Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

Puppy starving itself for attention?

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Ploppy, Nov 25, 2012.


  1. Ploppy

    Ploppy PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2012
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    1
    A problem we've been trying to work on recently is that Dana seems to intentionally starve herself in what appears to be a bid for attention.

    She gets plenty of attention, so don't go feeling sorry for her. :biggrin5:
    3 walks a day, one of which is a 1 hour big run at the park with her frisbee/ball, plenty of playing with toys in the house, and I've taken to working on my laptop in the room we keep her in - so when I'm busy I'm at least present to talk to her or answer her many needs.
    Then when I'm out my retired parents are both in the house, my mum in particular spending a lot of time with her.
    She's good as gold when left. No barking or whining. Just comes over to the gate and plops down to stare out. If after 20 minutes nobody comes, she moves into a less drafty corner and plops down there for a nap or a chew.


    But feeding is driving me mental.
    Almost everything we try to feed her is totally ignored.
    She doesn't eat her kibble, "got bored" of chicken & rice with probiotic yoghurt mixed in, nibbles at wet food then leaves it, etc.
    She'll take to something for a day or two, then just exhibit the same symptoms.
    Cycling doesn't work either. It isn't about variety, it's about "I've eaten this once before. Don't want it."
    Although we try not to vary too much due to her puppy stomach, so we try all sorts of cheffery such as the mixing yoghurt with kibble, soaking kibble in hot water, mashing kibble to a pulp to make a paste then mixing it with chunks, and any combination you can think of that involves kibble, rice, chicken, yoghurt, and/or peanut butter.

    We tried various different kibbles in the beginning. Maybe she just doesn't like eukanuba, so we got Iams to at least try her on, which she didn't like, so we got Orijen. She cleaned the bowl of Orijen, so we stuck to that from now on.

    If we leave her to eat her food, she'll eat maybe half of what the packet suggests she should be eating in a day's worth of food. As if she's eating just enough to not be hungry any more.

    But here's the kicker. She will eat ANYTHING you feed her from your hand.
    I can just give her a handful of straight kibble, and she'll eat it.
    If she starts eating it and I put it on floor/bowl, she turns her nose up at it.
    I pick it up again and hold it down to her, she starts eating again.


    What the hell is going on? :confused:
    While it's inconvenient, I'm not too bothered about hand feeding her, but it gets messy :(
    She isn't showing any warning signs of poor health, and the vet says she's fine.
    Personally I think she looks gaunt, but the vet says her weight is normal.
     
    #1 Ploppy, Nov 25, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2012
  2. hippymama

    hippymama PetForums Senior

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2012
    Messages:
    938
    Likes Received:
    9
    my pup rarely eats kibble out of his bowl so I just mesure out how much he's ment to have and use it for traing throughout the day , he will eat it wet in his bowl though.... and raw chicken wings ect he'll eat just isn't botherd about his kibble if its in his bowl :confused:
     
  3. Ploppy

    Ploppy PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2012
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    1

    I do use some of it for training, but she's a German Shepherd and should be getting 3 to 4 cups worth of kibble a day. That's a lot of tricks :D
     
  4. 912142

    912142 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Messages:
    4,615
    Likes Received:
    45
    You don't say how old the pup is or what breed. Dependent on her age she may require her daily intake to be split into 3 or 4 meals and not if I have read this correctly in 1 go.

    My guess is she is not seeking attention but becoming extremely fussy and spoilt. You appear to have been mixing food on a regular basis. Give her the kibble on the floor in her dish if she doesn't eat it within 15-20 mins take it away and try at next meal time. She will not starve herself and will eventually and gratefully eat it.

    Personally I wouldn't be moving around the house to fit in with her as that will only encourage her dependency on you - she should be allowed her own space and you yours.
     
  5. smokeybear

    smokeybear PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Messages:
    15,187
    Likes Received:
    8,996
    What is going on is simple.

