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Dog ignoring food and scavenging

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by OGTEnzo, Jan 24, 2018.


  1. OGTEnzo

    OGTEnzo PetForums Newbie

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    Hi members of pet forums, I have 2 Romanian rescue dogs, 1 female border collie x (9 months) and 1 Carpathian Shepheard x (6 months), I have a few things I'm working on them with as they never lived in a home previously, but one thing I'm having a huge issue with is their scavenging, we put food out and they won't touch it but will scavenge every little crumb off the floor and chew to get into cupboards, they were never like this to start with and it only started 2 weeks ago i dont know where i have gone wrong or what has caused this sudden behaviour can anyone help?
     
  2. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    How long have they been with you? What are you feeding them (and have you made any changes to their diet)? What are you putting their food in?
     
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  3. OGTEnzo

    OGTEnzo PetForums Newbie

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    The collie x has been with us just over 2 months 2 weeks, the Carpathian Shepheard 1 month 2 weeks, they were fed to start with on chicken and rice for 3 days as they had never had high quality food, then transfered to optimum high protien dry food for 2 weeks to help build them back up as they were skin and bones, after the 2 week period they were put on harringtons dry food. The scavenging started 2 weeks ago but they have been fine on harringtons up until last week when the collie x has been reluctant to eat it she will make 180g last all day and she is about 15kg. The Carpathian will eat but has slowed down too she is about 16kg.

    Their food has always been in metal dog bowls from day 1. However we have tried a variety of bowls to see if it was that for the collie.

    They have constant access to fresh water and we have also restricted treats to see if that could of caused a problem.
     
  4. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    Am not an expert but dogs are scavengers by nature...

    Dogs who have been street dogs have often lived to survive by scavenging.

    Now many dogs, given opportunity and dependent on size, enrichment in their life will do things like counter surfing, and raid cupboards...even stories of dogs opening hot ovens...bin raiding can be common. Once they have done this once, and got a reward...it's self rewarding. Plus it can be mentally challenging too. With two dogs in the mix, and close in age it's obviously something one discovered and they both enjoy.

    Dogs enjoy these activities, it gives enrichment and and reaps rewards by food in whatever fashion this is...suitable or not suitable.

    Quite often 'fussy' eaters which in my opinion are made or not born can actually be encouraged to eat by making dogs work for their food...so this could be using food to do training and not giving it freely or putting meals in activity feeders such as things like kong wobblers or scatter feeding. There is no law that states dogs need feeding in bowls, and being scavengers they probably appreciate this more.


    Your dogs are also young..so look at the bigger picture and they are close in age, so as you say you are working on issues then I would make sure you are trying to do training of all types of things separate too...so they become independent and confident individuals.

    Also be aware, feeding guides are usually over generous. If you want to get weight on dogs, feed more often...little and often usually works best. So focus on how to enrich your dogs lives when it comes to feeding...think out of the box and not solely bowls.

    Preventing access to where the dogs can go in to rooms unsupervised will help too. As dogs practice behaviour they become more adapt at doing so, and then this in turn can be a hard habit to break.
     
  5. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    Do you leave the food down all day? Personally I wouldn't. Leave it down for about 15 minutes and then remove it. Do you feed them once a day or breakfast and dinner?

    Dry kibble on it's own is not very appealing. You could try mixing some wet food well in with it to see if it makes a difference. Alternatively try adding a little grated cheese to tempt them.

    I take it both dogs were checked over by a vet before you took them on?
     
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  6. OGTEnzo

    OGTEnzo PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks however I have tried the scattering of food and they don' really care for that, the kong we have they will be interested for all of 5 mins before they get bored and leave it alone. I am careful in methods that I use as I don'
    Really want to promote scavenging are there any other methods you can suggest?

    We were doing little and often with them but they changed there eating patterns by not eating their meals and it turned out that they would only feed twice a day.

    They have been supervised since day one that' how I know it's a recent behaviour.
     
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  7. OGTEnzo

    OGTEnzo PetForums Newbie

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    No food is down 20 mins then picked up (found it best to make our collie food orientated for training), we feed them twice a day it used to be 3 times but the dogs took themselves to 2 by not eating daytime meal.

    We have tried the mixing of dry food and wet food they will gobble the wet food and leave the dry and then still scavenge for more food/scraps. I never thought of the grated cheese I will give that a go and update.

    Yes both received a new pet checkup and everything seemed fine apart from being severely underweight but that was easily changed.
     
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  8. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    Do you add warm water to the dry kibble about 20 minutes before feeding and then mix some wet? It's then virtually impossible for the dogs to pick the wet food out and leave the dry.
     
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  9. OGTEnzo

    OGTEnzo PetForums Newbie

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    I don't but will give it a try thank you
     
  10. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Do you feed them together?

