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Old 08-03-2006, 08:43 AM
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Default Question about Sit/Stay for food ect..

Wrigley is obsessed with food. In the past couple of weeks we have worked on his sit/stay and then put the bowl of food down and he cannot have the food until I say "OK". He does really well at this. Once he got pretty good at doing this I then came up with the idea that I would tell him "sit" while he was eating to get him to stop eating and sit once again. (he wolfs his food down so fast sometimes he makes gurgle noises or gets hiccups afterwards and I thought this would help)...he has been doing good at this too.

On to the problem... Now after I say "OK" he will either stare at me or eat a bite or two and then lay back down and stare at the food. He will not eat unless I keep saying "OK" "OK" over and over...Also when eating his tail is down and he looks scared (I never used any physical correction or even any yelling correction while teaching him this)...It's so bad that I will say OK--leave the room--he will eat one bite and then lay in front of the food forever..

Yesterday he layed in the kitchen staring at the food for 10 minutes even though I said "OK" and then I called him by name into the living room--he came looked at me and then decided it must be ok to eat and high tailed it into the kitchen to finish his food...

Did I do something wrong here? How might I fix this?
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Old 08-03-2006, 10:47 AM
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It sounds like to me he's gotten so used to be interrupted while eating that he's not sure if your first "OK" really means that it's ok to eat the whole bowl. He's confused and doesn't want to 'mess up', which is creating anxiety for him. I think this may be one of those cases where the good intentions ended up creating a whole new problem.

Depending on how long you were doing the stop/sit, you may be able to just quit doing that and leaving him to eat as he will. It may take him a bit to get used to eating all at once again, but he'll get hungry enough and if you are not standing there with the potential for stopping him, he ought to start eating normally. It might take a while though.
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Old 08-05-2006, 11:44 AM
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I also read, probably somewhere here that a good way to slow a gulping dog down is to put a tennis ball in the dish,then they have to eat around it,more slowly-
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Old 08-06-2006, 09:52 AM
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I think it's a good thing to teach a dog to wait politely while you set his food bowl down. But when he's eating, unless I want to handle his bowl one time during a meal, just to condition him to not become possession aggressive, I like to leave a dog eat in peace. It's a very "treasured" few minutes in a dog's life so from now on, why not ask for the "sit/stay/OK" then leave him alone. How you can fix this is to start leaving him eat his food without you hanging around. He'll eventually start eating it all.

I wouldn't worry too terribly much about eating fast. That's fairly normal for a lot of dogs. It is how they tend to eat in the wild....they gorge and they gulp while they have the chance. You could put a ball or a big rock or two and he'll have to nibble around it if you're worried. Deep chested dogs are more at risk, I think. With my Dobe, I don't feed a large quantity in one meal, but split it into two meals, but he's not a gulper most of the time.

Don't worry...I really think that if you just leave your dog to eat, maybe in another room from where you are, with the door closed....nice and quiet, he'll get so he'll eat it.
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Old 08-07-2006, 10:48 AM
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The advice has worked wonderfully. The first couple of meals I just called him into the kitchen and didn't say sit or stay just filled the bowl and put it down--he still wouldn't go for it but I excitedly said "ok eat your food!" and he ate the whole bowl--as of yesterday I started having him sit again for it but not wait too long and not stop while eating.

I just wish I knew how to end the greediness of my little bugger! A drop of water falls from your hand as you are going to dry them and OMG FOOD he thinks--diving onto the floor trying to eat it. Spots on the pavement surely are food.

We recently took him to a local festival (should have known it was a bad idea) and he was in a parade. The care in front of us was throwing out dog treats to the crowd--and of course the kids would run up and try to feed them to Wrigley. I let him have 1 or two and then tried to steer him clear of the ones on the ground--but it was nearly impossible. The other dogs ate one or two and then just started passing them up (they were generic milkbones--nothing too exciting)--but Wrigley kept eating as if he had never eaten before. People must think we don't feed him! Even though I tried to keep his consumption down he ate so much that his tummy was upset all weekend. He looked like he ate a bowling ball......none of the other dogs had this issue!

Any help for this?
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Old 08-07-2006, 03:33 PM
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He sounds like my Jose, my boy Chi mix.....absolutely OCD about food. I really don't do anything...don't know what to do besides control what he gets.If you work on attention training, "watch me," at home and practice with more distractions (little by little) at least you can get him to keep his nose off the pavement. But other than that, I don't know how one can change such an ingrained personality trait and it probably wouldn't be good to try and supress it....just control what he eats, I guess.

Glad things are looking better. He just needed to relax a little bit.
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Old 08-08-2006, 12:15 AM
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It's possible that your dog saw you as "claiming" the food while you were giving commands at mealtime, while controling access to the "kill" (). He was being both respectful and submissive in body language communication by holding back, even when you were finally trying to communicate "go ahead".