    You are anxious about her not eating, so you are giving her lots of different things, so, like a spoiled child, she will feed off your anxiety.


    She is obviously NOT starving as the vet has already said her weight is ok.

    I am not sure how old your dog is but if you are giving one hour of exercise a day she must be about a year old at least? Therefore she will be on two meals a day?

    I would select ONE good quality food.
    Weigh out HALF her daily ration
    Give HALF of that in the morning, if not eaten in 15 minutes maximum, remove and give NOTHING until circa 12 hours later, repeat as necessary.
    Do NOT stay with her, watch her, stroke her, talk to her whilst eating and if she does not finish her food do NOT beg or persuade her to eat.

    No dog is going to starve itself, and all dogs can go several days without food without suffering (as long as they drink).

    Usually by day 4 at the latest, a dog will eat whatever you put in front of it in record time.

    Remember, we are talking about animals that lick their bottoms and find the excrement of other animals highly palatable, how fussy can they be? ;)
     
  6. Ploppy

    Ploppy PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2012
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    1

    18 week old German Shepherd as of today. She's on 3 meals a day - 7am, 1pm, 7pm
    Granted it may occasionally be up to an hour earlier or later, but those are the "standard" times as to adhere to.

    When we got her she had diarrhea that didn't clear up quickly, so we took her to the vet who put her on a Royal Canin sensitivity diet, which helped for 3 or 4 days. Then the antibiotics, which helped for 1 day. Then some pro biotic yogurt suggested, which made some improvement. Then we slowly moved her over to the Iams when she refused to eat the royal canin any more. (The eukanuba was what the breeder had been feeding her, but it was a bit hard to get)
    Then we spoke to the breeder who told us to do chicken and rice for 2 weeks, which we did, and it solved the problem.
    That was cleared up 4 weeks ago, at which point we've been feeding her Orijen since she rejected the Iams. It's hard to get, but it seems to be a good quality food so we stick to it. I didn't plan on keeping her on the cheaper diets any longer than I had to anyway, as I plan on putting her on a raw diet once her vitally important puppy nutrition is passed.
    Although the eating problem has been around for a bit longer than that.


    I don't ALWAYS sit in with her, but I don't want to get into the habit of leaving her alone for hours. I'm not really the kind of person who can do something for a little while then stop.
    If I sit down tr do some university work, I expect to be sitting there doing just that for a good 3-4 hours. If I sit down knowing I'll only be at it for an hour, I'll hardly get anything done. And I'm out most of the day monday to friday anyway, so mum's on dog watching duty. Least I can do is spend my evenings with her.

    Other than that though, she's fine alone. Just lies in the best spot of the room and has a nap or a chew until I get back.
    If I'm in with her but busy she'll find something to chew on and amuse herself.


    I could try lifting her food after 20 minutes and putting the exact same thing down, but given how she's a puppy I'm a bit concerned at this stage to make sure she's getting the right amount of nutrition.
    GSDs are notorious for hip problems in later life, and right now I just want to make sure she's getting enough food for proper development of her joints.


    As for the mixing:
    She seemed to quite like the chicken and rice - but long term there's not a good nutritional balance there, so we occasionally mix it in to try and persuade her to eat it.
    We do the yogurt just because it's good for her tummy, and she seems to enjoy it and eats a little more as a bonus.
    The peanut butter is a rare treat since she loves it, so we occasionally try to give her a bit of that mixed in for flavour. Or did at least, until she stopped enjoying the novelty.

    As of the past 3 or 4 days though it's been purely kibble.
     
    #6 Ploppy, Nov 25, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2012
  7. smokeybear

    smokeybear PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Messages:
    15,187
    Likes Received:
    8,996
    If you give a good quality complete food such as Arden Grange, and give her three meals per day, the dog will not starve herself nor will her nutrition be impaired.

    As she is lean, (according to you) that is one of the ways of avoiding joint problems.

