Dogs won't eat unless I stand watch

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Dogs won't eat unless I stand watch

This is a discussion on Dogs won't eat unless I stand watch within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; I have two dogs -- Lala is a 3-yr-old female mixed breed (possibly a Beardie mix, Labradoodle, or Pudelpointer) adopted from a shelter 16 months ...

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Old 10-15-2010, 11:23 AM
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Dogs won't eat unless I stand watch

I have two dogs -- Lala is a 3-yr-old female mixed breed (possibly a Beardie mix, Labradoodle, or Pudelpointer) adopted from a shelter 16 months ago; and Finn is a 2-yr-old male, also mixed breed (GWP mix?), adopted from a different shelter 3 months ago. Both have been altered.

Neither of them will eat unless I stand there watching. If I walk away, they stop and go about their business elsewhere. When I come back, they resume eating when I tell them to. Both have been this way from the beginning, though I don't know if Finn was just picking up on Lala's cues since she has been with me longer. There have been times when I've put their bowls down and walked away to tend to something else and have forgotten to go back and check. And hours later, the food is untouched. I've changed their food twice with no shift in the behavior or any noticeable gastric reaction. (They are currently eating AvoDerm.)

I keep thinking that they'll eventually eat if they're hungry enough....

Any idea why they do this and how I can avoid standing watch for 15 minutes while they eat? Or do I just have to keep the wolves at bay and watch their backs while they're eating?
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Old 10-15-2010, 11:31 AM
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Not sure why, I have a dog who sometimes does this, he has lots of behavioral issues. I think if you hand feed them for awhile it may help. Hopefully someone else will be able to help. I do know hand feeding is highly recommended with new dogs for many reasons congrats on your two adoptions btw and welcome to the forum

Oh also you could maybe try adding something super yummy to their food like boiled chicken (no bones) or even canned food.
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Old 10-15-2010, 01:39 PM
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I think maybe it is a pack thing. You are part of this pack and if you leave they don't feel comfortable eating all the food. I think they may leave it for you just in case you get hungry.
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Old 10-15-2010, 04:14 PM
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To be very frank and boil it down - they're associating eating with you leaving. My girl does this a bit, it's really just that there's more interesting things to do when you're around = so you going off means they're going to miss a resource like cuddles or fuss. I'd suggest moving the bowls to where you're going to be and ignoring all attention-seeking from them like hand nuzzling. Maisy responds to my 'Finish your breakfast...' in an amused tone and scampers off to finish her lambs heart. Simply put - you're interesting, eating is boring.
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Old 10-15-2010, 06:29 PM
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My dogs like me around while they eat too. They aren't super food motivated in the first place, and I think they don't want to miss out on me going outside or something. They'd rather go for a walk than eat any day. When you think about it, most dogs spend their entire day keeping track of where their owners are. You know, they lie in strategic locations so no one "escapes" unnoticed and follow us from room to room. So it makes sense they would have trouble relaxing and eating while the owners were walking about the house, or worse yet running out to the garden to pick herbs or something. In fact, both my hubby and I just have to sit down while the dogs eat, or they stop eating mid meal to see what's going on... no trips to the cellar for fire wood and so forth.
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Old 10-16-2010, 03:58 PM
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My dogs only did this back in the day, when I free fed, but they would inhale it when I was present.

Personally, I don't get the dogs that don't inhale their food. I put food down and its gone in about 1-2 min. They don't mess around.

also, I feed in my dogs crates, so they can't do anything else but eat.


lol...not much help here....I just have a hard time conprehending a dog that doesn't want to eat...makes me think som'thing is wrong...mentally generally...like anxiety.
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Old 10-16-2010, 04:00 PM
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Quote:
makes me think som'thing is wrong...mentally generally...like anxiety.
This is Harvick LOL he has issues and sometimes when he is in a real bad episode of craziness he doesnt eat at all, sometimes only if I hand feed.
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Old 10-16-2010, 04:49 PM
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When mine were on kibble, Freddy inhaled, but Maisy would soon become bored and look up at me. She's pretty clingy so I think that's what it is, and would eat if I stood there. Now I'm more careful and time when I leave to when I first put down their bones/heart/liver/mince/chicken wing/etc and veggies and such so she's associating me leaving with a good thing, but I come back afterwards to check no one's choking.
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Old 10-17-2010, 07:06 PM
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My thought would be to crate them with their dish and then leave for 15-20 minutes and if they don't eat in that time you take it away. By the second or third meal they should be pretty hungry. That said, if it doesn't work after a few days I would try something else, you don't want them losing weight of course.
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