Take it as a compliment!

Dog's have a different mealtime protocol than humans. It's clear and concise. You sort out order - and you eat.

I don't ever mess with a dog's food at mealtime. Just let them eat in peace. I also own everything and control the resources, but I don't play games or trade either. I feel this is human logic and is lost on the dog. Oh, but it makes perfect sense to us! Dogs simply don't make the connection with the concept, IME.

Everything belongs to me. I never play give and take - even to desensitize. Dogs aren't desensitized by this, and they can end up frustrated and confused.

You should be able to take the bowl at any time, but only because it belongs to you in the first place.

Yes, just put the food down and walk away, give him "space" to eat by not paying any attention to him, and he should do fine.
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Old 08-08-2006, 08:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by girlbuffalo1
I just wish I knew how to end the greediness of my little bugger! A drop of water falls from your hand as you are going to dry them and OMG FOOD he thinks--diving onto the floor trying to eat it. Spots on the pavement surely are food.
The other dogs ate one or two and then just started passing them up (they were generic milkbones--nothing too exciting)--but Wrigley kept eating as if he had never eaten before. People must think we don't feed him! Even though I tried to keep his consumption down he ate so much that his tummy was upset all weekend. He looked like he ate a bowling ball......none of the other dogs had this issue!

Any help for this?
HAHAHA! I'm just laughing at your description,not at you! It sounds exactly like Tinkerbell, it's like her radar is on for any falling objects so she can eat them at the speed of light! Wrigley is so cute- I'm trying to picture him doing this, Tink tries to eat every dead worm and bit of fluff everywhere,if it's actual food dropped, watch out, she moves so fast you can't see her- she's a blur! Old dog is never fast enough to thwart super pup food stealer!
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Old 08-08-2006, 11:06 AM
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Tink, Have you read The Power of Positive Training by Pat Miller or Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson...another good one is Don't Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor. I highly recommend those books. They'll be a great help.

You don't have to get into a power struggle with your dog. I don't know about you, but my dogs don't think about heirarchy with me. They're not out to try and take over my world. It doesn't enter into it. Domestic dogs are built to live with people and have for tens of thousands of years. They're genetically evolved to live and work WITH us, not against us.

Alpha wolves (not to mention domestic dogs) don't even take food away from subordinants. It's never acceptable for them or any other dog to take food from another. In the rules of wolves (from studies and observations I've read about) it is acceptable for any dog to growl and bite another for taking it's food or possession, even if it is the alpha. So, you run a risk of getting bitten when you use domination and power or intimidation to take something from your dog if he's not been conditioned to it. It's so much more pleasant and safe to train them. The dog is happy to give something up to you because it's always better to than not to. Simple. I'm not in competition with my dogs. It's a partnership. They give me what I want and I provide resources for them in return. But I never, when they were inexperienced pups just took something because I could. It's setting the situation up, inviting a power game to develop between your dog and you. There is simply no need.

Motivation and reward training makes for a much happier dog and owner. It is not human logic, but scientific canine learning theory, based on canine behavior. And it works.

I've never had a dog object to my taking anything from them. They're happy and willing to work with me. Why fix something that 'ain't broke? There are no power games coming from my dogs or from me. I don't have to be over bearing or compulsive. That's for humans who think it's OK to make a dog submissive because humans are stronger and supposedly more intelligent and because they can over power a dog.

As an aside, do you know that they use clicker training/motivation and reward to train tigers and lions in zoos to be still and accept getting their blood drawn and other medical procedures? They use to have to anesthsize them. They certainly couldn't use compuslive or punishment based training. If they can do it with more dangerous wild animals, so can we with our domestic dogs. And as we know, it's used in a huge number of venues with dogs.

Pat Miller, in The Power of Positive Training explains how she went from using compulsive methods to positive. She has been training for over 30 years. She describes how her dog was so unhappy in the ring that she quit training for a time. She'd look at his body language and expression and then thought, "how is this worth some silk ribbons?" Then she read about posititive methods and got into it. What she saw was a 180 degree turn around in her dogs and in herself. They were happier and smarter, learned faster, better and were really into it. I can attest to that myself too. It allows a dog to think, make choices and they choose the choices we want, but do so willingly, not because they "have to." They do so willingly because it's a fact that reinforcement causes any animal to repeat any behavior for which it is reinforced. And give up or cease any behavior which is not reinforced. That is a law of learning and it is across the board with ALL mammals. It is as much a law of learning as gravity or the theory or relativity is to physics.

So, keep on course and if you have any questions, you can p.m. me or Dr2Little, Melanie....they're a great help.
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