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Hey everybody! After using this form for quite a long time I decided to make an account to ask a question about my puppy. He is a six-month-old lab German Shepherd mix. About two months ago I switched him over from Natural choice to orijen. Overtime I've noticed that he does not like breakfast. He wakes up very late around 10 or 11 AM. Even if I wake him up around eight and take him for a walk he goes back to sleep. He has started to eat his food later into the day now. For example when I get back home around noon I'll take him to the dog park and he'll eat a little bit of his food around two or three. He will then take a nap and finish his food around six or 7 PM. I will then take him on a walk and feed him dinner. He tends to eat all his dinner within an hour or two, by 9 o'clock. He then goes to sleep.

My concern is that over the last week or two he has started leaving his food until later and later in the afternoon. A few days ago he didn't finish his food for dinner and left it overnight. Today I tried to get him on a feeding schedule. I fed him after his morning potty around 9 AM. He didn't have one bite and went back to sleep. Then I did not feed him all day and fed him just an hour ago. He ate half of it and left the other half. I coaxed him into eating the rest of it by putting little bits of steak in his food.

My question is, what is y'all's advice? Should I continue to free feed both of his meals or should I develop a feeding schedule with him (pick up bowl after 20 minutes)? If a feeding schedule is on order, should I coax him with steak in his bowl along with the kibble?


Thank you so much for your time
rox
 

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Your dog is growing up and isn't always going to be hungry. I certainly won't wake him up to eat - it isn't going to hurt him to miss a meal. If you stay with a scheduled meal time, put his food down but don't tempt him to eat with tidbits of steak or anything else or changing foods, because then he will become a very picky eater, and will have learned that if he holds out he'll get something better. If you want to put something extra in his food, put it on the bottom. Leave the food down for 20 minutes and remove. I feed my Sting three times a day, and some meals he isn't hungry so won't eat - that's fine. My dobe was on free feeding when I got her as an adult, so I stayed with it, she did well on it.
 

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He was at the vet a week ago and everything is fine. Activity is normal, everything seems well.

According to the orijen lbp bag and his estimated adult weight, he should be eating between 3.75 and 4.5 cups. He is probably on the small side of that range and should be eating around 3.75 cups.
 

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Your dog is growing up and isn't always going to be hungry. I certainly won't wake him up to eat - it isn't going to hurt him to miss a meal. If you stay with a scheduled meal time, put his food down but don't tempt him to eat with tidbits of steak or anything else or changing foods, because then he will become a very picky eater, and will have learned that if he holds out he'll get something better. If you want to put something extra in his food, put it on the bottom. Leave the food down for 20 minutes and remove. I feed my Sting three times a day, and some meals he isn't hungry so won't eat - that's fine. My dobe was on free feeding when I got her as an adult, so I stayed with it, she did well on it.
Thank you for your reply. What do you think is the better option for him based on the information in my post? I'm stuck between the two. I love the idea of scheduled eating. However, i want to do whatever works best for him. I'm stuck between the two.
 

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He was at the vet a week ago and everything is fine. Activity is normal, everything seems well.

According to the orijen lbp bag and his estimated adult weight, he should be eating between 3.75 and 4.5 cups. He is probably on the small side of that range and should be eating around 3.75 cups.
Dog food companies make money by SELLING FOOD :)

In my experience I have never fed the amounts recommended on the bags. Too much for my dogs. They either get fat (the greedy food driven dogs) or ignore it (the dogs with less food drive and with more picky eating habits).

So I use the bag recommendations just as general guidelines and then watch my dogs for the true amounts.

BTW, if you are using lots of treats to train your pup during the day (which almost all of us do cause it's the best/easiest way to train) you should mentally add that to the calories/meals for your dog. I know after a big training day my dogs get a TON of food from me when I add up all the click/treats that were going on. So clearly I need to adjust the meal times and not be surprised if they aren't very hungry (or start getting really fat! :wild:)

I never free feed. A dogs 'normal' eating habits (how much and when) is a huge clue to give vets if a medical situation comes up. When you free feed you are making any diagnosis much more difficult for the vet when you are standing there in front of a vet with a really sick dog and sounding like an idiot with all the 'I don't knows' that come out when free feeding.

