Why Do Dogs Want to Be Hand Fed? What to Do?


Your dog won’t eat unless hand fed? Should you skip their meal, and wait till you feed him? Well, you are not alone in facing such issues, most pet parents have encountered such situations. To clear your clouds of doubts, we have done fruitful research work, regarding the hand-fed habit.

Key Takeaways

  • Dogs spend most of their time alone at home, they get scared and bored. So your dog won’t eat unless hand fed, as they don’t want to eat alone.
  • Dogs like to protect their beloved ones, and most of the time they are in alert mode. So, they forget to eat their meal, and you have to hand-fed them.
  • You can overcome a hand-fed habit by re-training him, you can change his meal time, location, etc. Assure him that he will always have your back.
  • Dogs are great companions, and they like spending time with their beloved ones.
Dog Won't Eat Unless Hand Fed

Along with the reasons we have also jotted down a few effective ways to overcome your dog’s hand-fed habit. Let’s not waste more time, and simply get into the details.

Reasons Why Dog Only Want To Be Hand Fed

Well, there are many reasons behind your dog’s demanding habit of hand-feeding. We came across many cases, where dogs just need your attention. As Per akcHand feeding your dog teaches him that when you reach toward him good things happen, like he gets to eat! It also teaches focus since your dog is getting fed when he pays attention to you.

And another reason is that he might be suffering from any underlying health issue or something, that’s why he demands your company.[1]

Let’s quickly explore the reasons and know about your canine’s nature in detail.

1. Your Fido Is Scared

It has also been noticed that there are few dog breeds that easily get scared, and they cannot even stay alone at home. So, if you are parenting one of them, you have to be extra attentive and devote most of your time to looking after your fido.

Dog scared

This could be one of the reasons that your pooch expects you will hand-fed him, and this assures him he is at a safe place. Plus, it has also been noticed that dogs prefer a peaceful environment, where they can have their meal.

2. He Is Bored

Dogs are picky eaters if you keep on serving them the same type of meal, with no great varieties. Then it’s a high possibility he will start skipping his meals and won’t turn up when you call him for lunch/dinner.

Dog is bored

So, this is one of the reasons pet parents have to hand-fed their furry pal. If you mix the wet and dry food together, and then fed your fido, he will easily eat it because the taste, as well as feeding technique, is different, your fido will not get bored.

3. Your Pooch’s Hand Is Busy

When dogs are in a jolly mood, they get busy playing fun activities. Meanwhile, if you serve him his meal, he will not take interest in finishing it, but rather carry on with his play activity.[2]

Dog hand is busy

So, hand-feeding is the best option to fill your fido’s tummy. He can enjoy his play time and finish his meal also.

4. Wants to Eat With You

Most of the time dogs are alone at home with their toys and food bowls. They keep waiting for their pet parents to be back home from work. Basically, your fido doesn’t want to eat his evening meal alone, so they want you to feed him, and at the same time, they could spend some time with you.

Dog wants to eat with you

During the survey, it has been observed that there are few dog breeds with low esteem by nature. So, they demand your time, and when you spend time with them it makes them happy and secure.

5. He Is Not Hungry

According to veterinariansA dog not eating for quite a while, then it could be a sign that something is particularly wrong.” In a local survey, it has been noticed that canines overeat or keep munching small treats all day, and then refuse to have their meal. Small munching makes their tummy full, and if there is no activity or play time it will make them lazier.

Dog not hungry

So, giving your dog snacks at odd timing, without any playtime makes them lose their hunger. If you hand-fed your fido, it will encourage them to eat and finish their meal on time.

6. Might Be Not Feeling Well

One of the possible reasons could be that your pooch’s health is not keeping well. So, he doesn’t take interest in having his meal on his own.[3]

Dog not feeling well

For instance, your fido is not feeling well due to stomach issues, tooth ace, body pain, or anything else. He doesn’t have the energy to break down his food and finish the meal. So, if you crush his food and feed him, it makes it easier for them to chew without suffering from any pain.

It is advisable, that if you encounter health issues in your dog then hand-fed him, it makes them feel good that you are there to help him.

7. He Is Busy Guarding You

Dogs are great companions, as well as good for family and property security, they have strong smelling sense.

There is a high possibility that if your pooch receives any negativity, he will be in alert mode. And will protect you, and your family from any upcoming danger or anything. Meanwhile, if you serve him food he will not take interest in completing his meal.

So, hand-feeding is a good option, it will help to keep his tummy full, and he also gets that assurity you are safe.

Effective Ways to Guide Him to Eat on His Own

Now you know very well, the possible reasons behind your pooch’s habit of hand-feeding. To discourage this behavior, you need to first understand the reason and accordingly take your prevention steps.

If your fido is scared of other pets, loud noise, or anything else. In such a case, it is suggested to change his feeding location. Like, don’t give him a feeding bowl in front of everyone, this way there is a possibility that he will eat on his own if a peaceful environment is given to him.

Dog eats food

There are cases, where dog demand to have a meal with their pet parents. In such a scenario, it is suggested to change his meal time, for instance, before going to work make sure you provide him with a healthy breakfast.

After coming from work, the first task is to give him a dinner meal. In this way, he will share the meal time with you and will eat on his own.

You can even start from scratch, in other words, train him from the beginning, it will surely help you to discourage his demand of getting hand feeding. In addition, you can try an experiment of hiding his food, to watch over whether he will demand his meal, and finish it on his own or not.


Should I let my dog eat from my hand?

Yes, there is nothing harmful in feeding your pooch from your hand. On the other hand, it reduces your dog’s habit of resource-guarding. In addition, feeding him personally assures him that he is getting good quality food only.

Why does my dog not want to eat from his bowl?

There can be many reasons behind not eating from his food bowl. Such as, your dog might be sick or injured, due to a change in food, or his food bowl is not cleaned. Plus, if something is bothering him or he is under stress, then also he shows up such behavior.

Why do dogs take their treat to another room?

Well, if your dog took his treat and went to another room or corner of the house. Then it could be because he doesn’t want to eat in front of everyone. Or want his comfort zone, where he can enjoy his treat peacefully.

Why does my dog eat a little and then walk away?

One of the possible reasons behind eating a little and then walking away could be that he doesn’t want to share his food with other pets. In addition, looking for a quieter place, to eat in peace.


  1. Savvides, N. (2013). Living with dogs: Alternative animal practices in Bangkok, Thailand. Animal Studies Journal2(2), 28-50.
  2. Jacobs, J. A., Coe, J. B., Pearl, D. L., Widowski, T. M., & Niel, L. (2018). Factors associated with canine resource guarding behaviour in the presence of people: A cross-sectional survey of dog owners. Preventive veterinary medicine161, 143-153.
  3. Lane, D. R., McNicholas, J., & Collis, G. M. (1998). Dogs for the disabled: Benefits to recipients and welfare of the dog. Applied Animal Behaviour Science59(1-3), 49-60.