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Dog hiding from us at meal times

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Rez, Jun 29, 2020.


  1. Rez

    Rez PetForums Newbie

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    Hello all,

    Just wondered if anyone has experienced a similar situation or can offer any suggestions for new odd behaviour from one of our boys. We are really struggling to figure it out.

    We first noticed it a few weeks ago when we were having a BBQ in the garden and our youngest boy was not around as we were eating. He was with us whilst the food was being cooked but when we noticed he wasn't with us when we plated the food and started eating, we assumed he had just gone for a snooze indoors. A few days later, the same happened again and when I went to look for him as it was slightly odd that he wasn't around when food was about I found him curled up by the garden gate which is just about as far away from us as it was possible for him to get.

    It happens every time we eat outside now and we started to wonder if it was something to do with the smoke from the BBQ or something else related to the BBQ.

    This evening for the first time when eating our dinner inside the house, he was not around and once again we assumed that he was having a snooze in the conservatory but when my wife took the plates to the kitchen she found him curled up by the back door and looking very worried.

    Everything else about him is normal, he is eating normally and has bags of energy as always so pretty sure he is not ill or in any distress. It just seems to be some kind of emotional distress around our meal times and seems to have come from nowhere.

    Any thoughts welcome.
     
  2. Boxer123

    Boxer123 PetForums VIP

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    It does sound like something has scared him. Maybe give him a chew or a kong whilst your eating.
     
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  3. McKenzie

    McKenzie PetForums VIP

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    Random question - what meat were you cooking/eating on these occasions? There’s been a few dogs on this forum over the years who freak out at the smell of lamb, for some strange reason!

    I think a vet check is probably a good idea, as it is for any new unusual behavior.
     
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  4. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums VIP

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    How many other dogs do you have, and where are they when you’re eating?

    It might be that he’s avoiding the other dogs when there’s food around, rather than avoiding you.
     
  5. Rez

    Rez PetForums Newbie

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    Lots of different food now so seems unlikely that it would be related to a specific food type.
     
  6. Rez

    Rez PetForums Newbie

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    Hi Linda, this is one thing that I had given some thought to. They are about a year or so apart (difficult to be sure as the older one is a rescue, the younger we have had from a pup), they play together and all interaction between then is fairly normal and amicable, certainly nothing aggressive or domineering. The older boy is in charge but doesn't assert himself overly. They eat side by side, they sleep side by side.

    The other strange thing is that at all other times he is with us, for example if I went into the kitchen now and came back with a plate full of snacks he would sit there waiting for a treat.... it only seems to be at dinner time.
     
  7. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    Sounds as if something really scared him at your initial BBQ (maybe a sudden flare of the coals, or did he get too close to the heat). Could be anything really. So now he's frightened when you have a BBQ and it's now escalated to every dinner time. I doubt you will ever know the original cause but watch him closely when dinner is being prepared to try and discover at what point he starts to get fearful and then flees; that may give you a clue.
    I had a dog years ago that was in the back of my sister's estate in a heavy snow storm. She had no choice but to use her rear wipers and my poor little bitch was terrified. That one traumatic experience triggered a whole host of behaviours that took about 2 years to overcome. She was then terrified travelling in any vehicle, then frightened of cars or cycles coming up behind her along the road. She actually bolted when she saw a tractor in an adjacent field when we were walking along a river bank. It was a flipping nightmare.
     
    #7 Twiggy, Jun 29, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
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  8. Sairy

    Sairy PetForums VIP

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    My dog does the same thing when we have a meal with other people and are sitting at a table. I originally noticed it one Christmas and put it down to the fact that I told her off for begging for food at the table once. It started as something that just happened in our house, but then escalated to other peoples' houses. I don't actually know now if it started because of being told off or what it was and the thing is we so rarely have people round for a meal that I haven't done much with it yet, but I completely agree with what Twiggy has written above.
     
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  9. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums VIP

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    Rule it out then, if you’re sure this isn’t the case.

    Bear in mind that dogs’ reactions to who has first ‘dibs’ is very fluid, and depends on who values what the most, at the time. Nobody will be ‘in charge’ of everything, all the time.

    Signals can be very subtle, not necessarily growling or snapping. Often it’s just an almost imperceptible stiffening, one look, whatever. Sometimes it’s as little as where a dog places itself in relation to another.
     
    Torin. and Rez like this.
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