Will Work For Food

Canine Coach Mike provides easy-to-learn training methods that will boost both you and your dog’s confidence!

I have lived with dogs in my home ever since I was a young child. There was one rule that my parents had and that was please do not give the dogs people food. It was not a popular decision with each of the dogs we owned over the years. Our first dog, an American Eskimo named Prince, soon realized that I was the weak link in my family. He would follow me around knowing that food was going to magically fall from my plate if he waiting long enough. According to my parents, if a dog ate people food not only they  become sick, but all of their fur would fall off and it would no doubt be my fault! As a ten year old boy this was still not scary enough to keep me from sharing my food with Prince. It was our little secret and I started to see him listening to me more than anyone in our home.

When I finally became a dog owner for the first time, I knew that once the food restrictions were lifted my dog would do most anything for it! The results were surprisingly good as my dogs were always well behaved. Fast forward 20 years and Im still using people food as a popular training tool. Toys are also a useful way to work and train your dog but the smell of a freshly cooked hot dog usually does the trick. Food gets their attention every time! To be honest food gets my attention every time as well so I try to make mealtime a little better for my dogs. When you introduce a new food to your dog there’s a chance they may give you an odd look and walk away from it. Who knew that dogs can be such picky eaters?

There are a many choices when it comes to feeding your dogs. The most common of those choices are wet, dry and raw. I have asked many dog owners what they feed their dogs and the response was a mix of pros and cons to each option. Wet, dry or raw is a personal choice as is the brand of food that you bring into your home. Im not writing to promote a certain brand or style, but I will say once you find something that is well balanced, fits into your budget and that your dog loves  then stick with it.

The brand that I use from puppy age through adult is Purina Pro Plan. I have used a few different brands and they were perfectly fine but the Purina line has been a healthy fit for my dogs. Each dog is different so keep that in mind and speak with your vet prior to changing brands. The goal is for my dogs to maintain a healthy weight and a shiny coat, while keeping skin issues to a minimum. Once you have decided on which brand you will be using, we can begin to add some delicious options that your dog will enjoy.

How excited would you be if each time you sat down to eat you were given a  plate full of granola? In between your meals, the only option you had to snack on was granola! It is a healthy, tasty and filling food so what’s the problem eating it all day, everyday? As humans we have the need to enhance our meals so why not share this idea with our family companions? Im talking about items you probably have in your home right now. Fruits and vegetables. By adding small amounts to their bowl or as a treat, this will certainly put a smile on your pups face!

Vitamins, fiber and antioxidants are a few of the benefits to supplementing your dogs diet with fresh fruits and vegetables. Simple healthy items, in moderation can add balance and nutrition to your pups diet.

So where do we start? Like your kibble brand of choice, it comes down to your dogs individual taste. There are plenty of do’s and dont’s when it comes to adding fruits and vegetables. Certain items are toxic to dogs like grapes, onions and avocado, while fruit contains sugar so small amounts would be best. A complete list of these items can be found on the American Kennel Club website http://akc.org

My dogs personal list was done by trial and error! I did a simple taste test over a couple of weeks and even used fruits and veggies in their training during this time. As I introduced the new items their reaction was a quick paws up or paws down. Some of their favorites are carrots, sweet potato, green beans, peas, cucumber, blueberries, banana, strawberries, apples, and watermelon. Remember that portion control is important when adding any additional calories to your dogs diet. Raw or cooked, your dogs will love the new healthy options at mealtime.

Buon Appetito!


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“Dogs really love to please their humans, and using positive training methods is the fastest way to get results!”

- Canine Coach Mike

Connect With Mike


    Michael Muscato, CPDT-KA​

    The Canine Coach

    With a love for dogs and a passion for coaching, Mike is dedicated to educating people about their dogs behavior.

    Mike was introduced to horses and dogs at a young age and soon knew these animals would become a rewarding part of his life. He was inspired to train dogs by Sherwood, his first Golden Retriever in 1990. Mike is determined to make a lasting impact with every dog and their owner, using positive training methods.

    For over 20 years Mike has been a player development director for athletes, and feels right at home sharing his knowledge to help dog owners become a better coach to their dog!