Feeding Animals First
I have been told by various rabbis (and by the books, articles, and web-sites which they refer me to) that a person who owns the animal must always feed the animal before taking his/her own food in order to avoid any cruelty to animals.
However, I am recently informed by professional dog-trainers (and by the books, articles, and web-sites which they refer me to) that this must not be done in the case of dogs — because a dog’s nature is such that the dog always believes “whoever eats first is the leader, the owner, the one who must be obeyed”: therefore, I am told, a dog which eats before its owner eats will become untrainable and will rebel against its owner, perhaps even attack its owner. (This was shown to be in various scientific textbooks and documentaries on dogs’ instincts, abilities, and behavior is this regard. Dogs have no ability to set aside these particular instincts.) Therefore, in thé case of a dog (knowing these facts about the nature of dogs), is it permissible for the owner/trainer to eat first, so that the dog understands that the one in charge is the person (the owner/trainer) and not the dog?