View Full Version : Feeding by hand ?

30th July 2007, 11:28 AM
Hi everyone, got a bit of a problem at the moment with Charlie our 5 month old Blenheim. We have always fed him his balanced diet since we brought him home at 12 weeks, consisting of dry food and some wet puppy mix.
Recently he has been refusing his food to the point now where when we put it down he just leaves it for a day or so, however if my wife puts it in her hands then he eats it no problem, also the kids have occasionally given him bits of our food which I know they should'nt do. Have we got to remain firm and just persevere until he knows that the only food he will get is his own, we don't want to go down the route of preparing his own seperate menu.

Cathy Moon
30th July 2007, 11:37 AM
At 5 months old he is going through the very worst of teething, and that can cause enough mouth pain to interfere with his normal eating habits.

I would soften his food by adding warm water (let it cool a bit before giving it to him) or try feeding him tinned food to see if that helps.

With a puppy, you'll need to mix the tinned food in with his normal food for a week or so, since sudden diet changes can cause diarrhea.

30th July 2007, 11:56 AM
Definitely do NOT hand feed. :thmbsup: There's no reason at all for him to take food by hand and not from a bowl or plate -- except the psychological one! In other words, he has learned very quickly that the reward of holding out is a huge extra amount of direct social interaction with your wife or kids.

Try softening the food as Cathy suggests. Try raising his bowl if you want -- some dogs do not like holding their head downwards -- but don;t feed him by hand and try to prevent extra treats from the kids.

A lot of dogs are quite willing to sacrifice a meal or two for the more interesting and rewarding game of waiting for extra social time. :lol:

One other idea is to maybe get him in to a basic puppy obedience and socialising class so that he is getting a lot of activity and learning some self control. Chances are the more he is occupied and busy, and the more his brain gets a workout (this is more important that just playing or running around or getting walks) the less he is going to see being manipulative about his food as a useful way of getting attention. He is training YOU to play games. Tme to start training HIM to earn his meals. :)

Another option might be to put his dry food in a treat ball and let him engage his brain to work to get it out. This adds a lot more interest to a meal for a dog.

But whatever you choose to do -- make sure you aren't fussing over him, cajoling him to eat, watching to see if he eats, etc. Just prepare the food with no interaction with him, no talking or eye contact, put the food or treat ball down, then take it up 15 minutes later. If he eats, he eats. If he doesn't, put the food away with no comment, no eye contact, or fussing, and repeat all this at the next scheduled feeding time. No treats in between. Ignore him for 5 or 10 minutes after the meal. You don't want to make any connction at all between food and the ability to elicit your attention.

30th July 2007, 12:04 PM
When does the teething phase end?
Daisy who was previously a very good feeder is now extremely fussy. When presented with a bowl of dried food, she just sits down in front of the dish and looks gravely offended.However if roast chicken is on offer, she has no problem devouring that.
She's 7 months tomorrow and shows no sign of the teething phase ending, she gnaws obsessively on the corners of my coffee table, even skirting board and legs of chairs.The anti chew spray makes no difference at all.
Oh and she raided my shoe cupboard.......:rolleyes:

30th July 2007, 12:09 PM
Tething has probably mostly ended -- usually 4-5 months is when that happens -- but the chewing phase is separate and tends to last about a year. They are developing their jaws at this time and chewing is a natural part of that. I have never found the spray helped either! Try to distract to a suitable chew toy instead.

If your pup is holding out for chicken, it is because Daisy now knows if she waits long enough, yummy chicken is likely to be offer. Which would you prefer -- a bowl of Wheetabix or a roast chicken for dinner? :lol: In the Caring for your Cavalier section there are lots of suggestions of things to add to dry food to make it more interesting and palateable. I would mix it all really well though so that the dog doesn;t pick out the best bits. I make various stews and add that to dry a lot of the time that would be the main thing I'd feed).

Cathy Moon
30th July 2007, 12:13 PM
From what our first dog trainer told us, the last molars come in later, closer to age one. This is when the most destructive teething happens because they're chewing with their molars. Definitely use baby gates or an x-pen while the puppy is teething!

30th July 2007, 12:18 PM
Oh thanks for that! I always thought the teeth were gone by around 6 months or mostly in by that time -- though I know that is indeed prime teething time, as the old teeth fall out and the new come in. Didn't know more were sneaking in at the back later on that would stimulate extra chewing. :lol:

I do know for dogs this is a very natural need and activity -- much like babies starting to crawl and move their hands etc. For dogs, their jaws are a major way of interacting with the world so they are testing things but also building strength and coordination.

I've never had major chewers though Leo and Jaspar together chewed off the top of a nice pair of boots at one point at around 10 months.. :rolleyes:

30th July 2007, 12:48 PM
We went through this phase with Chester, and still do from time to time!

He completely went off his kibble around 6 months. I tried to soften it but he would walk up to it, look at it, turn his nose in the air and walk the other way.
I tried mixing wet food in. This worked for a while & then I tried just wet food without any kibble, which again worked for a while.

Once I started to relax about the whole situation & left him if he didnt eat, he finally got himself back into a routine. He now has his kibble in his treat ball in the morning, some days he eats it & some days he doesnt. Then he has NatureDiet in the evening. I give him a little more of this if he hasnt had his kibble & less if he has.