After working with a professional dog trainer the past four years, I realized one day that the single most important tool we have as dog owners is controlled feeding. When Frankie was a puppy, he would try to eat his food before the bowl hit the floor. It was then I undertook the task of teaching him that the food comes from me and not until I say. Today, it’s a matter of course when I feed my two boys that they present themselves where I feed them and then place themselves in the down position. I wait a bit and then put their bowls on the floor and then step away. They make no motion towards their food until I release them with the “okay” command. Now, this doesn’t just happen day one when teaching this. Here is how we got to where we are today. I would sit on the couch by the coffee table and give Frankie the down command. I would begin to lower the bowl to the floor and, if he popped up, I would return the bowl to the coffee table. We would repeat this exercise until he finally realized that he would not get the food until I said so. This is so fundamental as the rest of our relationship, as owner and dog, is built on this cornerstone. When I adopted Rusty at about the age of two, he too had to learn this dynamic, showing that it’s never too late begin.