View Full Version : Picky Eater

8th July 2008, 01:02 AM
Do any of you have Cavi's that are picky eaters? I have tried everything with Charlie. Dry food, wet food, mixed, real chicken. I know this is my fault, but I've even hand fed him! He'll go days without eating! My husband thinks I'm crazy for hand feeding him and that I've created a monster. I think I have!

I have now gotten tired of begging him to eat so today is my first day of putting his food down and leaving it for 20 min. he didn't eat it so it went in the fridge for tonight and if he doesn't eat that then in the trash it goes and we try again tomorrow. ugh! He's like have a stubborn child!!! But I love him, that spoiled brat! :)

Any suggestions? Can anyone feel my pain?

Mom of Jato
8th July 2008, 04:42 AM
I think you are on the right track by offering the food, and if he doesn't want to eat it after 15-20 min. take it away. It may take a few days for him to figure out that eating is serious business. No more hand feeding-EVER! They can get really spoiled if you let them. Just like I am going through with Jato, pick a really good quality food, and when he gets hungry enough...he WILL eat. Hang in there, I know it's not fun. :xfngr::xfngr::xfngr: Good Luck!!!

8th July 2008, 08:04 AM
Oh Sandy, I know exactly how you feel! My two have always been terrible eaters, no matter what I've done with them. Tried different foods, tried leaving the food just for 20 minutes, tried everything. Now, at almost 18 months, they have finally started to eat a bit better but only one brand of food. I also give them a raw egg once a week and a little bit of raw fish once a week. Hermie was spayed last week and had some blood tests done. They were absolutely fine, only her protein levels were close to the bottom limit. The vet said that they are still fine and within the limits, not to worry.
My girls are VERY small (Hermie 4 kgs and Maija 4,6 kgs), but they are active, energetic and happy little doglets :razz:

8th July 2008, 12:21 PM
argh finally someone who knows what im going through. i have a very small 4-5kg cavalier called angel there was a time she would eat everything and anything but the last month she has been THE fussiest dog i have ever met and i made everything worse the same way you did i couldnt see her not eat so i would sit by her every morning picking up the yukki meat and feeding her (she ate fine this way but i am a vegatarian and i was being sick literally after every meal i fed her) i decided enough is enough and i done what you are doing now but 2 days later she had barely eaten a thing and i worried and caved in and hand fed her (i know im weak lol must be the cavie eyes :-p) i then noticed she was stealing my new puppies food (the food she grew up on) so i mixed a little in with her food and sure enough she began to eat more pushing her meat aside and eating the puppy meat. i spoke to my vet about it yesterday and he said her protein levels will go a little higher with her eating puppy food (she will be 18months this week) and the puppy food is richer but he said in the short term it will do her no harm but in 6 months when i wean bindi onto juniour food do the same with angel and then the same when i transfer bindi to adult food he seems to think its to do with the new puppy. anyways she has been eating fine the last few days on the puppy food and i mix it with some juniour dry food too so shes getting a little bit of both i hope the transfer goes well LOL and i hope you can find something your dog will eat.:xfngr:good luck

8th July 2008, 12:43 PM
DO NOT CAVE IN and feed the dog! And do NOT try rotating different foods, and ESPECIALLY do not ever, ever, ever hand feed unless you are talking about a very ill dog with no ability to feed itself.

A cavalier or any adult dog is MORE than able to go several DAYS without eating -- that is normally how canids would eat and their stomach has hundreds of thousands of years of evolution to eat just like that. Reality check! You know that if kids hold out for something better, you would not start cooking them special meals or give them ice cream rather than a proper meal, so why do this for a *dog*? :thmbsup:

Honestly: please do not set up your dogs to be problem eaters; this creates other serious behaviour problems as well as casuing potentially serious issues if the dog must be hospitalised or boarded and will not eat because you have now trained your dog not to eat properly. Why would you want to put your dog at risk?

