If you have more than one dog, you may have come across the problem of one dog eating the other’s food. This can occur because one dog has less of an appetite than the other and leaves his food for your other dog to clean up, or one of your dogs may be dominant over the other and takes the more submissive dog's food. This results in one dog getting too much food and one dog not getting enough. Not only is this unfair, but it can have long-term health consequences, with one dog becoming overweight, while the other may not get all the nutrients he or she needs.
Dogs have hierarchical social structures, with some dogs being leaders and other followers. In a pack situation in the wild, lead dogs would eat first, followed by more subordinate dogs. This would be natural and would protect the integrity of the pack, which would need its leaders to be well fed to lead the pack. So if you have multiple dogs, it is not uncommon for a more dominant dog to exert that dominance by eating the other dog’s food. Another issue can occur when you have a dog that is particularly food motivated, and one that is not, and your food motivated dog gets the lion's share of the food due to the apathy or inattention on the part of the other. If this problem develops, you will need to intervene to teach your dogs to respect each other's food and only take the food that is portioned for them individually. This is not a pack of wolves, after all!
Hello, I have a two year old dog and another dog as well. My two year old (Scrappy) is a wonderful dog, but she has a fear of loud noises mostly when she is outside playing. Like sometimes in my people in my area might be fixing there roof or something and the noise makes her very scared She will start running all over trying to get back in the house. What could I do to help?
Hello Julie, Try gradually building up his tolerance of loud noises and pairing them with something positive. Also provide your dog with a secure location that he can go to to help him manage his own fears. Typically somewhere covered, enclosed, and den like. To build up his tolerance, one great method is to find recordings of the loud noises that your dog is typically afraid of. Play the noise quietly in the background while you give your dog treats and do very fun and exciting things with him. You want the recording to be quiet enough that your dog acts like he does not notice it and remains relaxed and excited about the treats and fun. Over several months, gradually increase the volume level of the recording while doing fun things with your dog. Again only increase the noise a bit at a time, so that your dog always remains relaxed and happy. You do not want to make the fear worse by going too fast. Overtime you can turn up the recording's volume level to the level that your dog was previously scared of, but only play it at that level when your dog is distracted by fun things and for short periods of time. This should help your dog manage other loud noises as well when they occur. When you are with your dog and he hears a loud noise, try to act up beat, confident, and excited about the noise yourself, and reward your dog for courage in the situation. You do not want to act sorry for him or nervous also, because he will be looking to you for direction and if he thinks you are worried about the noise or worried about him, that communicates to him that the noise really is something to be afraid of. Working with the recording should help your dog, but the truth is most fear of loud noises is best prevented while dogs are still puppies, and certain dogs are more naturally prone to noise sensitivity, so also be mindful that Scrappy may need you to continue to make noises positive for him even after he improves, in order to not regress again. Be patient with with and try to act confident and upbeat to encourage him to be brave. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We have two dogs in our house. Piper belongs to me and Esmè belongs to my room mates. Piper is extremely food driven and dominant over Esmè. Piper will find food and eat t if it is available and will go to any length to get it. She also has a very sensitive stomach and will have diarrhea from eating just about anything. My room mates free feed their dog in her crate and leave the food there all day long. Piper knows this and tries to go upstairs and into their room multiple times a day because she is obviously rewarded with food every time she is successful. I’ve asked them many times to either close their room door as well as the kennel door when the dog isn’t in there and they often fail to do so. I also asked them to stop free feeding their dog and to teach her that food is only available twice a day. None of these things have worked and it creates a big problem. When this happens my dog wakes me up every hour in the night to poop. It has gotten so bad that there is now blood in her stool. They have lashed out at me and told me to train my dog better. Every time she walks up the stairs towards their room I tell her to come back down and leave it and she does. How do you train a food driven dog not to go eat food available when you’re not looking? I don’t think it’s too much to ask them to be responsible and shut the doors. My last resort is a baby gate at the top of the stairs. Please help.
