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Hi Guys, I wrote several months ago to ask for advice regarding my Havanese, Samwise. I got some really good feedback from the community and have worked hard to put those suggestions into practice. Sam takes slow walks, smelling the neighborhood peegrams and leaving his own. He has four different puzzle toys that we shift periodically to keep him interested. The last one even has locking bones on the top so he has to go through a two step process of unlocking then pulling out the drawers to get to the treats. We work with him everyday to train him, going over old material and introducing something new. He plays fetch with a ball or a toy which we switch up regularly so he has different balls or toys for the game. He's older now. One and a half. He does take one nap a day but he's up in the night to "go potty" again. We made the mistake of letting the crate go once he was potty trained and making it through the night and he did fine with that for several months, but in the last couple of months he's not sleeping through the night again so we're going to reintroduce crate sleeping. He's so sweet, but I'm going to be honest. He's wearing me out. Even with going out to potty at 1:30 or 2:30am, he's still up at 7:30am. He's bored with fetch and all his play toys. He'll do them if he wants but often just isn't interested. We do hide and seek, but he only plays if he's interested. In the middle of the night or in the morning, he only comes when called if he wants to despite the fact that I treat him when he comes fairly quickly (he never comes fast - he saunters reluctantly back if he comes at all). He constantly asks to go out, or is huffing at us wanting something we just can't always figure out what. Mostly, he is just not wanting to please like our other Havanese, he has his own agenda and only does what he wants when he wants. It's a personality thing, he's been like this since we got him at 9 weeks. He learns quickly if he's interested in something, but gets bored with that thing quickly and stops doing it within a couple of weeks if he's no longer interested in it. He will lay in my lap sometimes now for petting, but often just chooses to lay in his crate or on the couch or floor. More recently he will go back to sleep for an hour after going out at 7:30am. I've had labs, terriers, and Havanese and this is the most challenging dog I've ever had. I love him, but he just makes me tired! Any more thoughts that might help? Thanks
 

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Ok, it's late and I'm tired but "some" of what you have described in Sam reminds me a bit of my Ollie who just turned a year old. He's wicked smart, independent yet needy for attention all at the same time!! If he's not interacting with one of us when he wants to interact then he can become a needy little menace... then turn around and not listen in our large yard when he knows he should be following the basics. When he becomes too needy and demanding I will ignore or simply walk away ("ok, bye!" and leave). I don't give into his demands when I know darn well that his needs have been met and he just wants attention. This has worked pretty well for him and he will try me sometimes but I think it would be much worse if I tried to appease him constantly (I would never rest!). He reminds me of certain human kids I've known over the years! He loves his trick training and he loves his treats when we are working on that but we can't do that every waking minute. He's always welcome to sit quietly while I'm at my desk and we play and interact frequently during the day but it's on my terms. I'm thinking that maybe Sam has been training you all along and you have been trying to meet his needs (as any good dog owner should do) but he may have a personality that requires you to get inside of his head instead of him being inside of yours. It might be helpful to contact a dog behaviorist trainer to help train you to react (or not) to his demands. Most people think of behavior training as a solution for dogs with serious behavioral issues such as aggression or separation anxiety but they can also be helpful with just knowing how to adjust human behavior to canine behavior in varying situations. As I said in the beginning of this, I'm tired right now so maybe not getting my thoughts into words in the best way... sorry. He's still young and you know his personality and the challenges. You just have to find the right "reset" for him and you to correct the course of your future.
 

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This may not have anything to do with this problem, however I thought it was worth mentioning. Many dog foods contain between 40 and 70 percent carbohydrates. Some people believe that this could be a contributing factor to hyperactive dog behavior just as it can do with kids. Here is an article by a trainer who noticed this connection in her puppy classes. They mainly point out cereal grains, however any starchy food like potatoes and legumes eventually turns to sugar in the body.

High Carb Diets & Behavior | Kindred Spirits Dog Training
 

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Fascinating - it makes sense, but I don't know enough to say one way or the other...
Causation correlation etc

Grain free dog food reminds me of the entire heart issue ...I know that was in a 'still being investigated' state ...
Grain free kibble is starchy too. So that won’t help. Although the article talks about cereal grains, legumes and potatoes which is typically found in grain free food, is also starchy. All starch turns into sugar in the body. All kibble is starchy, so if you feed kibble they are going to get starch. However, some kibble is starchier than others. So if you want to feed kibble, you could try a brand with a lower carb content. The only other thing you can do is find a food without grains, potatoes or legumes which usually means raw. Note that this may not be your dog’s problem, however I thought it was worth mentioning.
 

