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Border Collie stopped eating breakfast

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Sawiia, Jul 3, 2020.

  1. Sawiia

    Sawiia PetForums Newbie

    Jul 3, 2020
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    Hi all,

    We adopted a rescue dog a month ago. He's an 8 month old Border Collie with a horrendous past, he is absolutely beautiful and obedient as they come but until we had him had received minimal training.

    We've done most of the basics with him: sit, lie down, paw, touch, bed (or place) etc and training him is delightful as, being a collie, he is such a quick learner. He obviously enjoys training as well and has a lovely soft temperament as well which makes it such a lovely bond building experience.

    We decided to feed him twice a day. Once first thing in the morning after his morning walk and once in an evening when we have dinner or there about. No real reason other than thinking it's a nice routine for us all to eat together.

    I imagine he must have been used to eating once a day as his initial pattern tended to be to gobble up all his dinner only breaking for a drink if he wanted one but then just pick at his breakfast and eat it in 2/3 sittings and over the course of about an hour. He was very skinny when the rescue had him, and still on the thin side by the time he moved in with us, and so we've been quite generous with treats (meat and cheese mainly) but only if he followed a command to help us embed any training we'd done. I.e. if I was working on 'sit' with him, once he'd got it, I'd use it randomly throughout the day and treat him every time he'd do it. We are slowly now using his favourite ball more and more to move him away from food as his weight becomes more healthy.

    He has suddenly, this week, started to not eat his breakfast. So I will put it out, he will go over (un-excitedly, whereas he still gets excited for his evening meal) and gives it a sniff and then proceeds to leave it. He might then go back and eat 30-50% of it over the course of the morning.

    I'm not too concerned as he is eating but I wondered if anyone has any similar experience?

    I also know people recommend only leaving it out for 15 minutes to teach him it won't stay there forever and I am completely willing to do so but wondered if there's a deeper meaning first.

    My other half thinks it's because we're using such high value treats (and that's only because he's not interested in shop bought dog treats but loves some lean meat or a bit of cheese) and so he's not bothered by his food knowing nicer food is to come.

    Appreciate all your thoughts in advance.
  2. Sairy

    Sairy PetForums VIP

    Nov 22, 2016
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    Hi there, it's not uncommon for dogs to be less enthusiastic about breakfast than dinner. I suspect he is not all that hungry and knows there will be tastier things to come. You could try putting half of his breakfast down in a bowl and saving the other half to use as training treats. Alternatively, a food-dispensing toy might make eating breakfast more fun for him. I wouldn't be concerned though if he is still eating overall and is a healthy weight.
  3. Ian246

    Ian246 PetForums Senior

    Oct 27, 2018
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    How have you measured the food he needs? You may not be surprised to hear that the manufacturers often exaggerate how much food a dog should eat in their label blurb. It may just be that he’s not hungry - as Sairybsays, as long as he’s maintaining his weight, I’d not worry too much. However, it is bad practice to put the food down and let the dog ‘graze’, so I’d certainly go with the “put it down, leave it for fifteen minutes or so and if he’s not started eating it, lift it back up).
  4. Ragnar&Biffy

    Ragnar&Biffy Biffy

    Sep 28, 2019
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    Yeah Biffy is the same but never really been a morning eater, does he have to eat in the morning? (I appreciate the idea of wanting to eat together) but in my opinion and what I have learnt with Biffy is that you have your food allocation for that day. .. doesn't really matter when and how he eats it.? To be honest more days than not he has his daily allowance not in the bowl, I use scent games or make a big line with them on the floor and get him to sniff and eat ( this one always works).

    And also take into consideration that most Collies are not always good orinated they are work orinated and bowl of food sat on the floor isn't prob that exciting for him.

    And your other half could be right about the high value food...

    So make his normal food more high value by getting him to work for it
  5. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

    Jun 24, 2010
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    Are you giving him breakfast immediately after his morning walk and what does his morning walk consist of ie running about or chasing a ball? My collies are also fed twice a day with breakfast being at 6.45am. They don't have their morning walk until at 8.30am because you need to leave a window of at least 1.1/2 hours before and after food before they are exercised. It is actually worse to feed them directly after exercise and I've known quite a number of dogs to end up at the vets on a drip as a consequence.
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