Eating solution may have been found.
Hi Ember,
Sorry I've been a little slow on this one..
I don't feed my dogs before any activity because I would be concerned of bloat, because I've have and still own big dogs with deep chest so I am concerned about this. My friend has just lost her GSD to bloat last week
Not to sound like a Debbie downer here but..... isn't switching up many products offered up in many forms and times one of those things like training sometimes?
Lots of changes too quickly can cause anxiety to elevate sometimes?
Appetite is also affected by activity levels burning calories? I eat like a horse after a day of physical work especially involving muscles. A lot of slow non exerssion activity I eat the bare min. to nothing. At some point these guys need to run full blast to burn off energy and helps with anxiety and appetite is affected both energy burned and anxiety level. More than walking at our pace. If she is not getting her heart rate racing about and using muscles......
You may also be trying too hard to get her to eat, which puts pressure on her.
For example I took Draco in when he was just a year. I play with my dogs, but he would not play unless I had a toy.
I kept trying. Then I read Fenzi's book Play. Which made me realise that I was desperately trying to make him play, I followed her guidelines and now have released a play monster lol
Also last year I was on a drive and motivation seminar, which all participants were required to bring 5 different high value treats and also swap with other attendees. I heard a lot of "I thought my dog like these". I actually discovered that Draco doesn't really care for cheese!
@Keller: I do know that she isn't burning much off, but I've already cut her meals accordingly (2 cups for the whole day if she ate everything in the bowl, which she rarely does).

As far as switching goes:
- Same kibble, different flavor: once a month (bag lasts between 3-5 weeks, new flavor with new bag)
- Only tried 1 Natural Balance roll: chicken flavor

Not sure if this is considered changing it up too quickly or not.

That night she just stared at the food in the toys, after I posted here, I got down on the floor to pick up the food and she suddenly perked up and was watching me closely with her tail up. I pointed to one game, and she jumped down and finished the whole game off quickly. Then she started for the couch again and I pointed out a cup on the floor with more pieces under it and she quickly finished off most of the games on the floor. One more point and she finished off the entire serving. I have a theory on the protest - more to come in a minute.

Quirkydog,'index.php?page=Thread&postID=184875#post184875 Wrote:Then I read Fenzi's book Play. Which made me realise that I was desperately trying to make him play, I followed her guidelines and now have released a play monster lol

@Quirky: Can you link me to this book?! Debbie has pointed out to me several places where I used to try way too hard, one of them was toys for sure. But again, I've had a few months with Debbie to learn to not try, so I don't really feel like that is the issue here - see below. But I would like to read it so I can see what else I might be missing in my own attitude here!

I know it's hard to imagine, but I'm actually not trying to get her to eat at all. I'm just observing. I don't make a fuss over the bowl or the games - I put them down and put myself on the couch and do something while watching her out of the corner of my eye. I'll watch the clock and if she doesn't get interested in ten minutes, I'll pick it up. The only thing I'm "trying" too hard right now is in finding that flavor that makes her go WOW MOM! THIS IS GREAT!. It hasn't happened yet, though I feel like the Bison flavor is the closest.

I do believe one of my misconceptions is that my dog is actually food motivated. It was easy to do, the way the chicken seemed to make her forget all things scary and make everything okay again. I thought it was either toy or food motivation possible - I failed to realize a third motivator - praise. My dog is all about touch, and I'm readjusting my "glasses" to observe just how much of a difference the motivation is between food and praise. She doesn't get as bouncy as she does for chicken, but she learns things very fast with high praise and head/belly scratches.

@All Reading: I have come to a rather troublesome conclusion. I believe the chicken itself is the culprit. I believe that as much as she loves it, it must hurt her stomach in some way. It's not showing in her poop or pee (though now that I look back there were two very random instances of terrible diarrhea, but it was after particularly stressful days and that's what I thought caused it), but every time she has anything chicken or chicken flavored, she refuses any food. I'm also seeing this with the chicken flavor Natural Balance roll. Once she gets enough of it, she refuses at least the next meal. She has been doing a lot of scratching and licking her paws lately, which I just learned is another possible sign of an allergy, along with the loud gurgling tummy (and dang, it was LOUD the other day).

I've just stocked up on all new stuff for her, including dropping down even lower on ingredients in the Blue Wilderness kibble by going with the "limited ingredients" bag this time (instead of the normal one). There is no chicken flavor in this select line up. I'm dropping anything chicken or chicken flavored in her food and treats as well. I picked up a Blue Wilderness Beef flavored food roll (like the Natural Balance one). She won't get this until her current kibble is gone, to keep with the routine - but I did already throw out the chicken flavored NB roll.