Hello Sarah, Since you have no control over what your roommate does, then I suggest teaching Piper to avoid that room in general by creating a booby trap or by using a boundary type training device. Since your dog is so food motivated, she has been rewarded with food many times, she knows that the food is there, and it is causing her health problem, then you will probably need to use an electric training device to get truly consistent results. There are a couple of options for this, the first is something called a shock rock or pet barrier device, which is a rock/wire/or box type boundary item emits a signal that corresponds to your dog's electric collar. When your dog gets too close to the "rock" an signal is sent to your dog's collar and she is corrected with a stimulation, like an electric fence or a bark collar. The second option is to use a manual electric training collar and remote, where you control the stimuli level and when it is applied. Before you use either of these methods, spend time teaching your dog not to go through the door to that room. Walk through that door yourself with her following and as soon as she starts to follow you through, quickly turn 180 degrees and step in front of her. She will probably run into you and that is fine. Tell her "Out" or "Aha" in a firm but calm voice when you do this, and then practice this until she will not follow you into the room even when you run in. If she chooses to stay out of the room even in the presence of temptation, then toss treats into the hall for her as a reward. After you have taught her not to go into the room, then you can use a device to enforce the rules that she already knows. The pros to using an remote electric collar is that you can use a lower stimulation level and have more control. You can also typically communicate with her better during training with it to make the lesson clearer. The drawback is that you have to be there to enforce it, so when you are not around she might realize that things are not consistent and begin to go into the room again. To minimize the chance of this, you will need to either confine her when you are not there and hide while you are teaching her to stay out of the room so that she does not associate the correction with just you but also with the room itself. Go somewhere where she cannot see you while she is wearing the collar, and either watch her while you are hiding or set up a camera and spy on her. As soon as she crosses the threshold for the room, hit the stimulation button and then release it again as soon as she moves back out into the hallway, away from the room. If she does not move into the hallway, then immediately go to her and bring her out of the room rather than continuing to apply the stimulation. To find the proper level to use and to learn the proper and safe ways to use electric collars, look into Jamie Penrith from Taketheleaddogtraining and Jeff Gelman from Solidk9training. Both of which have youtube channels with detailed videos about electric collar usage. Do not simply go out and buy a collar without first doing a lot of research on their proper use, fitting, and stimulation levels. Only buy a high quality collar such as Dogtra, Garmin, e-collar technologies, or SportDog. A good quality collar has well over twenty levels of stimulation and is built to give consistent results. Cheap collars can cause terrible damage and inconsistency and should never be used. Be especially wary of collars that ship from China online. To use a shock rock or barrier device you will want to place the barrier rock right inside your roommates' door or by the crate with the food in it and adjust the range down so that your dog will only get corrected when he goes into the room or near the crate, and not when he is in the hallway or a room next door. PetSafe makes one device called Pawsaway that might work. Look into the range on the one you buy and make sure that the range can be small enough for just that small room on the one you buy. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I’ve just escaped form a violent relationship, my ex partner was on multiple occasions abusive and aggressive towards me and verbally towards the puppy :( e.g he was yelling at Simba when he barked etc. I left my partner but I’m concerned about the puppy every time he has a specific item in possession /his mouth (note there is no specific trend , it could be a bone , socks or a shoe ) I’ve noticed that if someone try to touch the dog while he chew something he start barking (very loud and aggressive , it’s takes only 3-5 sek and he stops ) he has done this to other people and twice towards me when he cut my finger (puppy teath are very sharp ). He is a lovely dog very well behaved , socialised with dogs and other peoples. From day one he was going for a elks and event with me to my office so he is generally super fiendly and nice . It was just a few incidents and I am just concerned what should I do .Last time when I came close and he barked I asked him “leave it” for his treat and kepp saying” no , no barking “ .I remain frozen waiting what he do still trying to keep my hand in a distance as he intended to bite if I be to close . After a few minutes and commands leave it . He dropped the treat and walk away. Then straight back became so happy trying to jump on sofa and seat next to me and play . I remained calm trying to not give him any attention and whenever he jumped on the sofa I said “down” after few attempts he got back to his bed and stayed calm . Then he get back to me slowly (not jumped on sofa , he stayed on the floor ) and he start leaking me this is when I have him attention and a treat as an award for staying calm .then i gave him the same treat (like a stick made from pork fat) and a few times asked him to leave it and I try to take the treat out of his mouth and he let me without barking . I don’t know if what I am trying to do it’s correct and if will teach my dog a good behaviour in a long term . Please share your thoughts, any advice or tips . Thank you , Kate
