy!
      Which of the many articles above do you mean?


    i have a 1 year old german shepherd
    i feed her with my own hand (otherwise she does not eat) while making her run around following laser light(from torch which i control)
    i have many problems(almost all that u have listed)

    now the worst is that she has stopped eating , i don't know what to do


    Hello Tim, thank you for the thoughtful and thought provoking periodicals you have provided - I have been reading, trying, and re-reading them since adopting our guest GSD puppy.

    Is it proper to start the feeding routine with an 8-week old puppy? The first day I tried, she and I both almost passed out. : ). I rather feel like she tapped out, MMA style, after 2 hours of trying from 9 to 11am.

    She has learned to sit after I finish gesture eating, but attacks the bowl as soon as it hits the ground. I then repeatedly return her to the waiting spot, but it usually takes a few tries(=one hour) for us to get things done. Looking forward to hearing your advice.


      Thanks Jay! Yes you certainly can and should start your pup on the Feeding Routine from the very first day, regardless of age. Look, when I got my new puppy he was (an almost illegal) 4 weeks 5 days old. I wouldn't say I was strict with the Feeding Routine as laid out above - which EVERYONE can easily perform - but you can watch that I clearly established basic rules around food from the start. And so you can, and should, do the same. Just look how well he behaves around food even now, a year later. :-)

      Like one of our top dog experts wisely says, sth like this: We can manifest good habits just as easily as our dog will otherwise manifest bad habits. :idea:

      > she and I both almost passed out. : )
      Oh no, don't serve alcohol with the food Jay! :lol:

      (my humor, trust you like it)


    Hello Tim, thanks very much for your confirmation and encouragement!

    Yes, the mounting frustration resulted in imbibing many liquids(18 year scotch for me, and 18-hour water for the pup). :)

    Ultimately, we used hand feeding to teach her to sit, stay, and a couple other words during 2-3 days. After this, we used the bowl and she still remembered to stay!

    I am proud to say that our pup has nearly mastered the feeding routine...now the owners just need to master the "provide homemade food" routine and all will be well.

    Continuing on to other periodicals, and thank you again!


      Oh thank you, you came back to show you actually read my answer, that's so special compared to today's audience here that we gonna reward you just for doing that! Which book would you like to have to benefit your puppy most at this stage? ;-)


    Hello Tim,
    Hope you are well and thanks so much for your kind offer! In this lucky situation, I admit that I am a newbie when it comes to puppy care. So, whichever book you would most recommend for a new puppy owner and which contains the most Tim Carter Jedi puppy tricks would be great! :)

    You stated in another article that some dog owners
    unreasonably expect their dog to behave/respond like a child, and I believe this to be very true. It is partly propagated by the old saying that dogs(and pets in general) are like having children who never grow up. I was also under this impression until getting a bit more experience raising our pup. But it's easiest to understand a child when you try to be like the child, and I also am starting to feel that it is easier to understand our GSD if we try to be more like our GSD. In fact, I will start pooping in my backyard tomorrow morning!

    Just kidding.

    But truly like raising children, raising our GSD is making us examine ourselves and our tendencies.

    It's quite an interesting journey and we are grateful to have you as one of our respected guides!

    Now enough praise for one comment and goodnight!


      "and I also am starting to feel that it is easier to understand our GSD if we try to be more like our GSD. In fact, I will start pooping in my backyard tomorrow morning!" - yeah, I am doing that as well, I try twice daily, mornings and evenings, but often only once works - I can't remain in pooping position in the yard for too long or else the neighbors get out their cameras, you understand?

      During my next yard poop squat I will try to ponder which book(s) you already have, and so which you might still want/need.
      Thank you.

      Edit: The yard poop squat was successful, pl check your email with the gift.

      For those without affinity to humor: lol


    Hello Tim,

    You must aim for early morning and late evening sessions to avoid these creepy neighbors! Unless your neighbors have night vision, which would just be weird...yes, THEY are the creepy and weird ones! : )

    All kidding aside, thank you very much for the nice gift. I promise it will be read, applied, and read again. Talk to you soon!


    I haven't received your new periodical yet so I thought I come back to report on my experience with the feeding routine you described above. IT WORKS. Works really well in fact!
    I have a 5yr Malinois-GSD cross, and I never managed to keep her calm when I feed her. Many tips from trainers, nothing worked. I had given up to be honest.
    Then I received this last week, and we followed it, and she already behaves so so much better! Not just when I feed her but all the time. It's almost unreal. So thank you very much for what you share here, it's much appreciated!


    Fantastic article!! I learned so much. I gonna start your feeding routine tonight. And I have already a much better understanding what is right for my baby, and why!


    Hi Tim. I'm glad I found your site and this feeding information. We don't have a German Shepherd, we have a little 8 month old puppy. But I would guess the process would work the same for him. Our problem is he doesn't want to eat. I have to coax him to eat by feeding him one piece at a time out of my hand (while singing and standing on my head....lol). Anyway, I am going to give this method a try. He obviously is in control of our feeding time at the moment. He does get sick if he doesn't eat, so that's why I baby him and do whatever I can to get him to eat. I guess I just have to let him get sick until he gets this routine down. The vets are saying there's nothing wrong with him, that it is a behavioral issue. I have had dogs for over 30 years and never had one that wouldn't eat like this. It seems it started when I followed advice of a book I had read that I should hand feed him. I started hand feeding him his meals in place of treats to train him to sit, etc. It has been downhill ever since and now is almost impossible. I won't have a problem having him try to take the food before he should. He probably won't eat it from the bowl at first. I'm hoping that in taking it away from him if he won't eat it will teach him to eat it when given to him. Thanks for the info.


