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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-25-2013, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
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Irregular Eating

My "issue" has been posted many times before, but my question is slightly different.

Gibbs has stopped eating at his usual time, and is no longer eating his full portion. I'm not concerned because he is health, maintaining his weight, is not vomiting, is not lethargic and is pooping normally, although less and no longer on "schedule".

Also, Gibbs is all but completely housebroken, so we're not concerned about accidents.

My question is simple:

As long as I stick to the proper portions, is there any harm in leaving his food out and allowing him to eat it when he's hungry, or should I still insist on scheduled eating and picking it up after 5-10 minutes?

John




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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-25-2013, 08:12 PM
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pick it up.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-25-2013, 08:13 PM
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I'm just playing devil's advocate... This could be a problem if you plan to take him places and want him to eat before you go. Or plan to feed him when you're out and about and want him to just eat when food is presented. Like if you go camping and can't just leave kibble laying around the campground. I can't think of any day-to-day reasons this would really be a problem. Though it might be hard to notice a medical issue from sudden appetite loss if he's always a grazer.


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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-25-2013, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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pick it up.
Can you please elaborate on why it's a problem?

John




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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-26-2013, 12:19 PM
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When I only had Bella, who is also a picky eater, I free fed her. It didn't seem to cause any problems. She just ate when she felt like it.





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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-26-2013, 01:17 PM
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With my other dog (not a pup), once he was potty-trained I kept his food and water down for him. He wasn't a huge eater to begin with so he never even cleaned out his bowl.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-26-2013, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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As a point of clarification, Gibbs doesn't "graze" much. He just seems to want to eat at different times. I'd get up and feed him around 6:00am and he'd gobble his food within 5 minutes. Now, I put the food out at 6:00am and he ignores it. Dana gets up around 8:00am to take him out again, and will usually eat breakfast around 9:00am. Gibbs will usually eat when Dana eats.

Since there's less time between breakfast and dinner, Gibbs isn't hungry at 5:30pm when Dana and I eat dinner, and he is ignoring his food. If we leave it out, he'll usually get to it by 9:00pm.

Dana and I had been picking it up if he didn't get to it by 7:00pm, but noticed Gibbs started to "resource guard" some of his bone treats. It could be coincidental, but it was around the same time his eating habits changed.

John





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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-26-2013, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Gibbs Mom and Dad View Post
Can you please elaborate on why it's a problem?
from Sabine , ... "1. Free feeding only works with kibble, which is simply the least ideal type of food to feed, due to its highly processed nature.
2. Very few dogs actually self-regulate well enough to just eat enough to maintain a healthy weight. Sure, such individuals do exist (I've had one of my own), but they are very rare exceptions. Also, see #1.
3. If you don't feed scheduled meals, it's much harder to realize when an animal is off their feed due to stress, discomfort, pain, illness.
4. In our times, with many dogs being couch potatoes and not even getting the mental stimulation of regular walks (let alone more vigorous exercise, like performing in dog sports or doing actual work), meal times are a major highlight of their day, something they very much look forward to. Why take away one more of the few major stimulants?
5. House training. If you control when food goes into your dog, you can reasonably predict when it's going to come out the other end. Not so with free feeding.

And 6. which I throw in...The biggest thing with free feeding is that your dog is not as motivated for food rewards when training. Nearly all trainers want you to bring your dog in HUNGRY when coming in for classes. It's the number one motivator with dogs,some definitely more than others. Kibble is the least motivating generally. And depending on the type of training situations ,it's better to use something more enticing than kibble."

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-28-2013, 02:37 PM
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from
And 6. which I throw in...The biggest thing with free feeding is that your dog is not as motivated for food rewards when training. Nearly all trainers want you to bring your dog in HUNGRY when coming in for classes. It's the number one motivator with dogs,some definitely more than others. Kibble is the least motivating generally. And depending on the type of training situations ,it's better to use something more enticing than kibble."
So agree, Dave, re training. And I think, having a very picky eater and a former free-feeder myself, that a part of the free feeding thing is that WE feel better about it in some way. When my dog was able to feed when he wanted to I felt much happier because I knew if ever he was feeling hungry he could have instant access to some food but in many ways I think I was copping out of properly monitoring what he ate. He never overeats, so I could have continued free feeding from that point of view. Now that I feed regular meals he still misses some of them, and I can keep an eye on him if I'm worried about it, and know what sort of an appetite he's got. Treats now have proper value. I now feed Ziwipeak which could I think be left down - it's not kibble, it's air-dried, but it isn't like leaving a wet food down. He loves it and eats his meals at scheduled times . Mostly. And if he doesn't want it well, fine, I take it up five or ten minutes later and he'll eat at the next meal. He either eats it all up or eats nothing at all. And it's hugely helpful, if ever one has to take a dog in a car to know that there is no food to cause any potential upset. All in all, having tried both, I am far happier with scheduled meals.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-28-2013, 02:53 PM
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So agree, Dave, re training. And I think, having a very picky eater and a former free-feeder myself, that a part of the free feeding thing is that WE feel better about it in some way. When my dog was able to feed when he wanted to I felt much happier because I knew if ever he was feeling hungry he could have instant access to some food but in many ways I think I was copping out of properly monitoring what he ate. He never overeats, so I could have continued free feeding from that point of view. Now that I feed regular meals he still misses some of them, and I can keep an eye on him if I'm worried about it, and know what sort of an appetite he's got. Treats now have proper value. I now feed Ziwipeak which could I think be left down - it's not kibble, it's air-dried, but it isn't like leaving a wet food down. He loves it and eats his meals at scheduled times . Mostly. And if he doesn't want it well, fine, I take it up five or ten minutes later and he'll eat at the next meal. He either eats it all up or eats nothing at all. And it's hugely helpful, if ever one has to take a dog in a car to know that there is no food to cause any potential upset. All in all, having tried both, I am far happier with scheduled meals.
Well said , thanks.

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