Hello Kate, Insisting that he give you the item until he drops it is correct. Once you tell him to give you something it is very important that he give you the item no matter how long it takes him to drop it. Neither biting nor running away should get him out of obeying your command. When you are practicing taking items from him teach him the "Drop" or "Drop It" command and practice telling him to drop the item. Start practicing this by giving him something long that you can hold onto while he chews it. Tell him to "Drop It" and show him an item that he likes even better. When he drops the item, then praise him and give him the other item. Once he understands what the command means, then hide the second item behind your back, give him a less rewarding long item, hold onto that item while he chews on it, and then tell him to "Drop It". If he drops it, then praise him and give him the better item from behind your back. If he will not drop it, then either gently remove the item while wearing thick gloves and pressing into the back of his mouth where his jaws come together to make him open his mouth without hurting him or make the item very boring by holding onto it tighter so that he cannot play with it, until he gets bored and lets it go. At first when he lets it go, reward him with the better item even though he needed your help in order to obey. This is to teach him to trust you with objects. After he can consistently let go of the item and is doing well, then trade him a great object if he gives you the item willingly, and a good or okay item if you have to take the item from him. Whenever you take a sock or unacceptable object from him, hand him one of his own toys instead. This is to teach him trust and also to teach him what is an acceptable item to chew. If he is running away from you with an item in his mouth, then attach a drag leash to him when you are with him, so that you can step on the leash and reel him in in order to get the item. Avoid backing away from him when he tries to bite or he will learn to bite more frequently in order to get what he wants. If that becomes an issue, then I would highly suggest hiring a local trainer to help you because aggression is best treated early or it can become a large issue. If he is generally giving you attitude, then also try implementing one or more of the methods from the article I have linked bellow in order to build his respect for you in a non-physical way. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My Girlfriend and I recently moved in together. She has a 14-year old Yorkie named Prada. Prada isn’t on a feeding schedule and sometimes takes days to eat a full bowl of food. My dog, Baxter, is also not on a schedule and usually takes about a whole day to finish his bowl. Baxter is sneaking and eating Prada’s food while there is still food in his bowl. How do I stop this?
Hello AJ, Both dogs need to either learn to eat at designated times and have the food removed after that time until the next feeding time, or be fed in separate areas with a door or baby gate closed behind them, to prevent the other dog from accessing their food. If the dog's are separated during the day, then you can feed them in their separate areas, and when they are together take up the food again. Another option is to purchase a dog door that opens up when the dog's collar sensor alerts it and to put the food behind that door with a doggie door in it that only that particular dog can access. This will require buying both dogs separate dog doors and remote collars and installing the dog doors in two separate rooms such as two different closets or bedrooms, making it so that only one dog can access each room where his food is. I strongly suggest teaching the dogs to eat on a schedule. You can do so by following one of the methods from the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/eat-at-certain-times-1 A third option is to purchase to boundary training devices with collars, that emits an electric shock whenever the dog gets close to that area. You could set up the food bowls in separate areas of the house and put one of those devices on each dog and set the range on the boundary device at a close distance, so that the dog has to get very close to the device before he is shocked. Be careful doing this though. You run the risk of teaching the dog to avoid that entire area or avoid food bowls that look similar in general. Teaching both dogs to eat at designated times is the safest and cheapest thing to do. You might want to experiment with gradually switching the dog's food brands to see if they would like another food better also. You can teach a dog to leave another dog's food alone without tools, but that requires being present yourself, and that is simply not practical with both dog's foods being left out all day. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hi . I want to crate train my dog but every time it’s goes in the crate he yells and won’t stop . I need help . I also tried putting treats in the cage so he would like to go in the .
