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Kayleegator

Here's a quirk for ya...

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My girl Kaylee is doing pretty well at 7 months, although we could really use a herd of sheep, sigh. She's pretty biddable, and sharp as a tack.

 

The one behavior I'm scratching my head over is this nose-dragging thing she does in front of her food bowl, after I have put the food down. She drags the top of her nose on the mat near the food bowl, or on the floor if the mat isn't there, hard enough to make a squeaking sound sometimes, hard enough to make a sore on the top of her nose.

 

It doesn't matter which bowl I use: I've tried a plate, too. It doesn't seem to matter what's in the bowl. I've tried moving the bowl to different locations. Sometimes she'll drag her nose half a dozen times, and then proceed with her meal. Sometimes she'll eat without nose-dragging. She does it before the morning or evening meal, whether she's been out running all day or cooped up by weather.

 

If I tell her to stop, she thinks I don't want her to eat.

 

Any suggestions?

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We used to have a dog that liked to bury any food we gave her. After she buried it she would do the nose dragging you're describing to pack dirt on the food. She would also do it on the carpet or furniture if she couldn't go outside. This might be what Kaylee's trying to do. Is she a rescue? Our dog was a stray before we got her and we thought she did this because she never had much food and had to savor everything we gave her. Its really weird what your girl is doing, although she might just think she needs to bury her food for some reason.

 

Sorry I don't have any suggestions to help it, but it might help if you at least knew what the behavior was.

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It does sound precisely like she is "burying" her food. Maybe that's something from her background or possibly just in her nature.

 

What concerns me is that there is a sore that has developed on her nose from this. Could you try holding the bowl for just a moment until she begins to eat and then put it down, and see if that doesn't stop the "burying"? If it does, you might be able to wean her off having you hold the bowl after enough time that the new behavior (not burying) becomes well established.

 

One other alternative might be to put down a soft towel or rag, that she could "scoop up" with her nose. That might prevent her from pushing quite so hard on the floor surface, and allowing the sore to heal. I think that the use of a smooth, bare-floor eating area would be less abrasive to the nose than feeding on a mat.

 

Best wishes!

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My Kaylie used to "bury" her food too when she was young, but she did it when she didn't want to eat (whether she didn't want any of it, or ate some but didn't eat all). I picked up her bowl after 10-15 minutes regardless of how much was left. She outgrew the burying and not eating/not finishing habit, or maybe she decided that she'd better eat when I put the food down, because it wasn't going to be there later in spite of her effort to cache it. I don't know if this would help your situation since your Kaylee seems to be eating after she does the burying, but I thought I'd mention it.

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I had a foster dog that would do this. He was starving when I got him, so I figured that he had developed this behavior as a survival instinct (bury the food). I had to make sure and feed him in an empty crate or he would cover his food with the blanket or pad or whatever else was in his crate. When I first got him, he would hide behind my bushes all the time and I would have to put his food down on the ground outside and wait for him to come out and eat it. I learned to put it on the concrete pool deck, or else he would bury it with wood chips or dirt or whatever else was close by. He eventually got over the behavior and would devour his food as soon as I put it down.

 

If your dog is doing it to the point that she is causing a sore on her nose, I'd be afraid that she might be developing an OCD-like behavior. What if you took her food away when she started nose-dragging and then gave it to her again a little while later? Maybe if she is hungry enough, she'll just eat without doing the nose-dragging thing first.

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Guest SweetJordan

I had a dog who use to do this sometimes in an attempt to 'bury' her food then she would eat it afterwards. Though it wasn't a daily occurance, and she stopped doing it once I began making her food for some reason. However, she use to do this all the time w/ her Zukes Z-Ridge dental chews that I would give her. She would go around finding some place to hid or bury it. She could never just eat it right away. I adopted her at 12 weeks. She wasn't ever starved. I read somewhere that dogs are notorious savers so some just do it out of instinct. I grew up w/ one dog who use to bury his treats in the backyard.

I think my only concern in your situation would be how hard she is dragging her nose to do it.

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Pearl did the same thing until she was about two, i got her at 1 yo. She just did it less and less with age. It never bothered me because before Pearl I had a wolf hybrid who would rub his nose on the floor around his food dish until he worn the skin off his nose and drew blood. As he got older he would just pick up his dish by the edge, take it outside and drop it against a tree or rock or house and bury it by pushing dirt over it with his nose after scooting a bunch of dirt in the direction of the dish with his rear legs. Pearl at 9 1/2 still will take her treats outside and bury them and dig it up when it has "cured" enough in the dirt.

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My Kaylie used to "bury" her food too when she was young, but she did it when she didn't want to eat (whether she didn't want any of it, or ate some but didn't eat all). I picked up her bowl after 10-15 minutes regardless of how much was left. She outgrew the burying and not eating/not finishing habit, or maybe she decided that she'd better eat when I put the food down, because it wasn't going to be there later in spite of her effort to cache it. I don't know if this would help your situation since your Kaylee seems to be eating after she does the burying, but I thought I'd mention it.

 

 

Megan, this is sounding like a good idea.

 

Kaylee was not a rescue, she was rehomed from a loving family that just wasn't the right fit, who had the wit to do the right thing. I know they had gone to feeding her once a day during the time she lived with them, even though she was just 12 weeks old when she came to us. That didn't seem right to me, with a pup that young, so I've fed her twice a day since.

 

She loves to dig, a true gardener's dog <gryn>, and maybe at this point, she has outgrown her need for two feedings, isn't hungry and is trying to bury it, to save for later. I've noticed that she's not been as hungry recently, and assumed she'd been into the cat food! I'll watch that carefully, maybe cut the quantity a bit, too. The nose-dragging act is new in the last month.

 

At least, lifting the food and saving it for her will stop the behavior, which should give her nose a chance to heal. It's not a bad sore, yet, is new in the last few days.

 

I'll give it a try, and post the results. I so appreciate the vast experience shared on these boards!

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Our 3 yr old rescue, Scarlet sometimes does this, too! When we picked her up at the shelter, she was underweight..so maybe it comes from a hording behavior..At first I thought she was having some knid of meltdown.... One day her food was outside on the patio, and she nosed a rug up and over the food bowl, then walked away! She does it in the house, too. After I saw her do that outside, I thought it might be a hording thing... Now that I hear it's rather common, I feel better! She's never gone to the extreme's of breaking the skin on her nose...

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I had a dog years ago who would hide little treats. He wasn't very good at it, often stashing the cookie behind a plant or chair leg. He had never been a stray and was in fact a picky eater. I came across an opinion in some dog training book that if a dog hides or buries food, he has more than he needs to eat. I cut back on my dog's food and the cookie stashing stopped.

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^^^ That's exactly what Tess does. She also likes to take kibbles and hide them. If I leave a blanket on the ground when I pick it up kibble always falls out.

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