    Perhaps having been hungry in the past when street dogs they find eating in close proximity to another dog intimidating/stressful? Even having a human nearby might cause anxiety at meal times?

    Maybe try feeding them in separate rooms as well as leaving them both completely in peace to eat?
     
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  11. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    Definitely consider what @Lurcherlad said...puppies especially can have an anxiety/confidence issue over food...there are many threads about a puppy not eating when they get in to their new home and it's usually just gaining confidence to eat alone...so advice would be stay with the puppy change bowls etc...to build up confidence. These dogs may need as pointed out...peace and quiet to eat as I would expect that's what a true scavenging dog does.....the nearest I have seen I would say..and I personally don't like it is at a couple of friends house that free feed multi dogs. I have witnessed the dog who wants to feed pick up a mouthful of food...run to a place away from other dogs and stuff his/her face. It actually makes me cringe...but I don't interfer in friends bringing up dogs, too long in the tooth and know everyone makes different choices for what works for them.

    The scavenging raiding cupboards I will say as it's self rewarding then you have to try and prevent this from happening as in use of child locks on cupboards, no access to the kitchen as once a dog teaches it self...it's a hard habit to break and those whose dogs for example are bin raiders...once a bin raiders always a bin raiders. Most people logically move the bin out of sight out of mind and that's it cured.

    Another thing you said is that they are always watched...just wondered how often they are left alone and have you done this gradually? Most dogs only raid cupboards, bins, chew furniture when left is usually a sign of boredom, opportunity or I go with separation anxiety too. Before leaving the dogs what do you do with them? Exercise, training etc...am not an advocate for tiring dogs to exhaustion...but doing something prior to being left may help. Even if your leaving them is to nip upstairs for a quick shower...you are gone and that's what is important. Dogs per se, don't thrive on company of other dogs. Dogs are companion animals...for thousands of years they have been and humans are more important than their own species. So it doesn't matter if you have 1 or 100 dogs, they still miss their human..even though yours are originally street dogs they are young and have seen the kindness of humans through rescue so are better adapt as some that are older to form the relationship.

    Kong's are usually a great way to settle dogs, and after getting familiar with a Kong most dogs love them.. are you freezing them? What are you putting in them...it's all about tasty food whether it's their daily food, bit of wet food, table scraps. Things to keep them interested and working on them.

    I have probably waffled way too much...but I still think it's early days and you will get there...

    My last thought since both dogs are close in age that if they have both stopped eating...they are falling foul of litter mates syndrome where they are closely bonded but can't be independent per se..so you get a lot of copying behaviour, hence why they both don't want to eat but feeding separate my help as already suggested as also would separate walks and training so they become confident and independent
     
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  12. OGTEnzo

    OGTEnzo PetForums Newbie

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    @lullabydream @Lurcherlad @Twiggy, I would just like to thank you for all your help doing a mixture of all the things you have suggested has made them both eat again and as they are not hungry they have stopped scavenging. Thank you again
     
  13. tealover

    tealover PetForums Junior

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    So glad I found this thread......last couple of days my JRT, 1yr old, has stopped eating the food he has previously licked the bowl clean. Not unwell, everything good otherwise, loves his biscuits / treats, but just won't eat his meals. I have even tried adding a couple of different ones to tempt him but he won't touch them

    I will try the grated cheese, and as he only has wet will try some of the Harringtons to mix it with - reason we stopped is that he would pick out all of the dry meal and scatter it around the kitchen and just eat the wet but will try soaking it first as suggested.

    Always a worry!
     
  14. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    Personally think kibble is better soaked so that it expands in the bowl rather than the dog's stomach. Grated cheese, sardines in tomato sauce, wet food, mince, etc. can then be really well mixed in.
     
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  15. simplysardonic

    simplysardonic Commander of a tiny, furry army
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    Bit late to the thread but just wanted to say I'm glad you've sorted the issue using the great advice already offered.

    Would be lovely to see pics of your Rommies- I have 2, one is a sheltie mix, the other a Carpathian mix, so I do love seeing pictures of other peoples' dogs :)
     
  16. OGTEnzo

    OGTEnzo PetForums Newbie

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  17. VickyandNero

    VickyandNero PetForums Newbie

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    My 20 month old GSD starting being a really picky eater at about 4 months, he would even be sick from not eating, we wet food a little and added another fresh meat which helped.
    From about 16 months, we decided he should be eating kibble on its own and there was a few things we did that helped.
    We have a lot of the time hand feed because its another chance to train him, this helped with just kibble and we only leave food down in a bowl in the morning as we know he will eat it.
    We now play every evening with his kibble different training games.
    The favorite is the 'I love my name' game, we throw a couple of kibble biscuits and call him back and give some out the hand then throw some more.
    Its really interactive, he loves it and it makes a better bond between dog and owner.
     
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