The Doggy Dan Five Golden Rules: Food Training For Dogs is Rule #1!

Food training for dogs is Rule #1 of my Doggy Dan Five Golden Rules, because of this simple truth: when dogs have food, they feel like they’re the richest animal in the world.

It’s not their toys, not their new clothes, or their cozy bed that makes them feel great.

It’s food. For dogs, it’s all about the food.

In fact it’s not just about the food, it’s about CONTROLLING the food.

Because FOOD is the most important thing for your dog, it is also THE MOST POWERFUL TRAINING TOOL. It’s dog psychology 101…

Food has a DIRECT INFLUENCE on your dog’s behavior and we have to get this bit right before our dogs will start listening and obeying us.

As dog owners we may think that as long as we’re buying the food and doing all the feeding, and even using treats for positive reinforcement training, then we’re all good….we must be the ones in control, right?

Wrong. I can virtually guarantee you that right now, your dog thinks THEY control the food in your home…

doggy dan five golden rules

If you are letting your dog eat from the bowl whenever they want, letting them chew on bones whenever they want, and if they eat before you do… then THEY are actually in control. And whoever’s in control, is in charge. Which is a bad thing, as I explain below.

HOWEVER when done right, food training (or controlling the food) can completely transform your dog and improve their behavior almost overnight. Golden Rule Number One shows you how to convince your dog that YOU CONTROL the food.

Key Takeaways:

  • Food has a direct influence on your dog’s behavior and we have to get this bit right before our dog’s will start listening and obeying us.
  • When you put the Five Golden Rules in place, your dog will start to acknowledge you as the Alpha, and they can start to relax.
  • Dogs collect, hide and bury food to keep their control of the food. If they know where even one bone is hidden, they will still think they have the control.


Table of Contents:

  1. But First, What Are the Doggy Dan Five Golden Rules?
  2. Doggy Dan Five Golden Rules: Rule Number One — Controlling the Food — in a Nutshell
  3. Rule Number One Sounds Hard, Doggy Dan! But Does Rule Number One Of The Doggy Dan Five Golden Rules Work?
  4. Doggy Dan Five Golden Rules: The Role of Food in Dog Psychology
  5. Common Myths About Food in Dog Training
  6. How the Dog Calming Code and The Doggy Dan Five Golden Rules Help You Tap Into the Power of Food

But First, What Are the Doggy Dan Five Golden Rules?

The Doggy Dan Five Golden Rules are the cornerstone of my training approach. They serve as the bedrock for not only controlling dog behavior—but more importantly—building that solid, loving relationship between you and your dog. The Five Golden Rules are the principles behind my most successful training program, the Dog Calming Code™.

(Watch the full video below for my introduction to the Doggy Dan Golden Rule #1)

What makes this dog training approach so successful is that it’s not just based on symptom-solving techniques.

Yes, it will solve almost every dog behavioral issue, like excessive barking, aggression, jumping up, running away, pulling on the leash and many more, but the way it works compared to traditional dog training is VERY DIFFERENT…

How the Doggy Dan Five Golden Rules Increase Dog Training Success

It identifies the root cause of the behavioral problems—instead of just administering bandaid solutions. It taps into your dog's NATURAL INSTINCTS and helps you THINK LIKE A DOG to discover and solve what’s really going on.

The 5 Golden Rules is a revolutionary way of training dogs that defies the traditional methods so many dog owners have tried and failed with. Because it’s based on dog psychology, the method I teach doesn’t require constant food-bribery, or learning hundreds of games or tricks.

five golden rules doggy dan

There’s also no shouting or smacking, and NO SHOCK COLLARS or other torture devices. And the beauty of it is, it won’t take up any more of your time—it just shows you how to do some of things you already do with your dog in a different way, which generates massive results.

Yet strangely, it’s a method that very few dog trainers even know.

With the Doggy Dan Five Golden Rules, YOU WIN YOUR DOG’S MIND FIRST, before any “training”, by establishing the PROPER leadership in your dog’s eyes.

You see, when a dog can’t recognize a leader in their home—through dog psychology (not human psychology)—they’re forced to take on that leadership role to ensure their own survival. This is a built-in DNA driven response.

The Doggy Dan Five Golden Rules Establishes You As the Leader

Now I’m not talking about the kind of leader who buys the food, or whoever can shout the loudest. No, what a dog is seeking are signs that there’s an Alpha present. When you put the Five Golden Rules in place, your dog will start to acknowledge you as the Alpha, as their trusted LEADER, and they can start to relax.

They’ll step down from over-protecting the family and property, and being on guard 24/7. They will start sleeping and chilling more (and irritating you less) because someone else is now making all the decisions.

doggy dan five golden rules

And one of the MOST powerful ways to establish this leadership is by controlling the food.

I have proven it through the years, with over 88,000 dogs trained, that unless you control the food and use all Five of my Golden Rules, your dog training will most likely fail.

Important note: in the following weeks, I will be talking about the Five Golden Rules one by one and how each rule impacts dog training. So stay tuned for that!


