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dog owners, especially german shepherd owners

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by chickenbythesea, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. chickenbythesea

    chickenbythesea Songster

    Jun 15, 2011
    Nova Scotia
    ok, so we own an amazing dog who's part shepherd and part huskey. He's the perfect dog and we have zero issues with him. However, he eats like a bird... this is common in shepherds. We are in the process of adopting a second shepherd (all shepherd) and she's a piggy when she eats.... I guess she'll scarf down anything in site... but then again she's an 8 month old rescue (found roaming the streets... someone just turned her loose) and food may have been hard to come by and she may settle down in a bit. So my question to you all is: how to successfully feed two different appetites? I have no worries about her but Sarge is used to free feeding since he eats like a bird. Obviously we won't be able to leave food out 24/7 anymore. Nor do I want to have to hover at feeding time forever and ever. I have some of my own ideas but would love to hear what you've successfully done. thanks

  2. caspernc

    caspernc Songster

    Oct 15, 2010
    Z town NC
    I think dogs are like people. Some can free feed and some can't. I have had both and I can't figure out how you will do it. Sarge may start to be hungery untill he eats his ration at one time. I like free feeders but I do think they are NOT the norm. If anyone could tell me how to train a free feeder I would love to know also.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2011
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Our older GSD Jax eats like a bird and his brother Kane is exactly the opposite. Kane eats anything that doesn't eat him first.

    We just supervise mealtimes. Kane won't touch his brother's food unless we tell him it's okay. Sometimes if there is just a few pieces of kibble left we let Kane finish it up. Otherwise he knows not to touch brother's food.

    I will admit there has been a few times when Jax was being extra picky about his food and we have threatened him with "Better hurry, before Brother eats it all!" It's a bad thing to do with them, but it works with Jax. [​IMG]

    It wasn't all that hard to teach them that they are only allowed to eat food that we give them. Not each other's food, not a steak sitting right in front of them, nothing unless we gave it to them.
  4. chickenbythesea

    chickenbythesea Songster

    Jun 15, 2011
    Nova Scotia
    that was my thoughts too.... that they only get what we give... it's just that Sarge is used to having it there 24/7... oh well, there are changes for everyone in this household with a new dog. Thanks for the input
  5. gertiie

    gertiie Songster

    Apr 18, 2011
    Warsaw, Indiana
    crate feeding . seperate rooms with baby gate during feeding times ? Add something yummy to Sarge's , beef broth, cottage cheese. I presume you are feeding dry.
    Have you tried different foods with Sarge ? I know my dog is that way. one week she will like her food then next week she wants nothing to do with it .
    With crate feeding then the new rescue will not feel intimidated to hurry and scarf it down because they are in
    their safe environment, where no one can take it from them .
  6. SarahFair

    SarahFair Songster

    Sep 23, 2008
    Monroe, Ga
    Ive read that free feeding will cause some dogs to eat little food.
    When they lean they are only going to get it at certain times and its taken up after 15 minutes they eat all of it..

    My Pure GSD eat like they havent in a week.. every meal time [​IMG]

    My shepherd mix (I think shes dutch shepherd) likes to pick around... shell eat the outer edges, get whats knocked under things, take a bite here, take a bite there..
    (We pour ours out in a long spread out line on the floor so it takes them longer to eat it..)
    Sometimes a dog will pick up an appitite if there is another around they think will eat theirs.
  7. Sjisty

    Sjisty Scribe of Brahmalot

    May 18, 2009
    I have always free-fed my dogs. Sometimes a new one will be a real pig, until it discovers the food will always be there and then it levels out. Your rescue probably isn't used to having food whenever she wants, so she scarfs down all she gets, but give her time. I bet she will learn quickly.

  8. Rusty Hills Farm

    Rusty Hills Farm Songster

    Apr 3, 2008
    Up at the barn
    I feed 3-4 Dobies and GSDs (males, females, puppies) at the same time in the same room. (The number has varied over the years, the highest being 8, I believe) I line everybody up, set out the bowls, and nobody touches them until I say so. They know they are only allowed to have what is in their own bowls. That said, especially with GSDs, some dogs are never big eaters. While some do gobble, others will eat one kibble at a time. Everybody gets 15 minutes and exclusive access to their own bowl and then I pick it up. No dog is ever allowed to eat from another dog's bowl--no exceptions. I don't want anyone to feel fearful over their food or allow any kind of aggression. When the puppies are getting fed 2-3 times a day, I put everyone else on down-stay right in the same spot they would eat their own dinners at. Now, when I am starting a new puppy on this routine, I will crate him in his spot in the lineup so that he is eating where he is supposed to but cannot bother anyone else. At first I keep the crate door closed, but eventually I open it, and can generally do away with the crate entirely in a month or so once he understands the rules.

    GSDs like rules. They like knowing who is in charge. If nobody is in charge--they step up and TAKE charge. This is obviously not a good thing and WILL lead to fights as the dog asserts his "authority" over the others--and you! So set your rules and enforce them consistently. Your dogs will love you for it and you will have a peaceful household.


  9. sableboi

    sableboi Songster

    Mar 23, 2010
    I feed smaller meals twice a day - this way I reduce the chances of bloat (that can kill your large dogs) and so if someone stops eating I know right away...it's also better to help with housebreaking...
  10. dainerra

    dainerra Crowing

    Jun 4, 2011
    I'd kill the free-feeding, ESPECIALLY with a dog with a small appetite. Having food down all the time actually encourages them to nibble and graze.

    Another big benefit of scheduled meal-times is that it is obvious when a dog goes off his feed - often the first sign of a medical issue. A third benefit is that it helps bond with your dog - food and all good things come from you. It also provides an opportunity to work on manners - have the dogs sit/stay until you release them. I sometimes mix it up with "down" "stand," basically any of the commands they know - even "gimme five"

    ETA: I've been around shepherds for a long time and am friends with several breeders. Eating like a bird isn't that common in shepherds. Being picky is, but that is another problem entirely. What do you feed?
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2011

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