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Still having feeding problems

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Previously, I have posted that 6 month old puppy Jack, 18k, is unwilling to eat his meals in the kitchen, would rather take everything into the sitting room or the hallway.

This is still going on.  Refused to eat anything yesterday - fresh meat that he has enjoyed before.  Knowing he'll refuse it if it gets more than a few hours old, even if kept in the fridge, in a fit of peak, I threw it out for the birds.  He ate every bit of it.  

Can anyone tell me what all this is about please?  He gives the impression of being hungry, may condescend to taste a bit, but generally refuses anything I put down.  I can leave it down for a brief while then take it up. Or I have left it down longer, assuming that if he's hungry enough, he will eat. Nope.

Now, I'm not rich enough to pander to any dog, however much I love him.  The meat is clean, and fresh.. Obviously very tasty if it tastes good off the patio.  This has to stop, or he goes to live with somone else as it's been a problem almost since the off 3 months ago. I've tiptoed around him, pretended I didn't notice/care.  Whatever I'm doing, it ain't working.

I have offered to leave his meal in the glass-enclosed outside porch where he is totally private and no-one would be interested in it.  No acceptable either. 

Oh yes, I have tried offering tinned or steamed too, same result.  So what's going on in his little head and how can we put it right? He is very healthy and lively, checked by the vet during the week, stools small but comfortably firm, a bit dark though. As far as I am aware, he isn't eating elsewhere else, we're together 24/7 so I'd know.

Help, anyone please.

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Did  you try putting down food, picking it up if he has not eaten it ten minutes later, and not putting down food again until his next meal and continuing that until he starts to eat? 

 

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As you were told before, a healthy dog won't starve itself. When he gets hungry enough, he'll eat, so I'm guessing you're not holding out long enough and you're letting him win.

On a completely different note, is there a reason you feel he must eat indoors? I actually prefer that my raw fed dogs eat outside and that's where I almost always feed them.

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It's possible that something happened while he was eating inside that worried him, possibly even scared him badly. He might have a 'superstitious' issue, that scary things happen in the kitchen, or the whole house, for that matter, when he's eating. Even his dish, making a sound as he pushed it with his nose while eating, could have worried him

The fact that he happily gobbles it down when you toss it outside on the ground makes me suspect it isn't the food, it's the environment. The dish itself might be part of the problem. Do you wash the dish after every meal? It's possible too that whatever the scent or 'flavor'  of the dish washing soap you're using is putting him off.

Try tossing the food outside, just the way you did, and see what happens. 

Ruth & Gibbs

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D'Elle, yes, done this!

Gentle Lake,  Dogs starving themselves?  I don't think so.  Common knowledge.   And quite frankly, I don't care a hoot if he eats indoors or outside.  If outside, the weather is often inclement, (it has been pouring for a fortnight here in Devon) and we have large flocks of Jackdaws and seagulls from the fields, always sitting on the garden fence waiting.  The outdoor porch is ideal if he will take to it. Pups refusing to eat is unnerving, t'aint right.

Urge to Herd Yes, you're right,  I think this is quite likely the environment was the beginning of the problem, but no idea as to what, when or why. The kitchen is quite small floor space 6.5 X 8.5ft  Perhaps the washing machine going, or kettle boiling, cutlery being put away.  Bowl stands on large mat with rubber backing so it doesn't slip, meant for the front door originally. Always wash dish and always rinse all my washing up stuff, no aromatic washing up liquid for us either. We used to have cats that are especially fussy about this kind of thing.  Dog bowl and cups wiped with clean cloth, the rest rinsed and left to drain. I shall leave his dinners on a large mat in the glassed outside porch, and if he leaves it that's his problem. It will be out of the weather, and safe from predators. And it's not his teeth, all are through but thought perhaps gums still a little tender. And anyway, he is refusing fresh mince which is pretty easy on the gums I would have thought.

Brilliant help all round, so thanks everyone.  It can only get better...

Back later

  

 

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1 hour ago, D'Elle said:

Did  you try putting down food, picking it up if he has not eaten it ten minutes later, and not putting down food again until his next meal and continuing that until he starts to eat? 

