Updated: Nov 29, 2019
Food is a primary resource! It is essential for survival. You are responsible for this very important resource for your dog. Too much or too little can be detrimental to their health, therefore it is necessary to know how much they are getting. In addition to this valuable information as the controller of the food resource you can use food as a motivator to get your dogs to do more of the things you like and less of the things you do not like.
The best way to control this resource is to dole it out when and where you say, not the dog! And the first way this is accomplished is with feeding times. Whether you feed once, twice or three times a day it should be controlled and timed. In other words, do not let your dog free-range eat. This means when you put Fido's food down for consumption it stays down for no more than 15 minutes. Yes, that is right! If Fido does not want to eat a meal then he skips it. And he does not get that meal back, he has to wait till the next meal.
The reason free-range feeding is a bad idea is because the dog becomes the one responsible for her primary resource and your role becomes secondary. If the dog controls when and how often she eats then she is in control. If she has to look for you to be the regulator of her food then you become the focus of her attention.
It is also possible and suggested to use your dogs food (or a valuable substitute) throughout the day as treats. There is nothing wrong with treating as long as you are keeping track and making sure you are feeding your dog the appropriate amount each day. These treats can be used throughout the day to teach your dog a trick, a new behavior or reinforcing an existing behavior. Hopefully you are getting the idea. Food (your dogs primary resource) can be used throughout the day to shape behaviors!
And once all of this is established it will be amazing how your dog will respond to you!