View Full Version : Feeding and odd behaviour question - Rio's progress

22nd January 2007, 11:41 PM
Hi All

My family and I are in dire need of some advice.

Our 22 week old pup Rio has been on Puppy Chicken Science Plan for the last 2 months or so. However he has started this regime where he will wolf it down when put down to him after he has his morning and evening walk and then goes for 3-4 days without touching it.

On Friday night my Gran had cooked him some ham, she gave us some to put through his Science Plan which he had done well with. Saturday night she also lightly cooked some fish and gave us it for him to have through his dinner again sort of as a weekend treat for being so good, he also wolfed that down for breakfast and then dinner we gave him a little tuna with the Science Plan which he also enjoyed.

Saturday night we also had a little visit from Bonnie a 10 year old Blenheim Cavy but she could only tolerate him for so long and gave the occasional bark and nip to show him she didnt need him round her constantly. This is the only time he has been in contact as long with another dog in the house supervised.

However Sunday morning Mum wanted him back just on the Science Plan and no mixers and he just looked at it when we put it down to him. He is becoming the Master Manipulator ! We put the kibble in his kong and everything to entice him but nothing. He slept for ages, his poo was a yellow colour, and he also snarled, the lip was curled and teeth showed and when trying to move him from the couch in the morning at myself and my Mum and Sister, later in the evening when going to bed. :shock: :shock:

Strangely enough he peed the carpet in the living room, yesterday morning I think it was to re-mark his territory because Bonnie has been in the night before, and this might have irked him I suppose. Could the growling, snapping etc be linked to what happened when Bonnie didnt want him around and he was trying to say he didnt want to be moved?

I am around him mostly during the day and this was very unlike him and worrying, it actually scared me. I calmly took him and put him into the kitchen as he is too big now for the x pen for time outs like when he was younger. He had also known he had done wrong as he went inside his crate and just peeked out at me. I said "naughty boy" when he did it. I wasn't sure how to react and neither was my Sister and Mum, when he did the growling, snapping etc.

He never ate again today but went absolutely nuts over the Chicken dinner we were having tonight, could this behaviour also be linked to hunger?....Bonnie's reaction to him and he is growling at us in the same way she treated him and he thinks its OK to do this?......feeling under the weather? :shock:

We have taken him to the vet she said he's fine, that he's a picky eater and he will eat and to try the 15 min rule again but it isnt working, We are at our wits end that he will eventually do himself some damage in not eating as we have stopped treats since he stopped eating.

We dont want to lose him and want the playful little man we all love back, :cry*ing: we know he is now becoming a little tearaway teenager icon_devil but is this all to do with his hormones and could just be a mood swing?

He is in perfect health and weighs in at 7.5kg :)

Please help :( :(

Sorry for the long post

From Melissa and Family

23rd January 2007, 12:10 AM

I think that when you added extras to his food, he loved it.

Now he's not happy to be back to regular kibble and wants extras again.

I'd just stick to the 15 minute thing, he will eat when he gets hungry!!

As for the behaviour changes, I think he maybe didn't like being snapped at by the visiting dog.

He'll get over it....he won't understand punishment.

I'd just let him have a day or two to resume his happy place at the head of the pack.

I loved the video of him after his bath, don't know whos' funnier, Rio or your parents chuckling at him!! lol

Others might feel differently but I think he liked the extras and his nose is out of joint from the visiting doggie.

Hope he's back to normal soon! :flwr: :flwr:

23rd January 2007, 12:21 AM
Just another tip....maybe Rio needs to be around other doggies more so that he knows how to react to them.

My daughter thinks that the snapping and growling is because he's not sure who's in charge.

You need to stop that behaviour with a firm "No" and place him off the couch immediately.

As soon as he snarls, growls tell him off firmly...right away!! Don't give him a chance to snap....a firm "NO" or "No Rio".

Like kiddies, doggies want/need to know whos' in charge....Rio might be upset about a lack of boundaries as he got away with it.

