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I do want to ask does anyone else have to deal with people telling you that you are starving your poor dog? I have had this happen a few times back when Rocky was extremely fit and deal with it on the regular from family members. I don't always know how to handle this and usually just say that his vet says he's healthy but was wondering how any of you would handle or have handled that situation?
Always. Complete strangers, friends and even my family. Christmas consisted of many family members asking Aspen if she was hungry?:eyeroll: I've been told by total strangers that she's way too thin and I NEED to at least double her food intake.

Mostly I ignore any comments but I have snapped back and said that she is a perfect weight. My vet is thrilled with her appearance every single time that I take her in.
 

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About the only time people question me is when they see how little food I feed him. He gets a little less then 1/2 cup of kibble a day, 1 tsp of canned food, and around 16 calories worth of treats. People who have pet sat him for me have been shocked. I never send the bag of kibble with him, but portion out the food and send it in baggies, otherwise I'm afraid the person would supplement the food.

Zody is medium / low energy and he gains weight at the drop of a hat, feeding him any more then I do on a regular basis will result in weight gain.
 

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Rocky has the opposite problem of zody he misses one meal and it is very visible. Out of all the dogs in the house he gets fed the most at 2 cups of food a day and I don't have to watch his treat intake cause he burns them off so fast. I guess I'm lucky and I often envy him lol. I always worry if he somehow got loose and someone picked him up that they wouldn't give him back to me because they would think I starved him:/. My vet absolutely loves how fit he is and always tells me how nice it is to see a dog who doesn't need to loose weight lol.

My step dad is the worse about telling me he is to skinny but if he had his way both of their dogs would be horribly obese. As it is I finally got my mom's dog to loose the extra 10lbs after 2 years of fighting with how much she gets fed. Now they keep saying she's to thin even though the vet says shes at a perfect weight.

It has just become the normal for pets to be obese and people just can't wrap their heads around a dog who is fit being healthy.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
I get a lot of skinny comments with riley, but most of them are commenting on how skinny he looks because of his lanky build, not necessarily saying he is underweight.
There are some rude people though, usually their dogs are fat and cab barely breath, let alone enjoy their time at the park. I just smile and shake my head and tell them no he is healthy.
 

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Most dogs are overweight and out of prime shape. No surprise as it is the mirror of the human times.

Even though Bob is strong, well muscled ( so sez the vet) and competent in completing her task, she could still stand to lose a few pounds as lean and mean wins the day.
@busannie, as others have mentioned and I have liked, your badgerdogs are/were really in great shape...GOOD for you and them!
 

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What a neat thread! I know that I have big plans for Aayla and I this year for backpacking and showing, so we are both trying to get into the best of shape. As of right now I'm trying to have Aayla gain more muscle. She is around 47lbs and 21-22in (I have to measure her again, since she is done growing) With a bit more muscle I think she would be around 49 for an ideal weight. I'll post her photos in a moment, sadly with all her coat its so hard to show off her fitness.

I get comments of she is too skinny all the time. My favorite is I once had a lady tell me she was too fat after a blow dry, then felt her and told me she was way too skinny because she could feel ribs. Everyone's dogs look great, I love the before and after on Zody!
 

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Here is a dry vs wet comparison, taken the same day.
 

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@TheAdventureK9 also in the "trying to build muscle" boat. We are working on a lot of conditioning... I use the FitPaws equipment around 3 times per week. I just ordered more :D I also bought a parachute but haven't been able to use it much because of the weather. I'm looking forward to taking her to the beach to run with it. We hike about 4 days/week, play flyball.

I'll take any other muscle building tips you all have! :)
 

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I dont see how anyone could think those daschunds are emaciated or sick or any of that?! I mean look at all the muscle.....they look like little doggy versions of the people on the covers of those health and fitness magazines! Well muscled and ripped
 

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@Aspen726 I've been a bit baffled on how to build more muscle. I've been realizing Aayla's balance and body awareness isn't exactly where I want her to be. Recently she seems to have lost some confidence too. She didn't want to walk on a deck with a drop yesterday, so we have work to do.

I know how to work on stamina with her, because we are both getting back into running and hiking shape, so she just does it at my pace. Yet working on her balance and strength has been more of a challenge. The fitpaws equipment looks like a lot of fun but...not exactly in my budget right now. I'm going to have to make do with what I have and can make on my own. Ha!
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Uphill running is great for muscle building, but balance work is really where I saw the most improvement in Riley last fall.
We use logs and buckets, nothing fancy like fit paws. I'd like to get some eventually, but yeah not really in my budget right now. Boards, pallats, chairs, and whatever you can find can be used for confidence building and balance work though!
 

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@TheAdventureK9 I'm actually taking an online course right now called "In House Fitness" and it's about conditioning exercises using things you either have around the house or can easily (and cheaply) buy at Wal-Mart.

We're using things like rubber feed bowls, small stools, pvc poles, etc.

You can also find some conditioning stuff on Amazon cheaper. I only buy FitPaws because I get a 30% discount.

