Dog inhales everything

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Horsefly, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. Horsefly

    Horsefly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 11, 2010
    Louisiana
    I have a male lab mix dog and he eats anything you offer him. He was starved as puppy (found on the side of the road with his sister skin and bones) but he still attacks his food like he's never seen it before. He also will snap food out your hand (when you offer it to him) pretty hard if you aren't careful. I feed him seperate from his sister because they get aggressive over their food to each other sometimes. When I feed him I make him sit and lie down and stay and sit up and come until I tell him to go get it and eat. He will come to me and sit or lay with his nose about in the food but won't eat it till I tell him to. At which point he inhales it so fast he doesn't chew it and sometimes chokes. I have a metal food bowl that I turn upside down so the food is in a trench around the middle so it's harder for him to grab big bites, it doesn't slow him down much though. His sister eats nicely and it takes her several minutes after he is done for her to finish. Also he will eat anything you offer him (rocks, leaves, etc.) and just gulps it down (of course we don't offer him things he can't eat). I have had to take sweetgum balls and rocks from him pretty regularly while he is out in the yard.
    I have a thing about fat animals so my dogs etc. are not fat nor do I want them to be. Do I need to feed him more until he gets over his inhaling thing? It's annoying to when I try to give treats for doing something good and he trys to grab it hard from me and I end up disaplining that behavior. I thunk him on the side of the muzzle with my knuckles when he goes to snatch. I have to say it it's very effective, he trys it again every single time. Any ideas for me would be great, thanks.
    I fogot to add, he is alittle over a year and a half old, he weighs 60-75 lbs, is fixed, and eats (is fed) almost 6 cups dog food a day (fed 2x day)
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2010
  2. ~*Sweet Cheeks*~

    ~*Sweet Cheeks*~ Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2009
    Medford, Oregon
    I have 3 herding breed dogs that inhale their food as well. They've been doing it forever and nothing has changed that. The two older ones were rescues at age 5-6 months old - 3rd one at age 5-6 wks.

    I bought the bowls with the plastic pegs in the middle of the bowl to slow them down. They don't chew either. Since they are now 4 yrs, 3 yrs, and 1 1/2 yrs old. I figure they will do it for the rest of their lives.

    They also would also snap dog treats out of fingers. I have gotten 2 of 3 to take it gently by getting really down close to them while saying 'gentle' in a quiet calm voice. In the beginning, if they still snatched and bit fingers, I would say "NO" and they didn't get any more. If they took it gently, they got praised and got more as long as they took it gently.

    The 3rd one, I put the treat in the palm of my hand rather then fingers to avoid my fingers being bitten.

    I wouldn't recommend hitting your dog for biting. That'll just make him/her headshy.
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    Instead of thunking him have you considered just teaching him "leave it" and "gentle" (the latter develops pretty easily from the former, so you would start with teaching "leave it").

    There is a good description of a very successful and common method at http://www.shirleychong.com/keepers/Lesson3.html (ignore the little quiz at the end, just read the instructions [​IMG])

    Then keep an eye on him so you can say 'leave it' before he picks up inappropriate things, and "gentle" before giving him a treat (and don't actually fork over the treat unless he IS gentle about it!)

    For meals, you can put a VERY LARGE hard ball or rock into the feeding container so that he has to shuffle it around with his nose to get the food it's sitting on; or just feed him his meal in halves or thirds or whatever, so he has to wait politely while you refill it to get the next installment.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  4. Horsefly

    Horsefly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 11, 2010
    Louisiana
    He knows leave it and I tell him spit it out when he picks something up he shouldn't have and he does. It actually quite funny because he watches till I turn my back and will pick up something he knows he shouldn't. If I turn around he spits it out and pretends he was doing something else. I'm not really hitting hard, just a nock on the side of his nose, that's what a dog trainer told me to do and it has helped some but not all the way. I know it could make him headshy but I work with that and play gentle with his mouth and ears and he has been fine. I'll try telling him gentle and see if we get any farther with that. Is is mean or teasing to expect him to eventually let me set a treat on his nose or really close to his face and not let him have it till he waits for me to tell him he could have it?
     
  5. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

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    SC
    Quote:Very typical rock-headed Lab. I have an 80 pounder rescue who is 5 now, and through calm, gentle and patient persistence he is coming around. They really don't seem to understand much until they mature a bit. They learn, but don't understand until they settle down a bit. He learned all the basics, but the more refined training was lost on him until about 3 years old. Now he gets the subtleties much faster.