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I think Johanna makes some great points around how effectively he’s been ‘training’ you. My younger Hav is definitely more of the busy variety than my older guy— I kind of took for granted how good my older guy has always been (even as a puppy!) at settling. My girl, who is now a year and a half sounds much more like your guy. She’s very smart, very active, and VERY opinionated. She’s (thankfully) always been great about sleeping through the night in her crate, but in the evening, when we were tired and wanting to just hang out, she would sit there and stare at us and grumble. And we couldn’t figure out what she wanted! I started ‘magic mat’ work (essentially a place command) to try to help her learn to settle without being entertained constantly, and I do think it’s gotten better. She is still demanding at times, but much more likely to just chill on her own and seem content about it, rather than wander around or grumble at us. Food toys (not puzzles- she does those too quick!) also have helped to get her focused on something and then tire her out a bit.

MPM’s note on carbs is interesting… we actually switched both dogs to low carb over the summer (not raw, but air dried, so more or less raw equivalent and v low carb). It had nothing to do with behavior- we did it because our vet suggested it might help prevent more growths for our older guy, who had a mast cell tumor last year. So who knows, maybe this has something to do with her getting better at chilling out… but definitely could be a coincidence.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok, it's late and I'm tired but "some" of what you have described in Sam reminds me a bit of my Ollie who just turned a year old. He's wicked smart, independent yet needy for attention all at the same time!! If he's not interacting with one of us when he wants to interact then he can become a needy little menace... then turn around and not listen I’m in our large yard when he knows he should be following the basics. When he becomes too needy and demanding I will ignore or simply walk away ("ok, bye!" and leave). I don't give into his demands when I know darn well that his needs have been met and he just wants attention. This has worked pretty well for him and he will try me sometimes but I think it would be much worse if I tried to appease him constantly (I would never rest!). He reminds me of certain human kids I've known over the years! He loves his trick training and he loves his treats when we are working on that but we can't do that every waking minute. He's always welcome to sit quietly while I'm at my desk and we play and interact frequently during the day but it's on my terms. I'm thinking that maybe Sam has been training you all along and you have been trying to meet his needs (as any good dog owner should do) but he may have a personality that requires you to get inside of his head instead of him being inside of yours. It might be helpful to contact a dog behaviorist trainer to help train you to react (or not) to his demands. Most people think of behavior training as a solution for dogs with serious behavioral issues such as aggression or separation anxiety but they can also be helpful with just knowing how to adjust human behavior to canine behavior in varying situations. As I said in the beginning of this, I'm tired right now so maybe not getting my thoughts into words in the best way... sorry. He's still young and you know his personality and the challenges. You just have to find the right "reset" for him and you to correct the course of your future.
Ok, it's late and I'm tired but "some" of what you have described in Sam reminds me a bit of my Ollie who just turned a year old. He's wicked smart, independent yet needy for attention all at the same time!! If he's not interacting with one of us when he wants to interact then he can become a needy little menace... then turn around and not listen in our large yard when he knows he should be following the basics. When he becomes too needy and demanding I will ignore or simply walk away ("ok, bye!" and leave). I don't give into his demands when I know darn well that his needs have been met and he just wants attention. This has worked pretty well for him and he will try me sometimes but I think it would be much worse if I tried to appease him constantly (I would never rest!). He reminds me of certain human kids I've known over the years! He loves his trick training and he loves his treats when we are working on that but we can't do that every waking minute. He's always welcome to sit quietly while I'm at my desk and we play and interact frequently during the day but it's on my terms. I'm thinking that maybe Sam has been training you all along and you have been trying to meet his needs (as any good dog owner should do) but he may have a personality that requires you to get inside of his head instead of him being inside of yours. It might be helpful to contact a dog behaviorist trainer to help train you to react (or not) to his demands. Most people think of behavior training as a solution for dogs with serious behavioral issues such as aggression or separation anxiety but they can also be helpful with just knowing how to adjust human behavior to canine behavior in varying situations. As I said in the beginning of this, I'm tired right now so maybe not getting my thoughts into words in the best way... sorry. He's still young and you know his personality and the challenges. You just have to find the right "reset" for him and you to correct the course of your future.
All of these replies were so helpful but yours made me cry with relief. It was so understanding and caring with great suggestions for changing my behavior. And permission to do so. Something I’ve struggled with because I felt so guilty for ignoring him. Thank you so much for taking the time to help when you were tired. Such a huge gift!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi All. Thanks so much for all the great feedback. I just ordered Nom Nom. We’ll give it a trial. Was feeding science diet which has brown rice, brewers rice and sorghum. Fingers crossed it helps him sleep more. Even as a puppy he just didn’t sleep like puppy’s generally need and hopefully it reduces his energy level a bit. Will also be contacting a behaviorist to get more insight on ways he’s training me. Love this little guy. We’re going to figure this out. Thanks so much for all your help with this.
 

