How to train your German Shepherd to wait to eat

Training & Behaviour

It’s up to you as the owner of a German Shepherd to be responsible for your dog’s behavior.  Dog obedience forms an essential part of owning your dog and having a healthy and respectful two-way relationship – one where you’re the boss and the dog is subordinate.  It’s not only healthy but makes for a safe owner/dog relationship based on trust which should be a priority for all dog owners.  

It’s only natural for your dog to want to eat at the first sign of food and often greedily – after all they don’t know that you have more food available – to them it could be their last meal for some time.

Training your German Shepherd to wait before it eats has several benefits:

  • It prevents an aggressive and possessive attitude towards food
  • It develops respect for you as the “top dog” in the pack
  • It reinforces your commands and training

It makes for a safer food/eating environment – especially if other members of your family feed your dog.  You should not be wary of feeding, be fearful of being bitten or have to whisk your hand away.

As with all training it can take time and patience. A little perseverance will pay off with a much happier owner/dog relationship. Don’t try this when rushing out of the door or getting the kids ready for school.  Invest the necessary time and effort into training your dog and you will be rewarded.


Follow our steps to teach your dog to wait before eating.

Whilst many dogs will get excited about feed time – and who can blame them – your really need your dog seated or calmly waiting and ready to respond to your commands. 

  • Begin with your dog’s food bowl ready with their usual meal.
  • Move the bowl from your prep area/work top to waist level and slowly lower it toward the floor.
  • Your aim is to move the food bowl towards your knee level without you dog moving and making an attempt to eat from the bowl. If your dog moves as if to eat, then bring the bowl back up to your waist level again.

    Depending on your training methods you may wish to use a ‘wait’ or ‘no’ command.

    If you’re using a clicker or a positive re-enforcement method, and your dog is not moving when you get to knee level then that is the time to ‘click’.  You can allow the dog to eat some of the food from the bowl.

  • Repeat this step several times to re-enforce the behavior. Be patient and allow your dog to understand what you want of them.
  • Then you can move on to your next step. If your dog is a quick learner, you might put the bowl straight on the floor and allow them to eat once you have moved your hand away.  Or you may need to add in a step closer to your ankle.
  • Once you have the food bowl on the floor without your dog moving straight into eat you need to



Be patient and good luck – it makes for a much nicer feeding time for you and your dog and another opportunity to develop that bond between you both.

German shepherd food training
Christmas for german shepherds

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We’ve grown up with many pets over the years including gold fish, tropical fish, gerbils and bunny rabbits home for the school holidays, two tortoises called Zaza and Fred, and Allana even had a crazy horse on loan for a while

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