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Jack, now  almost 6 months old spent the first 12 weeks of life in a huge barn with lots of other pups.  When food arrived, you grabbed what you could and took it somewhere safe, then went back for more.

So now, living in quiet domesticity, his food is all his own.  However, old habits die hard.  Our small kitchen is open plan - no door.  Dog refuses to eat there, but favours the hall carpet a few feet away. If I block his way out of the kitchen, he just refuses to eat.  I have put his dish in our outside porch for privacy, still won't eat it.  I am now in despair.  Laying suitable mats over the favoured area to protect what is mine doesn't work, the bloodied and tripe meat is just dragged further up the hall. 

Can anyone advise as to how I can break this instinct to defend his food?  I say nothing, quietly remove the dish after half hour or so and present it an hour or so later.  He still refuses to eat unless it is where he wants it.  Until now I have relented, (big mistake) because  I couldn't spend hours of the day dealing with this problem, and there's no-one else in the house to take over sentry duty...

A couple of days ago he began showing signs of teenagehood lifting the leg, insisting on jumping onto the sofa to sleep, the bed etc.  Defiant.  We've all been there, remember it? This I can cope with, BUT NOBODY eats their dinner on my hall carpet!

 

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Harry, our boy is just over 6 months old. When we got him middle of July the weather here in Uk was very hot, so we put his water bowl  near the garden door. He now refuses to drink from his bowl by his food in the kitchen, but barks to go out to get a drink. He eats a mixture of dry food and tinned food, he used to grab a mouthful, run into the lounge, drop it all and then eat it all. I put a stop to it by standing with him so he does not do it anymore. I think it was because he wanted to be with me in the lounge.

Harry loves his food and is always hungry, so does not care where his food is. 

Good luck going forward.

 

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A healthy dog will not starve himself if he doesn't get his food exactly the way he wants. Give him food in the place you want him to eat. After 5 minutes pick it up. If he has not eaten any, too bad for him. Put it down again in the same place next meal time, not an hour later. Same thing. In a day or two he will be hungry enough to eat it wherever it is and he will soon be eating normally in the place you want him to eat.

Another note: please do not call his lifting his leg or wanting to sleep on the sofa "defiant". Dogs are not "defiant", and calling it that will not help you or him in any way. He is simply testing his boundaries on the couch, which is normal, and the leg-lifting is adolescent behavior that will stop when he is neutered. In the meantime, go back to square one with the potty training, as if he were a baby puppy, and handle it that way.

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As you said, you've made this more difficult by allowing him to do it.

Put a baby gate or other barricade across the kitchen doorway when you feed him. Remove the bowl in half an hour if he refuses to eat and don't give it back to him until the next regular mealtime. 

It might take him a while, even a few days, but a healthy dog won't starve itself. He'll eventually get hungry enough to eat, but you have to be consistent and not give in to him anymore.

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It looks like D'Elle and I were writing the same thing at the same time. ;)

I agree about not falling into the wrongheaded mindset that the dog's being defiant. But neutering's no guarantee that leg lifting will stop. All my neutered males have continued to lift their legs throughout their entire lifetimes. Jack just has to learn that it and these other behaviors he's trying out aren't appropriate in the house. It's simply a training issue.

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Thanks for these replies, lifting the leg and challenging me has just begun.  Ignoring, walking away, jumping on furniture repeatedly the minute I am in another room. Going into those teenage years - normal, this I can cope with and is not a problem.  However I thought that being bossy about where he ate was letting me know where HE wants to eat, is part of it.

I shall leave his food down for 5 minutes as suggested by D'Elle; 30 minutes is a long time to sit across the kitchen door watching him not eat his food and getting  my presence and attention will not escape his notice either.  He'll have the same food next meal, drier, smellier, staler but as you say, he won't starve himself.  We have tried baby gates - borrowed from neighbours but after hour and half, still no food eaten.  If it's in the hall, it'd be gone in a trice.  He won't get fresh every time though, I live on basic state pension, cannot spend on good  meat and watch it going to waste. So he'll have to eat when its offered PDQ!

