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Jessieca
6th October 2007, 09:10 PM
I should start off by saying that we know this is 100% our fault, but now we aren't sure what to do...I am actually *very* embarrassed to even post about it because I've tried to do everything right so far.

Originally Bailey was very finicky when he was little with eating, and he would never eat when we put the food down for 15 min like people suggested. We found he would just scratch at his little food mat when he was hungry, so we gave into this. This worked fine for many months, but recently we noticed he was doing it way more, and that he was getting a bit chubby, and we weren't measuring his food as frequently as we used to. He was 19 lbs in I believe May or June, and weighed in a few days ago at 21.8 :O

We decided to start measuring out 1/2 cup in the morning, and 1/2 cup at night, with 1-2 treats during the day (we feed him Wellness). Now he is constantly scratching at the mat, and will sit licking it like he is starving. I realize we made the mistake of making this a habit. He ALWAYS seems hungry. It almost reminds me of a child throwing a tantrum. Should we feed him more because he is hungry, or is this plenty for him? Activity wise, we go for a walk for 30-60 min a day, and he actively plays fetch etc. indoors.

Thanks :)

Edit: I just wanted to add we were feeding (I would estimate) about 1.5 cups or so each day before we started measuring recently :/ anddd I just realized I should have probably put this in a different forum, sorry.

Nicki
6th October 2007, 10:24 PM
Moved to health and diet for you :)

Cavaliers are VERY good at training their humans as you've discovered...good on you for being brave and admitting that we don't always get it right...

Maybe try giving some frozen or raw veggies as treats - things like raw carrot are good for filling them up without many calories.

Really the best thing to do is ignore Bailey when he scratches - and once he stops, then ask him to play or take him for a walk so that he is rewarded for not scratching. Eventually he'll learn that it doesn't result in anything good - but it may take a while! In the meantime, you must not ever give him anything for scratching - or else it's like a human playing a slot machine, as long as they win occasionally, they will keep playing.

Jessieca
6th October 2007, 10:30 PM
Really the best thing to do is ignore Bailey when he scratches - and once he stops, then ask him to play or take him for a walk so that he is rewarded for not scratching. Eventually he'll learn that it doesn't result in anything good - but it may take a while! In the meantime, you must not ever give him anything for scratching - or else it's like a human playing a slot machine, as long as they win occasionally, they will keep playing.

Haha what a perfect analogy :) Thanks for moving this.

Thank you for the tips. I know he does like carrots, so I will go ahead and try that, or possibly some other types of veggies. We have to take him in to see the vet in a few weeks for a yearly check up too, so I am going to talk to the vet about his weight. He's currently scratching away :P Live and learn I suppose :o

Karlin
7th October 2007, 02:31 PM
Don't worry, every one of us I am sure has given in on something we find out later we shouldn't have! :lol:

As you've discovered, while puppies are pretty good at eating just what they need (just like young children), being able to get food on demand becomes a problem when they get interested in food as food. Vets recognise cavaliers amongst a small group of dogs that have a serious propensity towards obesity, too -- almost ALL cavaliers are ALWAYS greedy and will eat themselves into furry blimps if given the opportunity. Because extra weight has such a close bearing on heart health, in this breed we all want to be very careful that our dogs stay in good weight to ensure they stay with us as long as possible. :)

All the above is why breeders generally say never to feed on demand, and to always from the start give puppies a set amount of time to eat. They can otherwise become real manipulators and will overeat as well. A lot of us start out thinking our puppy or dog is the exception and needs special feeding, but most of us come to realise we've been professionally managed by our dogs to serve THEM. In other words he has you perfectly trained now from his point of view -- and who says this breed isn't smart? :lol:

So yes, do get him on to a good schedule and be sure you totally ignore the scratching -- do not even look at him or you are rewarding him with attention. Often dogs go into one last big try to get attention through the unwanted behaviour before it is extinguished so it is really important to totally ignore him whatever he does to try and get attention. Go into another room if you need to! I'd be inclined too to take up his mat for a few weeks so that he doesn't even have the old context in which he has been doing the scratching.

