Trainer suggests feeding your dog from your plate when you're out and about, and it's not the advice we expected

 Border Collie looking at picnic table.
Border Collie looking at picnic table.

When you’re outside in public with your dog, you might find yourself faced with some challenges that you won’t have at home. There’s more going on, and more things happening that might tempt your pup to ignore you, run off, or pull on their leash.

So, what can you do to invite desirable behavior, besides bringing out one of the best dog toys? It’ll depend on the scenario and where you are, but as Juliana DeWillems, an expert trainer and the founder of JW Dog Training & Behavior has explained in a recent Instagram post, feeding your pup from the table when you’re enjoying food outside can be a good way to encourage them to behave.

“Being outside in public comes with very challenging scenarios and distractions,” DeWillems says. “Bites from my plate are extra high value and exciting, so they are more likely to compete with everything going on around us.

“I’m thoughtful about when I give my dog a small bite, which allows me to reinforce particular behaviors that I want to see more. Plus my dog thinks it’s the best thing ever so she leaves with a positive experience. Win-win!”

In her video, DeWillems outlines some key benefits of feeding your pup from the table when you’re out in public.

It can be frustrating if your pup doesn’t seem to want to cooperate with you when you’re out and about, but it can be difficult for dogs when there are so many exciting things on offer to distract them.

Rather than directing our frustration at our dogs, it’s best to make ourselves more desirable, so it’s in their best interests to stick around. Of course, if you’re out with your dog but you aren’t getting food – maybe you’re at the park or outside at a party or family gathering – you could always make sure you have some tasty dog treats in your pocket instead, as they work in much the same way.

What human food can dogs eat? While it might go without saying, ensure that the food on your plate is actually safe for your dog to eat. You don’t need an emergency trip to the vet or your dog throwing up when you just want a relaxing afternoon!

And, you don’t have to wait long before you can take your pup outside with you. Here’s when puppies can go outside, according to a trainer.