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Thread: Simon has a food fixation....

  1. #1
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    Default Simon has a food fixation....

    Simon is my two year old, he's a great dog, but has a real problem with fixating on food.

    When my husband and I (or either one of us alone) are in the kitchen Simon can't stop staring, encroaching on the kitchen from the hall, or drooling. As we live in a small house, both our dogs (the other is a Maltese/Shi Tzu) are not allowed in the kitchen unless invited, and never when there is food being eaten or prepared.

    We feed both our boys once a day, prior to our dinner, thinking this would alleviate some of the hunger with our human food smells. Treats are infrequent and never given in the kitchen.

    While our other dog (Jack) had a bit of the same problem before Simon arrived in our household, he grew out of the nasty little habit. We don't see Simon maturing in this area, if that is the right way to put it...

    Does anyone have any suggestions on why Simon is so desperate, or what is driving this behavior? Simon is a great dog but I am afraid that his fixation could inadvertently get him into trouble one day.

    I should note that Simon gets 1/2 cup of kibble (brand is Prairie) as day and is maintaining a very good weight. Treats when received consist of carrots or celery, but I have noticed him also munching down on the back lawn over the past month. Not to induce vomiting, but lately I think he thinks he is a Jersey cow!!

    I know the breed has a tendency to become over weight so we have really watched his intake.

    Got any suggestions or ideas, or feedback? I thank you for your time in reading this post.

  2. #2
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    This is very normal dog behaviour and especially, VERY normal cavalier behaviour. Small breed dogs like toys seem to be especially good at begging.

    The best approach is to crate train your dogs or have them accustomed to going into a room or pen where they can remain when you don't want to be bothered by them. Just crate them with a chew toy like a kong, or put them in a room. It is basically just a management problem.

    Mine all love to eat grass any time they get the opportunity. If one has an upset stomach they definitely make a beeline for grass, but most of the time they all just seem to like the extra roughage. I call them the little cows.

    Ps why would looking for food get Simon into trouble? Do the dogs fight over food? If so they should definitely be fed in crates or physically separated -- this is generally recommended anyway. Does he food guard? This isn't too hard to train away from. If you visit any of the recommended training sites I have pinned at the top of the training section, they all have excellent articles on managing food guarding. But food guarding is different from basic gluttony.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  3. #3
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    Our kitchen is the main gathering place in our home, so our dogs are always welcome there. They like to watch us prepare food and they enjoy the smells and companionship; I've never had them get into trouble being in the kitchen. We have an open crate and two other beds for them in the kitchen.

    Whenever we open or close the oven, we put them in a sit/stay first, well out of the way. We also are extra careful not to let onion fall on the floor when cutting.

    I'm currently feeding 2 of my dogs Prairie Venison kibble, and since it isn't very high in calories, I give them each 1/3 cup 2x a day. If you can feel the bones in your cavalier's spine you could increase his food. That may help him to be less fixated on your food.
    Cathy Moon
    India(tri-F) Geordie(blen-M)Chocolate(b&t-F)Charlie(at the bridge)

  4. #4
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    Every dog I have ever had has always been in the kitchen with us while we eat our meals. I think the important thing is not to ever feed them from the table. If I ever give my dogs any leftovers (hardly ever! but I'll give them some leftover baked chicken or steamed veggies occasionally) I always take the food away from the table, pick up their bowls and put the food in their bowls so they think it's dog food, not people food.

