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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys!

I am having some issues with my 1.5 year old dog not eating in his crate. I am trying to train him to eat his meals in his crate, but he absolutely REFUSES unless I open the crate. And when I do open the crate, he will drag the bowl out into the living room OR take a mouth full and dump it outside the cage and chow down there. He will make multiple trips in and out of the cage to get more food, but he will never eat INSIDE of it.

I try to make him more comfy in there by dropping in treats, but he just takes them out and eats them outside the crate. If I close the door, same thing, won't eat it.

I know he is hungry because the moment I open the door he starts chowing down after taking his food out. If I take the bowl away, he sniffs all over the house looking for his food (which he is doing now). Someone suggested giving him his meal in his crate for 30 minutes, and if he does not eat, take it away and try again next meal. It's been a day and a half of doing this, and he still refuses to eat in there. Will he crack eventually and is what I am doing ok? He is a Swedish Vallhund by the way.

I trained him the same way I trained my Golden and he has no issues. My Vallhund is very stubborn and tends to try to do everything on HIS terms. We had him since he was 10 weeks old and he is kind of a nightmare in terms of stubbornness. He is STILL not really potty trained, but that's another issue.

Anyway, any clues? I want him to know I control the food and where he eats it, and that he shouldn't be picky and eat when told. (My golden knows to eat the moment his bowl hits the ground or it gets taken away later) He is not sick and is perfectly healthy by the way. This is just a behavioral thing. My Fiance never addressed the issue when the dog was living with him, but now that we have a house together, I am trying to retrain him.
 

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My little aussie was the same way. She never would eat in her crate, would eat any place other then in there. I did just what you are doing. Give them 30 mins, if its not gone and goes away. It took all most 4 days before my little aussie cracked under the pressure and ate. After doing that deal for weeks she now eats like a pro in her crate.
 

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why do you want to have your dog eat in a crate?
What's the benefit of him being fed there.
Is there problem with him resource guarding?
if yes I'd more adress that than starv your dog until he can't take it anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Freemare! He finally broke on day 2. But now he started doing it over again haha.

And Mathilda, didn't ask to be judged or challenged. Just asked for advice on how to make him eat where I preferred as his owner. Most trainers will tell you to feed your dogs meals in their crates.

Also, if he eats outside of it, he will take the food out of the bowl and litter it all over the house to where the other dog and cat will get it. And honestly. If I want him to eat in his crate, that is where he eats.
 

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Have you tried feeding him from something other than a bowl? It sounds like you have two issues
1. Dog eats from bowl and spreads food everywhere
2. Dog doesn't eat in kennel

For 1: try giving food to him from puzzle toys. Maybe because the food is already spread around in the toy and he has to work for it, he will be less inclined to spread the food around the house. Or, if that doesn't work, try putting the bowl in an x-pen (until you get the crate thing sorted). Dog eats in x-pen, can spread food around without it getting all over the house and to other dog and cat.

For 2: Start by getting something SUPER high value (bully stick? raw bone? hot dog? steak?) and letting the dog ONLY have it in the kennel. So bone in kennel, dog in kennel, dog leaves kennel, bone goes away.
Is the dog otherwise anxious in the kennel? Not eating often seems like anxiety (at least to me). Do you stick around when you put the food in the kennel? Try that?
 

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Thanks Freemare! He finally broke on day 2. But now he started doing it over again haha.
Glad to hear you had some success. Just stay firm and keep it up healthy dogs will not starve themselves to death, at some point they'll eat.
 

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When a dog (who will ordinarily eat food) won't eat food/treats in a particular situation, it usually means that the dog finds something about that situation scary, stressful, or overwhelming. Instead of trying to force your dog to eat via food deprivation, I would look into massively increasing his comfort and happiness with the crate. Susan Garrett's Crate Games DVD is a great resource. @Maiabean's suggestions are also very good.
 

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When a dog (who will ordinarily eat food) won't eat food/treats in a particular situation, it usually means that the dog finds something about that situation scary, stressful, or overwhelming. Instead of trying to force your dog to eat via food deprivation, I would look into massively increasing his comfort and happiness with the crate. Susan Garrett's Crate Games DVD is a great resource. @Maiabean's suggestions are also very good.

I have found sometimes some dogs wont eat and just sit there till you give up. My friends dog was the same way. He had gotten away with not eating in her crate. The owners would crack under pressure from seeing the dog in the crate with this all so sad face. I had to start over with her. She was not worried about the crate at all, she just wanted to eat at the dinner table. I put her in the crate and let her give the sad face. Soon after, about a week she gave up and started to eat. Knowing the sad face, and let me out was not going to work.
 
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