There's a detailed post in the library entitled 'finicky eater'. Follow it exactly and 99.99999% of dogs will immediately and miraculously turn into normal eaters. :rolleyes: Most people simply do not hold firm and continue at least accidentally to give their dogs positive reinforcement for not eating, and by eventually giving in, encourage the dog to hold out for even longer periods of time. It becomes a fun game for the dog, mealtime turns into a social event with you, exactly what it should NOT be, as the dog now controls the whole eating process, and their unwanted and annoying as behaviour is ultimately rewarded. DO NOT GIVE IN!!! If they don't eat, they don't eat. Big deal.

Please also read the article pinned to the top of the general discussion section on the thread entitled 'if you read only one thing about dogs'. If you allow the dog to manage and dictate to the household, dog ownership becomes a nightmare. And these are the dogs that are most at risk of ending up in rescue or the pound because they have now been given positive reinforcement for unacceptable behaviour; it always tends to cause more problems.

PS: most good breeders and dog nutritionists do not believe puppies should be fed puppy food -- they would not get extra nutrition naturally as puppies, so why do we give them food that accelerates their growth artificially? Many breeders and nutritionists feels it causes bones and joints to develop too fast and puts them at risk of joint injury later in life. I don't know if that is the case but I tend to trust breeders with their long-term experience over vets and food companies. Nutrition and behaviour are the two biggest weak points for vets -- so they are generally not a great source of advice for either.

8th July 2008, 02:32 PM
Alfs went through a stage of not eating,he seemed to grow out of it.Our new boy wont eat if i leave the room,so i have been taking 1 foot steps away from him,i am now at about 4 ft away and he is settleing down with his food,this is only exitement with him though.

8th July 2008, 06:05 PM
Thanks everyone! I'm so glad I'm not alone in this!! So today Charlie ate all his food. But for the last week he's decided he doesn't want to eat out of his bowl anymore. He'll drink from it, but its like he's afraid of it. So this past weekend I got him plastic bowls instead of ceramic ones and I've taken his collar off as well.

nope, he still won't eat from the bowl, but if I feed him on a papertowel on the floor he'll eat everything. Now what do I do! He's such a stubborn boy! I was just happy that he ate that I let him eat off the paper towel. Oh and I've tried feeding him on a paper plate and he doesn't like that either, just the paper towel. ugh!!!!:rolleyes:

9th July 2008, 04:13 AM
karlin dont worry my girl would never end up in the pound :) well i cant watch her not eat im too weak haha i know the vet probably isnt the best person but hes gotta know more than me hehe. i havent had to hand feed angel since i put her on the puppy food so i just figured at least shes eating it. i always worry my girls are too thin even though the vet said shes not but yep angel seems to be doing good with the eating thing now and im gonna keep trying to wean her back onto adult food. her behaviour is great i couldnt have ask for a better dog. :)

sdarone : angel went through that stage too... like she was afraid of the bowl i eventually got her onto a paper plate and now into a shallow bowl but she forever has her ears sticky now lol

9th July 2008, 04:23 PM
Angelmommy - glad to see Charlie is not the only stubborn one in the bunch! Of course it doesn't help that I buy into it instead of being firm and letting him not eat for a couple of days, but I just can't do it. I try and be firm with him, but he gives me his sad eyes and comes to cuddle with me and that's it for me! hee, hee Good thing my husband and I don't have kids! Charlie is our child and he gets aways with a lot already!

9th July 2008, 05:30 PM
haha your just like me... she just snuggles up to me or stares at me like yeh my dinner is there come feed me and im a sucker for it lol. wierdly im a bit more stubborn with kids... maybe coz theyre not mine but i cant with the dogs lol i cant get angry at them no matter what they do so i have to do my best angry voice when theyre bad and leave the room but angel hates being left alone and cries her little throat sore till i get back lol on the eating thing. 2 of my dogs wont eat if i walk even a little bit away from them angel will follow me and stare at me like im about to abandon her and pip gets aggitated because she cant watch wats happening and it so she like me to sit next to her and stroke her which is odd coz i always thought she had slight food aggression lol

9th July 2008, 05:38 PM
Please reconsider finding the situation amusing. :( Let me repeat what I said again: allowing this type of behaviour is lining your dog up for serious problems at a future point -- and for ongoing behaviour issues that may be cute in a puppy but rapidly become not cute or amusing. No one cares much for a finicky and unruly child, but the same in a dog can cause problems significant enough for dogs to need to be rehomed and rapidly makes your dog pretty unlikeable to everyone else. I deal with these types of outcomes every year in rescue and these are problem dogs to rehome, too.

