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Old 12-02-2012, 09:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Puppy strange eating habit developing quickly

Gunner is 12 weeks old today! Also this is the 3rd or 4th day in a row, where eating has become somewhat of an issue. Up until about a week ago, we were feeding him simply nourish (Petsmart attempt at blue buffalo.....attempt), about 3/4 to a cup at 8, 12, & 5. It was three times a day because when we got him from the breeder, he was pretty ribby. Even the vet and our trainer were concerned a bit. Regardless, that was his feeding schedule. It was good, he liked it and got excited at meal time. His stools were normal as well. Had plenty of energy, slept well enough, seemed to be going smoothly.

We tried a gradual shift into Blue Buffalo itself (1/4 BB, 3/4 SN for 3 days, 1/2 BB, 1/2 SN for 3 days, 3/4 BB 1/4 SN for 3 days, then full BB). We are currently still on the 3/4 BB 1/4 SN. Problem is, a few days ago he began not finishing his meal like he normally does. In fact he had barely scratched the surface of it.

So I would try and coax him into finishing a meal. This could take 15-20 minutes of making a trail of kibble from where he would back off too and sit from his bowl (almost as if he discovered there was a bug in it or something), to the bowl itself. or shaking the bowl, or putting some in my hand. Nothing. Eventually it just got gone through the coaxing. But I feel like I was forcing him to eat what he didnt want.

So I logically assumed its the Blue Buffalo. So, I took one handful of Blue buffalo, and one handful of Simply nourish and put them both up to his nose(not at feeding time), let him get a real good whiff of both, and then backed off, and held both hands open. He looked and went for the Blue Buffalo. So ok, its not that. We dont leave the food bowl down when he's not eating, nothing else seems to be wrong with him, its just the eating part.

Now, also about a week ago, I noticed he was literally gulping down food without chewing. It got to the point that while standing over him, I wouldnt hear a single crunch, just kibbles getting shifted around and thats it. So knowing that kibble doesnt get completely processed in dogs, I thought oh crap, now its not even getting broken down in the initial stage of digestion! So Instead of putting the whole amount in his bowl, I would but just a bit, let him eat it...actually eat it, then add more, etc. That seemed to work fairly well. But im afraid through some wild puppy logic it may have something to do with not wanting to eat? So I went back to putting it all in the bowl, and it helped a little, but he still wont finish a meal. It may be too early to tell also, but he might not be drinking like he used to. I need to watch him today to see if thats true or if its nothing at all.

Oh, the last thing It may be. Im worried about this one. Our trainer came by on friday and he is doing incredibly well, we have to do one more class to make it six weeks, but she said he was ready to pass the puppy S.T.A.R. after 4. He's gone way above and beyond that now, and she says he will be her youngest CGC student she's ever had. After shots of course. regardless, we were talking about pack role, dominance, and leadership and how thats the language they understand. Then she kind of got into and said "well you know, if you really want to establish dominance, what you do is put a plate of food on the ground, get on all fours over it, and when he comes near, growl at him until he backs off, and if pushes the limit, go ahead and push him back" Well it works pretty darn good and pretty darn quickly. She had us do that in a circle out in the yard that day. So im afraid perhaps that was too much for him and now hes just afraid to eat!! if thats the case, we gotta fix that asap. needless to say, we havent done that since she left.......and wont be. She trains in ScHH and a bunch of other stuff. She's just got a tough alpha mindset i guess. But Im a **** Marine and can run tough alpha mindset cirles around her and dont see a need to scare off little influential puppies. So maybe its me, or maybe its her, or maybe hes just picky and his tastes are blooming. Who knows. Anyone got any experience or advice with this?

Before any of this started, I was getting serious about doing some raw diet research. Maybe its a sign or something that the raw diet is a good idea. IDK, but any advise would be great.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:59 AM   #2 (permalink)
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" Then she kind of got into and said "well you know, if you really want to establish dominance, what you do is put a plate of food on the ground, get on all fours over it, and when he comes near, growl at him until he backs off, and if pushes the limit, go ahead and push him back"

OH BROTHER . that is not training -- step away from this trainer, stand up on all two and point to the door locking eyes with this trainer and say "go away" .
Even if there were a glimmer of reason here YOU have not become a leader - you just became a stronger sibling . How did you think this would inspire confidence and trust in you?

this "He's gone way above and beyond that now, and she says he will be her youngest CGC student she's ever had" has no importance whatsoever .

