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Ways that Nutrition Effects Your Dog's Behavior

By Jeanne Perciaccanto

Correct nutrition is crucially important for every aspect of your dog's life. It affects their health and wellness by offering a vital balance of proteins, fats, complex carbohydrates and the trace nutrients and minerals their bodies need for the growth and repair of their immune systems'.

Nutrition is a vital part of your dog's ability to think clearly, lower his/her stress levels and a produce a calmer demeaner. The act of thinking takes a lot of energy. Dogs involved in a training program expend a lot of mental energy focusing on the tasks they must learn. If your dog starts with minimal nutrition, they become lethargic, grouchy or hyperactive when they are asked to perform the simplest of tasks. They simply are not able to focus properly and lose concentration after a short period of time, or they may become confused. If the dog is constantly being asked to do something they can't comprehend, their confusion can lead to an aggressive form of acting out.

In training dogs, the first thing I look at is the dog's diet. I work from the inside out. Training becomes less and less if the causes for the behaviors are not addressed. Hyper, unfocused and out of control dogs and puppies often are eating foods with extremely high levels of cereal foods such as wheat, corn, and/or corn meal. Aggressive dogs eat food containing higher levels of incomplete protein which do not digest well. Shy and stressed dogs do not digest their foods well at all and often suffer from intestinal complications such as diarrhea. Their coats can be extremely dry and shed heavily.

One way to test the foods you are feeding is to soak the food in water for about fifteen minutes. If it swells in size and becomes somewhat mushy, it is mostly cereal. Are your dog's stools often soft and loose or is the dog gassy? They are not digesting the food properly. By looking at their food, you will do more to help balance their behavior, you will contribute to their health and longevity.

Jeanne Perciaccanto has been a professional dog trainer for 20 years, at, with an education degree in Health. She has combined both disciplines and researches diet and nutrition as it pertains to canine behavior. For more info. go to