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food obsessive

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My wife and i just adopted a 3 yr old bc from a rescue in Florida about 3 weeks ago. Hes a good boy and a very smart dog but he has some issues.

The main one is a food obsession.


I feed him two cups of science diet in the morning and i leave his food out for him in his bowl.

Anytime we are in the house with him or come in from the outside with him, he runs to his food dish.

He will sit by his dish most of the time we are home. If we get near his dish he will begin to eat and if i give him a command near the dish he will growl.


Are we feeding him incorrectly?


We dont know what to do about this and any help would be much appreciated.

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I would not give him free choice, as IMO that just reinforces the whole food obsession thing. I'd put the food down for 15 minutes or so and if he didn't eat it in that time, I'd pick it up and no more food would be offered until the next regularly scheduled feeding (one advantage of this is that there will be no food dish to run to and sit beside). If he's growling when you come near his food, it sounds as if he's resource guarding, and you'll want to put a stop to that. You might want to feed him only out of your hands so that he learns that you are the source of food and not to be guarded against. Try doing a search on NILIF (nothing in life is free) on these boards or on the Internet and you will find a good explanation of the technique. Basically you require the dog to "work" for his food to retrain his relationship with you and the food. Your boy may benefit from that.


Also, most of the folks on this forum would tell you that Science Diet is a marginal food at best for your dog. You can use the search function on these boards and search here and in the Health and Genetics section to find all sorts of discussions regarding good vs. bad foods. You can also search on the Internet for the "dog food project," which is a good resource for comparing different foods as well as an explanation of what makes a good food good.


Thank you for going the rescue route. It sounds like you've got yourself a nice dog who just needs to learn his place in the household.



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What I wouldn't give for food obsessive BC!!!! You have a gold mine in that trait....you can use it to train, train, train, train, train lol.


Food obsession is great as long as the dog doesn't get aggressive or resource guard his obsession. I've been very lucky with all my recent dogs being high food drive. Even Quinn loves food though he prefers toys. But they all learn early on that any inappropriate behavior is the fastest way to make the food go bye-bye.


I definitely wouldn't free feed a dog who had the issues the OP describes. In fact, I'd want to use meals as training time and make the dog work for most or all of his kibble. Another good thing is to give part of the meal, then while the dog is still eating, add more food to the bowl. That way the dog associates people and hands coming towards his bowl with oh-goody!


But definitely stop the free feeding which allows the dog to practice very bad and dangerous behaviors. You might want to do a search on these boards and the Internet on Nothing In Life Is Free which requires the dog to "earn" all his priviledges. This can be as simple as obeying a simple sit or down. Let us know how it's going with this guy!

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Your rescue dog does have some issues. However, neither of my dogs are going to growl at me if I get close to their food. The alpha dog is going to get the choicest parts. You are not the alpha dog yet. Have patience because more than likely the previous owner didn't know beans about raising a Border Collie or probably any dog for that matter. However, don't put up with bad behavior.


I just feed Ruger when he is hungry. He lets me know when he is hungry because he brings me his bowl. Our Springer gets fed fed twice a day on a more regular basis. I don't worry about overfeeding Ruger because he is much more active and younger. He works it off during our daily frisbee sessions.

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