7 Reasons why your dog only eats out of your hand!

why does my dog only eat from my hand

Does your dog not want to eat anymore? Does he only eat out of your hand, and you wonder why? In this article, I will discuss why your dog may only eat out of hand and how you can solve the problem.

It may be that your dog has become accustomed to eating only from your hand because you have rewarded him for a while with his food during training. But also fear, diseases or dominant behavior of the second dog could be why your dog does not eat anymore and prefers food from the hand.

#1 Dog eats out of fear only from the hand

One reason why your dog only eats out of your hand is fear.

If you have more than one dog, maybe one is so dominant that it won’t let the other get to the food bowl.

The submissive dog then develops fear over time and no longer eats appropriately. If you feed him from your hand so that he eats something, he will get used to it over time and only want to eat from your writing.

The better alternative would be to feed the dogs in separate rooms, so there is no food envy.

It can also be that your dog does not or no longer eats from his bowl because he is afraid of the environment. Is the bowl in the same room as the washing machine or other noisy appliance that may frighten the dog?

#2 Your dog is used to eating out of your hand.

Dogs learn very quickly. For example, if you let your dog “earn” the food during training, it can lead to him wanting to eat exclusively from your hand later.

Then it is better not to feed the food entirely from the hand but only a part and continue to put the other region in the bowl.

#3 Your dog does not like the food

Some fussy eaters don’t like all food. However, if they get it from your hand, it has something of a treat, and things get interesting.

So, in this case, your dog is not eating because he likes the food but because it is an experience.

Try changing the food to get your dog to eat from the bowl again.

#4 Your dog is not hungry

If you train your dog a lot and use treats, you may be overdoing it. You give so many treats during training that your dog is already complete and does not eat from the bowl later.

Who doesn’t know this with children who eat so many sweets that they don’t want any supper in the evening?

#5 diseases are the reason why your dog eats only from the hand

Dental or gum diseases can be why your dog eats only from the hand.

Maybe he has pain when eating from the food bowl. If you put the small chunks of food into his mouth, it works. Perhaps squeeze the food a little bit so your dog can eat it better.

Since your dog does not gnaw bones in nature and takes care of his teeth, you must regularly provide him with chewing articles or bones for dental care. To do this, take a special dog toothpaste* and a finger toothbrush* and brush his teeth once a week or every two weeks. Alternatively, you can brush his teeth every 1 to 2 weeks.

Regardless of whether this is the reason why your dog only eats out of your hand or not, dental care is critical and, unfortunately, often neglected.

But also other diseases can be why your dog generally does not want to eat. But food from the hand is simply something different and more comfortable when you do not feel well.

#6 Your dog has no time to eat

Dogs are sometimes too busy to eat. Depending on your breed, an intense hunting or guarding instinct may be why your dog is too busy to eat.

However, if you give him his food from your hand, he will usually take it.

#7 Your dog associates something negative with feeding

Do you always feed your dog before you leave the house? If your dog doesn’t like to be left alone, he will eventually associate it.

Every time there is food, he has to stay alone. This can also be why he will not eat from the bowl anymore, but only when you feed him from your hand later.

how your dog eats from the bowl again
Sansa, Malou & Arya when eating

How to get your dog to eat from the bowl again

Stop feeding your dog out of your hand!

If your dog has just gotten into the habit of eating out of your hand, you need to stop feeding him out of your hand, even if he doesn’t eat from the bowl at first.

You must understand that a dog does not have to eat daily. Put his food down and waited. Usually, he will eventually go to his bowl and eat, even if it takes two or three days.

The moment your dog does not eat from the bowl and you feed him because he wants to, he is educating you.

Your dog has food and can eat. No living creature starves in front of a full plate.

Change the feeding place.

Maybe where your dog is supposed to eat is scary for him. Try to feed him in another place. Often this already helps a dog to eat generally from the bowl again.

Change the feeding time.

Don’t feed your dog before you leave the house. Feed him after a walk to minimize the risk of gastric distress and when you stay at home.

Strictly speaking, it is enough to feed your dog once a day. Better would be two times.


Take your dog to the vet and have him checked for possible diseases.

Feed your dogs separately.

If you have several dogs, feed them separately to prevent dominance behavior when eating.

Conclusion: Why does my dog only eat from my hand?

There can be different reasons your dog only eats out of your hand. One likely reason is that your dog has been eating out of your hand because you have been feeding or rewarding him frequently. But fear of where he will be fed can also be the cause.

Related Posts:

@ manushot-depositphotos.com (Contributing image)


I am Marco and I have the pleasure of living with 3 large Mastiff-type dog breeds. I would like to share my dog-related experiences on this blog