View Full Version : My dog won't eat unless I am present.
Apr 25, 2007, 05:47 PM
When I put food out for my dog to eat, he will not touch it. He will only eat if I am around telling him to do so. Once I leave to another room where he can't see me, he will stop eating. I have tried leaving the food out for him without being present and he went 3 days without eating, at which point I gave in. Any suggestions on making him an independent eater?
Apr 25, 2007, 05:59 PM
That funny because I have one that won't eat if anyone is watching.
Try canned food, not many dogs can resist it. Well then don't correct it.
Apr 25, 2007, 07:01 PM
Switching to canned food is a very poor idea. Dry chow is much better for dogs' teeth and jaws plus it helps scrap off the tartar that causes bad breath and tooth decay. In addition, providing a dog with a more tempting food is seldom the answer to any eating problem. I really resent having to take time to correct such a poor answer.
Go to the section of the sticky on ''My dog won't eat,''. http://www.askmehelpdesk.com/dogs/information-articles-our-dogs-expert-labman-53153.html#post254171
This doesn't sound like a health problem to me. It could be partly due to an over fed dog. Next time you are at the vet's, you might have the vet confirm your evaluation of your dog as shown in the link in the sticky.
I am used to Labs where I have to stand there between them to make sure they don't raid the other's bowl. Right now, besides my 2 Labs, we are keeping an 8 week old Golden for friends.
If he is over weight, slimming him down should help. It will also increase his active life and reduce many health problems. The rainbow bridge comes all too soon for even the best cared for dogs.
I don't have ready answers I can paste in for out of the ordinary problems. Does he wonder off to find you if you leave? Few of us are able to spend the time with our dogs they would like. He may value your company more than his food.
You might try some of the confidence building exercises I suggest for other problems. Start with obedience training. The key to most behavior problems is approaching things using the dog's natural instincts. Dogs see all the people and dogs in the household as a pack with each having their own rank in the pack and a top dog. Life is much easier if the 2 legged pack members outrank the 4 legged ones. You can learn to play the role of top dog by reading some books or going to a good obedience class. A good obedience class or book is about you being top dog, not about rewarding standard commands with a treat. Start at Raising Your Dog with the Monks of New Skete (http://www.dogsbestfriend.com/) As you praise the dog for following your commands, it will build its confidence.
Play tug of war with the dog and lose. However at the end of the game, take the rope or toy and put it up, less the dog becomes confused about who is top dog. Ropes from the pets' store quickly turn to hazardous shreds. Ones I made lasted much better. Go to a hardware or home center that sells rope by the foot. Buy 2' of 3/4" poly rope. Melt the ends, and tie knots in it. Get them as tight as possible, put it in a vise and pound it with a hammer. Watch carefully, and be ready to discard when it comes apart.
Finally, make sure it has a den to live in. If you are not using a crate, buy one. The dog may be happier in its den than loose in the house. It relaxes, it feels safe in its den. It rests, the body slows down reducing the need for water and relieving its self. Dogs that have been crated all along do very well. Many of them will rest in their crates even when the door is open. I think the plastic ones give the dog more of a safe, enclosed den feeling. Metal ones can be put in a corner or covered with something the dog can't pull in and chew. Select a crate just big enough for the full grown dog to stretch out in.
Apr 27, 2007, 04:30 AM
Wow Matt. I know that you are new here, so I will help you with something. Labman has many years of experience raising dogs. His posts are always well thought out and stress the best interest for the dog. Perhaps you should go back and read some of Labman's stickies at the top of the dog forum as well as his other posts. I would trust what Labman says.
Apr 30, 2007, 10:25 AM
I strongly support the administration's policy of answering questions in the public forum, not by PM's or email. You just have to ignore posts from those claiming the site is stupid as their only qualification. Everybody is free to post their opinion here whether they have a clue or not. From a PM;
> Thanks for your suggestions on my dog not eating. I believe he is being overfed. He gets his daily exercise but still seems to be on the heavy side that tells me we may be overfeeding him. I have also noticed that he has a weaker right back leg (maybe due to the weight?). He usually limps on it for a bit after getting up from a long rest. He also doesn't sit squarely on it, usually to one side, and shuffles his feet prior to sitting. I'm going to be taking him to a vet in the next couple days but do you have any suggestions for now. Is this a weight issue or something to do with his leg alone? Could it be arthritis? He is a six-year-old German shepherd. Also, I have had a really hard time controlling his barking, especially when it comes to the mailman and other dogs. Is this just in his nature as a Shepherd? When I command him to stop he listens in most situations but when we cross another dog during a walk or he encounters the mailman every morning I can't do anything about it. Its almost as if he's a different dog in those situations. This is quite embarrassing when I take him for walks and was wondering what I could do to control his aggressiveness?
> Thanks for your help,
It is unusual for a Shepherd to eat more than it needs, but that doesn't mean yours isn't. If my link to evaluating his weight didn't work, here is a new one, LongLiveYourDog.com - Life Span Study - Rate Your Dog (http://www.longliveyourdog.com/twoplus/RateYourDog.aspx) It sounds to me like he may have a joint problem. If he is over weight, it will make any joint problems worse. I hope you can have the vet confirm your judgment of his weight. I can do a good job, but I have been carefully trained. If he is too heavy, just cut back on his food.
The key to most behavior problems is approaching things using the dog's natural instincts. Dogs see all the people and dogs in the household as a pack with each having their own rank in the pack and a top dog. Life is much easier if the 2 legged pack members outrank the 4 legged ones. You can learn to play the role of top dog by reading some books or going to a good obedience class. A good obedience class or book is about you being top dog, not about rewarding standard commands with a treat. Start at Raising Your Dog with the Monks of New Skete (http://www.dogsbestfriend.com/) For more on being top dog, see Establishing and Keeping Alpha Position (http://www.dogbreedinfo.com./topdogrules.htm)
The above are fundamental techniques I suggest for almost all behavior problems and should help with barking too. The truth is, Labs usually don't bark that much and I don't have methods of controlling barking that I have been successful using. It isn't even in the manual for them. The manual does have a suggested reading list which I put in the sticky at the top of the dog forum. One I have read is The Other End of the Leash by Patrica McConnell.
She suggests the first step is not to yell at the dog. After all, usually if one dog starts to bark, any others around will too. So yell at your dog when it barks and it is happy to have you bark with it. Quietly tell it enough and walk over to it with a treat, doesn't need to be very big. Let him know you have it and use it to lure him away from what he is barking at if anything, and praise him as he shifts his attention to the treat and away from barking. Once away from where he was barking, give him the treat.
Unlike much of my other advice, this is not something I have tried and found works. It does come from a reliable source and I would trust it more than something I found on a website I know little about. I just hope he isn't smart enough to figure out if he barks, he gets a treat plus your attention.