· Metrowest, MA
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Hi All. Thanks so much for all the great feedback. I just ordered Nom Nom. We’ll give it a trial. Was feeding science diet which has brown rice, brewers rice and sorghum. Fingers crossed it helps him sleep more. Even as a puppy he just didn’t sleep like puppy’s generally need and hopefully it reduces his energy level a bit. Will also be contacting a behaviorist to get more insight on ways he’s training me. Love this little guy. We’re going to figure this out. Thanks so much for all your help with this.
I have no idea whether the food change will help with his behavior, but I am sure he will appreciate it, and I’m also sure it will be much better for him!
 

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Perry is generally good at lying near me and chilling but he turns into a little monster in the evenings when he wants/ expects his treat bone OR when he wants to play at that time. I generally try to ignore him and he will usually settle after a little while (after grumbling at me, throwing his bone in my lap, etc. and not getting a response) but I will admit that there has been a time or two when there was a chill out time out in his crate for a few minutes until he settled. He is 6 so it's not a puppy thing - but because he does think that he's trained me (or is trying to :) ) to give him what he wants.
 

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Charlotte ( almost 3) does not turn into a monster, but she too does not like to play. There was a period of time when she would not play at all. we have been trying to encourage her to play daily.

Now she will chase the ball outside, maybe three times, then run around the back yard twice. We have tried many different toys and tug of war. This has not helped. I just bought her a flrt pole which I use but not everyday as I don’t want her to tire of this game either. She likes the flirt pole.

she will bother me for a bully stick daily. I buy her the huge ones for an extra large dog and let her chew on it for 30 min. It will last for about 8 to 10 chewining sessions.

we still put her in the crate at night. She loves it there and stays in the crate until 7 am When we get her out. The only thing easy about Charlotte is that she was easy to potty train. She only had three accidents inside the house, and this was because we did not take her out.
 

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Hi All. Thanks so much for all the great feedback. I just ordered Nom Nom. We’ll give it a trial. Was feeding science diet which has brown rice, brewers rice and sorghum. Fingers crossed it helps him sleep more. Even as a puppy he just didn’t sleep like puppy’s generally need and hopefully it reduces his energy level a bit. Will also be contacting a behaviorist to get more insight on ways he’s training me. Love this little guy. We’re going to figure this out. Thanks so much for all your help with this.
Wow good for you! You have just raised the nutritional bar for your dog at least a thousandfold. I am praying the behavior improves, plus you now have a much better chance of raising a healthier dog.
 

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Grain free kibble is starchy too. So that won’t help. Although the article talks about cereal grains, legumes and potatoes which is typically found in grain free food, is also starchy. All starch turns into sugar in the body. All kibble is starchy, so if you feed kibble they are going to get starch. However, some kibble is starchier than others. So if you want to feed kibble, you could try a brand with a lower carb content. The only other thing you can do is find a food without grains, potatoes or legumes which usually means raw. Note that this may not be your dog’s problem, however I thought it was worth mentioning.
As Charlotte has anxiety, I saw a you tube by Emma parsons who wrote Click to Calm. In the video, she spoke briefly about how a lower protein dog food (22% protein) has helped dogs with anxiety. She did not go into details and did say that there was not real research on it but many people who have reactive dogs have been better on lower protein. I’ve tried to search for some brands but I’m not sure what to get. Right now she is on dehydrated raw patty from Stella and chewy, gets a bit of honest kitchen kibble, a tsp of sweet potato, broccoli and egg a day. Does not drink any water and so I wet the patty with water.

any thoughts?
 

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As Charlotte has anxiety, I saw a you tube by Emma parsons who wrote Click to Calm. In the video, she spoke briefly about how a lower protein dog food (22% protein) has helped dogs with anxiety. She did not go into details and did say that there was not real research on it but many people who have reactive dogs have been better on lower protein. I’ve tried to search for some brands but I’m not sure what to get. Right now she is on dehydrated raw patty from Stella and chewy, gets a bit of honest kitchen kibble, a tsp of sweet potato, broccoli and egg a day. Does not drink any water and so I wet the patty with water.

any thoughts?
What is most important in looking at the protein content of dog food is the moisture content. The higher the moisture content, the lower the relative protein. Raw dog food is actually the lowest in protein content compared to other types of food. So if you are looking for low protein content that is also very high in quality, I would go with raw. Contrary to popular belief, kibble has a very high relative protein content due to lack of moisture. In addition, kibble typically contains large amounts of poor quality plant protein and the quality of the meat protein it does contain is overly processed and low quality. I assume the fresh food diets are also on the low end protein wise although I am not as knowledgeable about them. As far as freeze dried, I would think adding enough water to it would make it similar to raw, however it would be important to make sure it is rehydrated properly especially since you mention that Charlotte does not drink water.

