View Full Version : Is your dog a hoover or a grazer?

28th December 2011, 10:55 AM
Whilst doing my research before I got a pup I read that Cavaliers generally scoff their food down. Bella has done this a couple of times like when we got rid of her worms but most of the time she grazes. What about you guys?

28th December 2011, 03:53 PM
Sophie is a Hoover. We never leave food out, and our pups learn quickly that the food is taken up after ten minutes, and dinner won't be served until the next appointed time. Sophie is a ground hoover, and will try to eat all sorts of stuff on the ground outside. Ack. I keep a close eye on her.

28th December 2011, 03:55 PM
Sonny is completely a hoover. He eats his food in about 10 seconds flat. We now feed him from a treat dispenser, that way it slows down his eating and makes him work for his food! :)

I don't know what I would do without this. BEST PRODUCT ever!!!!


Love my Cavaliers
28th December 2011, 05:07 PM
Four hoovers here. Although Riley is a slower hoover than the other three, her head does not come up out of her bowl until she is done.

28th December 2011, 05:17 PM
Leo is a Hoover, a road sweeper and a Dyson all rolled in to one !


28th December 2011, 06:08 PM
Definitely a grazer. We have to force him to eat. Without Stella & chewey's raw chicken patties sprinkled throughout his kibble he won't even touch the kibble. I keep waiting for him to change because it seems to be the norm, but he still is very picky at 4 months. If he finishes a bowl we celebrate!

28th December 2011, 07:04 PM
I bet if you gave him nothing but his kibble, no treats etc, no encouragement, just ignore him and let him have 15 mins to eat then remove the bowl til next scheduled feeding. you won't have to do any persuading. :) But at the same time -- kibble is pretty dull and I would always recommend having something else mixed in anyway. If you are choosing a raw diet and have good chews etc there's no reason he cannot just have the raw patties rather than the kibble. Alternatively I'd give something mixed in the kibble -- well mixed -- most days to add some moisture, along with a little water, for puppies. But puppies just fed kibble *will eat just kibble*, as they were likely fed at their breeder's home. It is natural for new owners to immediately try many new things with their puppy -- and also natural for a puppy to sometimes not want to eat especially in the first few days in a strange place -- and that's when new owners tend to start doing things to induce eating that actually and totally without intention, create a supposed finicky eater.

Many puppies and especially cavalier puppies go through experimenting to train their owners to give them more interesting things each day or to spend lots of time interacting and fussing over them by refusing to eat or selectively eating. They learn instantly that rejecting food gets immediate action and attention from owners! Owners (wrongly in almost all cases as pups can be left to not eat for a meal or two unless there is an underlying health issue) get worried and then reinforce this unwanted behaviour accidentally by trying to tempt their dog to eat with new foods and attention, coaxing -- all the things the pup finds very appealing! It is very common for people to leave their dog at a kennel or with friends explaining their dog has this difficult eating issue and explain how the dog must be carefully fed, only to find the dog eats perfectly happily whatever someone else gives them, in a bowl, right away -- because the dog solely associates the fussing behaviour with the owner.

I have had so many rescue dogs come to me with owners or fosters explaining the dog only will eat from a plate, if kibble is hand-crushed, if hand fed, if fed by a spoon, won't eat kibble... and in every single case within two-three days that dog is eating normally, by itself -- because if they don't, the food disappears and they are usually good and hungry and have ended this nonsense by one or two missed meals later. :) A lot of people think the dog is starving and then break down and try new foods, coaxing, just a few treats... and then the problem will continue.

Some pups and dogs are indeed picky eaters, but I cannot stress enough how rare this is and how often the problem does not exist in other conditions than when the owner is doing the feeding. It is a very exasperating problem behaviour and really should be nipped when a puppy or can go on for a lifetime of headaches.

If puppies are not finishing a dish of food it is generally because they are reaching the point where one of their several daily meals can be discontinued. At four months two of mine naturally were ready to move to two and not three meals and started only half eating their midday meal. Some want that meal another two months or so.

If a bowl of food is left at ready access all the time, this encourages a grazer response and is generally not recommended by trainers and behaviourists and vets for all sorts of reasons -- for example, it is very hard with free feeding to gauge if a dog is eating normally (key to catching some serious illnesses early); it can set up serious and potentially dangerous confrontations and guarding behaviour if a new dog or cat is added in to the household; food can go off; it encourages obesity.

