Food For Thought

I was raised by people who did not give their dog table scraps. They didn’t let dogs on the couch, and until I was in middle school all our dogs were outside dogs. (Yet even after allowing Miss Desi inside, mom still manages to make our house, excluding my room, look like it fell out of Better Homes and Gardens. She’s a talented woman.)

When I went to college and started working with dogs, I was influenced by different types of owners. Granted, I always wanted an indoor dog, and a couch dog, but feeding ‘table scraps’/ people-food was an unexpected habit to pick up.

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I would like to qualify, I am not an extreme people-food feeder. Please excuse that awkward wording. I consider my habit pretty mild. I generally do treat the dogs with people-food away from the table, if that means anything.

I’ve certainly seen more extreme cases. I remember when I was a kid, my grandparents would scrape the food off everyone’s plates and give it to their dog, on top of her kibble. And believe it or not she was not a heavy dog! But that’s not what I do at all.

I make it a point to only give my dog scraps that are good for her, like various fruits, or people-food to cure tummy aches or other maladies (chicken and rice for upset tummy, fiber filled foods if they need to go but they just won’t, etc.). Of course whatever falls on the floor is fair game – I hate to waste food.

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I’m not sure why it took me by surprise when my parents chastised me for giving our dogs a bite of apple. I had been viewing people-food as good or bad based on the actual food I was giving my dog, but my parents saw it as a bad habit that would encourage begging, and thus considered it always negative.

I’m still going to give my dog bites of apple and banana when I eat some, but I will make an effort to not do it after she pesters me. I tell Lana begging isn’t lady-like (as though Lana is a lady), and hopefully I can catch myself before I reward her begging. (Trainer/author’s note: begging is generally a habit the owner unwittingly encourages. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad owner, but if you want it to stop, it’s on you, not your dog. You’ve gotta learn to say “no”!)

To me, giving people-food is different than giving table scraps. Or is that only in my head? Do you ever pamper your dog with one of these?