According to a new blog post on The Bark, we should consider feeding our dogs before going to training so they perform better. The November 8, 2012, post “The Importance of Eating Breakfast” by JoAnna Lou refers to a study conducted at the University of Kentucky.
The study tested the performance of two sets of dogs, one set had been fed a morning meal the other had not. According to the study, the dogs who had eaten breakfast first performed better on the test to find hidden food. That would seem to imply that dogs should be fed meals before going to a training class rather than kept hungry so they are more willing to work for food rewards.
However, if you continue reading The Bark article, it refers to the fact that wolves do not have the same problem. Most likely because of our dogs’ high carb diets, their glucose levels fluctuate more than wolves’ do which cause greater fluctuations in their performance levels.
While just reading the results of the study would indicate feeding our dogs before a training session would produce better results, that’s not the full story. By seeing that wolves do not have this same issue, what this information is really telling me is that we should be looking at the diet we are feeding. If our dogs’ diets were closer to the diet of wolves, with fewer carbs, we would not need to be so concerned about fluctuations in their performance. Wouldn’t that make for better behaved dogs all around?
Perhaps we should be less concerned about WHEN we feed our dogs and more concerned about WHAT we feed our dogs.