Almost all the cavaliers I have known of with true eating problems have had them due to health issues, where appetite can be poor and coaxing a dog to eat can be very difficult. :( Slow eaters are a different matter but it is a good idea to see if there's an underlying reason for slow eaters -- such as a decayed tooth or gum problems. Slower eaters should always be fed so that other dogs in the house cannot go grab their food or challenge them for the food. :thmbsup: I feed my four hoovers, including one slower eater, in four corners of a room all under careful supervision til they finish. I have trained the fastest eater to go immediately to sit on the couch so he's out of the way as well. :D

Karen and Ruby
28th December 2011, 07:41 PM
Yes I have to agree with that! There is one thing that causes a fussy dog and thats the owner! And I can say that as I used to be one!!

Ruby was a nightmare at around the 6 month age all the way through to her 1st birthday. The change in her appitite co-insided with her 1st season so I put it down to that! But after her 1st birthday I looked in my cuboard and saw 8 different open bags of dog food and decided that enough was enough! I researched a found a food that I was happy with (and by this time she was quite underweight) and put it down. It took her over 3 days to eat it but she did and we never ever looked back. I cut out all treats for a few weeks as I didn't want the feeding of treats to trigger the behaviour again. But never had a problem since!

28th December 2011, 09:03 PM
It varies. If it's his regular puppy food, then he grazes. If it's a roast with pumpkin and carrot, then he almost inhales it.
If it's a kangaroo stick, he turns into a circus puppy.
He has a fetish for lint as well and will search the floors for fluff and what not.

28th December 2011, 11:42 PM
Sophie is a ground hoover, and will try to eat all sorts of stuff on the ground outside. Ack. I keep a close eye on her.

Bella does this too, she loves little stones.

28th December 2011, 11:47 PM
I think I will cut out some of the treats. Bella gets Royal Canin kibble for breakfast and lunch and then chicken and rice for dinner.

29th December 2011, 12:07 AM
As a pup, Belle used to be a grazer, and tried pulling some stunts that Karlin mentions in her post, but we stuck with putting her bowl out for 15 minutes and then putting it away, she finally got hungry enough and ate her food without being so finicky. Now she is a hoover. Bobby has always been a hoover and always will be.
Cavaliers are natural born hoovers. Also, I read somewhere that they carry a 'hungry gene' and are always hungry, even when they shouldn't be, gotta watch their waistlines vigilantly. I give my two James Wellbeloved, about less than 1/2 cup twice a day- brekkies and dindins. I feel like I'm starving them, but they are good weight and get some nice snacks thoughout the day, a carrot or some banana or chicken pieces at mid-day and then a biscuit after their walks and a night-time biscuit before bed.

29th December 2011, 12:53 AM
Both Molly and Murphy are hoovers. And if they go to grandma's they don't get any dinner because they hoover all the food that Mum's dogs don't eat (she has a fussy corgi and kelpie x)

29th December 2011, 12:57 AM
Gabby is a super hoover and Jasper is a grazer, complete opposites.

30th December 2011, 11:50 AM
Gabby is a super hoover and Jasper is a grazer, complete opposites.

That must be hard, making sure that Gabby doesn't eat Jasper's food.

30th December 2011, 04:36 PM
That must be hard, making sure that Gabby doesn't eat Jasper's food.

Not really, we make sure their mealtimes are supervised, Gabby is fed in the kitchen and Jasper in the living room under my nose lol, monitoring treats can be difficult though, if Jasper saves his for later then Gabby can sometimes steal, though it is not common :)

31st December 2011, 08:41 AM
Lyra is a total hoover. She'll finish her food within 2 minutes, and then look for more (and try to steal some from Cadence). She also loves to pick up random crap from the ground and eat it--dry leaves, dead bugs, paper, thread.. you name it, she'll eat it!!

Cadence is a very picky eater. Did the whole "leave the bowl down for 15 minutes" multiple times (several days in a row), never worked on him. He was a very skinny little puppy--all bones, because he wouldn't eat his food. So I leave his food out (1/2 cup) all day for him to eat. He's been on steroids for his allergies for the past couple of weeks, and WOW that has really made him hungry ALL THE TIME.

So now I have 2 hoovers! Lyra is not alone anymore :D

2nd January 2012, 10:24 AM
Ours is a grazer!! when it comes to doggy food that is lol. the few times he ate human food like turkey for thanksgiving, he ate it in a few mins. We feed him by hand many times bec he will hae a few bites and then wont eat so we are afraid he will starve and feed him by hand! He is super picky! He prefers wet food over dry but hates salmon or lamb always wants chicken wet food. Its like a big accomplishment when he finishes a bowl! we feed him 2x a day. I know he has no issues health wise. he is the type of pup that needs to be where we are so if we leave him alone he will just follow us and wont eat. so we stay in the kitchen many times while he eats and avoid looking at him bec then he will be too happy to eat lol.