My Puppy Will Only Eat Out Of My Hand?

Discuss ways to improve the quality of your dog's life and longevity through proper nutrition; a place for all of your questions and answers about feeding your pooch!

Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times. Non-informative posts criticizing a particular brand or another poster’s choice of food are not allowed in this Forum. References to any brand of food as "junk," "garbage," or other harsh names will be removed.


Monty- Feed Me And I'll- Love You Forever
Barked: Wed Jul 13, '11 6:18pm PST 
I'm currently having issues with my 11 week old puppy. I'm feeding him Wellness Super 5 Mix and he loves it, but the problem is he won't eat it out of his bowl even when he's hungry. He will only eat it out of my hand. I don't know if it's a normal behavior for a puppy. I can really use some advice for trying to get him to eat from his bowl. Thnxsmilesnoopy

I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Thu Jul 14, '11 8:34am PST 
I hand fed my dogs for years. It is a great bonding and training activity. Understand that all people aren't willing to clicker train at 5:30 AM daily though.

I would hand feed him with his bowl on the floor. Praise him as he eats to put value in your praise. Instead of eating from your hand drop one kibble into the bowl and praise as he eats. Go for one kibble from the bowl the first time and work from there.

Possibly he needs a different bowl. Sassy ate from a small stainless steel bowl for 14 years but the clatter it made hurt her aging ears so I switched to a wide shallow plastic dish. She liked the contrast in color between her food and the dish, the sound it made sliding didn't hurt her ears and she could pick up bits better as the food was more spread out.

45 Mile Per Hour- Couch Potato
Barked: Thu Jul 14, '11 10:16pm PST 
Try feeding him using ceremic bowls as they can be sterilized when you run the dishwasher. Sometimes the plastic and metal bowls make food taste funny and if you do not clean them right away after they eat, the food sticks and is hard to get out of the groves that seem to form especially on plastic bowls. I do like the idea of putting a little kibble in the bowl and hand feeding him over the bowl so he gets the idea that his food is right there anytime for him to eat. Thinking of it as a bonding session is a great idea. He is so cute. Good luck

Edited by author Thu Jul 14, '11 10:18pm PST


Bruno CGC

Honorary Kelpie
Barked: Fri Jul 15, '11 1:09pm PST 
Actually some puppy-raising books and articles say NOT to feed from a dish for the first few months because you need to use food for training- they won't be hungry for the training food if they're getting regular meals from a bowl.
So I would stop trying to give him full meals and just do a lot of small training sessions with kibble as rewards throughout the day. This works especially well for clicker-training. If you're worried about under- or over-feeding, measure out the right amount of food into a ziploc bag every morning, and then pull from that as needed for training.