Since I have two dogs and 2 cats, if my dog's (and cats') leave their food bowls and wander away, up comes the bowl until the next meal or it's a free for all with Bretta eating everything :) . That said, Glory B is a picky eater so I do have to make sure her food is yummy enough to stay interested in or she will skip more meals than I am comfortable with (so I add canned or other yummy scraps to the kibble just to get her interested).
 

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Dog food companies make money by SELLING FOOD :)

In my experience I have never fed the amounts recommended on the bags. Too much for my dogs. They either get fat (the greedy food driven dogs) or ignore it (the dogs with less food drive and with more picky eating habits).

So I use the bag recommendations just as general guidelines and then watch my dogs for the true amounts.

BTW, if you are using lots of treats to train your pup during the day (which almost all of us do cause it's the best/easiest way to train) you should mentally add that to the calories/meals for your dog. I know after a big training day my dogs get a TON of food from me when I add up all the click/treats that were going on. So clearly I need to adjust the meal times and not be surprised if they aren't very hungry (or start getting really fat! :wild:)

I never free feed. A dogs 'normal' eating habits (how much and when) is a huge clue to give vets if a medical situation comes up. When you free feed you are making any diagnosis much more difficult for the vet when you are standing there in front of a vet with a really sick dog and sounding like an idiot with all the 'I don't knows' that come out when free feeding.

Since I have two dogs and 2 cats, if my dog's (and cats') leave their food bowls and wander away, up comes the bowl until the next meal or it's a free for all with Bretta eating everything :) . That said, Glory B is a picky eater so I do have to make sure her food is yummy enough to stay interested in or she will skip more meals than I am comfortable with (so I add canned or other yummy scraps to the kibble just to get her interested).
Thanks! Over the past few days he has been getting minimal amounts of treats, so he eats his food and doesn't hold out for treats. I totally understand your problem with free feeding. However, I am not gonna give him control of how much he eats, I will be feeding him his recommended amount every day (and hoping he eats it all).

For breakfast this morning I gave him his food once he was awake and went potty. He didn't even care. After a few minutes, I put half the bowl of kibble onto the floor. He then ate maybe 1/4 of his breakfast. I then put around 10 very small pieces of steak (what we train with) in his food. He ate all of his food. Is doing this an okay idea? Maybe he doesn't like orijen and I should try anyother kind of kibble?
 

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I know this is difficult to understand, but you are actually training your dog to be a picky eater. When he doesn't eat it all, you add tasty tidbits, so you have taught him that if he waits, he'll get something extra. Or if he doesn't eat his food at all, you will change it. I agree with Maggie that the feeding instructions on the dog food packages are on the high side. So, I don't worry about that. If my dog consistently leaves food in his dish, I lower the amount. For the free feeding, I also agree with Maggie. And my other dogs after my dobe were on scheduled meal times. I suggest just put the food down, pick it up after 20 minutes and don't worry if it is all eaten or not. Do not add anything extra after you have put the food down. Since your dog doesn't seem to be hungry in the morning, I suggest you skip that meal - feed him at noon and in the evening. If you have difficulty with that because dogs can really play the meal game, then I suggest you consider free feeding. Like you said, you will just put the daily amount in his bowl and that is it. My dobe was an adult and she had been on free feeding. She was used to that and didn't do well, she had digestive issues when I tried to change to scheduled mealtimes, so I kept her on the free feeding. She did maintain a healthy weight and did do well on it.
 

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I don't mind adding tasty tidbits.
Just today I topped Hans's food with nori, and he loved it.
I think variety=nutrition. A little topper won't hurt, in my opinion. I would hate to have to eat the same ol' dry nuggets every day of my life, and I think dogs feel the same, but that's just me.
 

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I don't mind adding tasty tidbits.
Just today I topped Hans's food with nori, and he loved it.
I think variety=nutrition. A little topper won't hurt, in my opinion. I would hate to have to eat the same ol' dry nuggets every day of my life, and I think dogs feel the same, but that's just me.
I have been topping his food with his steak or chicken treats. Or I've also used teaspoon of peanut butter. So far he's he ate all his meals right away. I'm thinking about continuing to top his food as I agree with your point.

Does anyone have an negative advice or caution about topping a dogs food with something yummy?
 

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if you always top his food with goodies of course he is not going to want to eat his food plain and will likely leave it until you put something more on it. Mary Beth is right your CREATING a picky eater. its fine to give your dog some nice toppings but if you do it every time he will never eat it plain.
 

