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Old 08-20-2010, 11:43 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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Originally Posted by Crothall View Post
BTW, I respectfully disagree with;

It's also true that she doesn't "know" it's bad to get into the garbage or the cat food; what you see is her being scared of you being mad at her.

Pack leaders decide who eats and when.
Pack leaders decide if you get food.
If I'm the pack leader, then by taking ANYTHING other than what's in her bowl she knows she's eaten MY food.
Trouble is....

that's a big "if."

Doesn't it make a lot more sense to say that she's scavenging, that instinctual thing that's kept canines alive for millions of years, since LONG before they ever knew what a garbage can is; rather than saying she does it because she doesn't see you as the pack leader and doesn't understand that it's still your food even when you leave it unsupervised for hours at a time?

Anyway, if she's overweight it's likely she's simply putting herself on a diet. Just feed her 1/2 or 1/3 the amount of food you normally do, and eventually she'll start eating regularly again.

Also, adding stuff to the food is ok, but you have to be sure to do it BEFORE you put the food bowl down for her. DO NOT put the bowl down, give her a few minutes to "refuse" it, and THEN put gravy or something yummier on top of it. If you want to put stuff on it, that's fine; but if she doesn't eat what she's offered, then she doesn't eat.
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Old 08-21-2010, 05:05 AM
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ihartgonzo ihartgonzo is offline
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You have tried different foods.... but have you tried a PREMIUM food? One that is appropriate for her species (canine)? She's probably finding some actual meat to eat in the garbage, rather than her corn-based nearly vegetarian kibble. As far as maintaining weight, I notice that most dogs fed high grain diets are flabby and bloated. It's hard on their bodies to process so much undigestible matter, as they can only digest 25% of vegetable/grain matter at the most.

Sometimes our dogs know more about what they should eat than we do. No good kibble comes from a grocery store. Go to your local feed store/specialty pet store, or even a Petco. Find a grain-free kibble with high meat content. Good foods are Orijen/Acana, Nature's Variety Instinct, Wellness Core, Blue Buffalo Wilderness, etc. You will need to feed her much less food as it's very calorie dense, she will slim down, and she will eat happily (more than likely!!!).

It doesn't hurt and it doesn't make you any less of an ALPHA to add healthy supplements that will spice up her daily kibble. Plain meats, canned salmon, fish oil, cottage cheese, yogurt, boiled veggies, healthy leftovers, and such are a good addition to her kibble and shouldn't make her picky. She might also be more eager to eat if you make her work for it, by soaking the kibble in broth, stuffing it into a Kong, and freezing it! That will also give her some mental stimulation.

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Old 08-21-2010, 07:42 AM
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Dekka Dekka is offline
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I agree with the other posters.

Try feeding her a food that is more appropriate to a carnivore and less appropriate for an herbivore. (those foods you mentioned are primarily grains and very low protein) She might be scavanging because she craves real food. (and no she doesn't know its 'wrong')

If you ate a diet of straight corndogs and potato chips wouldn't you crave some good healthy food too? Cat food, even the cheap stuff, usually has more meat in it that your average mid range dog food.

Also ditch the idea of pack leader. Leader is great as long as you aren't worried about being alpha. But dogs aren't pack animals, AND dogs know humans are not strange dogs. Unless you live in the majikal world of reality tv that sort of stuff isn't going to work.
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Old 08-21-2010, 11:15 AM
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milos_mommy milos_mommy is offline
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Purina is not a very good food, either. There are a lot of nutrition threads on this site, or check out The Dog Food project (I think it's just

Don't give in. Be more careful about not letting her get into the cat food or garbage, and other than that, just wait it out. Everyone feels terrible about their dog not eating what they try to feed them, but that's just a bad habit. She's not going to starve, unless there's an underlying medical condition.

If you adopted her and she's overweight, my guess is her last family put her food down, then offered her table scraps and junk. She probably figures if she waits long enough without eating, she'll get something tastier (and less healthy).
"My favorite color is green, green like newly cut grass. When it comes to green with envy, though, you can stick it up your @ss!" ~ Grammy
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Old 08-21-2010, 02:13 PM
Maura Maura is offline
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Labs are known to get fat on corn based foods. Being fat doesn't mean she has been overeating. Rather, it means she has been eating a grain based diet. Again, switch her food to a premium one that has meat as a first ingredient.

