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How to deal with food obsessed dogs

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How to deal with food obsessed dogs

Postby admin » Sun Apr 10, 2016 7:59 pm

http://kiroradio.com/923/2196601/Pet-ti ... essed-dogs
This week, the Seattle Humane Society has provided us with some tips on how to deal with a dog that is hungry all the time.
They say a trip to the vet is in order if a dog is continually food-obsessed. You want to rule out the possibility of a medical problem, i.e. diabetes or a thyroid issue.

If it's behavioral in origin, then the following tips are great starting points to reduce the obsessive behavior:

• No attention (and obviously no food or anything else) for begging. If this dog has been rewarded for begging in the past it is likely the behavior will get worse before it gets better. The dog is thinking "well, this used to work, I'll try harder" but WILL finally give up as long as they do not give in, even once. In fact, giving in even once will result in strengthening the behavior. But, the family should take heart, the behavior getting worse is called an "extinction burst" which is what happens before the behavior dies out.

• How about some enrichment...puzzle toys where she works to earn her food but does it herself and has to figure out the toy and how to get the food out.

• K9 Nosework - teaching her to find hidden treats/items would be great. It's great for any breed but for hounds it's what they were bred for.

Our DBS volunteers do this with our shelter dogs and the dogs and volunteers love it. It tires the dogs out in a different way than physical exercise does.

• And definitely more walks with lots of sniffing opportunities, meeting other dogs, going to a class—get her brain working!

There's also the possibility that the dog just isn't getting enough food. Always feed on a regular schedule - and start adding a half serving of additional food to their bowl to see if that satisfies their hunger.
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Re: How to deal with food obsessed dogs

Postby admin » Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:01 pm

http://pets.thenest.com/behavior-behind ... -9121.html
If you're worried about losing a hand when you reach for Spot's food bowl, he might have a problem. Food obsession is a real thing in dogs, and it can drive you both a little crazy. It's not necessarily his fault that he loves chowing down so much, though.

The Nose Knows
Dogs experience the world around them primarily through smell and taste. It's why they love chew toys so much, and why they want to sniff every square inch of the yard before finally finding some grass good enough to pee on. Since smell is Spot's dominant sense, food is especially tantalizing for him, especially the moist, fragrant stuff. He's not picky, and in the wild, he would be forced to gorge himself alongside his pack at every opportunity. All in all, loving food is just in his nature.

Oh, OCD!
Dogs are creatures of habit, and that habit can easily turn into obsession -- especially with age. Dogs are prone to developing obsessive-compulsions, like chewing on certain toys, sleeping in certain spots and stuffing their fat little faces at certain times. If your dog seems obsessed with eating, it could be because he is -- and it's not necessarily the only thing he's obsessed with. It's a weird little idiosyncrasy, sure, but it isn't harmful. The same goes for food guarding, another obsessive trait that can annoy humans without necessarily posing a real threat. If your dog is overly protective of his food, be it from you or other animals, it isn't a sign of abnormal aggression -- it's in his nature to protect his resources. Just let him eat in peace, and if need be, sequester him to another room or his crate during mealtime.

Breeding Obsession
Some breeds are more prone to obsessing over their dinners than others. Big, powerful breeds, like pit bulls, are more likely to have difficulty with rules and limits. They are more likely to gorge themselves at the bowl and snip at any hands that dare to interrupt mealtime. You can curb this behavior by imposing stricter limits, like feeding him on a leash or raising his bowl to necessitate slower eating.

Thyroid Problems
Your dog could obsess over food because his body isn't processing it properly. The leading medical culprit in the case of increased appetite is low thyroid levels, so if your little guy can't ever seem to get enough to eat, he may need a checkup. Getting your dog looked at by the vet can help you rule out any medical conditions that lead to food obsession, enabling you to focus on the behavioral causes.
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