By the way I'd cut him BACK as he seems to need to lose some weight now. Maybe to 3/4ths a cup with a good handful of frozen green beans or other veggies for roughage. There's a list of things to feed as healthy treats in the Library section. Make sure those extra treats are really small, too. If he doesn't have a distinct waist, cut back on food til he does then figure out what amount maintains him at that good weight. All foods are different in caloric content and how they are metabolised so amounts to feed can vary by type of food; generally you need to make adjustments over time depending on lots of things like age, activity level, whether neutered, introduction of new foods etc. :) In general most bags of food seem to give suggested feeding amounts that are way too high and the same for treats.

Charleen
7th October 2007, 04:09 PM
My dogs always seem hungry too. Their diets started in the Summer of 2006, because I didn't measure their food and just left the food out for them to eat when they were hungry. What I do now is measure their food & feed them in the morning and evening.

Kibble: Merry & Luke each get 1/4 cup twice a day. Pippin is taller and gets 1/2 cup twice per day. Jolly is still growing & gets 1/3 cup twice per day.

I give them some Pure Canned Pumpkin in their dinner kibble. It is a fiber and fills them up. I learned about it on this board.

I started putting the pumpkin in ice cube trays and topping it with water and freezing it. I put one cube in their dinner bowl. The reason is that it takes them longer to eat the frozen pumpkin ice cube and they get to chew it. So they feel like they have something to eat.

luvzcavs
7th October 2007, 06:28 PM
You've no need to be embarrassed, these are cavaliers and its almost impossible for a mere human to not give in to them.

Its probably already been said ? but I doubt he is scratching the matt because he is hungry it is more likely habit.

I would stick to your guns with the amount of food you give, give a small treat throughout the day and use foody toys like fido bones or treat balls with some of his daily kibble in it to keep him occupied. Everytime he scratches the matt ignore or divert him to a different activity. Throwing a ball or fav toy is a good one as they get some extra exercise as well. Also maybe give him an extra walk, even if its only a quickie it is some stimulation and breaking the habit whilst again having the added benefit of exercise.
Maybe even move the matt to a different place to break the habit ??

hollyandmel
8th October 2007, 06:38 PM
I've had the same problem.....icon_blshing

As i got holly as a rescue she was initally underwieght so i would feed her on demand, lots of faffing and hand feeding:bang: she had me over a barrel good and proper!! :D (i know this now!!)... but then i felt sorry for her and felt she needed it.....this went on and she was then spayed and put loads of weight on.....she's been on a diet now for a few months and at the beginning it was really hard as she expected the rountine of "Holly in charge" :dogwlk: to continue, she'd beg, scavange, lick the dishwasher and make me feel very guilty...

She knows i'm serious now!! :p and this behaviour has stopped so do keep at it, i spoke to my vet as i felt she was always hungry but as she's maintaining her weight, she is obviously eating enough....it's habit and trying it on!!

Good luck!! xx :xfngr:

Jessieca
9th October 2007, 04:25 PM
Thank you all for your suggestions!! We took the mat away, now he still licks the carpet where it was to show he is hungry, but we just ignore it. Hopefully this habit will break soon AND he will lose some of the weight he put on. He doesn't look super overweight, but his waist isn't defined like it was. Thank you all so much for your words of wisdom :)

Caraline
10th October 2007, 03:10 AM
Heheh I wonder if the Cavalier is the most manipulative breed on this earth? :D

noa_mills
10th October 2007, 11:28 AM
:eek: I think our cavalier also has us trained to overfeed him! He is always, always hungry, never refuses food. I'm definitely going to watch this closely. It's very hard, he is very clever, knows how to push the right buttons.

Recently we have caught him stealing food from shelves. He steals rice cakes and eats them when we are not watching. That's on top of his own food and treats. Little mite! :shifty:

nursejess80
11th October 2007, 04:43 AM
I think Ruby would eat all day if we would let her. She's now up to about 18-19 lbs., which was very surprising to use because she was so tiny when she was younger. She's just a tall girl. We compared her to another Cavalier that is about 8 months older than her, and Ruby is a lot taller and weighs about 4 lbs. more. She isn't fat by any means. She gets 1/2 cup twice a day, and her treats usually consist of raw carrots and nibbles of fruit. She just seems to always want something to eat. She wasn't too happy when we switched her from her puppy food to adult food and refused to eat a few times, but eventually I won the battle of the wills, and she stopped being so picky. (By the way, it was the exact same food, flavor, and everything....just adult food.) Good luck with the diet! My sis had an overweight English bulldog (63 lbs.) who was put on 1 1/2 cups of food at breakfast and a can of salt-free green beans at dinner, and she's now a trim 49 lbs. It took a while, but it definitely is possible to get your pup back into good shape. Her other dog would even try to sneak in and get the green beans away from her because he thought it was a treat!