Great advice but instead of 10 minutes  I'd make it ten hours later. Unless he is actually suffering from a health issue that is the cause of him not eating, he'll be plenty hungery after that. Does he respond to treats and if so, is he getting treating between meals?

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Highway61, Yes he's getting tiny morsels during our roadwork, leash walking, wait, keep in etc. Perhaps he's getting too many hmmm!  I can certainly wait 10 hours before representing the dish, anything's worth a try so we'll give it a go.  Thanks for the suggestion. 

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1 hour ago, dumbbird7 said:

Urge to Herd Yes, you're right,  I think this is quite likely the environment was the beginning of the problem, but no idea as to what, when or why. The kitchen is quite small floor space 6.5 X 8.5ft  Perhaps the washing machine going, or kettle boiling, cutlery being put away.  Bowl stands on large mat with rubber backing so it doesn't slip, meant for the front door originally. Always wash dish and always rinse all my washing up stuff, no aromatic washing up liquid for us either. We used to have cats that are especially fussy about this kind of thing.  Dog bowl and cups wiped with clean cloth, the rest rinsed and left to drain. I shall leave his dinners on a large mat in the glassed outside porch, and if he leaves it that's his problem. It will be out of the weather, and safe from predators. And it's not his teeth, all are through but thought perhaps gums still a little tender. And anyway, he is refusing fresh mince which is pretty easy on the gums I would have thought.

dumbbird7, border collies are very, very sensitive to noise and motion, some more than others. You may never know what it is that scared him, (and may never be sure that something scary is the problem) but it can't hurt to feed him in an entirely different spot.

My first border collie once got badly scared by her own shadow. I was walking her at night, and there was a strong street light behind us. She saw her shadow moving around in front of us and froze. It took me a minute to figure it out, and another few minutes to help her understand that this was not a monster out to eat her. 

Ruth & Gibbs

 

 

  

 

 

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1 hour ago, highway61 said:

...instead of 10 minutes  I'd make it ten hours later.

Wait. Are you saying you'd leave the food down for 10 hours to see if he'll eat it? D'Elle was saying that if he doesn't eat his food right away, pick it up and don't offer it again until the next mealtime. And to do this each time he refuses to eat until he does, even if it takes a couple of days. It's the cumulative withholding food if he refuses to eat on Dumbbird's terms that will eventually win out and was the recommendation made in the earlier thread (and I think what you're actually suggesting, though it begs clarification).

Of course having access to training treats will mean he may be willing to hold out longer, but the answer to that might be to cut back on food rewards and find some other form of reinforcement for a while. Even if you cut out food rewards entirely for a while, it's not going to be so long that his other training will suffer. It rarely takes more than a couple, three days with no food that a dog's hungry enough that he'll eat. And if you think of it in terms that this is a kind of training too, it can make sense not to offer any other food for the duration, which will only make this particular lesson go faster.

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He is, as I write, eating hiis breakfast in the outside porch.  We've walked down to the shop for the paper (pulling some of the way, harness required methinks) and have now without fuss, put his dish down and left the porch.  Lumps of meat still being taken into the adjoining  dining room, but we can cope with this.  Very old rug, ready to be ditched anyway.  Yes Urge to Herd, it looks as though I have one of the super sensitive ones, but this we can cope with too.

On our walk, we met  joggers running 3 abreast towards up the lane, two blokes on bikes riding along the narrow bit, ladies going to work at Dartington Hall with lots of loud carrier bags flapping around and enlivened by the Christmas spirit, a squirrel I hadn't noticed but of course he had but all under control still. Short cut through the churchyard so a brief respite from the hurly burley of traffic on the main road.  He did well.  Arrived home after 45 minutes ready for breakfast.  Good result.

 

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Dumbbird7, well he is certainly doing well, weight wise. Our pup is 7 months old and weighs 14 kilos. He is still on puppy food, 3 times a day, tried him on raw beef twice and twice he has been sick, same with lamb, so will keep to the same routine for now. He goes mad for liver, which I have boiled for a couple of minutes, seems to be fine with this.

Glad your puppy seems to have found “his place” to eat. I said previously ours will only drink water in our conversatory (or puddles). With regards to teeth, I think the last of his adult teeth are just coming through, there was a gap in the bottom set, which is now filled.

