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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-11-2011, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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Stop a Picky Eater

Recently I have gone through many threads about picky eaters trying to come up with a solution to our problem. My Boy has always been a picky eater and he has had us trained from the beginning. We have tried almost every brand of food that there is and also tried putting things in his food to make it more enticing. He had some issues on some of the better foods (Orijen, Wellness, Blue, totw) so we decided to try Merrick kibble and he seemed to like it for a few days so we thought that we scored and finally found a food that he liked. Fast forward about 30-40 days and we are at it again. BTW the only food that he ever had that seemed to agree with his system was Royal Canin. So we recently switched him to the Royal Canin GSD24. He finally after months of other foods has normal stool again but is starting to lose interest in this food as well. All of this got me thinking the other day. We have tried the tough love approach and it did not go over too well because either my Wife or I would break by the second day. So now I am wondering how can I train my dog to eat? I am thinking of trying a few different things to get him mentally "into his food" such as feeding him very small amounts after excercise/ training and treat heavily with high value treats for finishing his food. I will then see if we can work up to larger portions and eventually a full meal. Has anyone ever done something like this?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-11-2011, 10:11 PM
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Training for food is fine. Many people don't feed with a bowl, but their hands. It is worth a shot to feed him this way if he'll take it, but he obviously has low food drive.
Have you tried soaking his kibble before feeding or a raw diet?

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-11-2011, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by onyx'girl View Post
Training for food is fine. Many people don't feed with a bowl, but their hands. It is worth a shot to feed him this way if he'll take it, but he obviously has low food drive.
Have you tried soaking his kibble before feeding or a raw diet?
We have tried soaking with warm water and canned food mixed in. He has a high food drive just not with plain old kibble. When training we use a variety of food including Freeze dried beef liver and String Cheese and he absolutely loves it. That is what got me thinking that maybe he thinks that waiting us out will produce more treats or a different variety in his food as that is what he has always gotten. So now it is time for some Tough Love and slowly re-training him to eat at mealtime. No More treats unless he eats his regular food.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-12-2011, 08:37 PM
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try putting the food down for ten minutes then take it away until the next feeding. To be honest dog's will eat when they're hungry, I've never known a dog to starve himself, intentionally, unless there was something medically wrong with it. He'll eat when he's hungry.

I had a dog that was picky, wouldn't eat regular meals, so if he didn't eat one day oh well, he ate the next day, some times he didn't eat for days or a week, but he always ate eventually. He had been like that since I have known him, I had tired everything, soaking it in water, chicken broth, mixing it with wet food, putting chicken or steak in it, green beans, even went so far as to getting different dog foods, you name I tried it, eventually I said enough he'll eat when he's hungry, and guess what? he did

If you don't want to do that for fear of "starving your dog", try soaking it in chicken broth, but he should eat when he's hungry. good luck

~Steph~

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-12-2011, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the ideas.
For the last couple of days he seems to think it is a game. I usually feed in the crate but for some reason I decided to let him out to eat. If I pretend to take a piece of food from his dish he would walk over and become somwhat interested. Maybe he thinks that I will eat his food So last night I put about a cup of food in his bowl and he did not touch it so 15 minutes later it got pulled. Today same thing he refused to eat so it got pulled. The very few cookies 2 or 3 that he got were his kibble instead of anything else like cheese/ dried liver. Tonight I let both dogs out of the crates to eat and my Lab will eat anything so she finished her food and looked over at his while he was playing games with my wife. The lab took one bite of his food and almost immediately he came over and finished it while she watched. I had to reward her for being so good so when he finished we all went into the kitchen and I gave them both a little wet food from a spoon as a reward. Maybe he just needs to think that if he does not eat right away someone else will get it.

Jason
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-12-2011, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cuttingedge View Post
Thanks for the ideas.
For the last couple of days he seems to think it is a game. I usually feed in the crate but for some reason I decided to let him out to eat. If I pretend to take a piece of food from his dish he would walk over and become somwhat interested. Maybe he thinks that I will eat his food So last night I put about a cup of food in his bowl and he did not touch it so 15 minutes later it got pulled. Today same thing he refused to eat so it got pulled. The very few cookies 2 or 3 that he got were his kibble instead of anything else like cheese/ dried liver. Tonight I let both dogs out of the crates to eat and my Lab will eat anything so she finished her food and looked over at his while he was playing games with my wife. The lab took one bite of his food and almost immediately he came over and finished it while she watched. I had to reward her for being so good so when he finished we all went into the kitchen and I gave them both a little wet food from a spoon as a reward. Maybe he just needs to think that if he does not eat right away someone else will get it.

Jason
I'd be really careful letting your lab eat your dog's food, it could cause a fight, just keep an eye on them.

~Steph~

Dodger 5 yr old GSD (6/23/08)
Molly 14 yr old Border Collie/Aussie Mix (7/4/98)

RIP my Angel:
Chopper 17 yr old Border Collie (10/1/94-12/30/10)
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-12-2011, 09:38 PM
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I agree, my dogs eat near each other, but they know who's area is who's. And my dogs aren't picky eaters, as I was reading this, I had some cooked broccoli, Onyx and Karlo ate it with enthusiasm/competing for it.
Competition is a good way to get a dog to eat, but you don't want resource guarding involved.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-12-2011, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
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Agreed on the resource guarding. My lab only took one bite and then backed off as I told her to "Leave it". She is very well trained and she just stood by with those puppy eyes looking at me like come on man really. But she waited patiently for him to finish so they both got rewarded afterward. As far as the Guarding behavior I worked on that with them from the beginning by making them eat next to each other and even out of the same bowl at times as well as lifting the bowl and putting my hands and face in it So that has never been an issue They are great friends and share toys and bones among other things so that is not a concern at this time but I will watch it.

Thanks
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