My bf made my wobbleboard

I bought this balance pad: https://www.amazon.com/Clever-Yoga-Premium-Balance-X-Large/dp/B00UVKI73Q/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1518636140&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=balance+pad&psc=1

I bought this disc: https://www.amazon.com/Wacces-Inflatable-Stability-Balance-Orange/dp/B00GMNJMGM/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1518636192&sr=8-7&keywords=balance+equipment+for+dogs

I haven't bought these yet, but probably will: https://www.amazon.com/Milliard-Anti-Burst-Approximately-100x50cm-Exercise/dp/B00N9HDUWQ/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1518636192&sr=8-9&keywords=balance+equipment+for+dogs
 

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Thanks for the compliments on my guy and girl :) Can't take much credit because they do all the actual "work", and when the dog is active, it makes them easy to keep fit.

I agree that fit dogs are visually more appealing to me, but just like there are people who think top tier human athletes look "gross" or "sickly", the same appears to apply to dogs in that those far outside the societal norm (which tends to be overweight for both people and dogs) are looked at as unusual or even undesirable. Add in the culture of feeding the dog as an act of love (look at the vastness of the market for dog treats!), and the idea of "depriving" them by restricting their food intake is definitely frowned upon. Nevermind that my dog eats a a figurative TON of food when I'm actively conditioning him (2+ cups/day plus scraps), and still higher than average amounts on a day to day (1 cup minimum).

I think too that sometimes people are so unaccustomed to the actual feel
of muscles on a dog that when they pet a dog like mine and feel a firm protrusion, they assume it's bone- I can't count the number of times someone petting him has said to me, "he's skin and bones!", and upon inspecting the area in question I wiggle the muscle in question around to show that it's soft tissue, not skeletal. These same people will describe their squishy chunk of a dog with no discernible muscle (it may be there, but you can't feel it through the fat!) as, "Solid muscle! S/he's a tank!". I encounter it at work all the time when people think that either their or someone else's dog is too thin and I mention that I think the dog looks fine, and they respond with, "I can feel his ribs". Good! You should be able to feel them. They shouldn't stick out like a coat rack, but should be palpable and depending on the dog, even a visible rib here or there could be ok (most people aren't interested in conditioning their dog, they just want a healthy pet). I always point out to people the other clues that their dog is healthy- s/he is lively, has a beautiful coat, bright eyes, good muscle tone, etc and that usually makes people feel better.

For building "visible" muscle, I like running the dog uphill (I throw ball up so he sprints up and trots down) or in chest deep water. If you don't have access to water, you could alternatively use drag weights (with weight pull/freighting harness) and walking, or just do bird dog style "roading" where you hold the leash and apply resistance as you encourage the dog to pull against you. Springpole tugging too- I keep it low enough that he can keep 4 on the ground, but sometimes he grabs high up and tugs on just his back legs. I haven't used any of the fit paws equipment, but I do like to take the dog(s) to a few beaches in our area that have large rocks we climb over- haven't done that in a while as our favorite is now off limits- it's great exercise for both of us. IME, using a variety of exercise works well, with emphasis on whatever sort of thing I'm trying to get him in shape for. If I want Bus to run beside the bike for 3 hours at a fast trot, I won't condition him for that by having him drag weights (I actually don't do dragging with him because of his breed's predisposition for back issues) and sprint up hills- I'll walk him, bike him and have him swim... I may throw in the other stuff here and there, but I'll put the bulk of our efforts toward things that resemble our goal.
 

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My dog has gained ten pounds over the past winter. At just turning three in November I'm not sure if he's filling out or has a slower metabolism. He kept growing until well after two and was very thin when I got him at 63 pounds, he looked like a greyhound with protruding hips and clearly visible ribs and bones everywhere. He had these huge paws and long legs be hadn't grown into yet and looked like a skinny awkward teenager. The shelter tried to convince me he was done growing and I looked at those huge paws and ears and said I don't think so!

For an 85 pound dog, he doesn't eat much. He eats much less than my last dog who maintained his weight his entire life. That dog was a seventy five pound Akita pitbull mix. When he got older he got up to eighty pounds but j got him back down to seventy five pounds pretty easily. He used to eat three cups of dry food and a large can of Alpo every day plus table scraps of healthy grilled steak, chicken or turkey and swiss cheese with mayonnaise to hide medicine in or cold cuts.
This dog eats barely one to two cups of dry food daily, prescription for his food allergies and a large can of limited protein food daily. Plus a few bites of healthy grilled steak, chicken or turkey. And treats for training, so did my last dog. So I'm not sure where the weight gain came from. Except he was less active during those really cold weeks in January it was considered dangerous to be outside that long and he hates the cold and refused to go outside for more than a quick bathroom trip. If I forced him out, he'd limp dramatically on three legs and whine and whimper. And literally charge and drag me back inside and make such a fuss I was worried one of my neighbors would report me for abuse.
He's not as hyper as my last dog and I can't let him run loose at the stable for hours a day or he'll take off. I also can't ride my old horse anymore. But I take him to the dog park daily from one to four hours a day instead and literally make him play with his buddies or make him play fetch or tug with me if there's no dogs he likes there. At least one hour a day usually more unless it's dangerously cold. So same amount of exercise my last dog got, he's just not as hyper as the last dog was. I have to order him to play and practically force feed him every day.
If I'm not standing there right with him telling him to finish his dinner, occasionally spoon feeding him a few bites and watching him he won't eat anything at all.
Same with playing. If I'm sitting in the corner he'll just sniff around or hang out with me. I have to be out in the middle of the park and tell him to go play a few times. And I have to be social too and be paying attention to him.
I'll try to attach a recent picture, I don't think he's fat yet, but I can't clearly see ribs anymore. I can feel them but now I can feel a bit of belly too. He's still got a lot of muscle. He's 26 inches tall but built leaner and taller than my last dog.