 

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Yeah, he's a strapping lad is our Jack. Just changed to 2 meals a day and has been off pup food for awhile now. I weaned him onto raw very gradually, chopping tiny bits, just a tablespoons worth and mixing it into his normal food, perhaps with a tiny amount of warm water. Don't think he noticed the gradual increase daily.  Took about a week.  A raw bone was always received with great joy so that helped, and once a week, a raw chicken wing or thigh. He doesn't mind tinned food but I find one tin goes in, six tins come out, breath smells and often a lot of wind.  Keep to raw mostly except when travelling, use trays of Forthglade steamed meat/veggies, or kibble. Does your pup like fish?  Jack doesn't  but alll my other collies loved a fish dinner from time to time.  Lightly boiled cheap white fish fillets., no bones. Not sure where you live and if sardines are available, small tin of sardines in olive oil went down a treat occasionally, good for a snack and good for coat too. But not for Jack unfortunately, no fish thank you Mum.

His dad is a tall, slim bc, his mum a dumpier Beaded collie so I guess he has the height of dad and weight of mother.  Vet says he'll reach 15 hands the rate he's going Ha ha. His adult teeth are through but for two of the bottom incisors in the middle that seem to be having trouble find the room.  However vet says the lower mandible continues growing a little longer so we're just keeping a watching brief.

Have just (20 minutes ago) gone out and bought a non-pull harness - oh what bliss.  I have resisted because I'd rather train through love than control.  My other collies in the past, no problem with this but this young lad is a different kettle of fish altogether.  Inside his neat round hard head is a highly tuned computer ready to rule the world. Think he's tuned in to Mr T. Hmmm! We have spent many hours leash training, and walked many miles on the spot to little effect because the world is so exciting and must be explored NOW.

Isn't it clever how teeth just appear overnight almost, fascinating to observe, and the coat growing so gradually we never notice until it's time to get the mud out...

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18 hours ago, dumbbird7 said:

D'Elle, yes, done this!

Gentle Lake,  Dogs starving themselves?  I don't think so.  Common knowledge.   And quite frankly, I don't care a hoot if he eats indoors or outside.  If outside, the weather is often inclement, (it has been pouring for a fortnight here in Devon) and we have large flocks of Jackdaws and seagulls from the fields, always sitting on the garden fence waiting.  The outdoor porch is ideal if he will take to it. Pups refusing to eat is unnerving, t'aint right.

Brilliant help all round, so thanks everyone.  It can only get better...

Back later

  

 

I am puzzled as to why you were (are?) still having a problem if you followed my first suggestion, made on a different thread, that you only offer food to him for 10 minutes and if he doesn't eat it where you put it, you put it away until the next mealtime. You said that you felt you were pandering to this dog and mentioned giving him away if he did not change his behavior. My point is that the only reason anyone ever feels they are pandering to a young and healthy dog is that they are willing to pander to the dog. In other words, stop making accommodations for the dog entirely and the dog will adjust to what you want. If you had followed my advice, you would have changed his behavior. If his behavior did not change you did not follow my advice. My point was and is that you continue with that method until the dog eats where you want him to eat.  It is as simple as that. You don't stop after a day or two or even four because the dog has not eaten. You have to outlast the dog or it is not effective. Continuing to change what you are doing in order to try to get the dog to eat is what makes you feel you are pandering.

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10 hours ago, dumbbird7 said:

Lumps of meat still being taken into the adjoining  dining room, but we can cope with this.  Very old rug, ready to be ditched anyway. 

Ummm, you're not thinking this through at all. Unless you never intend to change the carpet there's going to come a day when this is no longer something you find acceptable, but it'll be very hard to undo because you've let him get away with a self rewarding behavior that he wants to do.

All you've done is let him choose which indoor location he's going to eat in. IOW, you're still pandering to him. :rolleyes:

 

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So, I'm going to agree w/GentleLake here. You've proved that he WILL eat the food you provide. Now you need to show him that you, with minor adjustments for perhaps fear-based avoidance, YOU choose where he eats it.

My dogs, all adults when I got each of them, one who had been badly abused before she was rescued, ALL learned to find a toy stuffed with dog food wherever I'd hidden it, and take it out to their individual rug to enjoy a nice gnawing session. It took time and consistency on my part but they got it. It was time & effort well spent.

