Whats the BIG Deal?? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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Whats the BIG Deal??

Ok, so went to our new first training class today involving just the owners and trainers and nutrition was brought up. The question was asked how many are free feeding. Only myself and one other raised our hands. The trainer went on to say that we have a BIG problem and this is the 50% of the cause of the issues or behavioral problems with our dogs, and that we needed to get on regular feedings ASAP. Though I didn't argue, I completely disagree. Now I've read a lot of the threads regarding free freeding and talked to a friend about it who also advised against it. But until this class, the reasons I was given is because you dont want your dog to overeat and you need to know how much she is eating.

Once, in the morning, she is given about half a can of wet food mixed with the dry which she eats immediately and equals about 2 cups of food. I then put down about 3 cups of the dry (Wellness for LBP) and it usually lasts about a day and a half. I also incorporate one or two raw bones during the day. I know exactly how much she is eating. She is 5 months and about 40lbs. My vet says her weight is perfect and she looks great. I really have no serious behavior issues with her inside the home, except jumping on the counters, which we are working on.

Our issues are outside the home dealing with fear aggression towards other dogs, and I highly doubt that this is caused by her being able to eat dry kibble whenever she feels like it. She didn't start socializing until 15 wks, so we are simply behind and I feel the fear aggression is the result. The trainer also went on to say that we would have a more difficult time training with treats because our dogs wouldn't be as anxious for the treats because they were never really hungry. This has never been a problem for us either.

So I guess my question is, why is it such a big deal if I allow her to eat the dry kibble when she's hungry if I know exactly how much she's getting and how often?

~Tina~
Achilles (GSD) ~ 1/31/11
Kaiya (GSD)~ 9/18/2009
Lexi (Yorkie)~1/24/03
Lilly (Chi)~8/21/08
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 06:44 PM
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I think what the trainer was refering to was more along the thinking that when dogs are fed at certain times only, they come to see that resources, like food, are controled by you, the pack leader. It is a subtle way to re-inforce your "alphaness". I'm not a fan of freefeeding (wouldn't work with raw, anyways), but it isn't up to me to tell anyone how to raise their dog, and it isn't up to the trainer either.

Now, if you were having rank issues with Kaiya (whick I know you don't), then bringing in a lot more controls into what she can and cannot do would make more sense - like not allowed on the furniture, not allowed through doors ahead of you, not allowed any food unless you personally give it to her. But these measures are not always neccessary, and, for example, my dogs are allowed on the furniture, they are allowed through the door before me, and they eat what I give them because free-feeding would not work in a two-dog three-cat household. But the pack is secure, and it takes only one word from me to get the dogs off the furniture, to get them to stop at the door and wait for a release before they go out, and to wait until I tell them that they can eat.

I think it is jumping to conclusions that your trainer immediately decided that free-feeding will cause big behavioural issues . . . really it is a case-by-case scenario, and with a pup, and no issues so far, I wouldn't worry about it.

Lucia


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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Debbie. You always give great feedback. I do make her sit and stay before I give her the canned food or a raw bone, but I am more like you in that I don't use NILF in every situation unless needed. I am definitely the Alpha in my house with both the dogs and the humans and I believe this is something she caught on to fairly quickly, as I have had very little problems establishing dominance. As a long time "small breed" owner, it is taking some time to get used to her fast growing size, but she is by far one of the easiest pups I've ever had to raise temperament and intelligence wise.

~Tina~
Achilles (GSD) ~ 1/31/11
Kaiya (GSD)~ 9/18/2009
Lexi (Yorkie)~1/24/03
Lilly (Chi)~8/21/08
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 07:01 PM
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Don't know about your instructors reasons to dislike free feeding, but I also do NOT like to leave food out.

I think it helps bond my dogs even more to me to have the GREAT EXCITEMENT of mealtimes, twice aday. And that they are hungry for that meal when it goes down.

