How Do I Teach Dog to Eat At Mealtime? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-04-2013, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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How Do I Teach Dog to Eat At Mealtime?

I have a 17 month old GSD I adopted from another family. Their feeding style was to always have food in his bowl and he grazed as he pleased throughout the day (the wife was always home so food was always supplied). He's not remotely overweight, in fact I think he's a bit too thin, at 83 lbs.

However, this has resulted in off-kilter feeding routines at our home. He's been with us about 6 weeks now so I'd like to go ahead and change his feeding routine to a more structured one. Anytime I put food in his bowl it sits there from 30 min to 3 hours before he decides to eat it. When he does eat it, he eats the whole bowl not just part of it but this really interferes with my desire to really know when he's going to have to poop as both my husband and I work full time. He hasn't had any accidents in the house but I've never seen a dog who didn't devour a bowl of kibble the minute the owner put it down.

A friend of mine suggested putting a bowl down for approx 20 minutes, if he doesn't eat to take it back and try at the next mealtime and he would eventually "get it" -- is this an effective and humane way to train him? He shows NO food aggression so I'm not worried about that aspect of training.

If he's not "excited" about eating should I switch his food? The previous owner was feeding him Purina One SmartBlend Chicken & Rice so I stuck with that.

Any advice appreciated...thanks!!
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-04-2013, 10:36 PM
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I'm 'cruel' to my dogs. Their food bowl goes down and comes back up in 5 minutes. Whatever they leave they forfeit. Their next chance to eat is the next day... at dinner time.

Don't swap foods every few weeks. If he's eating it and in good condition, stick with it. I'd upgrade from Purina One personally, but that's your call. When he gets hungry enough he'll eat.

Some dogs take a few days or a week to get used to this, especially if they've been free-fed. I think it's a lot easier in my house because of having multiple dogs. There's always that possibility that uneaten food might be poached, so everybody is quick to munch. :P


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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-04-2013, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for the opinion! What do you feed yours and how much?


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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-04-2013, 11:40 PM
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No, it's not cruel - it is a learning process for him. Dogs can safely fast for a few days, so no harm done if he has to wait until the next day for his meal. I bet he'll catch on very fast!

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-05-2013, 07:10 AM
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Absolutely, get him on a feeding schedule.
I definitely would switch his food from that not so good one. Dog probably eats it when hunger hits him, because he doesn't like it.
You can see why that is not a good food here:
Purina One SmartBlend Dog Food | Review and Rating
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-05-2013, 07:22 AM
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What everyone else said! If they don't eat when you give them the chance pick the bowl up and try again later. Not cruel. In the wild wolves eat when they get the chance. Dog's bodies are built for that. Of course we feed them daily, but they don't need to know that!

I also suggest switching foods! Purina is not a very healthy brand at all. There are a lot of great foods out there. I personally feed Orijen but as many can tell you, that's just one option out of many.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-05-2013, 09:30 AM
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I feed Purina EN (veterinary diet) mixed with either 4Health Salmon or Kirkland adult with some raw chicken thighs, but if I only had a single dog I'd probably look into some other foods. It's just not financially possible for me to dole out 26 cups of food a day from a $50+ bag.

Personally, I reckon high levels of Purina are good foods. I LOVE their Sport (I use it during the busy season to keep good weight on my girls). Savor & Vet lines are good. One and below are pretty scuzzy, and Dog Chow is the nutritional equivalent of cardbord with a sprinkle of vitamins.


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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-05-2013, 07:42 PM
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I mix the 4Health Healthy Weight with the 4Health Salmon (grain free) and feed each dog a little over a cup twice a day. Food goes down for about 10 minutes and then bowls go in the sink until their evening meal. They pretty much always eat every bite. I do mix about a tablespoon of canned food in also just to give them something different to taste.

When you are first trying to get him to do this, make their food so irresistible that can't help but eat it all. I did this by adding cottage cheese to the dry. For some reason, dogs love cottage cheese

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-12-2014, 07:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marbury View Post
I'm 'cruel' to my dogs. Their food bowl goes down and comes back up in 5 minutes. Whatever they leave they forfeit. Their next chance to eat is the next day... at dinner time.

Don't swap foods every few weeks. If he's eating it and in good condition, stick with it. I'd upgrade from Purina One personally, but that's your call. When he gets hungry enough he'll eat.

Some dogs take a few days or a week to get used to this, especially if they've been free-fed. I think it's a lot easier in my house because of having multiple dogs. There's always that possibility that uneaten food might be poached, so everybody is quick to munch. :P
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-12-2014, 08:38 PM
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switch brands. free feeding has worked for me in the past.
going to the bathroom was no problem. a dog can adjust
to any schedule.
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