    I think this is completely normal dog behavior and the drooling, etc will pass if you continue doing what you're doing. If it really bothers you, then I would do as Karlin suggests and crate him while you're eating. But honestly, I don't think it will "get him into trouble" in the future.
    Trisha in Southwest Florida
    Cavaliers: Casey, Ollie, & Winston and usually a foster or two! Cats: Pebbles & Benson

  5. #5
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    My two are not allowed in the kitchen while I'm cooking. Our kitchen is very small and I get so tired of stepping around dogs. I'm afraid I'm going to step on one or trip over one. Not to mention drop a sharp knife or a pot of something hot on one of them. Jake and Shelby sit on the edge of the couch where they can see me in the kitchen but aren't allowed actually in the kitchen. When it comes to dinnertime....same thing. They have to sit on the edge of the couch while we eat. They can stare and drool all they want from the couch but cannot be under the table or at our feet.
    Cathy
    Loving mom to Jake, Shelby and Micah

  6. #6
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    They can stare and drool all they want
    Do you put them in bibs?
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  7. #7
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    Cody is obsessed with food, if we put on a roast she sits in front of the oven until it's done, no matter what's happening elsewhere. Even through a closed door I can feel her eyes on me when I'm eating
    Stephen 3 Cavs - Cody, Abigail & Jasmine, Gavin the terrier and the cats - Buffy, Kendra, Thomas, Caleb, Robin & Cadbury, the Geckos - Crane, Poole, Schmidt, Amber, Seven, Eleven, Thirteen, Ivy, Gretchen, Darcy, Ari, Zeva, Claude & Claudine, Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Dov, Ronia, Netanya

  8. #8
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    Thank you sooo much for the advice, its greatly appreciated.

    Yes... a bib might be a good course of action here!! LOL.... Cathy T you addressed a lot of my concerns in relation to kitchen life in my house.

    In regard to Karlin's comments: No, the boys don't fight over food as I have separated their bowls from day one. Each eats in a separate part of the house at din. No, Simon doesn't guard his food. Blink your eye and his food is gone anyway!! LOL. Simon isn't allowed in the room Jack is eating, so that Jack doesn't develop guarding tendencies. Why I worry that Simon will get in trouble bcs of his fixation? Simon loses all sense of his surroundings when there is food around. He would walk over burning coals and not know it.... so it causes me to worry that he might inadvertenly hurt himself one day, cause harm to others. As Cathy T noted about a small kitchen... I could see him bolting into ours, and getting underfoot and possibly causing harm to himself or the person he tripped up. Or eating something in our mad race to retrieve it before he gets to it. While these examples are a bit reaching bcs of the training in our household, his fixation creates some stress when we visit other homes. Hope this doesn't sound like I'm off my rocker, its just a concern I wanted to better understand and hear about from other Cav owners.

    Being in a small town/city in Alberta, Canada, there might be only one other Cav family in town so I don't have a lot of reference to Cav behavior locally. I LOVE this forum for advice! While I have been a dog owner all my life, Cavs are a unique breed. Is that putting it lightly?! LOL.....

    Anyway, thanks for the advice and suggestions, they are greatly appreciated as said before...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ste View Post
    Cody is obsessed with food, if we put on a roast she sits in front of the oven until it's done, no matter what's happening elsewhere. Even through a closed door I can feel her eyes on me when I'm eating
    Ste, our Rudee used to do that too. When we replaced our oven, the new one had a light and she was THRILLED to be able to actually SEE the chicken cooking she wouldn't leave it for a second
    Claire
    Once owned by Rudeepoohs
    then rescued by CaraMia and Minnie Moo.
    Missing all my girls every day....

  10. #10
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    Simon loses all sense of his surroundings when there is food around
    That is Jake 100%!!! We say he goes into a food craze during and right after eating. He honestly goes into a "high". I have to wait about 10 minutes after he's done eating to take his snood off or he gets snappy. I leave both of the dogs in their crates for 5 or 10 minutes after they're done eating so Jake can "come down off his food high" and get his head back out of the clouds. Food obssesed? I'd say so.

    When we replaced our oven, the new one had a light and she was THRILLED to be able to actually SEE the chicken cooking she wouldn't leave it for a second
    Oh that is too funny Claire!! I could just see Rudee watching the chicken baking in the oven.
    Cathy
    Loving mom to Jake, Shelby and Micah

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