Figure out a way to show him that he only eats in a location of YOUR choosing. You can, perhaps, block off access to the dining room. Give him 10 min or so to finish his meal, then pick it up. Or you can pick up the meat where he drops it and put it back in your refrigerator or freezer.

It's a tough job, sometimes, with these beasts, figuring out where I'm letting them get away with something or there is really an issue that I need to adjust for. And I don't think they're 'manipulative' in the sense that we say that about human beings. They're doing what works for them.  I might allow this in the case of an elderly or very ill dog, but not a young healthy beast. 

The other thing to keep in the back of our minds is every time we successfully 'mold' that little canid brain in the way we want it to go, we're establishing more firmly that The Human Is In Charge. Every time we let that little canid brain go a way that we knowingly don't want, we're weakening that kind of relationship.

Smart, busy dogs bring their own set of challenges. Enjoy the ride!

Ruth & Gibbs

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Update:  It's early evening here in UK.  Jack had lunch in the porch.  I put the dish down and left him to it.   The dining room door was left ajar to avoid captivity and  freak out to  refuse everything.  However he took only one piece of meat onto the rug. Tattered, threadbare, covered with bags of coal, few logs, mud and all things grimy - utility area.  Tonight, last snack in the porch, no problem.  Only a few mouthfulls but all eaten in situ.  I know him very well now, so one step at a time.  Environment of course. When he shows no further signs of grabbing and running for cover, then we have success.  The porch is now his dining room.  Things  should be  back to normal by Monday .  If I come over all heavy, he'll spook and we'll have to start again.

His obedience training is  coming on well, loves it, he's loving and affectionate, a tender little flower. My previous collies have been less cerebral shall we say, bright and perceptive as they all are, but Jack is 'knowing' and it's something I can't put my finger on.  He knows things, and if I want to be fanciful (I can hear you scoffing, Gentle Lake!) I get the impression he's been here before.  Creepy!..  Lovely boy

  

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I'm going to second the suggestions about:  put food down for 10 minutes; if not eaten, take it away till next meal time.  Continue until dog eats.

But it sounds like maybe he's eating now!  Yay!!  I would certainly NOT want my dogs eating any kind of raw food indoors other than in their bowl.  On the rare occasions they get a turkey neck or the like, it is definitely going to be outside.  NO way to clean a carpet - no matter how old.  Yuck.

On another note:  (sorry to hijack, but just asking)  you keep referring to "meat."  What, exactly, are you feeding?  At six months of age, pups have pretty specific nutritional requirements.  I have fed raw homemade food for years and years - but any pup in my house gets a variety of good kibble for growing dogs until a year of age.  You may choose to do differently, but be cautious. 

Hope all continues to improve!

diane

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You know I had no end of grief with my daughter who couldn’t cope eating at a dining room table but family pressure meant we persevered. Long story short we ended up all eating TV dinners and with all the pressure gone we enjoyed our food, each other’s company and some great comedies that we still remember fondly. As an adult she was able to explain that seeing food on the table just freaked her out and she had no idea why. 

Our last pup would take her food bowl from where we placed it to the other side of the room. Even when we were camping she would move it from where we set it down to someplace else. That dog was as placid as anything but she liked to choose where she put her bowl. 

Does it matter where the dog wants to eat? I understand completely that some areas need to be off limit for our pups but if he’s found a spot he likes and it works for you too then why change it?

Some parameters are important but we are allowed to take the easy way, especially if it allows our pups a little calm and reassurance whilst they munch on their supper :) 

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Agreed. I was just using it as an analogy that pressure from others can sometimes make us do things that aren’t necessary and not see stresses that are non the less there. Some things are important in training but I was venturing to suggest that if a dog is stressed by eating in one place does it really matter if they can find an alternative that is acceptable to everyone - that’s all :) 

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Reasonable enough, sometimes you "pick your battles", and let something slide that is unwanted behavior, but not imported enough to put a lot of energy in ( we, or rather my daughter owns a chihuahua/pincher mix....:rolleyes:). But in case of the OP it was mentioned that this issue might lead to the rehoming of the dog when not resolved. That sounds like pretty important to me.

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