Hello Nathan, At six weeks of age whining in a crate is very normal. Six weeks is very young for crate training. That does not mean that you should not start now but expect it to take him several weeks for him to learn to be quiet in the crate. If you just brought him home and he only recently left his litter mates, then he has not learned how to be alone yet. Place him in the crate with a hollow Kong chew toy stuffed with moist dog food that is easy to get out of the Kong. Expect him to cry. When he stops for a couple of seconds, go over to the crate and drop some of his favorite treats inside and leave again without saying anything. He will likely ignore the treats and continue crying at first, but you are showing him that being quiet gets you to come over and gets him rewards. As he becomes more used to the crate his fear should decrease, even if he does not like being in there yet, and he should become more interested in the treats. After he has been in the crate for an an hour, wait until he is quiet for a couple of seconds, and then calmly let him out. Ignore him for five minutes after he gets out so that getting out of the crate will not be too exciting. If he needs to go potty, then take him outside without saying anything to him until he is outside. Expect him to protest every time that you put him in the crate for the next two to three weeks. It is normal. Don't let him out unless he is quiet for at least a couple of seconds or he will continue crying in the crate past the two or three weeks because he will have learned that barking gets him out. Every time that you put him in the crate give him a Kong stuffed with moistened dog food to help him like the crate and to teach him to occupy himself with chewing while he is inside. To stuff a Kong, place Marco's dog food into a bowl and cover it with water. Let is sit out until the food turns into mush. Add more water if needed. Once the food has turned to mush, add a tiny bit of peanut butter to it and very loosely stuff the Kong with the mush. Put the Kong into a ziplock bag and then into the freezer. Make several of these ahead of time so that you can simply grab one from the freezer as needed. When you purchase peanut butter for this, make sure that it does NOT contain Xylitol.Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is deadly to dogs. If the problem persists when he is older you can correct him while he is in the crate, but wait until he is several months older or you might make the problem worse by punishing him. Almost all puppies start out crying in the crate for long periods of time. The trick is to give them something else to do, like chewing, to be consistent, and to wait. You can encourage him to like the crate in other ways by following the methods from the article that I have linked below. Since he is less interested in the treats right now, I recommend using the "Fun and Games" method or multiple methods. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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He's not eating his food because the other dog is eating it. The owner of both dogs are gone throughout the day and can't monitor both dogs. Especially the food stealing dog. The food stealing dog also eats the food at night if Spike hasn't finished it (mind you Spike's food is far from cheap). How do we get the food stealing dog to stop? He has his own food that he doesn't eat.
Hello Courtney, It sounds like the food stealing is happening when you are not present. If that is the case, then you will need to either train your dog to eat at designated times so that the food is not left out when you are not present, or to use an electric collar barrier device on the other dogs if their owner is willing. The last option is to confine Spike in another room that the other dog's cannot access with his food, to prevent them from getting to his food. I would recommend teaching Spike to eat his food at designated times while you are present and can enforce the other dogs leaving him alone, and then take up the food bowl after he finishes or is full. To teach that check out the Wag! article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/eat-at-certain-times-1 For Spike I would recommend using the "Schedule" method from the linked article. Expect him to be picky for the first few days but he should begin to learn that that is meal time and to eat more within two weeks. When you feed him you can either split his daily food between breakfast and dinner or you can feed him all of it at breakfast and then feed him the remainder at dinner time. Some dogs prefer it to be fresher at each meal though. As long as he is being offered his total daily food amount the ratio of morning food to night food does not matter. Pay attention to when he tends to eat more and offer him the most at that time. Once Spike is eating at designated times, then when it is his food time and you are there to enforce the other dogs leaving his food alone use the "Claim and Control" method from the original article or a combination of the "Leave It" method and the "Claim and Control" method, to teach the other dogs to leave your dog's food alone. Here is the article that you originally commented on where you can find those methods for teaching the dogs to leave him alone. https://wagwalking.com/training/not-eat-other-dogs-food Teaching them to leave his food alone will only work when you are at home though, which is why you need to teach your dog to eat at designated times. With consistency you should be able to be in the next room and not standing right there but your presence is still necessary for the training to be effective. If you do not take up the food after you depart, something else will need to enforce the training. That is why you need to use a barrier device such as PetSafe Pawz Away. Do not use that unless the other owner chooses to do so. You cannot control what another pet owner does only how you train your own dog. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I have a 1 year old Australian Shepherd/Ridgeback mix named Gus. He is one of the best dogs I’ve ever had. Shiva is a 6 month old German Shepherd mix that we rescued. Gus has been the only dog in our household for 10 months until we brought Shiva in. They get along really well and are always by each other. Feeding has become our hardest task. We will give them both food at the same time, and Shiva will dig in once the food is there. Gus will walk away or lay down on the couch and watch her eat. He won’t touch his bowl and once shiva walks away he will go over and eat her food. We need advice on how to get him to eat his food and not hers.
