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Old 12-31-2012, 01:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Anticipates Meals

Hi everyone!

Its been a while since I have posted anything. Nikki is now 4 years old (wow!). She still has many problems but we are constantly working hard and we do have more good days than bad ones. She does have a very annoying habit that I absolutely cannot seem to find a solution for.

She is a MAJOR foodie....and she will eat anything and as much of it as she can. I truly believe she would kill herself eating too much food. Each morning and evening she starts 'thinking' about her meals as soon as 2 hours prior. She has done this since she was about 1.5 years old. She will whine, bark, pace etc etc until we finally feed her. She gets TONS of exercise (running with our bike, walks, treadmill etc etc ) every day and is perfectly healthy-we just had a check up recently. I've tried many techniques - crating (she just gets louder), treating for being quiet and relaxing (I tried this for a month and she would lay on her bed for 2 minutes and pop back up again every time with no improvement), putting her in another room (again she would just get louder)and nothing has worked. So now I just ignore her (which is torture) and then feed her at the EXACT same time each day. She is VERY high energy and could definitely be classified as an anxious dog. So I have started to just think there is not much else I can do. After she eats she calms down and takes a nap. Any ideas?
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The schedule might be the problem. My dogs get fed twice a day, but never at the same time so they never know when to expect their meal and don't become neurotic about it....it mimics how they would eat in the wild and it helps if my schedule gets thrown off for the day and I can't be home to feed them at that exact time every day. Some mornings they get fed at 5 am, others it's 11:30 am.
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I agree about the schedule possibly being the problem. SHe knows about the time it's going to come and gets ridiculously worked up and excited over it.

I feed my dogs twice a day but I also don't schedule it. My dogs get fed when I feel like it and when I think about it which means that breakfast can be anytime between 7:30 and 11:30 in the morning. I also make sure not to feed hem in the same context (i.e. always when I'm about to eat my meal) so that they don't take ques that way either. They don't know when it's coming so they can't begin to expect it.
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Add me to the "don't feed on a schedule" list. I have chronic neck pain and I don't sleep well. I treasure my sleep and we do so many activities at night I need dogs who can be flexible about dinner as well.

And keep an eye on the routine as posted also. Dogs pick up on that quickly. We give Envy (Vizsla puppy) a bone in the bathroom when we shower if we are alone. Every now and then someone will shower with someone home and she races to the bathroom waiting, waiting, waiting. She's figured out she doesn't always get a bone. But the sound of the shower to her, means FOOD time.
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Mine were a little like that--especially in the morning when they woke us up earlier and earlier to get their breakfast. I finally started feeding them three times a day (adjusting the amounts for each meal, of course) and they are not nearly as impatient as they used to be.
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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This is the reason my dogs no longer have a feeding schedule. They are still annoying about meals, but not like they were. And if they do get worked up around a certain time, they settle a lot quicker once they realize it's not actually dinner time. They used to carry on forever and ever in the beginning when I was eliminating their schedule, but now it's not nearly as bad. They might whine a bit for a few minutes until they realize nothing is happening. Now they only get really whiny and irritating when they see me pull their food container from the fridge (they eat raw) and gather their bowls, which I wish they wouldn't do still, but it's better than whining hours prior to feeding. I don't feed them until they're quiet and looking at least a little relaxed, as if I feed them in a heightened state of excitement, they're 10x worse the next day for meals. So quiet = food, shaking and screeching = waiting longer.

It's harder for breakfast though as I have no choice but to feed them as soon as they and I get up, as then it's off to work.

ETA: It's only my Dobermans who are like this for some reason. No idea why, but all three of them (plus the temporary one we had) have been crazy for meals. Dance and my past dogs loved food just as much, but didn't voice their concerns over it thankfully haha.
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I also don't feed on a schedule. Skoll gets his breakfast between 7am-10am and his dinner between 5pm-10pm depending on work and school schedule (earlier is better for dinner so he doesn't wake up in the middle of the night to potty). As soon as he realized he's not getting breakfast at exactly 7am every morning he stopped waking me up at 6 to make sure I knew he was hungry. Because I'm a college student with a job I need him to understand that I will definitely feed him... just on my own time.