He's a mix of a bunch of breeds, DNA testing said 25 percent each of boxer, Chow Chow and German Shepherd/shepherd/herding/hound breeds, and 12.5 percent each lab and American Staffordshire terrier. I'm not convinced how accurate the test is given he's much taller and bigger than any Chow Chow, boxer or pitbull I've ever seen and taller than many purebred labs too. Must be the shepherd I guess. He has ibd and food allergies do I can't change his food, I've finally got him stable, eating somewhat voluntarily and without any awful diarrhea and off all his meds except a probiotic and his separation anxiety med.
 

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Forgot to say that the back of his dry dog food bag says a dog his size should be eating almost five cups of food a day. Even subtracting for the large can that would still put him at three cups a day plus the large can. He rarely eats that much unless he's at doggy daycare all day. I always feel like I'm starving him, just based on how little he eats so the weight gain is really confusing to me. Most days he eats one cup of dry food plus the can, not much for a fairly active large dog. If I'm lucky and really determined I can get him to eat another cup before we leave for the day.
 

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For building muscle I do different things and it can also depend what the dog likes. Including flirtpole, springpole, drag weight, biking with dog running, road work, wall climb. I really like flirt for w work out mental and physical.
 

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That is crazy on how little he eats, my 30-40lbs dogs eat 2-3 cups a day. Maybe with his issue he doesn't feel like eating? I don't know how it would effect him but might made him uncomfortable. Then if he has a slow metabolism he doesn't need to eat as much as other dogs his size. Has his thyroid been tested? That's one thing that can cause slow metabolism / weight gain.

The test may or may not be accurate or might not be completely accurate. Though one thing to consider is you can get a dog bigger than parent breeds, even in F1 crosses. Doesnt always happen but sometimes a dog turns out much bigger than either parent / the breeds involved.
 

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Spicybulldog part of it is he really doesn't like his prescription and limited protein food. If I run out and forget to buy more and have to get emergency food overnight, he'll scarf down a large can of Alpo in gravy and inhale three or four cups of junk food like Beneful or whatever's at the convenience store in one sitting. He eats everything he can find off the floor, napkins, sticks, rocks, paper, cigarette butts, acorns, nasty stuff, and at the dog park is always begging everyone for treats, literally pushing dogs away from their owners.
When I cook my own grilled meat and eat yogurt or potato chips or popcorn, he'll steal it in a second if I leave it out.
He just hates his food but gets diarrhea from everything else.
I can't figure out if he's a good weight or is now chunky. He still has lots of muscle. His thyroid was checked over a year ago and was fine then. He had bloodwork done last fall, I don't know if they checked his thyroid or not.
 

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Oh I see, poor guy. I probably wouldn't be able to stand not eating what I want and I know a person with similar issues to your guy and she can only eat limited types of foods.
It it's interesting though that while he might not eat much because he simply doesn't like it that he isn't super skinny with only eating so little.

It hard to tell from those particular photos on his weight. He doesn't really look fat, but he's a darker colored dog so hard to see and without seeing standing from the side also not as easy to tell at least for me.
 

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Forgot to say that the back of his dry dog food bag says a dog his size should be eating almost five cups of food a day. Even subtracting for the large can that would still put him at three cups a day plus the large can. He rarely eats that much unless he's at doggy daycare all day. I always feel like I'm starving him, just based on how little he eats so the weight gain is really confusing to me. Most days he eats one cup of dry food plus the can, not much for a fairly active large dog. If I'm lucky and really determined I can get him to eat another cup before we leave for the day.

If he's maintaining, or gaining, weight I wouldn't worry about it too much, he's getting enough calories for his metabolism and activity level. Remember that the dog food companies are notorious for suggesting we feed more then the dog actually needs, it's one of the reasons so many pets are fat.

For my dog's weight the food bag, Zignature, suggest that I feed him 3/4c of food. I feed him a little less then 1/2 a cup and a teaspoon of wet food per day. Back when I fed him 3/4c I could not get the weight off of him, in fact he gained weight because he was also getting treats from anyone he could convince that he was starving.

Have you tried to calculate the calories in how much food you are feeding him, and comparing it to how many calories he needs? I felt better about how much Zody was getting to eat once I did that. Here's an article with a pretty good guideline https://petnet.io/blog/how-many-calories-does-my-dog-need.

Zody needs somewhere between 250 and 320 calories, and Zignature has 408 calories per cup. So also factor in his tsp of wet food, and his 16 cal worth of treats and he's actually getting enough to eat .
 
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