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Re-training your dog for timed feeding
  • CrimsonO2CrimsonO2
    Posts: 1165
    Hi all,
    I thought I'd post my thoughts on timed feeding, something most veterans on this forum advise new owners to establish with their Shibas for various reasons. Well, I'll be the first to admit that I slipped and free-fed my dog for the last 4 months because he wouldn't finish his meal and sometimes skipped a meal that was in front of him the whole morning. Well, I noticed he started tending towards the thin side and having irregular potty schedules (sometimes pooping 3x in the morning walk and sometimes not pooping at all for over 24 hours), despite having free access to food so I thought I would try to go back to scheduled feedings to try and "influence" his appetite.

    Lo and behold, I put his breakfast down (Wellness CORE ocean formula), and he refused to eat within the 20 min. timeframe. I picked the food up and didn't set it in front of him again until the evening (he still had access to water). Once evening came, I gave him his usual poop walk and tried again...he finished his food bowl with great voracity. Needless to say, he figured out the concept within 2 days and is now back on scheduled feedings with 20 minute-durations twice a day. His ribs are less visible to me and I think he's well on his way to being more "regular" in both build and continence.

    So I figured I would write about this on this forum as testament to show that scheduled feedings doesn't only regulate overeating, it also regulates undereating:).

    Jesse
  • Crimson02,

    Glad to hear that you got him back on a regular schedule! I'm trying to do the same for Rosie. I had her free fed the first few days I got her home, just while she got adjusted to her new surroundings but I am now trying to get her on a 3x a day schedule since she's a puppy. Once in the morning before her walk around 7:30-8. Once when she gets up before her second walk/playtime around 2-3ish. And once before her last walk and playtime around 6ish. The only thing I notice is that she barely touches her food in the morning. Most of her eating is done either midday or dinner time.


    Garrrrr
  • Hello Crimson01 and all,

    I'm glad that your boy is eating again and regaining his health! I just started timed feeding earlier this week and I think our boy now understands he only gets half an hour to finish his food. Before this he was free-fed for 3 months (He's now 5 months old). We started this to try and regulate his potty schedule. As soon as we think our boy is fully potty trained, he has days when he'll only go inside even though he was just outside. Minnesota weather doesn't help much at all.

    Would restricting access to water help with potty training? The other half seems to think this is the way to go. I don't like the thought of it because it seems mean - I'd hate for him to be thirsty after running all over the house if we forget to give him water. I've always read that water should be available at all times, but the boyfriend is adamant about starting to restrict access to water. He doesn't want to regulate how much he drinks, just when he drinks. He would get the opportunity to drink about every two hours. Does anyone else do this? Would you recommend it?

    Thanks,
    Det
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3664
    Jesse, it's so easy to beak the cycle, but I'm glad that it wasn't difficult to get back into it.

    dthamm81- If you are having problems potty training the pup, it is ok to restrict water or offer alternatives. When we were housebreaking our guys, we would remove the water at 7pm and wouldn't place it back down until the next morning. They can survive a whole night without drinking, and it really does help eliminate peeing accidents. But if you are still nervous about not having water out, then put a few ice cubes in the water bowl instead of water. Ice cubes work as a time release water system, so it regulates with out eliminating.
    image
  • Some dogs like to eat after a walk/playtime, not when they first get up. If Rosie isnt typically into breakfast, do walks/potty/ play first then offer it. It may seem more natural to her- get moving, get empty, connect with Dad, then I can think about eating. Think of it like- we hunt, then we can eat.

    Sometime last summer, Sage lost interest in daily dinner, but he looks good, so I trust him to know if he needs to eat or not. He is almost 4 years old though- your puppies have small tummies and need the 3 meals to grow.
  • MyloMylo
    Posts: 879
    I always walk, play, then feed with Mylo. He prefers it that way. It also avoids potential vomiting due to over-excitement after eating. Always a plus.
  • CrimsonO2CrimsonO2
    Posts: 1165
    Not that it'd be a considerable problem for our small dogs, but the exercise/walk/play, then feeding the dog routine also avoids the possible problem of bloat.

    Jesse
  • MyloMylo
    Posts: 879
    Yeah, that's also one of the reasons I do it that way. I had a family friend's dog (a 3 year old GSD) pass away that way, so I'm paranoid.
  • nuwdenuwde
    Posts: 42
    Miko's previous owner fed her once a day in the evening. Is that normal or abnormal to feed only once a day? She's 6 and we've had her for a few months, but it seems to work. Thoughts?
  • amesylphamesylph
    Posts: 128
    Ki 'works' for his food. He is sort of an ADHD kid and isn't always interested in [dog] food if he hasn't had a good bit of exercise first ('Hey! Where did you go? Oh, look! Something to chew on! What's that on TV? Woah! Was that a bird? Someone walked by the door! Woooo!').