Skoll is very very very food driven as well- anything with food is his or if it's mine he definitely thinks it's for sharing. He learned real quick that I don't tolerate him snatching food out of my hands or off my plate (yes, he was that bold) but more or less if food's involved you have his complete undivided attention. Luckily that means it's really easy for me to teach him things Capitalize on your dog's weakness for food, it'll make training that much easier!
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Old 12-31-2012, 02:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I do have a feeding schedule. I use the dogs as my alarm clock in the morning. But feeding and outside time are linked in my house so. Outside, then breakfast, then the morning walks. I don't currently have a fenced yard so all outside activity is on leash, the feeding schedule makes the potty schedule a little easier for me. Occasionally they will "decide" feeding time is 3 am which usually leads to a trip outside, in case they really need to go out, then a little crate time so I can sleep longer. That usually nips the early feeding hope in the bud.

Evenings are the same, come home from work, outside, then feeding, then dorking around for a while then evening walks.

However, for food to go into the bowl, the dogs are in a down stay position. SO the Doberman "begs" for food with a down stay in the hallway. This way there is no whining or crying or excitement for food only a flopping doberman. She has the loudest down stay in the world though! I swear she just pulls up all 4 feet at once and falls to the floor.

So perhaps if she is food motivated a down stay or a sit stay in a certain place before feeding would help her. That way when she has a replacement behavior for her current commotion.
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Old 12-31-2012, 02:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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No feeding schedule here......I'm retired!!
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Old 12-31-2012, 03:39 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I have a feeding schedule, but it's very flexible. The only "rule" is that the cats eat before the dogs. Breakfast for the dogs is anywhere between 8:30 and 11:00 (depends on if I walk the girls). Even then, the amount varies, usually depending on if I plan on tracking (use lots of bait still). Then, dinner for the dogs is somewhere in the vicinity of 9:00 to 10:00 PM.

Anytime after about 10:00 PM, I am the most popular person in the world if I walk into the kitchen, especially if I open the refridgerator, 'cause that's where I keep the kitty treats.
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Old 12-31-2012, 06:25 PM   #11 (permalink)
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My dogs have a "sort of" schedule. In the morning it is absolute (because 5 days a week I need to be at work at 7:15 am)--and the cats always get fed before the dogs. One of the cats eats in the crate that is set up all the time in the kitchen and she needs to be done by the time the dogs get fed.

So I get up at 5:30 (or when the heat comes on during the winter) the youngest cat arrives on the bed to nag about breakfast while I'm still looking for my shoes. I feed the cats--one eats in the bathroom (special diet) and one in the crate (left over from when she was new and still wary of the dogs). While they eat I let one dog out and prepare their breakfast. One dog eats on the back step so I hand him his breakfast and the other dog eats just inside the door so he gets his at the same time. I let the crated cat out of the crate--let the outside dog in and the inside dog out.

Breakfast is all over until the next day.

To the OP--this NEVER VARIES--I've had the same morning schedule for the last 9 years. The dogs don't get me up earlier in hopes of more food. The cats don't even do that. You've caused some of your own problems by feeding the dog earlier and trying to train her with food. I don't think you can be successful in altering behavior of a glutton with food rewards. Ignoring the whining, begging pacing etc is really the only way to alter the behavior.

At night the schedule is a lot more flexable--if it's very hot the dogs get fed a lot later than during the parts of the year when the temperatures are more moderate.

On average the dogs get fed ~6:30 pm--so they aren't very determined to nag and complain that their dinner is late. It isn't going to get them fed any sooner.

