GSD puppy not buying into "work for your food" concept
this is my first post on this forum about my first GSD puppy. i have tried to be as responsible of a puppy parent as i can. we've taken her to training classes (just finished up), i try to give her as much exercise and outdoor time as i can, and socialization (both other dogs and people). this effort to be a good owner stems from my short patience with my friends' dogs (more my friends' ownership and handling of their dogs).
any ways, bailey, is our pup and she is about 8-1/2 months now. i believe in the work for your food and used to have her go through a cadence of tricks/commands before she could get her food. lately she will still do the tricks/commands, but when i set her food down she just looks at it and walks away. i started with the mindset of "you have to learn to eat when you're given food or ill take it away", but this turned into her missing a meal, and vomiting awhile later from the empty stomach. so i have tried a couple times of leaving it out throughout the morning and still not a kibble taken from it. the only way she will eat is after some moderate to intense activity (fetch, frisbee, tugging on the rope). even after this activity, its rare that she eats all of her food. her eating her food is like a gauge of the amount of activity she has just completed.
i feel like this is some sort of misunderstanding on one of our parts. am i not handling this correctly, or is she assuming she will make the schedule of when she eats regardless of her getting sick. or....am i thinking to much into this hahaha. its been puzzling me for a few weeks now.
any advice on this would be appreciated.
first welcome to the forum:)
Just want to suggest, no intense/moderate exercise prior to eating/about an hour or so after eating..Some feel it can promote "bloat", I'm assuming you know what bloat is?
What are you feeding? Maybe she's just not happy eating the food your feeding?
I would start with the food first.:)
Is her weight good? How much are you giving her in terms of treats and stuff? If she gets a lot of treats, maybe she is just not hungry for her meal. That was what I was doing wrong with my GSD mix, she was getting too many extra special yummy treats (peanut butter!! bacon!!!) that when dinnertime rolled around she was like, "Meh."
Bt then again if as you say she is passing on her dinner to the point of being sick on an empty stomach, then maybe Diane is onto something and she does not like the food you are giving her. I always add homemade chicken stock to the kibble I feed, and my dogs seem to enjoy that.
Oh dear...I know what you're going through. I've had this exact same problem with my 15 month old in the past. To the letter!!
A few things come to mind with this. You said your girl is 8 1/2 months. Has she come into her first heat yet? I found that any slight hormonal changes in my girl up until I got her spayed caused her to go through periods where I could not get her to eat at all. (She went through two heats before I got her done.)
The second thing is that it sounds like Bailey is very much a toy/game driven dog, rather than a food driven one. I can totally identify with this as well. You will have your work cut out for you, but it's just a matter of thinking the way your dog thinks. Even though it may seem like you are being "bullied" by her to play first before she'll eat for you, just bear in mind that she is wired differently than a food driven dog is. You actually really hit the nail on the head when you said that her eating is a gauge of how much activity she's had. It isn't that she's doing this on purpose to annoy you (though it probably feels like it!), but rather just that her drives dominate her in a different way.
I have found in dealing with my own fetch/toy/prey driven dog that having some form of activity before the morning meal was the best thing for her. (The point Jakoda made about bloat is very good though - do keep that in mind if you choose to indulge your girls wish for play before food.) She often will not eat unless we've had some form of intense walk/fetch/play beforehand.
Making your dog work for their food is definitely a good thing. But with dogs like ours, you will often find that they will work harder and train better when toys is the objective rather than food. In Bailey's and Junos mind, they've taken working for their food to the enth degree. Telling her to "Sit" or "Down" before they eat just won't cut it. They actually want to WORK.
On a side note, since I recently acquired a new puppy who is the most food driven little animal I have ever known, my Juno's appetite has suddenly gone waaaaay up. It's become a competition for food with the puppy though, rather than because she actually wants to eat. Still, I'm not complaining. She's kept me worried for so many weeks in the past with her picky appetite that I'm glad to see her eating a bit more!
I can't really advise getting a new puppy just to get Bailey to eat though. haha!
I'm sorry I'm not more help, but at least you know you're not alone!
Welcome to the forum!
thanks you guys. her weight is good as far as i can tell (feel the ribs, but not see them). i had also thought about switching the food as well, so maybe ill give that a try.
she gets a couple treats a day, but as i said ive tried to be a good parent and watch her spoilings. again, my friends throw treats at their dogs like theyre getting paid to do so....mostly to stop unwanted behavior haha.
it makes sense that shes wired as a working dog. i feel like that lines everything right up. if only she could earn money for the work shes driven to do haha.
thanks again guys.
What kind of food is she eating?
GSD puppy not buying into "work for your food" concept
I'm new to the forum as well. My girl is 8 months old and has always cared less about food.
I think she's thin, but my vet says she's perfect. Even treats for training have never been a big deal.
I have a 3 month old boy who will do anything for a treat and Loves to eat- he is growing Crazy , already up to thirty pounds of solid muscle.
They are so different, I changed to Call of the Wild -dog food and my girl seems to be eating more.
Maybe switching dog food might help. Good luck
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I've seen my dogs go through this phase.
Basically you could be feeding so much with tricks that she doesn't want any more food or your treats taste and smell better than her kibble.
She could be bored with her food. In which case go easy on the treats and wait til your dog feels hungry and then give the kibble.
When i was raising some pups for a friend i used to just feed by hand as some of them didn't eat from the bowl or were disinterested in the kibble in which case i needed to persuade the pup to eat one bite at a time.
If you want to make the kibble more interesting for the pup put some oil into it or some tinned fish or some meat stock.
Ouch! I make my pup (Only 5months old) do tricks for his food, but I generally feed him by hand for 1/2 his bowl doing tricks / obedience commands then I ask him to go to his mat where he gets the rest of his food.
I couldn't imagine him not eating he's like a never ending food gobbler... I'm really going to go with the others and say its the food, try other types of food, I know locally (Ottawa Canada) there are a couple of pet food shops (Global Pets I believe) that when you buy little bags of food you can return them if your dog doesn't like them.
So maybe call around first let them know you have a picky eater and your looking to try some new foods and see if they have a return policy for the little bags.
My dad raised alot of Shepherds and at times he would make a broth (Beef or chicken) and pour it on the kibble.
We mix the kibble up with plain yogurt, or pumpkin (Soemtimes both) and try to alternate things so that its not always the "Same boring food"
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