Hello Melissa, First of all, are the dogs eating two different types of food? If so, then simply switching Gus to a food that he likes better should help part of the problem. He does not necessarily have to be eating what Shiva eats if Shiva needs a more expensive food for health issues, but try switching his food to one that is similarly priced to what he is eating now, but with different main ingredients, until you find one that he likes better. Make the switch slowly over a week each time he is going to run out of food soon and needs a new bag in a week or two. Gradually give him more and more of the new food and less and less of his old food every day until you have switched completely. Making a switch too fast can lead to digestive issues. If the issue is simply envying another dog's food even though it's the exact same thing, then it's time to make the other food very off limits to him and to give him designated times to eat his food and then pick up both foods if he does not eat then. I am assuming that Shiva eats only part of her food when she eats, which is why Gus is able to finish it. If she is consistently leaving a similar amount of food, then feed her twice a day and measure out how much she should be getting according to her weight and activity level. Do this so that she will finish her food completely more often. With two dogs you cannot realistically free feed without causing issues. There needs to be two set feeding times and if the food is not gone within fifteen or twenty minutes, take it up and add the remaining food to the next meal's worth of food. If they are always leaving food, then they are probably being fed too much or need less at that time of day and more at another time of day because that's when they are hungrier. I recommend feeding them breakfast and dinner. To teach Gus not to eat Shiva's food, first teach him the leave it command by following the "Leave It" method from the article that I have linked below. When you get to the step where you practice around clothing, substitute that for a food bowl with a couple of treats in it. As he improves, gradually add more and more food to the practice bowl, until he can leave the entire bowl of food alone and receive treats from another location as his reward for obeying. Use Shiva's food bowl to teach him with. Do not use his own bowl for this or you will be teaching him to avoid his bowl. Leave it article: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite After you have taught Gus the "Leave It" command and practiced it around Shiva's food bowl during non-feeding times, then purchase a remote controlled air spray or vibration collar. You want something you can control from further away that will interrupt him well without scaring him too much. When he starts to go toward Shiva's food tell him "Leave It". If he obeys, then drop a treat in his bowl on top of his dog food. If he disobeys, then vibrate or spray him with the collar air by pushing the handheld remote's button. It's very important that you buzz or spray him before he eats Shiva's food, when he simply starts going toward it, because if he eats the food first he will likely learn to simply ignore the buzz or spray and you will have to use something more intense to be effective. If you purchase an air spray collar choose something like PetSafe Spray Commander collar and switch out the citronella spray that it comes with it with one of the unscented air refill canisters. DO NOT use the citronella. They are very harsh because dog's noses are very sensitive and the citronella smell lingers for up to two hours, so your dog is continuing to be corrected long after he disobeyed. After you have practiced teaching him to leave Shiva's food alone and you are ready to stop supervising him at that meal, pick up her food bowl and give him ten minutes with his own bowl, without hers around to distract him. If he does not eat his food, then take up his bowl also and repeat the training and feeding at the next meal. You can feed him his leftovers plus the next meal's worth of food to make up that morning's lost calories. If you are home during the day at some point, then you can offer his own leftover food in the middle of the day one other time before you offer it at dinner time again. This food is simply his leftover food. Don't put Shiva's food down during this time, distract her with something else, since this is not a long term food time. It is just during the training phase while he is learning to eat his own food in the morning and evening when it is offered. Again, you may need to switch his food out for a different type. He may dislike it or he could even be sensitive to something in it and purposely avoiding it because it causes him discomfort. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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