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Hi,

I've got a 6 month old Border collie who is not very interested in food.

He's never hungry before noon, but if he goes to the crate then he gets a frozen kong with kibble and peanut butter or liver paté, which he usually eats.

After that it's a struggle to get him to eat and there are days when he barely eats anything. We've tried different kibble, feeding him in a snuffle mat, in a ball or by scattering it on the floor. He seems healthy, but he'd rather eat ANYTHING other than his food (including human food, plastic, LEGO, stuffed toys, a stick of butter from the counter, etc). We've tried removing uneaten food and offering later. I can't use kibble for training because he's not interested, and he often loses interest in training treats after a few bites and gives me a nose-nudge instead.

My last dog was a chubby labrador who would do anything for a treat, so I'm having a hard time understanding this guy and worry about him even though he's happy and full of love. Maybe he just doesn't need that much food?

Do you have any advice? Is this something that will change as he gets older?

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Ah I have one like that...she will happily eat any 'real' meat whether it's cooked or raw but any proprietary dog food kibble, canned or treats did nothing for her.  Never did since she was 8 weeks old and she's now 3 and hasn't changed.  As I don't have the storage space to feed raw to my dogs, they do get kibble and tinned meat - so the only way I have found to get her to show any interest in it is either with dog gravy or canned pumpkin (this is her favourite).  She has always driven me to distraction with her stubbornness regarding food - my others wolf theirs down and she just stands and stares at hers!  But I wouldn't worry too much - my Midge always maintained a good weight and had a super shiny coat, so clearly she was/is getting enough of what she needs even though it never did seem enough to me.  So I would judge yours by condition.  If he is a good weight, active and otherwise healthy, I wouldn't stress too much about the food ( but do try the pumpkin!) 

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I generally agree with the above but with some caution. It's very possible there's nothing wrong, but I would definitely discuss with your vet regarding DNA and any other testing that might be appropriate since there are some lesser common diseases for which low appetite is a symptom. 

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Definitely have your dog checked by a vet; that is your first step. Other than that, for training treats just try different things. You can make your own :

Pyramid mat treats        and with these you can make them out of anything: any meat, liverwurst, cheese, pumpkin etc. Try hot dogs cut into tiny pieces or tiny pieces of roast chicken, etc.

It also may be that your dog is not food motivated. find out what does motivate your dog. Throw ball or frisbee? Tug? Petting and [raise? Use that as a reward in training. It is not as convenient as slipping him a little treat, but it can work. As for feeding, just continue to put down the food you have decided to feed him, at the times you have decided to feed him, and if not eaten pick it up again after 5 or 10 minutes. Don't put it down again until next mealtime, and don't give him food in between. Make certain there's nothing else left available to him to eat. Remove butter from counter. Remove all toys he has eaten; the cloth and plastic are really bad for him anyway, as you no doubt know. He will start eating when he is hungry enough. If you keep trying different things, you are basically catering to his idiosyncrasies, and that's not a good idea.  Good luck, and let us know how it goes.

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I love the pyramid mat treats. What I have learned: do not use wheat flour, as the result will be crunchy and for me, at least, I want them to be soft so that they will go down fast during a training session, so I use only tapioca flour.

Make sure that whatever meat mixture you have cooked up with water is completely cooled down before adding the tapioca flour or it will cook the flour and you will have a mess.

The batter should be about the consistency of pancake batter. Be sure to scrape the top of the mat as clean as you can so that you don't end up with a lot of tiny little bits from the tops of the indentations.

Bake for less long than the recipe calls for and check on them. You don't need for the tops to look like a biscuit in order for them to be done. You will have to experiment with time and temperature because altitude makes a difference.

I love this method because I can make whatever kind I want and I know exactly what is in them. I usually make a batch of beef, one of chicken, and one of something else like liverwurst, and then mix them up in the treat bag.  I do keep them refrigerated. I freeze most of them by putting them into the freezer  in a freezer zip bag and laying the bag flat with the treats all spread out in it. That way, they do not freeze all clumped together and I can take out however many I want at a time to thaw. There are lots of recipes online but you don't need a recipe. Just cook up the meat, cool, blenderize with water until completely smooth, add tapioca flour until it is batter and proceed. 

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