Doggy Dan Five Golden Rules: Rule Number One — Controlling the Food — in a Nutshell

Notice that I used “controlling the food” instead of “how to feed your dog.”

But what exactly do I mean by “controlling the food?”

As I mentioned before, the common perception is that as long as you buy the food and feed your dog, you’re already controlling the food.

But that’s not the case. You see…

  • Even if you’re the food provider but the food can easily be accessed by your dog at any time think bowls of food left on the floor or buried bones and scraps left in corners YOU’RE NOT in charge.
  • Or even if you’re the food source, and you give in to your dogs quips and random requests for food, YOU’RE STILL NOT in charge.
  • Perhaps you’re the one serving the meals, but your dog feels they can do whatever they want with the food, you’re still not in charge.
  • And especially, if you let your dog eat before you do, then you’re DEFINITELY NOT the one in charge.

Your dog should understand that you are the only one with ULTIMATE CONTROL over the food. They should know that behavior towards food is NEVER on their terms.

Controlling the food is remembering that the way you deliver those two meals a day and all the other food treats, has SIGNIFICANT power to influence your dog.


You can teach the most powerful lessons and establish leadership during mealtimes.

doggy dan five golden rules

Dogs WILL LISTEN when food is involved. Not so much during playtime or rest time. It is during meal times when they clearly see who’s in charge and who they should listen to.

Following Rule Number One is realizing that food is the most influential tool in your dog training arsenal.


Sounds Interesting…But Does Rule Number One Of The Doggy Dan Five Golden Rules Work?

I’ve told this story before, but I think it’s important to re-tell it, as it demonstrates just how powerful Rule Number One is and how it can impact even the toughest dog issues.

Kelly, a woman living an hour away, contacted me in distress over her Bichon Frise, Terri.

Terri had been suffering from relentless itching, self-chewing, and self-licking for over two years. Despite trying numerous medications, her vet suspected stress as the root cause.

The Story of Terri and How Controlling the Food Helped Her

Upon arriving at Kelly's home, I found Terri exhibiting anxious behavior, continuously chewing and licking herself, with her legs showing signs of wear from years of this self-destructive behavior.

My solution was straightforward yet effective: I addressed the underlying cause by showing Terri that she was not in charge and teaching her to relax instead of stressing and licking incessantly.

doggy dan five golden rules

Understanding that dogs follow a pack mentality, Terri had taken on the role of being the leader of the pack, feeling responsible for her human family and vigilantly guarding the den (the house and property). This responsibility left her wound-up and anxious.


To help solve the problem, I introduced the family to the Five Golden Rules of becoming the Pack Leader, which focused on principles of ownership rather than simply commanding Terri not to lick or chew herself.

Rule Number One involved implementing a powerful feeding procedure, which totally captured Terri's attention and changed her behavior.

After just two weeks of following these rules, Kelly sent me a heartwarming email, reporting that Terri's self-chewing and licking had ceased.

While I was pleased to have been of help, I wasn't surprised by the success; these Five Golden Rules have consistently resolved countless issues for many dogs over the years.

Doggy Dan Five Golden Rules: The Role of Food in Dog Psychology

In the next few weeks, you’ll hear me refer to dog psychology more frequently. We need to speak a language that really tells our dogs “Hey, I’m the one in charge here. You should listen to me.”

Read on below to learn about the major role that food plays in dog psychology.

Role #1: The One Who Controls the Food is The One Who Leads

Bigger car, bigger house, new wardrobe — these things don’t matter to your dog.

Dogs are all about survival, and food is the main thing that keeps them alive. So when you control the food, AND you keep your dog alive, that is a really big deal.

When you take control of the food, your dog will start to see they're not the one in charge around the house. The’ll settle down and start listening to YOU.


Role #2: Food Is The Fastest Way To Establish The Do's and Don'ts

In dog psychology, food is ALMIGHTY. It’s the great motivator, so dogs understand the concept of Do’s and Don’ts better when the trainer uses food. It’s called positive reinforcement training where they only get their share of delicious treats when they do good.

Using food training for dogs to establish the right and wrongs makes your training so much easier. With Rule Number One you also learn that once you’ve established the boundaries of what’s okay and what’s not, the trust you’ve built by connecting through their psychology allows you to slowly move away from relying on treats.

Role #3: Food Resolves The Power Struggle Between You and Your Dog

I have heard dog owners say “Well, my dog is absolutely not food motivated.”

Believe me, having worked with thousands of dogs, I can say that dogs find motivation in food. Note that I’m not talking about ‘treat training’, I’m talking about food in general.

HOWEVER, our dogs are smart, and they want to play little mind games with their owners (also: dogs THINK they are in control – so why should they do what you want for a measly scrap of food?).

five golden rules doggy dan

Remember: the devil IS IN THE DETAILS. What seems harmless can really stall your progress.

For example, let’s say your dog does not eat the food that you serve. What you do next will make or break your training.