    Be patient and very consistent with commands, make sure they are the same commands each time, no matter who is giving them. And the dog food bowls that have obstacles to prevent inhaling food are good. I used to feed just a bit at a time to slow him down.

    As far as not losing fingers with treats? I stopped giving treats until he was older and could learn to be gentle.
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    South Georgia
    I also have a rescue who was very nearly dead from starvation when rescued; he is much older now, and has never stopped eating everything he can. He is overweight not from what I feed him but from what he eats outside; I barely feed him enough to maintain good nutrition were his weight appropriate. And I have been through this before. I don't believe they ever get over the urge to fill up as much as possible. It's part of the wolf heritage anyway, and when it gets reinforced with a starved beginning.... For him to lose weight I would have to take him out on a leash, which means he would get essentially no exercise because of my physical condition.

    Even though it came from a dog trainer, I have never believed hitting an animal teaches anything. The only method I consider effective is to reward what you want, even if it means waiting several minutes for him to do what you want accidentally. And often the reward need only be a pat and praise; actually this is what I use exclusively; I'm too lazy to buy one of those pouches and endless bags of little bitty treats. My dogs haven't learned a lot of tricks because I haven't taught them. They do, however, run freely with my chickens and never approach them. And even the once-starved one chews his food and takes treats from me very gently. Sounds like your needs his supper handed to him literally one bite at a time.

    If you get Animal Planet, there's an excellent series (It's Me or the Dog) that shows teaching with rewards and waiting for desired behaviors exclusively. She is a magician.
     
  7. fancy

    fancy Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 13, 2010
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Please, training aside, if you have a dog that bolts his food, all of the above posters have good ides that work but before you put the food down for him to eat it, pour hot water on it, let it sit for awhile to cool off before you give it to him, this will help avoid gastric torsion (bloat) which can be fatal if not surgically corrected. Even after surgery lots of dogs still don't make it through the recovery period.

    I've been a vet tech for 21 years, so unfortunately I have seen what problems can be caused by bolting food.

    Fancy

    Oh yes, and God bless you for rescuing him and good luck with the training!!!!!!
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2010
  8. ~*Sweet Cheeks*~

    ~*Sweet Cheeks*~ Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2009
    Medford, Oregon
    Quote:This great advice and something I do for my 3 gulpers.
     
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Although of course it's not just a matter of telling him "gentle", it's a matter of never ever GIVING him the treat UNLESS he is being gentle [​IMG] It is track-record that gets you somewhere, not words [​IMG]

    Is is mean or teasing to expect him to eventually let me set a treat on his nose or really close to his face and not let him have it till he waits for me to tell him he could have it?

    Enh. I used to think it was kind of mean, or anyhow imposing on a dog's good nature for no good reason.

    HOWEVER now that I have a (extremely extremely food-oriented) dog of my own I have worked on that because it is a real good exercise in self-control for the dog. We started with that kind of "leave it til I say you can get it" on the floor, and across the room, and on his paw as he's in a Down, and so forth. I tried a few times to do the treat-on-nose thing but it was clearly not going to go anywhere so quit after relatively few tries. Now however I have done enough other training with him that his understanding of the "system", and my timing and judgement, have improved enough that the other night when I revisited the "treat on nose" trick it took about 5 minutes to get him doing it just fine thanks [​IMG] So my current opinion is that if nothing else it is an educational thing to do, as much or more for the PERSON as for the dog.

    Mostly what it takes is educating the dog what he's supposed to do (not just punishing him for doing the 'wrong' thing) and investing some time, little bits of time every day, practicing his self-control in easy situations first and gradually moving towards tougher ones.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     
  10. Horsefly

    Horsefly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 11, 2010
    Louisiana
    I've been working with him more at feeding times. I've been doing some trick training for his dinner and he learned to shake hands in 2 days, 4 session! I was suprised how fast he caught on, I just started teaching him rollover today. He isnt snapping for the food so much but he puts my hand in his mouth when he takes the treat. It's okay at the begining of the session but he starts biting down harder and harder as he get frustrated. And it can hurt, I have to tell him no and give a tap on the nose and he slacks off... For the next two treats. Still inhaling his food, I'm going to try letting him have a few bites and making him back off and wait before he can get more.
     

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