Again to the OP--I think benign neglect (ignoring her) is probably the only workable solution for a dog like you describe. Good luck--I'm a firm believer in the old "I CAN'T HEAR YOU!" technique when it comes to pushy dogs. Works pretty well for me and mine at least.
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:45 PM   #12 (permalink)
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We have a routine, but not exactly a schedule. We get up, go outside, come inside and eat. Sometimes that is at 7am sometimes it is at 1230pm. Sometimes(bad owner alert) i forget to feed them in the morning or night, so the next meal they get a bigger portion.
If Saph is really hungry and I havent fed her after going outside, sometimes she will whine or do little barks, but she isn't very demanding.
Ruby, the chihuahua on the other hand is on a schedule and dammit it needs to be followed! LOL
At least we got her to sleep until 9 instead of being up between 4 and 6am! She only barks at my mom for food though, not me.
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Old 01-01-2013, 12:48 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Mine get fed twice a day I also do not sleep well due to back pain so mine get fed any where from 9:00am to 11:30am then usually at night 9:00pm. If mine were pushy no food until I was ready to feed I do not believe in pushy dogs. Have you tried telling her off on being pushy make her think her world is going to come to an end I do mine & I never touch them.
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:16 PM   #14 (permalink)
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ugh! when we just had out doberman, Kiki, feeding time was great. she was mellow and slowly ate her food. no big deal. then we got out lab puppy,Murphy. Murphy's whole world revolves around feeding times. he freaks out once all the dog dished get gathered and he drools all over the place. He wolfs his food down as fast as he can and now Kiki does the same. she still waits nicely as i dish up the food but once i set it before her she gobbles is up fast! the dogs cant see each other while they eat but they aren't in different rooms. should i feed Kiki in a separate room to see if she will slow down her eating or is it okay if her eats fast?
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:23 PM   #15 (permalink)
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ugh! when we just had out doberman, Kiki, feeding time was great. she was mellow and slowly ate her food. no big deal. then we got out lab puppy,Murphy. Murphy's whole world revolves around feeding times. he freaks out once all the dog dished get gathered and he drools all over the place. He wolfs his food down as fast as he can and now Kiki does the same. she still waits nicely as i dish up the food but once i set it before her she gobbles is up fast! the dogs cant see each other while they eat but they aren't in different rooms. should i feed Kiki in a separate room to see if she will slow down her eating or is it okay if her eats fast?
Skoll is also a food vacuum. I started putting 2 cups of water in with his kibble since he was also having some stomach issues and I didn't want him to get dehydrated, and that seems to have slowed him down to where he takes about 5 minutes to eat. You can spread the kibble out on a cookie sheet or buy one of those slow-feeding bowls that makes the dog work to get every piece of kibble as well if you're worried about speed.

I lost a GSD to bloat and as a result am more sensitive to speed while eating/drinking and timing of meals than I probably should be. I've seen what it does to dogs and I'm not willing to risk another gamble.
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:33 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I do have a feeding schedual, Chase is also a glutton for food. Does he whine and pace? No. Because he knows that will get him nowhere. I conditioned him to be quiet and calm when the time comes to feeding.

It all started by giving him his breakfast and dinner only when he is quiet. Now, that took patience on my part. There will be days when I would have to wait an hour until he finally gave up and went to lie down.

I also prepare his food and wait 30 minutes (soaking), so the rattle of kibble doesn't mean anything to him.

Is it worth it? Yes. I love having a schedual, it helps keep my life in some what of order. Chase now 'begs' for his food by lying down and being quiet.
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:19 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Wow thanks for all of the great responses! I will try to mix up her feeding schedule a bit. She has so many behavioral issues that her 'routine' has always been a huge factor in her training. I supposed the feeding schedule doesn't need to be part of that though. Thanks and wish me luck!
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:44 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Just as an aside, if she's a very anxious dog with many behavioral issues, you might look into a consult with a board certified veterinary behaviorist: Find a Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist ACVB

Our lives (and our anxious dog's life) has been so much improved after working with ours.
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:00 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Have you tried feeding solely out of a treat dispensing toy? It will make meals last longer and provide more mental stimulation for her. Of course she could become obsessed over that toy as a result... Maybe switching to a lower calorie, higher fiber, more filling food could help tide her over between meals too.

I think it's important for a dog to be on a structured routine since meals, exercise, and going outside correspond to one another.
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