      Yes, it will do exactly that Amy, and if he is overly stubborn it may just take a little more times of taking the bowl away and cancelling that meal until the next scheduled meal time (for which you use the same food, nothing going to waste). No change of scheduled meal times just because Amy's King decides to demonstrate his pack role - which your words suggest he clearly does.

      No, dogs do not get sick from not wanting to eat. As long as you feed FOOD not crap they will eat once they are hungry, but at the next meal time. That your "vets are saying there's nothing wrong with him, that it is a behavioral issue" supports this. Only exception: Very few dogs have a non-behavioral eating disorder like esophagus or intestinal obstruction and so they feel pain when eating. Your case doesn't sound like that.


    Thanks for your prompt response Tim. The vet says he has acid reflux and that is why he gets sick (bile) if he does not eat within 8 to 12 hours. Should I give him a set amount of time to come to his bowl to eat on his own? Or should I pick it up right away if he comes over to sniff it and walks away? I was totally convinced he had a physical problem, but then given how he acts at mealtime (walking away, waiting for me to come to him), it seems it is a behavioral issue. All my other dogs over the years loved their food, so this is a new one.


      "Should I give him a set amount of time to come to his bowl to eat on his own?" - Okay, so you're saying your dog is reluctant to even come to his bowl when you fill it? Then I'd finish filling it on the ground (because your dog is not impatiently pushing you away), do my work/whatever, and have a look after 5 minutes.
      - If dog not at bowl and eating, follow above Feeding Routine.
      - If dog is at bowl and eating, come back in 5 min.
      - If dog is at bowl but not eating, just staring at you, follow above Feeding Routine.
      Understandable why?

      "Or should I pick it up right away if he comes over to sniff it and walks away?" - Yes sure, that's the above Feeding Routine. ;-)

      "The vet says he has acid reflux and that is why he gets sick (bile) if he does not eat within 8 to 12 hours." - No, acid reflux is a disorder that is primarily triggered by inadequate food items (maybe your case) and hasty food intake (not your case), much less so by time lag between meals. And minimum two meals a day means you don't exceed their "8 to 12 hours" anyway. Don't worry.


    Hi Tim. My 7 and half months old GSD doesn't eats much. His last deworming was January 21, 2017. Please, I would love to know how often he needs to be deworming.
    Thanks Tim


      "doesn't eats much" - how much does he eat, and of what?
      You could be right that maybe intestinal worms disrupt his hungry! feeling, but it could be something else.
      What dewormer did he get in January?

      And no, if he is otherwise healthy then at his age I would not deworm him again before say end of April the earliest - subject to controlling where he sniffs and licks in the environment (if off-leash).


    Well, Tim, I thought I would give you an update on the food situation. I would say, the dogs are doing very well on it. Obviously, it takes more time, than just leaving a bowl of kibble out for them to eat whenever they were hungry. I've been trying to make rice and vegetables a few days ahead of time so I have them ready for mealtime. Sometimes i end up making them right then for the individual meal. Been making either chicken or pork roast, that will last several days. Fed them some salmon and mackrel, last week, and they pretty much swallowed it whole. Of course, I put some rice and vegetables in with the fish. Breakfast is been a little more difficult. I don't eat breakfast, so I've been trying to improvise and find something creative for them. I've been feeding them non-sugared cereal's, making them some fried eggs, pancakes, without the syrup, and oatmeal. I will add cottage cheese, or yogurt to whatever I give them. That dont much care for bananas or apples.

    I really enjoy having them in the kitchen with me while they watch me make their food. It's been a lot of fun. I hope it's helped their system and making them feel better and getting out all the junk out of their bodies.

    One question: Looking at the lists above, am I to assume, that pasteurized cows milk, the kind you buy in a gallon jug or bottle, is not good for the dogs?? I have seen info on other web pages that a little is OK.



      Thanks Mark.
      "am I to assume, that pasteurized cows milk, the kind you buy in a gallon jug or bottle, is not good for the dogs??"
      Yes, you are correct, and those "other web pages" are wrong: "pasteurized cows milk, the kind you buy in a gallon jug or bottle" is not good for anyone, human or dog, nor the cows themselves.

      a) It is that very milk that has ample amounts of antibiotics and steroids in it (and further medicaments), and even over the legal limit. Digest that, a legal limit! :shock: More on that here: Dog Food, see 4.

      b) Milk actually isn't good even if it had none of that: Neither the human body nor the dog's body is designed to digest milk after weaning (and this milk is totally different anyway). So the bones aren't even the real problem here.

      When children grow up learning "drink a lot of milk", their parents fell for marketing (of the milk industry). I wouldn't give dogs (nor children) any milk. The "calcium, vitamin D, and other goodness" it is praised for we better provide through other foods.


        Thank you. Yes, I have been hearing a lot about the "milk is bad for you" crowd lately and with all the food hype over the last 30 years (oat bran, milk, coconut oil, chicken, beef, and who knows whatever, its hard to keep up, but as you said, its what they put in it outside of what nature did, that I guess is the worst part. I dont drink much milk, but I do like it for cereal and Ovaltine. My dogs have licked my cereal bowl form time to time and have never had ill effects, so I was just checking.

        As always thank you.

        One more thing, I have a lot of people very interested in my dogs new diet regimen. I am trying to spread the "gospel" of no kibble and health human food for dogs. Like I said, if nothing else, but we have fun at mealtimes, its been worth it.

        Mark from Harvest, AL

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