    If she came from health tested breeding stock and her sire and dam had good elbow and hip scores, then you do not need to have a nervous breakdown if your dog is not eating all her meals.

    She may not be eating because she is teething or you are giving her too much food.

    Just because it says something on the packet does not mean your dog will suffer if it eats less.

    I have a dog that eats far more than "what it says on the tin" so to speak, who is a lean machine, his metabolism is very high, yours may be low.

    Orijen is a good food, relax and let her choose her intake. Do YOU eat exactly the same amount every day at every meal? :)
     
  8. 912142

    912142 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Messages:
    4,615
    Likes Received:
    45
    At 18 weeks you are more likely to cause skeletal problems with over exercise than not eating and remember she will eat when she is hungry but ensure she is drinking fresh water. The rule of thumb is 5 mins of walking on lead for every month of their life (per day) and as much offlead exercise as she wants.

    She only needs to know that you are around and not necessarily sitting with her at every spare moment. She has to fit in with your way of life and not the other way around.
     
  9. Howl

    Howl PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    Messages:
    1,715
    Likes Received:
    44
    Try inviting another friendly but hungry dog around. It took very little time for D to work out that E would eat her food. Not saying you should let them get possessive but it worked for my MIL's pup when she came to stay, them all eating in sight of each other under supervision sparked the pups appetite.
    D was a lot like this but don't worry she grew out of it.
    I dont think it's for attention I think it's just a big change eating with a load of other hungry pups to being the only one.
     
  10. Ploppy

    Ploppy PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2012
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    1

    I suppose there's also the element of me being a bit panicky. It just seems so strange though that she eats so little. Is this how my parents felt when they insisted I clean my plate when I was 5? :confused:







    I always wondered, as a few sources have said that. Why doesn't off lead exercise "count" towards her daily balance?


    Her 3 walks consist of morning walk around the block/afternoon park/evening walk around the block.

    Excluding the park, she's getting about 20-30 minutes total, depending on how cooperative she's feeling about going in the direction I want to.
    At the park I just throw a frisbee until she loses interest or starts to look tired, which takes around 20-45 minutes. The hour includes to and from driving time.

    I wouldn't want to cut out the park, since it's the only proper socialization with other dogs she can get a chance to play.
    But cutting out the morning or evening walks, she'll just charge around the house full of energy, so if she's going to be moving around on her paws anyway, may as well go out for an adventure.

    Her water bowl is always down for her and refreshed every hour.




    Funny you should say that, my dad did at one point pretend to eat her food out the bowl and she ran over and pushed him out the way for another couple of mouthfuls. :rolleyes:
     
    #10 Ploppy, Nov 25, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2012
  11. 912142

    912142 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Messages:
    4,615
    Likes Received:
    45
    The difference is that when she is offlead she can rest when she feels the need but she cannot do this onlead.
     
  12. Owned By A Yellow Lab

    Owned By A Yellow Lab PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    May 16, 2012
    Messages:
    6,437
    Likes Received:
    136
    I've only read the first few posts but surely this is far too much exercise for an 18 week old GSD? Three walks a day - one of which is a whole hour of running etc ???

    Apologies if I'm misunderstanding something but that just seems like way too much...
     
  13. rona

    rona Still missing my boys

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2011
    Messages:
    39,254
    Likes Received:
    24,775
    One of my clients pups was like this. I discovered that the tag on her collar was hitting the bowl and putting her off.
    Could something like this be the problem?
     
  14. Ploppy

    Ploppy PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2012
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    1
    She gets:
    10 minutes round the block 1 hour after breakfast.
    Same again after dinner.

    Middle of the day she gets between 20 to 45 minutes off lead at the park. Which various sources have suggested doesn't count towards her 5 minutes per month rule due to it being off lead, and on grass rather than hard concrete.



    That's a pretty interesting idea actually.
    In some cases she just has one sniff and ignores it, but you're right that might be bothering her. Again I might just be imagining it, but the eating problem did start roughly around about the time I put the tag on her collar, and it does clatter a bit.
     
