It's a Water Bowl, Not a Swimming Pool - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-29-2018, 10:50 AM Thread Starter
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It's a Water Bowl, Not a Swimming Pool

Our sweet GSD puppy, Gracie, is 9 weeks old. Since we brought her home (at 8 weeks old), she has nearly always drunk from her water bowl with her left front paw in the water bowl. Cute, right?

Well now she takes a couple sips of water and then puts both front paws in the water, and maniacally "digs" with them (think of the motion of a dog's front legs when digging a hole in your yard). Water splashes all over, a tsunami on the hardwood floor, requiring many full size towels to wipe up. Telling her no (more of a sharp "Eh eh!") does nothing, of course, which you'd expect with a pup who has just discovered something new and fun. Lifting her paws out of the water is useless, too, since she puts them back in the bowl as quickly as I can remove them.

So I try putting just a small amount of water in the bowl. She picks it up and tosses it. Still a flood to clean up.

So I try offering water only when I think she wants some, and she still has to dig in the bowl. I try holding the bowl (with just a little water) up to mouth height. She lifts up a paw to push it down or grabs the bowl with her mouth (the only time she's interested in a game of tug, by the way).

I hate not having water out for her at all times. But it's just not possible right now. I swear, I'm ready to mount a giant hamster bottle on the wall near her food bowl!

Any suggestions other than waiting it out? Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-29-2018, 11:06 AM
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Okay, I have known dogs that continued to do this as adults, and it is a total PITA! VERY annoying bad habit that can drive the owner nuts! Some of these dogs will also learn how to destroy the water bowls as well as dumping them.

Things you could try: anchor the water bowl to something immovable. You can get bowls for kennel use that have clips on them to allow this. However, this will not stop her from wanting to dig in the water.

Offer her water numerous times a day. If she is not thirsty, take it away again. Discourage any effort she makes to dig in the bowl.

Give her lots of fun toys to play with, so she has something else to occupy her mind.

And as a last resort - hamster bottle!! (GSD sized version...) Though she will probably want to play/chew on that as well!

Maybe someone else can come up with other suggestions. I think there are automatic waterers out there, that only dispense a small amount of water at a time, and are shallow enough to prevent digging??
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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-29-2018, 11:26 AM
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You can try a stand that raises the bowl off the ground. Keep her busy and well exercised and she will lose interest in the water.
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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-29-2018, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
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She is well exercised for a young pup and has a good number of toys (chew toys, puzzle type toys, squeeky toys, rolling toys). But it only takes two seconds to go from "I'm so thirsty I need to drink this whole bowl of water" to "surf's up!".

I really appreciate your ideas, though!
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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-29-2018, 12:21 PM
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One of my dogs loves to pick up the water dish (FULL) and dump it, then carry the empty bowl to his bed. WHY??? I don't know. He's been blind for years, and it has something to so with the smell and feel of the bowl. He's at least 11-12 y.o., so they don't necessarily grow out of it. He's just a mischievous old fart, and always has been.

So the water dish lives on the bathroom tile floor (water can't harm the tile), on top of a no-slip rug. The dish is BIG (very heavy when full), to make it hard to pick up (the so-called "no tip" kind of stainless bowl). It is tippable, and if he succeeds, there's water all over the bathroom....but he has to work at it and treat it like a puzzle. It's usually not worth the effort unless he's bored and wants to get into something. We give him a buster cube puzzle toy with kibble in it most days, and that takes care of the mischief for him -- he feels like he's getting into something and isn't bored, which keeps him from going after the water bowl.

The digging is very, very common. Other than correcting it when you catch it in progress, I've got nothing.
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-29-2018, 12:26 PM
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Raised bowls were linked with increased occurrence of bloats.

(Basically air trapped inside stomach. Which leads to twisting of stomach. = Emergency surgery or death of dog.)

Whatever you decide to do; I would keep drinking bowl on the floor level.
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-29-2018, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andywhite View Post
Raised bowls were linked with increased occurrence of bloats.

(Basically air trapped inside stomach. Which leads to twisting of stomach. = Emergency surgery or death of dog.)

Whatever you decide to do; I would keep drinking bowl on the floor level.
Just raised water bowls or raised food bowls as well?
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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-29-2018, 12:50 PM
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Both: One traditional preventative has been to raise the height of food and water bowls, but this was found to actually increase risk by 110 percent. This correlation of risk was verifiable; the dogs of the breeders in this study did not have close relatives that had experienced bloat.

https://www.vin.com/apputil/content/...165&id=3848657
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-29-2018, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunsilver View Post
Both: One traditional preventative has been to raise the height of food and water bowls, but this was found to actually increase risk by 110 percent. This correlation of risk was verifiable; the dogs of the breeders in this study did not have close relatives that had experienced bloat.

https://www.vin.com/apputil/content/...165&id=3848657
How high exactly is too high when it comes to raised bowls? We have always used water & food stands with our dogs for the OPs exact reason... don't like the dogs tipping the bowls over and making a mess. We also used raised because our vet said raised bowls decreases the chance of bloat ! So which is it really? Does the bowl need to be all the way on the floor? I don't really understand the mechanics of how it would make a big difference like that.

SQUIRREL!
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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-29-2018, 01:13 PM
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This may not work but easy enough to try. Get a decent sized cardboard box. All sides closed except for the top. Flip the box over so the top becomes the bottom. On one of the sides cut out a hole that the pup can stick her head through. Make sure the hole is spaced so that the cardboard between floor and bottom of the hole is about chest high but low enough so that she can easily bend her neck down when her head is in the hole. Also make the hole so that her shoulders can't pass through. Put the water dish under the box.

You may have to try with just one piece of cardboard with a hole and put it in front of the water dish and entice her to try it out by using treats to see if the idea is worth it or even safe. If the cardboard box works and you or a loved one is handy, a more sturdy box be can be made of wood

Also I wouldn't use it unless you are at home to supervise. Pups have a habit of getting themselves stuck in spaces a mouse couldn't get through.

This is just an "invention" I thought of while reading your thread. I won't feel bad if you think it's a nutty or bad idea. :-)
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