Please: owners of dogs have an ethical responsibility of care to produce a well adjusted, psychologically healthy dog, not a manipulative, spoiled dog that is difficult to manage and generally, unhappy because it has few limits placed on its behaviour, and no guidance coming from its owner. Eating issues like this can quickly escalate into a problem that can be a major health issue if the dog needs to be cared for by others or hospitalised. Why would you want to put your dog at risk? :sl*p: Please rethink your approach if you truly care about your dog.

If you didn't want to solve the problem, why bother posting the question asking for advice and help? icon_nwunsureSurely the original post was made to find a solution for a problem that you recognise as NOT being particularly funny or cute, and can already see the difficulties it is introducing into your life. :thmbsup: You need a dog that happily eats a nutritionally balanced, complete meal in a set time limit, not a dog that forces the owner into feeding it what may gradually become a limited, unhealthy, unbalanced diet.

9th July 2008, 06:27 PM

you are totally correct, we are trying to find a solution to the problem, but at the same time we are sharing what our little ones do to us. The problem really to blame is the owner, like me. I buy into his sad looks and he gets away with it instead of me being firm. I'm sorry you didn't find us sharing our stories amusing.

Last night Charlie ate from the paper towel again, he won't get near the bowl. WHat's your solution to that, keep letting him starve until he's brave enough to go to the bowl?

9th July 2008, 07:58 PM
Karlin i know your right but i do think our wording it a little harsh. your making us sound like bad people. we know its our fault we already stated that and we are both doing things to change the behaviour. i myself dont find it cute or funny that i have to pick up soggy meat it turns my stomach. im a vegatarian myself and hate to look at meat never mind smell or touch it. but i love my little girl and she would NEVER find herself in a pound. i have a cattle dog who will be 7 in october and she is such hard work to walk and she bolts out the door i have had in so many trainers to help re-direct her dog aggression but nothing has helped i havent give in and i try new things all the time i dont remember a time when she wasnt like this but i love my pets and would never give up on them. please dont make us sound so cruel
i do find angel hilariously funny in alot of things she does but that because shes as mad as ahatter and i love her for it but shes also well trained and very well behaved. she the perfect little dog. i do worry about her coz i have lost a pet young before and i still dont handle that well hence why i started feeding her but i do know handfeeding her will cause her problems thats why im sorting it

like i said i fully understand and agree with your inout but please dont make us out like we dont love our pets and would give up on them quite so easily coz i think i can speak fo both of us when i say we really do love them:razz::luv:

9th July 2008, 08:02 PM
sdarone. i would get a shallower bowl if possible and work up to his origanal bowl ithink angel panicks when her head is submerged in a bowl lol but she will eat out of a bowl but its gotta be small..how old is your dog? is that him in your avatatar? too cute if it is :)
does he drink water from a bowl?

9th July 2008, 11:12 PM
Angelmommy - thank you for stating that we both love our dogs. I agree, we aren't horrible people, but we just need to be more firm with our little ones so they eat better. I agree, I think Karlin was a bit harsh, but I think she meant well too.

As for the shallow bowl... i got him a plastic bowl because he seemed afraid of the ceramic bowl, although he'll drink out of it ok. Go figure! Anyway, i'm slowly going from the paper towel to a paper plate and into the bowl.

