Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Ontario Canada
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Photo Submissions 119 Times in 117 Posts
I asked Sabine for her views on why dogs become finicky eaters. I must say I have to agree. I think any dog can have an issue with certain foods but quite often we are the ones that create a problem eater. Here's her letter. ...
Sadly this is something I hear about a *lot* in small dogs.
IMO, in most cases it's behavioral, and yes - the owners tend to make it worse. Especially when they start trying
to tempt the dogs into eating by switching from one food to the next and to the next, and adding tasty tidbits,
and even hand-feeding and begging the dog to eat. Essentially they are teaching the dog the fussy behavior, and
to hold out until something comes along that strikes their fancy on that particular day.
And not only that - as people get more anxious about their dogs not eating, there's more and more negative energy
and emotion that the dogs pick up on, making everything worse.
In a nutshell, people need to train their dogs to eat properly like they would train anything else (loose leash
walking, tricks etc.), and try to not hover over them with all their anxiety while they eat. No feeding treats or
snacks outside of mealtimes until the dog knows to eat regular meals, possibly a new plate/bowl that the dog
hasn't associated with the whole process yet, maybe also a new location for feeding, preferably somewhere where
the dog doesn't get distracted.
Small portion size, put down for 5 minutes, taken away after time is up, no matter how much the dog has eaten. If
he/she ate some, cut the next portion by as much as was left, until you arrive at an amount that the dog *will*
eat in one sitting. I know many popular sources say give the dog 15 minutes, but if you actually look at a clock
while a dog is eating, you'll realize that is an awfully long time. The average dog eating out of a bowl will
finish in 2-3 minutes.
Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
Member of IAABC ,International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants , Member of Pet Professional Guild