My recommendation is to take the food away immediately to establish that you’re in control. If we leave the food down and wait for them, it turns on the “I’m in charge” button. It shifts control from you to them.

And don’t worry, they won’t starve. But they’ll certainly be paying attention the next time you serve their meal!


Role #4: Even the Most Harmless Looking Piece of Food Can Influence How Your Dog Sees Control

There’s no such thing as “Ahh, that’s just an old bone!” when it comes to controlling the food.

Dogs collect, hide and bury food to keep their control of the food. If they know where even ONE bone is hidden, they will still think they have the control. The same goes for rawhide, chew-sticks, pigs ears, hooves or any other kind of food.

To your dog, food is FOOD!

Role #5: Dogs Have 99.998% of a Wolf’s DNA

And for wolves in the wild, food dictates who is in charge.

For example, in a wolf pack, the Alpha always eats first.

If you follow the rule that your dog can only eat after you, it’s powerfully telling your dog “I eat first because I’m the Alpha. I’m the one in charge.”

How exactly do you do that? Good question… There’s so many nuances to the feeding process that shows you’re in charge (which would take too many articles for me to write) so I’ve recorded them as video lessons in my bestselling course, the Dog Calming Code.

It shows how I enter people’s homes and teach them Rule #1 and you’ll witness the almost instantaneous change in their dog’s behavior—just by altering how they feed their dog—going from over-excited and misbehaving to relaxed and watchful.

Common Myths About Food in Dog Training

Myth #1: Food is Just Food, It Can’t Be That Useful

Sure, food is important, but it’s easy not to think of it as THE most important in a dog’s life.

Thinking “food is just food” causes dog owners to struggle with controlling negative dog behavior.

Food is a life-or-death thing for our dogs. This fact emphasizes how much focus you should put on your dog’s food.

Myth #2: You Only Need to Give One Food for Everything

Some dog owners believe that a single type of food is all a dog needs to keep them highly motivated.

In reality, dogs have varying preferences and tastes. While one dog may be highly motivated by a particular treat, another dog may find it uninteresting.

It's important to experiment with different types of food, including soft, chewy, crunchy, raw and cooked to determine what resonates best with each individual dog during training.

You’ll be amazed at how laser-focused your dog can be when you’re holding a bag of small pieces of cheese and cooked chicken and bacon!


Myth #3: Giving Food to Dogs is a Way to Show I Love Them, Therefore, I Should Give Food to Them Anytime They Want

The truth is indulging dogs with food whenever or wherever they want can have serious repercussions.

Remember that the very core of Rule Number One is to establish who is in charge. If you give in to every request for food, it sends a message to your dog that they’re the one calling the shots.

Imagine giving in to your child's every single whine for sweets and chocolates, it would be absolute chaos and they would run riot all over you and the household.

And that can absolutely hurt training!

How the Dog Calming Code and The Doggy Dan Five Golden Rules Help You Tap Into the Power of Food

Now you know how CRUCIAL it is to control the food. And I’m sure you want to get this right, but it’s also so easy to get it wrong!

I encourage you to learn the first rule inside my course, the Dog Calming Code, because it answers questions such as:

  • Is it okay to leave the bowl down if my dog has eaten all the food?
  • My dog walked away and lost all their food…when do they get to try again?
  • How long do we have to do this for?
  • Does everyone in the house have to eat first?
  • I have more than one dog, is it still the same process?
  • My dog eats all his food when I put the bowl down…does this mean it hasn’t worked?
  • My dog takes the biscuits one at a time outside to eat them, what should I do?
  • Is it okay to feed the dog at the table?
  • Do we leave water down? (Yes – always leave clean fresh water down for your dogs. Dogs can die within 24 hours in extreme conditions without water.)

I’ll repeat this: the devil is in the details, and one seemingly harmless choice can actually stall or even reverse your training. It’s crucial that you use the Dog Calming Code as your guide to making the right decisions around controlling the food.


And I know following Golden Rule Number One CAN FEEL like more work! But it actually isn’t – you just do the same things slightly differently… and listen: after working with more than 88,000 dogs, I know that Rule #1 of Doggy Dan’s Five Golden Rules works.


We must allow our overly-stressed dogs to relax. I’ve seen the Golden Rules transform so many ruckus dogs into calm, well-behaved ones.

Yes! Even dogs with severe separation anxiety recover quickly with the help of food.

And this is what I want you to know: the right feeding protocols for dogs can really help propel your training in the right direction.

Now I know you have more questions about controlling the food and my Five Golden Rules, so I encourage you to check out my online program, the Dog Calming Code™️.

The program goes into the nitty gritty of how to properly use food in food training for dogs, so your dogs can experience a life filled with relaxation and overflowing with happiness!

You got this!

~ Doggy Dan 


Doggy Dan

Doggy Dan is the founder of The Online Dog Trainer, a wildly successful online training program for dog owners. His goal is to continue to share his unique approach to dog training with like-minded people who wish to make a difference in the world of dogs. His training methods focus on creating and building the connection between dogs and dog owners, and are shared and used around the world.

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