The change in colour of poop is probably the added chicken and fish, nothhing to worry about. :flwr: :flwr:

23rd January 2007, 12:29 AM
Well, another way to look at it is: if you were given the option of cornflakes for every single meal, then suddenly people introduced eggs, bacon, toast and coffee, then suddenly wanted you to eat only cornflakes again, day after day...

That's what eating nothing but dry dogfood is like for a dog. Personally I think it must be a depressing prospect for any dog to see nothing but a pile of kibble in a bowl. Almost all dogs will prefer just about anything 'real' to only kibble. :)

Vets seem to have a thing about not feeding dogs 'people food' and always seem to try to push people towards feeding only dry, dry, dry -- yet the dog food industry is only a post WWII phenomenon -- they have been fed 'people food' for thousands of years and done very well! I think they fear dogs won;t have a balanced diet but a diet with variety espeically if based around some kibbl;e is not going to be nutrient-deficient. There are so many healthy things you can supplement kibble with that is *real* food rather than dried, extruded food that has to have all its vitamins added back in artificially... I'd only very rarely give the dogs just kibble. I add sardines, cooked meat, veg or fruit, a little yoghurt or cottage cheese, an egg, cheese; others add some canned food of good quality... I actually rarely feed kibble anyway. Are my dogs fussy and picky eaters? No, they will eat anything, including dry kibble, and I am convinced this is because they get a healthy range of interesting things and never get into the rut of the same thing day after day. I could give something completely different every day and have never had a dog need time to adjust, show a sensitivity to food, or any of the things that happen when a dog sees the same food each day.

You could also find much better quality foods than Science Diet at the same or lower price. It has a lot of additives and fillers (eg rice hulls, rice and grains) and so so quality protein sources. These might also taste better. :)

Stick to the 15 minute rule but I'd keep meals more fun and interesting and healthy than just dry kibble and bet you won't have any problems feeding and your cavalier will be so much happier!

23rd January 2007, 12:48 AM
I'd like to echo this. My elder Cavalier used to be a fussy girl- so much so that I let her free feed because it took so long for her to clear the bowl- often 24 hours, and sometimes there'd still be some over. I switched the brand away from Pedigree Chum, started the 15 minute rule, and added tidbits of interesting things- she's never looked back. Having Amber as competition helps too. No more fussiness. They'll both eat even plain kibble happily- but it's salmon and potato, with real salmon and potato listed in the ingredients, and does smell very salmony- and I've had no trouble.

Honestly, there's no harm in adding human food. Just educate yourself to know what's good and what's not, and if you're worried about the calorie content- feed green beans, fruit and other veggies. I also try to give mine a can of tinned salmon at least once a week and they adore it- and so good for them with all those lovely oils. I notice that the weeks they get two cans of salmon their coats look absolutely fantastic- gleaming.

23rd January 2007, 01:23 PM
I do the same - although I feed complete Royal Canin, I just reduce the amount of kibble I give and add a spoonful of either sardines, chicken mince, beef and tripe, tripe mince,chicken and liver, a bit of cheese sometimes and then sometimes I pour over the soup mix that Karlin details in the caring for your cavalier section (I think).

I mad my own variation as I didn't have all the ingredients, I chucked in a pan, some chicken thighs with bone in, rice, carrots, peas, sweetcorn, broccoli and water brought it to the boil - let it simmer for a few hours and this wizzed it with the food processer and then froze it in little bags, just enough for the two of them. I let them have the soup about once a week for their *veg intake* :D

So everyday we have kibble but there is always a surprise mixed in :D

27th January 2007, 04:18 PM
Hi All

WOW Thanks for all the great advice.

The past two days or so have been quite hard-going. Rio has taken to catapulting himself at the living room door, this way he can open it then runs in to look out the window when someone leaves the house early such as my Mum if she's on an early shift. I am up at the crack of dawn with him sometimes before 5am as Mum works early. She's a nurse and takes him out to pee and poo down in the garden on his lead so she knows he is going to do it and not play. Which is actually working we had our first dry day ! :D

Yesterday morning he jumped on the couch again over to"his space" after he looked out the window to settle down to sleep on it but when I tried to pick him up to move him he turned round and snapped at me yet again, I said "No Rio, Bad Boy! then the command "Off" We have stopped letting him into the living room, from now on he is only in our large hallway and kitchen and 9pm he is definitely in bed as he was getting to staying up later and later.

His behaviour has changed very quickly, he is more fierce playing with his toys, growling while carrying them, and while Mum was on the phone on the couch he managed to get into the living room (sister forgot to shut the door over properly) and he had his rope toy and was swinging it around in his mouth, shaking his head side to side like he was possessed he then jumped onto Mum's lap and proceeded to try and get her to throw it. My Gran could even hear his growling down the phone.

Then accidentally he wacked her in the face with it, she wasnt angry at him but had to hang up and take him out of the room while he did his zoomies out in the hallway and kitchen. She definitely doesn't want him "ruling the roost "and is wondering if this is hormones, or the last of his teething, making him do this. He also tried to mount a male cocker spaniel tonight at the park.

He was very good all day today ate all his dinner kibble and chicken and as a treat a little peanut butter inside his kong, he walked well and had a good run around the garden on his extendable lead. Peed on command too :)

We are thinking of getting an older Cav once he is 18 months, Dad is going to talk to the Breeder to ask her opinion. Do you think we are doing the right thing? we ignore him when he's naughty and constantly wants your attention when in company and have been sticking to the rules we've always had with him.

I looked at the link about resource guarding and we are trying very hard not to let him get his own way.

Anymore tips would be handy :)

Melissa :flwr:

27th January 2007, 09:56 PM
You need to be doing some structured training with your dog as soon as you can -- that will help you in teaching him self control. And nothing that involves slapping, or any kind of punishment. :) You don't want to have to manage a dog by forbidding access, but through training the dog to behave the way you want.

But the kind of playing and growling you are describing is NORMAL and is how dogs play. Please do not scold or punish him for this -- dogs have a prey instinct built in -- the shaking is how they would snap the neck of a small animal and is an instinctive move -- this is NOT threatening behaviour nor is jumping on laps nor is growling while playing in this way, nor is throwing toys in the air. :) My dogs still play like this as adults! Jaspar in particular. However you do not want a puppy who snaps at you. You can also give time outs or take away toys if the behaviour is unwanted at any particular time.

Keep in mind this is only a puppy you are talking out and you cannot expect much in terms of really structured response to training until he is at least 6 months but you can lay down some basic commands in a fun way and guide him towards the behaviour you will want.

I'd really recommend ordering one or some of the books by Dr Ian Dunbar so that you understand what to expect from your puppy and what is normal behaviour. :) This is a good book to order from amazon.co.uk for example:


Also recommended:


He gives excellent advice on training and behaviour.

A companion when he gets to 18 months, younger or older, will likely be appreciated!

Scouty girl
2nd February 2007, 05:08 PM
I was just thinking last evening how cute Scout is and how easy it would to let her 'get away with everything' that she tries to. I believe sometimes people do not want to discipline their puppies as they are afraid they will hurt them or that puppy will be afraid of them.

Don't get me wrong I do not hit as a form of discipline. At times, though, you have to be very stern. Before I brought Scout home I only read wonderful things about the breed. I indeed believe that they are a wonderful breed, but you must not allow a small puppy to rule your home. Since we all seem to be pretty close to our dogs it isn't hard to see how they can change quickly. Scout OFTEN pushes to see how much she can get away with. Do not underestimate your puppy for he is very smart. He is in a critical learning stage. He will only learn what is taught to him. He cannot be allowed to get away with things because he is cute. Believe me I know how hard it is.

Seeing articles in the paper about certain breeds pit bulls, rottweilers and other head strong breeds being out of control are the result of an inexperienced owner. Dogs are very intelligent and owners who do not believe that are in for a load of trouble.

Consistency ......We all love our dogs and want everyone else to love them too.....