 

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5 minutes or 30 isn't a big deal. What is is letting him make the decision where to eat.

If you refrigerate the food uncovered or only very loosely covered between feedings it may dry out but it won't go bad. Tightly wrapped or lidded, yes, it will spoil. It's unlikely he'll go more than a couple days without eating though and I've kept dog meat in the fridge considerably longer than that on occasion.

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2 hours ago, dumbbird7 said:

I shall leave his food down for 5 minutes as suggested by D'Elle; 30 minutes is a long time to sit across the kitchen door watching him not eat his food and getting  my presence and attention will not escape his notice either. 

Don't watch him. Sit there with a book or magazine or something else to focus on. Or don't sit there at all, unless you're concerned he'll mark if you're  not watching.

Don't focus on him. When he starts to eat, you'll hear it. When he stops eating, you'll likely hear him licking the bowl, maybe scooting it across the floor, etc. And have a timer with you, if you can't see a clock.

Good luck! 

Ruth & Gibbs

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Thanks to everyone who has given such good advice.  His meat is always thawed with loose lid and never refridgerated (too cold and not natural).  At mealtimes, I find I can be busy in the kitchen, washing up to do, cup of tea to make.  The lump of beef is quietly and gently returned to the kitchen if it finds itself elsewhere, like it's No Big Deal.  Jack never complains and rarely takes it away again, so hopefully the message is getting through.

Somehow, the fact that I mentioned him lifting his leg has been totally taken out of context..I mentioned as it has just begun, and  was it a sign that adolescence was on its way?  The testing of boundaries? Could this be why he is a little protective of his food?  Male dogs lift their legs, Duh! of course they do, we all know this. Most of mine have done it long after neutering too.  Leg lifting or otherwise was not the issue here.

Would post pics but made a mess the first time I tried and had to delete!  Not tech savvy these days, can't keep up.

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8 hours ago, dumbbird7 said:

His meat is always thawed with loose lid and never refridgerated (too cold and not natural).

If you're picking up uneaten meat and you're feeding only once a day, you'll need to refrigerate the food if you don't want it to go bad. If you feed twice a day and he's holding out for more than one missed meal, ditto.

You can always let it sit out a bit before feeding to allow it to warm up a bit before feeding.

And there's nothing intrinsically unnatural about a dog eating cold or even frozen food, especially in the winter. Northern wolves and feral dogs eat cold and frozen food all the time, either leftovers from a large kill they couldn't completely consume or scavenging.

My dogs eat food right out of the fridge often, and used to eat food frozen on occasion. Never did them a bit of harm or put them off in the least.

Even if you prefer to feed room temperature meat, refrigerating it for a while till you sort this out isn't going to be the end of the world.

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56 minutes ago, GentleLake said:

And there's nothing intrinsically unnatural about a dog eating cold or even frozen food,

Phew! Our boy eats from stuffed Kongs and bones straight out of the freezer. Sometimes he eats room temperature food and occasionally he'll have something warm for his meal. He especially likes drinking warm (bath :rolleyes:) water.

Actually thinking about it, he'll take carry-out food (stuffed Kongs, bones, eggs) away and settle down to chow, outside if possible, but as they're not messy I never gave it a second thought. As a smaller puppy he'd take a mouthful of biscuits to a different location and then spit them out to eat but now he's older he eats bowl food out of the bowl. Maybe it's because carry-out food needs holding and working at to get the food whereas bowl food just needs chewing and swallowing. dumbbird7, I know it might go against the reasons for your feeding choices but do you think if you chopped his meal up small he'd eat it out the bowl? Maybe you'd only need to do it a couple of times and then he'd realise that was the place to eat.

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Jami, I'd caution against many frozen bones because all but the softest can be risky for breaking teeth. They're harder when they're frozen. Ask me how I know.