angie
22nd October 2007, 11:14 PM
it took us a while to be masters in our house again and not jadan!! if you think about it..you must leave them at some point to go to work or the shops or just to go out (chance would be a fine thing with three kids!) anyway...during this time when they are on there own, there isnt anybody to try and manipulate (or feel guilty!!) so they go with out and i am betting wouldnt be licking the mat/carpet without anyone watching. jadan has a habit of licking at my hubbys recliner chair in our dining room to get attention when we are eating (and someone has left the gate open!), we realised this early on and ignore it, he still does it occasionally but never gets anything from it but a quick nudge to snap him out of it and so he goes off sulking to bed. he used to be a very finicky eater until i was put straight on this board and now i dont obsess with it anymore. he gets something small for breakfast, and for lunch if i am home, then has his tea after a walk which is usually his whole portion for the day. (obviously tasty treats in between but not enough to spoil his appetite) more often than not he will eat, sometimes he leaves a bit, other times he will go back and see if any more is on the way. i think the not obsessing over it and finding other things to think about helps A LOT, and they get the message after a while. :)

Jen
24th October 2007, 04:07 PM
Abbey looses her mind when we start to prepare their meals. It's ridiculous the way she carries on; when Gus is just sitting there being so good, Abbey is bouncing all over the kitchen and then crying on top of it! She's slowwwwly learning that her doing this is actually making it take longer to get her food, because we stop the minute she starts carrying on, then she quiets down and sits on the rug, then we start preparing the food again...some days she's able to focus and stay calm better than other days.:rolleyes:
What seems to work in our house is a glob of pumpkin on their food, it fills them up and they love it. We freeze it in ice cube trays and give it to them that way as a treat, stuff their Kongs with it, and smear it inside their femor bones they gnaw on all day.

Celticharmony
24th October 2007, 05:55 PM
Recognise all of this behavoior! Max would eat forever if not strictly rationed. No, I don't feel in the least guilty as I would have more reason to if I gave in to his requests really. On the first occasion he visited the Vets, the receptionist allowed him to choose a pigs ear from a box on the floor. This was a treat that he has never forgotten and every time we go there he scratches at the counter and gives her 'the look' in hope that another ear will be fortcoming!!

cb2u
24th October 2007, 08:53 PM
This is an interesting thread!

Sasha was always a picky eater, and now has "found" her appetite. So I'm getting a lot of good ideas here.

I had a question about raw carrot. Should it be given as carrot sticks, chopped up carrot, or a different way?

Cathy T
24th October 2007, 08:54 PM
Both of mine act like they are starving....and I assure you they are not!! With the wildfires burning around us, inlaws staying with us and just chaos in general.....I fed the dogs in the a.m. and took them out to potty. Hubby came out and said he had already pottied them and they had already had breakfast :eek: So, they had two breakfasts yesterday! And they acted like they hadn't eaten yet that morning! Nobody stopped to say "hey, mom, dad already fed us" they just scarfed up the food!! :rolleyes:

Celticharmony
24th October 2007, 10:17 PM
Thinking and praying so ernestly for you all with what is happening right now. Take good care of you and yours.

Claire L
25th October 2007, 12:19 AM
Both of mine act like they are starving....and I assure you they are not!! With the wildfires burning around us, inlaws staying with us and just chaos in general.....I fed the dogs in the a.m. and took them out to potty. Hubby came out and said he had already pottied them and they had already had breakfast :eek: So, they had two breakfasts yesterday! And they acted like they hadn't eaten yet that morning! Nobody stopped to say "hey, mom, dad already fed us" they just scarfed up the food!! :rolleyes:

:rotfl:cl*p Way To Go Jake and Shelby................ get it while you can :thmbsup: