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Jenny37
30th April 2007, 12:52 AM
So we have our new little puppy named TinkerBell. The big thing that I was most worried about, was potty training. Its going extremely well, maybe just dumb luck, but I'll take it!

What I wasn't expecting to be a problem is eating. The problem is that TinkerBell doesn't seemed focused enough to sit and eat her meal all at once. She is extrememly distracted. So I tried putting her food in her cage with her, but she ends up just making a huge mess of it. Spilling it etc...

I try to sit with her, when she is to eat in the morning and at dinner time to keep her on task, but I am wondering if this is just a puppy thing she will outgrow or is there something that I am missing. Should I allow free feeding?

She is however growing, in just one week, we can already tell a difference...kind of sad that they do grow up so quickly!!!

Caraline
30th April 2007, 02:01 AM
The problem is that TinkerBell doesn't seemed focused enough to sit and eat her meal all at once. She is extrememly distracted.

Hi Jenny,

Welcome to the club. I think this is a very common problem with young Cavaliers, and maybe some not so young ones too.


So I tried putting her food in her cage with her, but she ends up just making a huge mess of it. Spilling it etc...

Put an old sheet or towel in there before you put the food in. You can then just shake it off & toss it in the wash. Is her dish big enough? If you've got one of those ones with the sloping sides, I'd recommend getting rid of it and buying one with straight up sides. Those very popular metal dishes with the sloping sides are a disaster when the dog is chasing a piece of food around the dish. I've never understood why they are so popular.


I try to sit with her, when she is to eat

No don't do this. It will encourage her to be a fussy eater & also she may even think you are sitting there challenging her for her food. Put her in her crate with her food. Walk away (out of the room for 20 minutes max), don't keep checking on her. When time is up, come in and quietly remove the dish regardless of what she has or has not eaten. Don't comment either way. Let her out and then do the same thing for next meal.

If she hasn't eaten her dinner up, do not give her snacks between meals, as you will end up with a dog that doesn't eat but hangs out for snacks.


She is however growing, in just one week, we can already tell a difference

There you go :D she is obviously getting plenty to eat. So try not to fret. A healthy puppy won't starve himself & sometimes we over estimate just how much they should eat.

Have fun!

Kodee
30th April 2007, 04:48 AM
Oh Kodee at 5mths is still easily distracted...what's that a bird tweeked outside, the front door opened, someone came downstairs, mom moved an inch... but my vet reports she must be eating at some point because her weight gain is good and on target. Everything is more interesting than eating, but they do learn you have to eat this stuff to not feel hungry later eventually. I do leave it down longer than the 15 min rule as she is a slow eater (eats half, has a drink, a little play and sometimes goes back for rest).

Battie4
30th April 2007, 05:20 AM
When I got Waffles 5 days ago she didnt eat much either. It got me worried at first but I think it was just all the excitment of being ina new home and with another dog. Like the previous post though I got one of those no tip stainless steel bowls for her and she literally refuses to drink or eat out of it. I think shes still too small to use it, but I had fortunantely also ordered some of these small bowls that you put in a cage that you can take in and out of the cage and she eats fine out of those. But only drawback with those bowls is she can tip them over which has already happened on more than 1 occasion.

Roxanne
30th April 2007, 12:44 PM
I agree ....dont sit with her and coaxe her to eat . Put it down , 15 minutes later pick it up , try again that evening . She will eat when she is hungry enough . Dont give treats during this time . it will curb her appetite ;)

Jenny37
30th April 2007, 04:06 PM
I actually haven't given her any treats. Even for potty training, I am working with praise instead.

Can I just do a free feeding thing? I actually have kind of been doing it and it seems to work okay. But I will stop if its not the thing to do.

Cathryn
30th April 2007, 04:36 PM
Hi!

I often have puppy buyers 'phoning me with this exact same problem, there has been much good advice given already, free feeding is OK, I have just weaned a singleton puppy this way and his weight is just fine!

One question here is, was she a singleton pup or from a litter? If she was from a litter then she will no longer have the "competition" from her siblings at meal time so will be thinking "Well, it's still going to be here in 10 minutes time so I'll go play with that toy, get some fuss, then come back to it" :rolleyes:

Roxanne has given good advice in telling you to only leave her meal down for so long, no puppy will willingly starve itself! DON'T whatever you do start handfeeding her or adding titbits to her feed such as cheese or chicken as you will be making a rod for your own back, do you still want to be handfeeding her when she is 5? ;)

I often run on 2 pups from a litter so have little feeding trouble, the "competitive" urge is still there, but a couple of years ago I only kept 1 pup from a litter of 3, for the first time in years I had a puppy that wouldn't eat! I was at my wits end, she came around after a few days but I do know how you feel, give TinkerBell (Sweet Name!!) a bit of time and she will come round and you will wonder what all the fuss was about!!

Good Luck and try not to worry too much about this, it's a bit like weaning a baby, the more emphasis you put on it the more of a problem it seemingly becomes!!

Kodee
30th April 2007, 04:39 PM
Your puppy must be on 3 or 4 feedings a day still - that is ample time to offer opportunity to eat. Measure out your daily ration - if at one meal she is hungry give a bit more - she probably will eat less at next, but that is ok. The idea is to offer at set times and by days end or even 2 days end she eats a good amt. Not so much important as what she eats per meal. Also you can dip into your daily portion and use for potty treats or when she comes when called. (Sort of free feeding but with a purpose :D ) You dont want to develop a picky eater - I did, and its not treat to back track at 5mths!

tonic
30th April 2007, 10:26 PM
I actually haven't given her any treats. Even for potty training, I am working with praise instead.

Can I just do a free feeding thing? I actually have kind of been doing it and it seems to work okay. But I will stop if its not the thing to do.

I am not ashamed to say that I free feed. I don't put endless amounts of food out for my dogs, but I do feed once in the morning (they eat the majority then) and once at night. (but less). They don't overeat or resource hog.. so its not an issue for me.

The big pro of not free feeding is that it helps with potty training to have set meal times. So that may be a reason you want to not free fed at this stage.

Cathy T
30th April 2007, 10:49 PM
Backing up everything said above! We had problems with Jake eating as a baby. I was told that he would not starve himself if I did the put the food down for 15 minutes and then pick it up deal. And he didn't! It took a few days for him to "get it" but eventually he did. We didn't even start the game playing with Shelby having learned from Jake.

They are so funny when they eat though, aren't they?! Such little goofy distracted puppies. Have fun with her!

Lisa_T
1st May 2007, 12:50 AM
Hear, hear.

I made the mistake of worrying over Holly's messing around with food until she was 3 or so. Then I found this board and started the 15 min rule. No problems since- and it helped that we acquired Amber shortly after, and the competition finished what the 15 minute rule started.

Just a note about stainless steel bowls if that's what you're using- some Cavs are very funny about these. Holly, for example, will not eat from a stainless steel bowl. Unless there's something especially yummy in it- otherwise, she'll stand and bark at the thing. Drinks quite happily from a giant stainless steel bowl though! If your puppy is being a funny eater, she may simply be scared of her bowl!