Yes, that's Charlie as my avatar. We had just brought him home in that picture. He was laying on top of the couch, he loves to sit up there. He just turned a year old on July 1st. If you go to my profile you can see my album. I have some more recent pictures there.

9th July 2008, 11:24 PM
My ruby will only eat off a saucer when she came to me i tryed her with a dish and she was scared! i gave her a saucer and she eats fine off it, i tryed her with a dish 2 weeks ago she was having none of it!!

9th July 2008, 11:55 PM
stubborn little things aren't they! But Karlin is right, we make them this way by going along with their bad habits. I'll keep you posted on how Charlie does going to a paper plate tonight. Let's hope he eats off it!

10th July 2008, 12:41 PM
i agree she is right too.i think i have done really well at not giving in to the hand feeding but i just cant starve her. im so bad lol. i get really panicky if she doesnt eat to the point i cry thinking something bad will happen to her lol she has got me through so much in the last year and a half i dont know what id do without her. she is still eating the puppy food but i mix juniour food in with it to disguise it and make her eat it. i spoke to the nutritionist who visits our petshop the other day who said puppy food will do her no harm in the short term but it has more protein and is richer so to wean her back onto adult food slowly. so there is my plan of action lol maybe if i feed her on her own i will have more luck to her eating coz she wont want everyone elses lol. i woke up this morning and somehow she has opened the cupboard that i stood the monkeys pram infront of and she has taken a pouch of cat food that i feed the stays with and ripped it open and eaten that. she seems determined to eat everything but her own food lol

i dont think eating of a saucer will cause any problems just get one just for her :) you can get plastic and ceramic ones they use them for small breed puppies not sure where you can get them from but angel had one untill it went missing:neutral: LOL

10th July 2008, 04:13 PM
Mine is like that to sometimes. Iv'e started to leave her food out 20mins then putting it back. She usually eats it, sometimes not.

10th July 2008, 05:13 PM
okay, so last night Charlie didn't want to eat from the paper plate so i fed him on the paper towel again. I was talking to our obedience trainer last night and she said that something must have scared him, probably his collar clinking against the ceramic bowl.

She suggested going to the plastic bowl, which i did, remember? He didn't want to eat from it either. Then she said to move the bowl to a different location and put real chicken in it and see what he does. Hello!!! i did that this morning and guess what!!! He ate from his bowl. I moved it to the other side of the room and put dry kibble and mixed in real chicken and left it there for him. he went right too it! He didnt' eat everything, just the chicken, but at least he at out of the bowl!!! Hooray!

11th July 2008, 10:38 PM
Interesting situations but I think sometimes our precious little darlings do love the attention and try to manipulate us into satisfying their every whim. :rolleyes:

What has been said before, by Karlin and others who have been through this situation is, go with the tough love. You are the one in charge and you should decide when, where and how the food is presented. Most Cavaliers prefer a very shallow bowl rather than a cavernous deep one, so strart with an easy clean small, shallow stainless or ceramic.

Put the food down, tell the dog it is time to eat and give him 15 minutes to decide whether he will eat it as presented, or not. If he chooses to whine and look up at you with those melting manipulative eyes, be strong, ignore it and go about your business.:thmbsup: If the food is uneaten after the time limit, then lift it and, that's it folks, no food, no treats (only water) until the next regular meal. Trust me, these dogs are going to eat eventually if they are healthy to begin with, they won't starve themselves, although they want you to believe that they will. (Little stinkers that they are.:D)

When I was a police/fire dispatcher we would get the occasional call regarding a cat "stuck" up in a tree. The callers thought the fire department should always come out with the ladder truck and get them down. Of course, we would tell the people that the cat will come down when it is ready. One woman who refused to listen and was insisting that we dispatch a truck was finally put on the phone with the watch commander of the day. He asked her, "When was the last time you saw a cat skeleton up in a tree."

Needless to say, she called about 20 minutes later to say that the cat came down of his own accord and all was well. He didn't need to be "rescued." He might have enjoyed the ride down but had to do it for himself, as your dog will also do when you give him no other option! :)