The reason she acts guilty when you find her in the trash is because she reads you. The guilty looking expression is actually a submissive expression. A submission expression because she IS recognizing you as the pack leader. Stop worrying about it.
Forever Home: A Guide to ReHoming the Rescued Dog, from Wild Rose Press
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Old 08-21-2010, 02:30 PM
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Doberluv Doberluv is offline
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I agree with most of the others. I'll just reiterate. Stop watching Cesar Milan on that's where you're getting this pack leader stuff. He is exceedingly unknowlegable about dogs. He's a showman and that's about it.

Domestic dogs are not true pack animals. They are primarily hard wired to scavange. (occassionally, to hunt) Scavanging animals are doing so individually and not as a pack in an organized hunt and take-down of large game. No one, "alpha" or otherwise decides when they eat or where other than themselves when they're feral dogs, for example. They'd have starved to death a long time ago and wouldn't have succeeded the way they have as a species, if that were the case. There are good ways to demonstrate that you're a guide or caregiver to your dogs and that you control their resources, dependent on their behavior. That's about training, not a linear heirarchy. The reason to ask for a sit and few second wait before setting the food down and letting him have at it, is to teach a dog manners so he doesn't leap up and knock the food out of your hand, scattering kibble all over the floor. Nice manners make a dog more of a joy to live with. It has nothing to do with rank or social status. The same goes for the reason to train dogs to have some self control in other areas and other obedience skills. Who wants a dog who is pushy and demanding? That's just spoiled, obnoxious behavior that comes from undertraining. It is not the dog scheming to rise to the top of the corporate ladder and to take over your home. They may wind up taking over your home, lol...but that is not their design... to intend to run your life. It is lack of training, lack of communication that makes obnoxious dogs.

So, to reiterate: the garbage seeking is scavanging behavior. It is not the dog not recognizing you as an alpha or not (wolf, dog or other canid) completely irrelevant. The cowering/submissive look comes from your dog predicting punishment from you, due to a history of punishment...not from "knowing" she's doing "wrong." And certainly not because she is thinking of you as an "alpha" wolf...or dog. An awareness of rank or status is highly unlikely to be what's causing the dog to cower. Scavanging, getting into things is absolutely not wrong from a dog's point of view. It is very RIGHT.

Prevent your dog from getting into garbage or cat food, as was mentioned. Lock that stuff up. Get a premium dog food that has lots of meat and little to no grain. Some other brands besides the other good ones mentioned: Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul. (very palatable) Taste of the Wild, even Costco's Kirkland brand if you want something less expensive and still quite good. (you can browse the food forum for more info)

It's perfectly okay to add a tbsp of cottage cheese, a tiny sprinkling of parmessan cheese makes it nice and smelly, a wee bit of scrambled eggs, a few tiny cut up pieces of chicken for other meat from the night before and add some water. Put it down for 20 minutes and pick it up until next time if it's not consumed. Make smaller meals, but more frequent if you're afraid of wasting it. Leaving any left over in the fridge for a few hours until the next meal will keep it fresh. Or even if you don't, it won't hurt a dog if it's only left out for half a day or so. They can handle bacteria better than we can. If you don't want the dog to get picky and don't want to have to add these things, then don't start. Just add some water. It's suppose to be much better for them to have water added, from the research I've done. I almost always put a little something on my dogs' food just because I love to see them enjoy extra goodies and some of those things add a little extra protein. But I make sure it's very small so as not to disrupt the balance of the planned out ingredients in the food or make them too fat.

If your dog loses more weight than you think is normal, compared to the amount of food consumed, then I'd recommend a vet check. As it was said, it is quite rare for a dog to starve himself. She'll eat if she's hungry. Just keep the junk food away. And be sure you're not expecting her to eat more than she should for her size and activity level etc.
"If you love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." -- Samuel Adams 1776

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Last edited by Doberluv; 08-21-2010 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 08-21-2010, 03:29 PM
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hankster hankster is offline
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Would having 3 or 4 different types of dry dog food and rotating to a new one every couple of days work? That way you would not be adding any "treats" to the food.
The Hankster who has never met a coyote that was not worth chasing.

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Old 08-21-2010, 03:51 PM
Brattina88 Brattina88 is offline
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The Dog Food Project - How does your Dog Food Brand compare? -- look at "Ingredients to Avoid"

and I agree 100% with the others

Maddie CGC .:. Cocker Spaniel .:. 13 y/o
Bailey CGC .:. Shetland Sheepdog .:. 6 y/o
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