I am not sure how much Honest Kitchen kibble Charlotte is eating, however reducing this or eliminating it could be helpful in reducing protein content, especially since Charlotte does not drink water. You could also try hydrating it to up the moisture content.

As far as brand recommendations, I am currently not up to date on all the premade raw foods out there. I make my own food so I do not use a premade mix. Stella and Chewy’s sounds like a good brand. I personally like rotating brands and formulas. I think this is safest as far as avoiding imbalances or excessive amounts of anything.

One other thing. You mentioned Charlotte eats an egg every single day. Eggs are wonderful and healthy but a feeding an egg every day to a small dog seems like alot. Are you feeding the whole egg including shell? Do you feed both the yolk and white? Is it cooked? The reason I mention this is that the egg white contains a biotin inhibitor that could lead to a biotin deficiency over time. However, the yolk has plenty of biotin so if the yolk is also fed then things should balance out. The other thing is that feeding the egg without the shell could make it very high in phosphorus. The shell contains calcium that balances out the phosphorus in the rest of the egg. All this may not matter that much if you feed egg a couple times a week, however if you are doing this every day imbalances could occur over time. This is just something to be aware of. Sometimes dogs can get too much of a good thing.

Hope this helps.

Just wanted to add…I find it interesting that there are many articles linking high protein to anxiety however not much out there link high carbs to it. The kibble marketers are very clever.
 

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Oh wow I never knew about the biotin aspect.
As long as both the yolk and white are consumed In the right proportion you should not have to worry. Also, this is mainly a problem with raw egg whites vs. cooked. I think nature has things figured out. A whole egg, including shell, is complete and balanced. When I feed my dogs eggs I try to mimic this ratio. There is no way they can eat a whole egg a day though. Otherwise, we would have some serious potty going on. So I just try to feed a bit of white and yolk with a little shell. The other thing is to just feed a little of the yolk only which isn’t perfectly balanced with calcium but if only done a few times a week should not cause a problem. I hesitate to feed egg shell unless the eggs are from farm raised chickens because eggs from the store may have some chemicals on their shells. Note also that most of the good nutrition in an egg is in the yolk anyway. Eggs are definitely great for dogs so not trying to discourage anyone from feeding them!
 

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As long as both the yolk and white are consumed In the right proportion you should not have to worry. Also, this is mainly a problem with raw egg whites vs. cooked. I think nature has things figured out. A whole egg, including shell, is complete and balanced. When I feed my dogs eggs I try to mimic this ratio. There is no way they can eat a whole egg a day though. Otherwise, we would have some serious potty going on. So I just try to feed a bit of white and yolk with a little shell. The other thing is to just feed a little of the yolk only which isn’t perfectly balanced with calcium but if only done a few times a week should not cause a problem. I hesitate to feed egg shell unless the eggs are from farm raised chickens because eggs from the store may have some chemicals on their shells. Note also that most of the good nutrition in an egg is in the yolk anyway. Eggs are definitely great for dogs so not trying to discourage anyone from feeding them!
I was just going to write that the biotin problem is negated by cooking. :)

I share ONE cooked egg between my four once a week. they love it, and I think in that amount, it is beneficial as well as highly appreciated!
 

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I was just going to write that the biotin problem is negated by cooking. :)

I share ONE cooked egg between my four once a week. they love it, and I think in that amount, it is beneficial as well as highly appreciated!
Yes the biotin problem is negated by cooking. Great point. I agree that eggs are good but ANYTHING good that is OVERDONE could become bad. That is why I mentioned this. Imbalances typcially occur over time when something is done every day, year and year. I would say one egg a week for a small dog is plenty. More than that I would have to cut back on something else. Then I would have to be careful that I am not cutting something else out that they need. I guess I could replace one of their entire meals with a whole egg including shell but still…that could probably only be done once a week!
 

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Yeah, the way we do it, it’s basically a treat. We don’t change anything. We just cook an extra egg when we have eggs for breakfast on the weekend!
 
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