"So im afraid perhaps that was too much for him and now hes just afraid to eat!! " - yes I'm afraid so .

"if thats the case, we gotta fix that asap." -- noooo , don't micromanage , don't go around fixing things -- you're going to sit at this table , young man , until you finish every last bit of that spinach ala liver jelly mould -- yeah like that ever worked.
Put the food down . Go away. Leave dog. If dog is hungry , dog will eat .
but " when we got him from the breeder, he was pretty ribby. Even the vet and our trainer were concerned a bit"
maybe he wasn't competitive to get food , maybe he had some upset and he associates that food with yucky.
Give him some chicken liver raw , or if that is not your preference then slightly warmed . Drop on floor . See if he scarfs up this food !
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
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maybe your pup doesn't like what you're feeding. my pup would
eat certain brand for awhile and then stop eating. i had to switch
brands 2 or 3 times before finding one he likes.

i never worry about dominance, alpha, pack role or leadership.
i find with training, socializing and spending a lot of time with
the pup everything falls into place.

i've never heard of putting a plate of food down pretending
to eat it and then growl at the pup untill he backs away
to establish dominance. you said you did this in a circle
in the yard. i'm sure your neighbors got quite a laugh from
watching that. if i saw my neighbors on their knees growling
at their pup when he approaches the bowl i would have them
committed.

Last edited by doggiedad; 12-02-2012 at 10:05 AM.
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:42 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the advice guys. As I flip through these forums it's obvious everyone has a different opinion about everything. Meaning the spectrum of opinions is very wide, and this helps me see the whole thing and zero in on where I believe. So again thank you very much, constructive criticism is always welcom for that same reason. It helps me to define better where I stand or guide me where I want my dog and I to be. So much appreciated.

Carms, I am of course talking about your constructive criticism, its well noted. Believe it or not, "sit at the table young man and eat your vegetables" served me very well. It taught me that I have to do things even when I don't want to. At a young age. And kept me alive in Iraq. But thank you for your opinion. I did ask. Confidence and trust has never been an issue with me and my pup. Call me crazy but its something you know when you look in another's eyes and get it back. He always comes when told and once I have his attention, its there till I say let it go. As for the trainer, I have thought some methods she employs are unnecessary or off kilter. Which is why if you go through you'll see we haven't done it since.

I am fully confident in my ability to establish a leader position with my dog. That's all I will say about that.

As far as the neighbors, when you've been hazed in the middle of the desert by avatar lion of marines or on a carrier crossing the pacific, side note laughter and opinion. From my next door neighbor doesn't really register.

I want what's best for my dog and if that means I get laughed at, it only makes me more determined. Having said that, again I greatly appreciate all advice no matter the nature, because it helps me learn and that's good for Gunner.

The only reason I haven't let go of the trainer so far is that her methods have worked very well. I can't say ill be doing the food tactic, because I agree, a true lease would ask his followers to follow his instruction and lead by his terms. Meaning I shouldn't have to get down to his level to lead, I should gain his respect enough so that he wants to come to mine. This is the only off kilter advice I've gotten from her and if continues, she will be gone. But until then, we will proceed.

Thank you again so much for taking the time to read the long post. I am greatful for that and then of course taking the time to respond. I hope everyone continues to enjoy your holidays.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:22 AM   #5 (permalink)
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but this is the reason why young women have eating disorders , trying to exert control over their own bodies "Believe it or not, "sit at the table young man and eat your vegetables" served me very well. It taught me that I have to do things even when I don't want to. At a young age. "

I can't fathom being in a war -- but life is not a war , and there are solutions that come out of exploring and being creative , making intelligent decisions , essential for Guide and service dogs including those used for PTSD !
Any society that only strictly followed orders and did not question authority had disastrous results - as we have seen in recent history starting with WW 1 and WW 2 .