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So I have been topping his food for the last few days. Sadly, yesterday morning I topped his food and he only ate half of it. I took it away after 20 minutes. I decided not to top his food anymore. Dinner he ate maybe 1/4 of a cup and today he only ate 1/4 of a cup. I took the food away after 20 minutes. I'm worried as he is not eating even close to enough food. Should I keep holding out? Btw I have stopped treating during walks, etc so he doesn't hold out for the treats.
 

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Yes - he is not very hungry and also he is testing you to see if you will give in and try to tempt him to eat with some goodies. The way I see it, is sure it's fine to put something extra but what creates a picky eater is when the dog doesn't eat and the human adds something to this food - the dog thinks, "great, I'll hold out and get something better" - then when the human adds the extra, the dogs thinks "well, I think I want something different" and it becomes a good game for the dog to play. The dog then learns to hold out longer and longer to get something better. The human worries the dog will starve or become too thin, so tempts the dog with extras or changes food. The dog then learns that the longer he holds out, the better the meal.
 

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Yes - he is not very hungry and also he is testing you to see if you will give in and try to tempt him to eat with some goodies. The way I see it, is sure it's fine to put something extra but what creates a picky eater is when the dog doesn't eat and the human adds something to this food - the dog thinks, "great, I'll hold out and get something better" - then when the human adds the extra, the dogs thinks "well, I think I want something different" and it becomes a good game for the dog to play. The dog then learns to hold out longer and longer to get something better. The human worries the dog will starve or become too thin, so tempts the dog with extras or changes food. The dog then learns that the longer he holds out, the better the meal.
He is starting to eat more. His last 2 meals at night time he has practically finished (2 cups). However his 11am or noon meal has not been as good. He finishes maybe half of the 2cups.
 

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That is normal. My Sting does the same. Sometimes he will eat his entire meal, othertimes he won't eat, then sometimes he will leave some. When Sting was consistently leaving some food, I adjusted the amount of food and gave less. The food package directions are very much on the high side and a lot depends on the individual dog. That's fine and healthy behavior for a dog. I suggest you don't worry about it, I don't. What you may want to do, is to keep a food/meal log. Also include what you are feeding, a list of ingredients in the food, how much given vs how much eaten. Then when you take your dog in for his annual check up, you can show the vet.
 

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That is normal. My Sting does the same. Sometimes he will eat his entire meal, othertimes he won't eat, then sometimes he will leave some. When Sting was consistently leaving some food, I adjusted the amount of food and gave less. The food package directions are very much on the high side and a lot depends on the individual dog. That's fine and healthy behavior for a dog. I suggest you don't worry about it, I don't. What you may want to do, is to keep a food/meal log. Also include what you are feeding, a list of ingredients in the food, how much given vs how much eaten. Then when you take your dog in for his annual check up, you can show the vet.
Thank you! I picked up a new bag of orijen lbp (whole prey version). The feeding guidelines on it are different. I'm assuming they have about the same calories per cup. Maybe I was feeding him a little bit too much. This bag says I should be feeding him around 3 cups a day while the other bag said four. He took the 2 cups for dinner like a champ!
 

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Your very welcome. Yes - I also found that package food guidelines can vary among the different varieties in the same brand. Since he ate so well tonight, don't be surprised if tomorrow or a few days from now if he isn't so hungry.
 

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Your very welcome. Yes - I also found that package food guidelines can vary among the different varieties in the same brand. Since he ate so well tonight, don't be surprised if tomorrow or a few days from now if he isn't so hungry.
Wow! Are you some sort of psychic? Hahaha, this morning he left a cup out of the 1.5 I fed. Should i give him 1.5 cups for dinner (3 cups per day so 1.5 in the AM and 1.5 in the PM) or should i add the 1 cup he didnt eat for breakfast to his dinner? Sorry for the newbie question, I just really want him to eat well.
 

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I suggest you just give the regular ration 1.5 cups. That is what I do with my Sting. Please don't worry about him eating well - you are feeding a good quality kibble, he is eating well and will eat when he is hungry. Gsds are not like most hounds and even though your dog is a gsd/lab cross - he is all gsd when it comes to food. Gsds can be worse than cats at being picky eaters if their human isn't strong. The plus side is that most gsds will not get fat which leads to health problems.
 
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