How Do I Train My Dog to Use an Automatic Feeder? (Solved!)

Training your dog to use their automatic feeder is easy. Simply set the feeder to a schedule and before it is scheduled to dispense the food, call your dog over so that they can see it dispensing the food and hear the associated sounds.

Repeat this until the sounds no longer surprise them and your dog will learn to come to the feeder on their own — whenever they hear it dispensing or simply once they learn the schedule that you’ve programmed it with.

In this article, we’re going to answer popular questions trending on the web about various dog feeding options, such as puzzle feeders, gravity feeders, and more. Read on to get useful information for making feeding sessions easier or even more fun – details are waiting below!

Are automatic feeders good for dogs?

Automatic feeders are a great option for your dog. They save you a lot of time and remove the possibility of a late feeding if you get busy and your dog will get regular nutrition in pre-set amounts to help reduce the chances of obesity.

Once your dog is used to the automatic feeder, they’ll also be much less likely to come to you and remind you that it’s feeding time. They know that if they wait, their food will always arrive on-schedule!

Are automatic feeders good for puppies?

While you can certainly train your puppy to get used to an automatic feeder, it’s probably best that you feed them on your own until they get a little bit older.

Your dog should see that you are the one feeding them and this helps to establish you as the ‘alpha dog’ and helps to firmly establish the bond that will grow over the years.

An automatic feeder is just fine when they get a little older, but while your dog is a puppy you should teach them that you are the one that houses them, feeds them, and provides them a warm, safe place to sleep.

Can you put wet food in an automatic feeder?

Some automatic feeders will allow you to use wet food and you must use one of these – placing wet food in a dry-food feeder will likely just destroy it and void your warranty.

Wet-food feeders have cooling mechanisms to help keep the wet food fresh and the parts inside the machine will be resistant to moisture from the food. So, as long as you select a model that specifically states it’s compatible with wet food, then you can certainly use it in that feeder.

What is a gravity feeder?

A gravity feeder is the original ‘automatic feeder’, which functions by the means of an overturned food container positioned to fill a bowl up until a point that the opening in the bottom of the container is blocked.

As your dog eats, this hole becomes unblocked, and the food freely falls in to refill the bowl, compliments of the law of gravity!

Are gravity feeders good for dogs?

Gravity feeders won’t be a fit for every dog. The easiest way to decide if you should use one is to simply ask yourself ‘what would happen if my dog got at the food bag, unsupervised?’. If the answer is that your dog would eat themselves sick, then don’t get them a gravity feeder.

A gravity feeder just refills the bowl whenever the food volume is lowered, so if your dog is a bit on the gluttonous side then they will simply eat as much as they can until they get sick.

If your dog normally only eats until thy are full, however, then a gravity feeder is a great way to make sure that a full bowl is always waiting for them.

Can you put water in a gravity feeder?

Yes, there are gravity feeders designed for water, and these come in two ‘flavors’. The more modern version works like a standard toilet does, refilling the bowl based on gravity and on a hose, attached to a faucet, that ensures a bowl full of fresh water based on gravity and water pressure.

The second is the old-school variety, which is essentially an overturned water container with the lip touching the surface of the water. This prevents more water from flowing out until your dog drinks enough to lower the volume. These feeders are less expensive, but the water will not be as concistently fresh.

What are puzzle feeders for dogs?

If your dog routinely eats too fast, then a puzzle feeder is something that you might consider. Available commercially, these feeders give your dog a problem to solve in the form of something which they must manipulate to get a small amount of food.

This forces them to think and to slow down their eating, as they can only release a little at a time. You can DIY a primitive means of slowing your dog as well by simply sticking a tennis ball in their food before filling the bowl.

This forces your dog to eat around the ball and consequently, slows them down just a little in the process.

Are puzzle feeders good for dogs?

Yes, puzzle feeders can be a wonderful thing for your dog. They force your dog to eat more slowly, a habit which might even stick over time, and they stimulate your dog mentally as well. If you sit with them during mealtimes, it’s also fun to watch and will help to build the bond with your dog.

While this sounds a little mean, puzzle feeders are only as complex as what you select, with some simply looking like raised grass, with food pieces in between for slow consumption, while others are more of a challenge if your dog is crafty and you want mealtime to be a little more fun.

Check around by Googling ‘puzzle feeders’ and you’ll see what we mean – some of these are pretty amazing!  

How long can I leave my dog alone with an automatic feeder?

You should not leave your dog alone for more than 24 hours, even if you have an automatic feeder. The reason for this is that dogs are very social creatures, and even adults should not be left alone for more than 8 hours unless there is an emergency and only then if you have a friend checking in!

If you need to be away for longer, consider boarding them or enlisting the help of a good friend while you’re away.

What is a microchip feeder?

A microchip feeder is a great option available if you have a small dog and problems with another dog or cat in the house stealing their food. These automatic feeders open and close based on the proximity of a chip in your dog’s collar.

That way, if they are pushed away from the food, the door will close and protect it until they can come back and eat.