your dog is just 12 weeks of age, that is the beginning of the age where training and learning pick up and can be made something to look forward to , or something that is squashing and distasteful . Do you want the dog to work with you , or only for you. There is a difference.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:37 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I really don't think you can equate what YOU learned as a child with a dog. And frankly, your trainer sounds "loony toons". I think it simply boils down to, that by following her silly instructions, you made your dog afraid to eat. Do what was suggested above; put the food down for a specified time then take it up. If he's hungry enough, he'll eat. Maybe trying different dog foods until you find one he likes is an option or adding some tasty things to it.. I know for a while Jas wasn't eating a brand I tried, so i tried a different one and she eats great again. As far as the gulping without chewing, correct me if I'm wrong, but is't there a certain type of bowl you can buy that forces them to eat slower? Maybe someone here knows.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:45 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
As I flip through these forums it's obvious everyone has a different opinion about everything.
This trainer is insane. What's next, spitting into the bowl to show your dog you are the boss, peeing around the yard (mentioned in another thread)?

Simply feeding your dog is establishing dominance.
We are not dogs, and dogs are smart enough to realize we are not dogs.

Mind Games (version 1.0) by M. Shirley Chong Read through this, implement a few (baby steps) and keep in mind, you are the human, not the dog, and our dogs actually do expect us to behave like humans.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:48 AM   #8 (permalink)
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"Nothing else seems to be wrong with him, it's just the eating part"

Maybe he is just not hungry. We went through a few short lived stretches where ours didn't want to eat. They were fine otherwise. We would get concerned and try hand feeding or mixing raw steak in with it (both worked), but I think in our case, they would have been ok to just let them skip that meal.
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Old 12-02-2012, 12:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks guys for the thoughts. That is why we're all here. To share ideas. Msvette, thank you for your thoughts. But I believe if you read carefully my posts you'll see that I don't disagree with you at all. You'll also see we discarded the advice after the one attempt. So that part of your advice is redundant. But thank you nonetheless.

Carms, if the whole nation was like that, yes we would fail. Free will is a necessity, however structure is still needed. And both work to their potential when there is balance between the two. Thank you again. The last bit of your advice is extremely helpful. I have been doing a lot of research on when the most influential time is for a GSD puppy. Your advice helps me to really see that clearly. Thank you.

Nikita, I don't think I did equate the two. Carm suggested it would never work at all. Under any circumstance it would seem. I was simply asserting that in fact there are times when that thought process works. It worked for me. I agree that if he is hungry, he will eat. It's a fact. And the food bowl is an excellent suggestion. I will shop around. And I don't think you could say conclusively that food trick is the the cause. It very well could be and there is a good chance. But that hasn't been proven yet. Thus why I am asking, to help zero in.

Nigel. Of course I have thought of this, but didn't give it too much thought. Perhaps it's because I need to learn that sometimes the correct answer is the simplest one, and often it's right under your nose. If I had Gunners nose, maybe I would have seen that more clearly. Thank you as well for your advice. It may very well be the case.

Thank you all again very much for taking the time to read and respond. I greatly appreciate it. Hopefully gunner and I will be better off for it.
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Old 12-02-2012, 12:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Carmen has some very good points.

Quote:
Then she kind of got into and said "well you know, if you really want to establish dominance, what you do is put a plate of food on the ground, get on all fours over it, and when he comes near, growl at him until he backs off, and if pushes the limit, go ahead and push him back" Well it works pretty darn good and pretty darn quickly. She had us do that in a circle out in the yard that day. So im afraid perhaps that was too much for him and now hes just afraid to eat!!
Flat out laughed when I read this. Really??? This type of thing is still being done???

Poor little guy. He's 3 months old - a baby. It is up to you to show him the right way to do things, take it slow and to be patient with him. Lots of pups are finicky eaters, but I agree with Carmen. Crate him during feedings, put the food down, wait 30 mins, pick up what is left. That's all. No healthy dog will starve itself. If you want to add extras into his food, that is fine, but be aware that this can create or encourage a picky eater even more.

A good leader is not a bully or a brute. A solid pack leader does not resort to unfair corrections or bugging others when they do normal activities like eating. I do not understand the reason for all this alpha nonsense. Be a consistent, fair leader that your dog can gain confidence and guidance from.

Make eating a safe and fun time. Feed him in his crate. Leave him alone when he eats. Pick up the food after 30 mins. He will eventually eat.
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