I KNOW that my dogs eating habits are a vital clue to their general health. Having 2 times a day to check in on that and know how they are doing is information that I wouldn't have with food left out. With both my current dogs, if they don't immediately eat all their food when I put it down (or even worse, don't show up for the meal) there is something wrong.

One of the first things my vets ask about my dogs is how much they eat, when, and if they are sick.... when was their last meal. I would know that, absolutely and 100% so would be able to give REAL information to help with the treatment and diagnosis.

I see NO benefits to free feeding. Zero (except it would be easier for me to just pile food in a bowl and restock if I noticed it was empty).

I see many benefits for the health and well-being of my dogs. So I feed my dogs twice a day, they eat it all right away. And I have the information I need about their health and welfare until the next meal.




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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 07:04 PM
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I'm with Lucia on this one, in your case, I don't really see a problem with it since YOU aren't having problems with it.

It could become a problem (or maybe that's not the right word ) IF you decide to get another dog at some point..

I don't free feed, only because I have 3 dogs, and they are all food hogs, so free feeding wouldn't work here at all (in fact the food wouldn't last LOL)

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Tihannah View Post
Thanks, Debbie.
That was Lucia! But I agree with everything she said.

-Debbie-
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Cassidy's Mom View Post
That was Lucia! But I agree with everything she said.
I actually thought it was quite the compliment to be confused with you!

Lucia


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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 07:10 PM Thread Starter
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I actually thought it was quite the compliment to be confused with you!
LOL! SRY! Debbie is always one of the first to answer my posts and both names start with "CAS"? lol. As soon as you said that I scrolled back up and was like, DUH! I'm getting old! So correction! You both always give great feedback! lol

~Tina~
Achilles (GSD) ~ 1/31/11
Kaiya (GSD)~ 9/18/2009
Lexi (Yorkie)~1/24/03
Lilly (Chi)~8/21/08
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by JakodaCD OA View Post
I'm with Lucia on this one, in your case, I don't really see a problem with it since YOU aren't having problems with it.

It could become a problem (or maybe that's not the right word ) IF you decide to get another dog at some point..

I don't free feed, only because I have 3 dogs, and they are all food hogs, so free feeding wouldn't work here at all (in fact the food wouldn't last LOL)
Well, that IS the other thing I was called out on. I do have 2 other dogs. My yorkie and chi. And...try not to hit me...they all eat out of the same bowl with the dry. With the canned/dry mix, I separate them into different rooms and give separate bowls. The little ones, even though I have offered, have no interest in the raw bones whatsoever. I believe my yorkie gave me a disgusted look the first time I gave her a raw bone, and my chi looked at me like "What the heck am I supposed to do with that?" lol. But as far as the dry, they eat when they want, and there's never any squabbling about it. My yorkie (7 yrs) is the top dog. And if she happens to be eating, the others give their space. Kaiya is next. And the chi is a one kibble at a time dog~ meaning she picks one kibble, prances into another room, and then chews up the one kibble. Takes about 5 or 6 trips and then her meal is done. All had a recent vet trip last week, and all are healthy, and at good weights.

On another note though, and something else the trainer mentioned concerning nutrition. Out of the 20 something people in the class, only 2 of us were feeding quality food~the rest were feeding Iams, Science Diet, Purina Pro Plan, and one even said Gravy Train! lol. The trainer okayed the first 2, but nixed the last two. Then went on to say that we should avoid giving our dogs "High Protein" foods? I was thinking, wouldn't that eliminate most of the high quality foods? She said that feeding our dogs lots of protein contributed our puppies to hyper activity. I feed Wellness LBP and some raw, and its top ingredients are all meats. Kaiya isn't hyperactive act all outside of normal puppy behavior. Am I missing something in this message?

~Tina~
Achilles (GSD) ~ 1/31/11
Kaiya (GSD)~ 9/18/2009
Lexi (Yorkie)~1/24/03
Lilly (Chi)~8/21/08
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 07:28 PM
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I actually thought it was quite the compliment to be confused with you!
Back at ya babe!

-Debbie-
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Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
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