    He gets breakfast and dinner after a long walk (usually with his pack on) and then a quick command refresher ending in a stay (usually something like sit, right paw, left paw, down, nene, stay) from which he is released to make a mad dash to the food dish.
    Post edited by amesylph at 2010-01-12 19:45:10
  • oo, whats "nene"?
  • amesylphamesylph
    Posts: 128
    It's Japanese baby/kiddie talk for nighty-night/sleepytime. My friends taught it to him when they were dog-sitting one weekend. When you tell him 'nene' he will lay down on his side. It came up as part of a learning game with their two-year-old, Keitou. It was on a Japanese Sesame Street type show. They would sing a good night song and then all lay down. How could Ki not get in on the action? lol

    Because of how much time I spent at their place with Ki he's bilingual with certain commands. Nene doesn't have an English equivalent command because he learned it with them, but he knows sit/suwari' and (his release word) okay!/yosh'! ... it's something I want to continue just because it's fun and a nice bit of extra mental stimulation for him. :)
  • SOUDABSOUDAB
    Posts: 13
    Hi all,

    Kobe is currently 3 years old. Since we had him we been free feeding (I know bad). Now that we are getting another shiba February we are in the process of putting him on a schedule feeding. Once in the morning and once in the evening. He has 30 minutes to eat. Majority of the time he eats half of his meal each time. My problem is he isn't eating enough. Probably half a cup a day. Any suggestions/tips besides the ones already posted? It's been a good two weeks he is looking a little thin.
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3494
    @SOUDAB

    Is Kobe getting enough exercise? One of my dogs was the same. Didn't eat much, looking skinny. I realize now after we increased her exercise she started eating more to regain energy.
  • SOUDABSOUDAB
    Posts: 13
    @bootz

    Yes, plenty. We take him to the dog park or play catch daily. Thing about excerise is after he does not want to eat. He sleeps! >:P am I being impatient? Should I just continue to do what I am doing and be consistent and eventually he will get it? I just want the boy to eat! :((
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3494
    @SOUDAB

    He is 3 years old... I suggest you be patient. I'd probably do 3 meals if I were you then transition to 2 when he's ready. But that's just me. Also have you been switching up his food? Maybe he's bored and doesn't like the food. I switched around food for my dogs before I found out their preference
  • CleoCleo
    Posts: 13
    Bella has just turned one year old and we cannot seem to keep weight on her. Up until she was 6 months old - she was a good weight - the vet had her on target to be approx 18lbs. I weighed her last week and she is under 15.5lbs. She has little to no interest in food unless I encourage her - once I do - either by spraying her food on the the floor or rolling her Kong puzzle ball so she sees the food - then she eats well. In the last couple of weeks - she is eating more than suggested but is still very skinny. I have now added organic beef stew with peas and carrots, which she eats with some encouragement, and is still eating her regular food recommended amount. My food is organic high protein chicken and brown rice - and the supplier tells me she is getting more than enough protein. We have essentially always free fed her. I am afraid to just do meal times because she is so thin. How do I get some weight on her?
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8465
    @Cleo - Have you talked to your vet? I would start there to make sure she is actually under weight. If the vet agrees, then your vet will be able to advise you where to start adding in extra calories.

    Free feeding allows the dog to be incredibly picky about food. This can be a huge issue if something were to happen in the dogs life (such as adding another dog, boarding, staying with a pet sitter, extended vet visit, etc.).

    I highly recommend NOT free feeding any pet. Setting boundaries with feeding times will teach the dog to eat what is there when it is available instead of waiting around until something better comes along. (The dog is training YOU to feed it beef stew instead of what you should be feeding her.)
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • How would you suggest timed feedings when one works from 9-5? I'm thinking the only option is to give my guy a few freeze dried Stella and Chewy patties as morning meal, because he WON'T WASTE THOSE! And just do the kibble only as the evening meal.

    Post edited by ShibatasticCinema at 2016-02-26 13:57:18
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3494
    @ShibatasticCinema

    If one works 9-5 the schedule should be wake up around 7. Walk dog, feed dog, get ready for work, make/eat breakfast, leave for work. Once you come back home. Walk dog then feed dinner
  • That's what I'm doing so I'm doing it right. But since my guy would only have less than half his kibble in the evening, i would give him another opportunity later around 8 to finish it. It may be a little hard and he won't eat as much the first few times, but I'll just do the 630 dinner and take it away for the whole night after 20 min. Sounds like that's what you all do.
  • @shibatasticcinema

    Does your pup usually not eat when you aren't home? And does your pup have a history of being picky about food.

    Ham recently went through a phase where he wouldn't eat his food while I wasn't home. And he also decided to see if I would switch his food (I was using a combination of wet dog food and dry dog food. He began ignoring the kibbles to just eat the wet food).

    I switched him back to an all kibble diet and dialed back on treats with him. The wet food we received was a gift and I don't have a budget to buy that food full time. So I needed to curb that behaviour quick.

    I switched our regular feeding times so that he had a chance to eat breakfast before I left (while I was still home). He was left his lunch in a food toy (he usually doesn't play with it). I am able to come home for lunch on most days and if not I can leave work early. Ham will usually eat it when I arrive. He then gets some dinner later on. Every time he eats it's kibble. He doesn't have too many problems eating now.

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