For clarification, i only want the roll for training purposes, so I can figure out how to replace one sit-down meal with a full training session (but I have to find something healthy/balanced enough yet yummy/smelly to make her work for it). With the chicken flavored roll and the floor game the other day, I was able to slip a few kibble pieces into the mix and, at first, she spit them out - then went back to them when the roll pieces were gone. My goal is to find a roll good enough but similar enough to the kibble that will let me start to wean her off high-value treats for brain games and get her into those games using just kibble. To me, this feels more nutritionally balanced than replacing an entire meal with turkey or ham (the only OTHER things besides chicken that she will look/hunt/work for). I could be completely wrong and this could be considered switching it up too much (only for dinner meal and having breakfast meal be a sit-down kibble bowl). I will happily take that correction if that is the case.

It's just REALLY hard removing the one thing from her diet that made her tail wag and death-stare me straight in the eye for minutes on end - the one thing that made her forget most of her fears. I've found a few articles that say turkey is okay for chicken intolerant dogs, though I would have thought otherwise. She does like turkey just as much as chicken, as well as ham. I just haven't given her a lot of these because I only kept deli meat on stock and it wasn't something I had prepared myself, and I wasn't sure if the packaged kind was okay to give.

Anyone have thoughts on any of this?
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Gotcha Day: November 14, 2015
Vet-Listed Birthday: May 2, 2014
Yes I understand. And you are doing perfectly there. But my point is they stress over and over in the mental health and medical field. That getting up moving around getting our heart rate up stimulates both chemicals that help with mood anxiety can go down, it stimulates appetite because of calorie output and anxiety levels falling.

What does she do if placed in a huge fenced in area say big as football field? Will she run with you chase you.

Keller gets depressed too long cooped up in the house without being able to "let her rip"
The great news is, Denise Fenzi books are now available on Amazon, though it might just be the e books.
She has four all of which are great, they are, Focus, Engagement, Play. and Beyond the Backyard.
All are about building a relationship.

As for food my May or my Tess were not overly food orientated, but just have and had a great desire to work and just loved verbal praise and play.
Actually once my dog has learnt what we are doing I usually play with or without toys, I find this keeps it fun and you get great drive. I use treats to train something new only because it is low key so the dogs can think.
My golden was very food motivated, no surprise there. But so much so I could only work him with kibble, if I used anything high value that's ALL he could think about lol
@Keller: Unfortunately, there is no such place that isn't open to EVERY dog and heavily occupied. I've tried the dog park a few times, but haven't braved going back as the last two times we were there we ran into very misbehaved dogs, one of which repeatedly plowed into Ember and kept going like she wasn't even there. By repeatedly I mean 2 times because the second time we removed ourselves completely.

I have, however, found a nicer Barc Park that I am dying to take her too - supposedly the people that frequent it are the high end richer people who can afford training and have well behaved dogs. I just haven't braved it yet. It's been so hot and she's been so anxious just going on walks I wasn't convinced it was a good idea. However, closer to sunset tonight I might just take her out there and see what it's all about! She can't be happy being inside all the time.

However, when I have Ember on a 20 foot leash outside, sometimes I can get her to run and she'll chase and heard me. It's a lot of fun but she always drools, and if I get her going and she sees something else like a squirrel, cat, or another dog, she takes off so fast that she's almost hurt both of us. So I know if I COULD find that fenced in yard we would have a blast!

@Quirky: I will look those up! I have a decent Kindle library running with all kinds of books, including the first book found here. Time to expand it a little further Big Grin

Your very last sentence is Ember ENTIRELY! If he did have anything high value at any time, how did you work him down from it? I have a feeling that is exactly what she is doing, though it is still just as highly possible that she just isn't food motivated, as evidenced by her dinner bowl Tongue
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Gotcha Day: November 14, 2015
Vet-Listed Birthday: May 2, 2014
Man that would totally drive me insane to have to leash up ALL the time. I think I would make it priority one to find a secluded fenced in spot for just me and my dog. Even if I had to put a few miles and take time away from other stuff. Seeing Keller off leash where I am not worried about other people or dogs or tons of cars is a wonderful relaxing thing for us both. And I don't mean training or even playing necessarily. But to both be able to let are guard way down. To watch him wander sniff and just be himself is an awesome good escape from all the society dog rules and regulation. Dog clubs friends of friends with some land I would search hard. Those breaks are great therapy like doggy yoga.
I'm going to start a new thread on this as we have deviated from food, but I took your advice and I have some results and questions Big Grin
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Gotcha Day: November 14, 2015
Vet-Listed Birthday: May 2, 2014
He was so greedy he would work for Cherios. I didn't need to work him down.
I don't think ember is greedy, may be you need to ask for something simple and be prepared to wait it out. Then build up what you ask

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