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Discussion Starter #1
Hoping someone can help me with this. Willie was adopted from the dog pound and so his early life will never be known to me. His house manners were very nice from the day I brough him home.

Here's the catch: His first owners obviously trained him to wait for a command before he can begin to eat his dinner. Now, every evening when I put his dinner down for him, he waits politely for me to give the command... but I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT IS.

I've tried "Go ahead", "Okay", "Get your food", "There it is, boy", "Have at it", etc., etc. He just stares for a while. I give up and go away, and in a few minutes he starts to eat, since he is no doubt hungry by then. So is there some kind of standard command that people use to tell their dog it's okay to start eating?? All suggestions are welcome.
 

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We use "chow" - and so does my husband's aunt. Not sure how standard that is, but it works for us!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well, thanks! I will give that "chow" command a try. Maybe that's the magic word! Any other ideas -- please post. Thanks again.
 

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A common command at least around here is "release". If i give bella a command, she knows that she has to stay in that command until she hears "release". Worth a shot.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you! I'll try that, too. Willie puts himself into an automatic sit/stay before dinner, so "release" could be the secret... Sometimes I just wish he could talk.
 

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I use the word "okay" or a tap on the shoulder to release Pumpkin; however, that release is used for other things as well. We don't have a command just for eating. I think most dogs, including Willie, know you are giving him permission to eat via your tone & phrases. Do you think Willie prefers for you to walk away 1st? Maybe it's not a command, but he prefers to smell and begin his meal alone. Pumpkin is not highly motivated by her meals, so she frequently takes 5m+ to just get up and smell it. Many days she will not start eating until we have walked away from a certain "food radius." I have never seen or heard about a breed that seems to be so quirky about eating as the V ::) ! IMO, I would give him a release word of your choosing & stick with it. Say it in an upbeat tone & walk away. Good Luck :)
 

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Savannah also waits to eat after I release her (I use ‘okay’). I just assumed she was waiting to see if there was a treat available instead of dog food. I have noticed that she will eat sooner and better if the cat is eating next to her. Maybe Willie is just waiting to see if someone else is joining him for supper.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, everyone, for your input! I will give each of these commands a try to see if one in particular causes a reaction in him. In the end, it could just be a personality quirk of his, like kellygh mentioned.

I couldn't even try this evening. Maybe he was extra hungry. I put his dinner down at the usual time and he just started eating. Go figure!
 

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At this point he is just listening to what you have to say. It's all good because he doesn't know what will come out of your mouth next. He is being entertained and that is what's important. :) I would put his food down and walk away from now on. He is smart enough to know he isn't being held anymore. ;) On the other hand if you like performinggggg. I'm sure he will continue to accommodate. ;) ;D
 

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Discussion Starter #11
HA, HA, HA! Very funny!! I'm sure you are right. When I think about it, I've had Willie for over two years now and have never once asked him to wait to eat his dinner. He is very mannerly, no doubt from his early training... but I've never asked him to do it. Think I will take your suggestion and just walk away. He knows me well enough by now to understand that waiting is not something I would insist on. He must know by now. :)
 

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We make Mischa do the same thing before she eats. Usually we'll make her sit, shake a paw, shake the other paw a high-five and then "okay!". I saw some videos of dogs going wild while their owners were trying to pour the kibble in the dog bowls. These dogs would jump all over their owners, trip them etc be use they were so excited to eat which is when we decided to do the sit/stay then it progressed to tricks.

If your dog is already doing this, it might be worth keeping up with it too. Maybe it's not a secret command but tricks? Maybe you can teach him something else?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Willie doesn't jump up on people, and really, he's very polite at mealtime. He puts himself into a sit/stay and watches me. Then he justs waits, after the meal is given to him. Now tonight, he waited as usual, I walked away, and he started eating! Maybe there is no mystery command. I just don't know. Haven't felt the need to make him do any tricks. He always finishes his meal.
 
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