View Full Version : HELP!Advice required on hand feeding!

6th September 2007, 01:56 PM
hi, i have a beautiful cavalier king charles called harry who will be 2 years of age next tuesday the 11 of september 2007. i live with my parents but i am the official owner. harry is spoiled. when i am at work my Mom and Dad look after him and he gets trips in the car and plays with his favourite toys. however, i know this is probably my own fault but my Mom and I have to handfeed Harry.
he hardly eats for my Mom at this stage and sometimes she thinks he will only eat for me. its getting a bit ridiculous at this stage. it is very hard to keep hand feeding him and it is also very time consuming. i have been told to -(as we have gone to dog training) leave his food on the ground take it up and put it back down again. basically, let him starve and he will eat when he is hungary. but - i always end up giving in because i want to take him for a walk and don't want the dog walking on an empty stomach.
has anyone had this experience ? what has happened?

also, with regard to his temperment - he has got a bit snappy with my parents and if they lift him to feed him he snaps sometimes. what has happened to my lovely little boy? my parents give him lots of attention, he has lots of toys lots of love, lots of grass to run in. he is ruined. it is disappointing that he snaps.

thank you,
(i am having awful problems trying to put my photograph of harry on the website but having no luck i have followed instructions given )

Barbara Nixon
6th September 2007, 02:14 PM
You must take your trainer's advice. No healthy dog will starve to death.

6th September 2007, 07:27 PM
we had to handfeed cookie for about ten months because she was being funny with her food.

Putting it down for 0mins then picking it up didnt work for us as cookies a stubborn little thing.

Try putting the food onto a plate and then holding the plate up for Harry to eat, then persuade him by pickin up a few bits here and there. Try splitting the meals up too. Eventually he shud eat it with you holding the plate, then move onto half him eating from the plate and then sneaking it onto the floor. Then he shud eat from the plate when its on the floor. Eventually move to a bowl. It worked for us! She's as good as gold now. Any questions feel free to message me

6th September 2007, 07:34 PM
I agree with Barbara, put it down for 20 mins then take it up and leave it up, if it's not eaten tough! Do this for both morning and evening meal. They soon learn to eat it while they can. I bet he'll be eating in a week from his own bowl. What are you feeding?

It may be an idea to give him his walk first then feed him, I think Karlin does this.

6th September 2007, 08:16 PM
You will be stuck forever handfeeding unless you are very strict -- as BarbMazz says -- plate down 15/20 minutes, then lift. NO SNACKS. Do NOT try changing around foods. Your dog will be eating normally within a few days to a week but you must be strict and stick to it. A dog can go for MANY days without eating -- their stomachs are actually DESIGNED to eat like this. The whole point is to be SURE he gets plenty hungry as that is exactly what will solve your problem. :) So ignore him -- do not make any fuss over mealtime -- and if he doesn't eat, the food MUST go away til the next scheduled feeding. Any other approach will fail.

The snapping is more serious and may well be connected to the fact that you are catering to him through hand feeding (another reason this MUST stop! This is all in effect, training him to behave in very undesireable ways in order to get what HE wants).

First a complete vet check is in order and should be a priority, and you should explain when he is snapping and what prompts it, where you are holding him etc. Dogs snap in this situation for either of two reasons -- either he is in pain and/or fearful when lifted or has started guarding behaviour which can get not just increasingly problematical but also *dangerous*. If he snaps at a child, or anyone for that matter, people can demand the dog be put down :yikes (in Ireland the warden would be required to put your dog down if requested to after it bit!) so you need to address this before it goes any further. :thmbsup:

Have him in for a full vet check for possible sources of pain. And to be safe, be sure your vet is also aware of the high incidence of syringomyelia and the accompanying neurological pain in the breed. More info here: www.smcavalier.com. Download and bring in these documents:



If there is no sign of pain then you need to work to train away from the snapping which may require specialist help (I recommend getting in an APDT trainer; you can search for one in your area here: www.apdt.com). This article is very good on what to do:


Good luck and let us know how you get on. :)

PS It is actually much healthier for your dog to walk on an EMPTY stomach than a FULL one. It can even put a dog at risk of the serious problem of bloat -- which can be lethal -- if you walk a dog on a very full stomach! So walking a hungry dog should not even be a worry. Mine are walked every single morning on an empty stomach as they are walked before they get their single daily meal. BTW feeding once a day would also probably help your feeding problem!

6th September 2007, 10:38 PM
PS It is actually much healthier for your dog to walk on an EMPTY stomach than a FULL one. It can even put a dog at risk of the serious problem of bloat -- which can be lethal -- if you walk a dog on a very full stomach! So walking a hungry dog should not even be a worry.

I didn't know this! This is VERY good to know! Thanks Karlin :flwr:

6th September 2007, 10:49 PM

NB it affects large and giant breeds most often but can affect any breed especially *deep chested breeds* . If a dog is suspected of having bloat it must get to the vets *immediately* as there's only a tiny window in which surgery can be done to save the dog's life. Onset is very fast. Every dog owner should be sure they know some of the basic signs. :thmbsup:


The stomach becomes dilated by abnormal amounts of food or gas. For some reason the valve to the oesophagus fails to open and release the surplus air. The food begins to ferment and create more gas. - This progresses to rotation of the stomach on its axis

Bloat or 'Gastric Torsion' (Gastric dilation-volvulus syndrome), is caused by the build up of fluid & gases within the stomach. The accumulation is swift and dramatic, disrupting the normal function of the heart. The reasons leading to the dilation of the stomach are not really known and some theories include the ingestion of large amounts of food and water immediately prior to exercise, air swallowing and obstructions of the stomach outflow, stress and dietary factors.

6th September 2007, 10:57 PM
Thanks again Karlin.....I feel grateful that you posted this....my two almost always eat their dinner then go for a walk!!!!!!!:yikes Guess we will be changing that routine from now on!