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1 hour ago, GentleLake said:

Jami, I'd caution against many frozen bones because all but the softest can be risky for breaking teeth. They're harder when they're frozen. Ask me how I know.

Ah okay, never thought about that. They're hollow leg bones stuffed with his normal food as I only have 2 Kong's and it adds variety as they're a different shape. Will get some more rubber type stuffers, there must be more than just Kong's.

I wondered about raw chicken pieces. I'm never likely to switch fully to raw feeding but can buy bags of chicken pieces, drumsticks and wings I think they are. Are they okay? Or can buy boneless chicken pieces. 

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If you're talking about beef leg bones, or any ungulate's leg bones, I wouldn't feed them under any circumstances. Not raw, raw frozen or cooked in order of danger. Too hard for a dog's teeth and too much of a risk for fracture. I know some ppl get away w/ giving them to their fogs for years, but I've heard of way too many dogs breaking teeth on them to trust them anymore. Ask any vet.

I probably wouldn't feed drumsticks or wings frozen anymore either. Maybe I've become too cautious but I just don't anymore.

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Ditto what Gentle Lake said about not feeding leg bones.  I fed them for years to multiple dogs without a problem. Then  one $1700 root canal for a broken front canine tooth was enough to convince me that antlers and leg bones are not good dog toys. 

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Right, I'll get rid of the bones then. Thanks.

9 hours ago, GentleLake said:

I probably wouldn't feed drumsticks or wings frozen anymore either.

What about thawed though? I was all set to buy some the other day but the person I was with said no chicken bones under any circumstances and I started doubting myself. 

Sorry for the questions.

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Thawed raw poultry bones are fine and completely digestible. It's cooked bones that are indigestible and will splinter sharply and can cause stomach and intestinal perforation.

Some old wives' tales like this one and the one about raw meat making a dog bloodthirsty and aggressive are firmly entrenched in the public mindset. :rolleyes: It's important for raw feeders and even partial or occasional raw feeders to be well informed.

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Hi All, On a vaguely related topic to the bones and damage to teeth. My dog is 7.5 months old and I believe all his adult teeth are now in. My question is should I now remove his hard chew toys ? Fake hard plastic bones for teething etc. He chewed one to bits at the weekend and then pleasantly passed it through the other end.

Brian

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Brihop, if by "fake hard plastic bones" you mean Nylabones and similar products, I wouldn't give those to a dog either.  I couldn't find any very scientific references, but if you google "nylabones tooth damage" there is no shortage of sites, including at least some affiliated with veterinarians,  that discuss the potential for breaking teeth with these types of chew toys.  As one site said, if you can drive a nail with it, it probably isn't a safe thing for a dog to chew on.  Like I said, I gave leg bones to dogs for decades and thought I was being a great owner for providing this much-enjoyed treat as a way to keep teeth clean.  One broken canine tooth and a $1700 root canal bill convinced me otherwise, and as I think back, I had two other dogs that had to have abscessed carnassial teeth extracted, and a couple other dogs that ended up with "dead" teeth that I never did anything about, but I now wonder if those were related to bone-induced damage as well. 

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1 hour ago, brihop said:

Hi All, On a vaguely related topic to the bones and damage to teeth. My dog is 7.5 months old and I believe all his adult teeth are now in. My question is should I now remove his hard chew toys ? Fake hard plastic bones for teething etc. He chewed one to bits at the weekend and then pleasantly passed it through the other end.

Brian

It's hard with the chewing isn't it. Our boy is now eight months and wants/needs to chew a lot. What he'd happily chew all day are sticks, but these are bad. Rawhide chews would satisfy his needs, but these are bad, knawing on a beef leg bone helps, but these are bad. He likes tearing up foam balls or tennis balls but this is messy and costly (and probably bad). He did have some nylabone style chews but once his adult teeth were through and he ripped them into pieces, they were discarded. So it's Kong's with frozen dog food in, kibble and hopefully some thawed raw chicken pieces for the moment.

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