  15. Malmum

    Malmum PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2010
    Messages:
    13,824
    Likes Received:
    408
    Perhaps she is bored with the constant feeding rituals and the stresses that surround them. Try giving her two meals a day, morning and evening to see if that gets her attention. Also you could give her one meal of raw occasionally to see if that tempts her. Prize Choice do delicious beef chunks and tripe chunks, the only food of theirs I would recommend as its what I call 'proper' raw food, their minces I am not keen on. Variety with something completely different to what she usually has could be all that's needed, after all we'd get pretty bored with the same kind of food all the time and Prize Choice foods are easy to store in a freezer and easy to buy from pets at home, some garden centres with pet sections and many pet shops. Just put a few chunks in the bowl or even let her have it in the garden directly on the grass. Without people around she may be more relaxed with her eating. :)
     
    #15 Malmum, Nov 26, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012
  16. BabyBlu

    BabyBlu PetForums Senior

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2012
    Messages:
    580
    Likes Received:
    11
    Edie is exactly the same as this. She is a staffie, similar age. I talked about this at my puppy class and I was told I would end up with a fussy dog if I was not careful. Just to put the food down, 3 times a day, and take it up again 20 mins later.
    I was feeding her all sorts of things because I was worried she wasnt eating much - and she was picking and choosing. She would eat out of my hand too.
    She has turned down cooked liver, and raw chicken neck??? When I phoned the breeder they said she used to steal catfood!

    Now I have seen through her naughty ways. I put the food down and if she doesnt eat it, it goes back in the fridge. Tough!
    But she is mainly on raw now and it is a bit tricky to know how safe the raw food is if she doesnt eat it for a whole day...
     
  17. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Messages:
    17,923
    Likes Received:
    11,512
    Orijen is a good food, but I think the feeding instructions are on the generous side. My dog had always had to have quite a bit more than the recommended amount of food - she's active, skinny and wouldn't hold weight. As soon as I put her on Orijen, she was gaining weight on the recommended amount for her size, and I had to cut back to around half to two-thirds to maintain her correct weight.
     
  18. Horse and Hound

    Horse and Hound PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    4,985
    Likes Received:
    86
    I tried all the tricks in the book with Roo and kibble, including taking it away if he refused it. Eventually I figured his style out, he's not a major eater. He's only small and he eats little and often.

    In the morning now, if we are working, he gets his breakfast in his kong. A small portion of kibble and sealed with Nature Diet. Harvey gets half of his in his kong and the other half in his bowl. I then leave a small amount of the biscuits down for Rupert during the day (Harvey is crated) . 9 times out of ten when I come home the bowl is empty. If not, I don't fill it up at tea time, just give him his portion of chicken/beef/mince or whatever he is having.

    Basically, I'll say what I think. Pup will eat when hungry. If taking the food away achieves this, then fine. When I did it it didn't solve the problem as he would wolf the entire lot then refuse again at breakfast time as he was still full.

    But the sentiment is the same, they won't starve themselves, and they sure as hell don't do it for attention!
     
  19. Daneandrottiemum

    Daneandrottiemum PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2011
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    23
    My Rott was exactly like this when we first got him at 15 months. It took him precisely two days to realise that he had to eat what he was given or not eat at all ;)

    Needless to say he now eats whatever is put in front of him. The exception is when he has to have his worming tablet, if he sees me put them in he won't eat so he has to be shut out whilst i do his food on tablet day:D
     
  20. BabyBlu

    BabyBlu PetForums Senior

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2012
    Messages:
    580
    Likes Received:
    11
    No, they dont do it for the attention, but they do get picky.
    I tried all diffrerent foods and she would eat everything once. I would think 'great!' when she ate it, by a load of that, and then she would never touch it again.
    The vet told me to stick to one brand, or method, and put it down at regular times, then take it away if not touched.
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice