We are getting a puppy from a breeder and she recommends allowing the dog to have constant access to dry food rather than meals. Her reasoning is that the dog will naturally regulate food intake and getting fat won't be a problem. I am new to dogs and have never heard of this method. What do you more experienced owners think of it?

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I say it depends upon the breed here, more than the dog. Corgis are notorious for overeating... I know Bexar would eat waaay too much if he had food out all the time. The huskies I grew up with, however, had food out all the time and self-regulated. They did a better job than we could have and were always very fit. I think most will agree that specific meal times is the way to go. Not only will Corgis tend to eat too much, but feeding them at specific times is a great way to assert yourself as pack leader.
My breeder also recommended free feeding and told me if they are free fed from their puppy days they will learn that food is always available and they won't have the need to eat all at once. I was leary of free feeding at first but I decided to try it when i got my 2 boys and I'm happy with the results as they're both very fit.
If you decide to free freed, I recommend you keep a close eye on how much your puppy is eating.
Good luck with the pup!!
It may be impossible to overfeed a puppy, but once the dog reaches adult size, you need to restrict its diet or eventually it will become so massive that the earth will spiral into the sun, a big drag for everybody, and bad for the dog's back and general health.
I free fed Duncan until Chloe came along. Then, it seemed that Duncan would do his best to eat her food and then eat his. So, now, they both get feed twice a day, and if Chloe doesn't eat hers right away, off the floor it comes. Still working on the extra snacks my husband gives Duncan and Chloe. He is doing better. As far as their treats go, if they are soft, they are cut into quarters or halves, depending on their size. I'm thinking about getting cat treats. They're smaller than dog treats. They both have a habit of getting a small treat when they do their business outside, so now, they want to go outside more often and expect a treat when they come in. Business done or not.
I never leave food down. Corgis are notorious for having hollow little legs and being prone to be overweight. Also, having a schedule helps coordinate the pee/poop cycle. It makes potty training much easier. Also, in the general overview of things, dogs are grazers. And it's always best if they "work" for food. It makes for a much more balanced dog, IMHO.
"Also, having a schedule helps coordinate the pee/poop cycle. It makes potty training much easier. "

Ditto to that!
Growing up, my parents always free fed their dogs (we've had a german shephard, 2 goldens, and a lab). None of them were overweight and were all healthy and active and really did not obsess over food. I chose not to do this with Gibson since I heard corgis were such hoovers...not sure if he would've done well w/free feeding, but having set meals definitely makes him woof his food and ask where the rest of it is ;) I agree meals are better for a set pee/poop schedule though.
I think with a schedule the transition will be easier. However, ask your vet for recommendations or ideas.
I believe that your dogs "lifestyle" can dictate this as well. However, I would never, never, never trust my male dog to self regluate his own eating. He was a fuzzy vacuum cleaner even as a puppy honing the other dogs out of the bowl. I believe that even as a puppy if he had had unlimited food he would have exploded and for that matter still would. My female, not a big eater. She would likely do better but I am not certain that indoor dogs should have unlimited access to food. It allows them to eat and lie around like fuzzy couch potatoes barking at the occational cat that flashes by the window or random human walker. It just was not a decision of ours to free feed and a practice that our breeders flat out said no on.
Thanks for the feedback. It does not sound like there is a consensus on this issue. This will require some more thought and research.
I think free-feeding causes issues with housetraining and haven't heard of a reputible breeder recommending it. Corgis become overweight easily and very few "self-regulate". Personally I would never just leave food down all the time simply because it would make it next to impossible to determine when my dog is going to have to go to the bathroom. If you plan on crate training your dog you shouldn't free feed them.
I highly recommend NOT to free-feed your dog. By being the food provider to your dog, and controlling when your dog gets food, it's an easy way to let your dog know who the boss is. It will be much easier to know when & how much your dog is eating. It also will be easier & quicker to notice if your dog is sick & not eating. Overall, there are more benefits for Corgis to not free-feed. From a Corgi owner who had to put her dog to "weight-control" dog food... :)


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