Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Ontario Canada
Submit Photo: 3
Photo Submissions 119 Times in 117 Posts
Feeding behaviour is not just to do with food. Where dogs are not eating, once the food is palatable to the individual, there may be behavioural effects in place. Palatable food, the best quality diet is no good if the dog wonít eat it! There are things that can be done to help boost palatability. Negative associations with food Ė dogs who have been ill may associate certain smells, tastes, ingredients etc. with the feeling of illness e.g. nausea, and avoid those in the future. This is very common and often behind dogs who are reluctant to eat in the mornings as they may be or have experienced nausea in the mornings, or may be experiencing acid or bile type problems or similar and this is often worse in the mornings. We also may cause dogs to associate negative things with feeding e.g. we give the dog food and then leave or give food when we are not there. We sometimes give them a lot of attention and put a lot of pressure on them around food and food related activities.
If restricted to a kibble type food only, putting the food in the oven or under the grill for a few minutes can help to
increase palatability by making the oils smellier. I think what will help is to increase your dogís enrichment Ė not using bowls as much. Not only will this help to make food more interesting, it also increases its value as itís harder to get. Dogs generally prefer to earn their food so this will help there too. But also making feeding time more interesting will provide your dog with more appropriate outlets for behaviour as well as opportunity for stress busting, all of which will help all round health. Continue to feed little and often and also from your hand but in less formal ways Ė donít think meal times. Think instead of rewarding behaviour that you like and having games with food. I definitly donít recommend free feeding in any way as that will further reduce the value of food.
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