Is my pup training me?

Dog Food Advisor Forums Editors Choice Forum Is my pup training me?

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  • #46185 Report Abuse

    Katie J
    Member

    A little over two weeks ago, I brought home a new pup for my boyfriend. He’s a Shiba Inu/Akita Inu mix and coming up to 4 months old. I have very little background on him as he was a pet store pup that I bought second hand. It’s a long story for another thread. I know the stigma with pet store pups as well though I have a 13 year old English Springer Spaniel that was purchased at a pet store that has never had anything but a routine vet visit and lives on Purina of all things. Anyhow back on topic. My little guy is little. He weighed at 7 lbs about a week ago at the vet’s office, but I am guessing he’s sitting closer to 8-9 now. Yes, I know he is shockingly small for his supposed breeding. But everyone that meets him guesses either one of this mix, but no one knows why he’s so small. We’re guessing that it could have a lot to do with his pet store past.

    Now that that’s out of the way, time to talk food. I got him with a bag of Eukanuba puppy. He ate that fine until he caught wind of the Purina. Our adult dogs (the spaniel and my terrier mix) are free range because we lead a very busy and random life at the house. This is something I plan to change for my terrier and this pup when my boyfriend get our own place. I knew that I didn’t want the pup to eat adult food as he has special puppy needs. I nearly just bought the puppy formula for Purina until I food this website. Since then I have done more reading than I would care to admit on dog food. I decided to pick a food that wasn’t going to be a big jump in quality or price and bought 4Health Puppy. I know some people are leery of Diamond. But at the price and star rating, I grabbed a bag along with one of each of their rice free cans. My plan was to do kibble and a can topper. He licked the bowl clean for three meals. Meal four, he ate half and walked away. I switched the topper to a new flavor. Same result. We were trying two meals a day but broke it down to 3 thinking that I was trying to feed him too much at a time. No change. Though I was able to get him to finish if I spoon fed the last half of his food.

    Three days ago I stopped by a local dog boutique and came home with several samples and goats milk as a probiotic. His stools had been soft too pretty loose due to the changing in foods trying to find something he liked. After the milk thawed I gave him a little in his nornal meal with the same result: ate half, spoon fed rest. Stools have firmed up since. The night before last we started samples. I have a lot of Earthborn as I had went to another store and got even more samples most of which was Earthborn. I think it was the prairie formula first that he nearly finished on his own without the milk. I only give the milk once a day. Apparently he nearly finished his next two meal with my boyfriend. I wasn’t there as I was working. But I know that he will not spoon feed. With fireworks last night, the pup didn’t get his dinner. It was too late, and he had a late lunch. I expected a hungry puppy today! Nope. Same result with goats milk. This was his second feeding on a new flavor of Earthborn. I forgot the flavor. But it was blue packaging. I still have the primitive flavor left to try from Earthborn. I also have Halo, two flavors of Fromm, Acana and Orijen puppy. I wanted to get through all of the cheaper stuff first in hopes of finding something he likes.

    A few extra things to add, I am feeding him separately from the spaniel who is very food aggressive. But I feed him with my terrier as I want to start transititioning my terrier to a better diet as well for when we move out. Sometimes the pup seems distracted because the terrier gets something different (4Health adult and the same topper the pup gets). But he does want to eat the terrier’s. He gets awfully burpy when he eats. I am looking to add sardines and perhaps switching to plain Kefir for the probiotic. Switching to raw right now is not something I want to do. I am unsure about getting the right balance, and his puppy stage is far too important to screw up. I do plan on introducing him to all the raw elements I want to use in the future, and at around a year old, we may make the switch. And I cannot afford to do commercial or dehydrated food. I love the guy, but I can’t justify spending as much to feed him as to fees me not to mention it’s not in the budget.

    Boy that was long just to get to what I wanted to ask. Is he training me to spoon feed him? It seems like all of my meals with him end with me begging him to finish so much so that I grab the spoon. His nutrition is so important to me. I can’t stand him missing a meal or wasting that food! Any ideas?

    #46187 Report Abuse

    theBCnut
    Member

    How much food are you trying to get into him? I suspect it might be too much and that’s why he doesn’t want to finish meals.

    Since he came from a pet store that usually means he is from a puppy mill, so his growth may be permanantly stunted because his mother didn’t necessarily get what she needed when she was pregnant. It drives me nuts that ignorant people keep supporting these evil people by continuing to buy puppies from these places. I won’t buy ANYTHING from a pet store that sells these puppies. They need to be driven out of business too. I know you said you didn’t get this dog from the pet store yourself and that you are aware of the issues, but I sure hope you got a chance to educate the ones that did support this barbaric behavior.

    #46199 Report Abuse

    Dori
    Member

    Hi, I agree with the “nut”. I don’t buy anything from any pet store that sells dogs or cats EVER!!! I just don’t go into those stores.

    With that said, I’m going to agree with her once again. Is it possible that you are feeding your puppy too much at each feeding. Your dog is small and doesn’t need much to keep him going. At four months old I would try just feeding him twice a day. Breakfast and Dinner and that’s it. See what happens. You say the other dogs are being free fed so maybe your pup is getting into their food and you’re not realizing that.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by  Dori.
    #46223 Report Abuse

    Katie J
    Member

    In regards to pet stores, I agree. This pup and my spaniel are exceptions. I currently own two off the track thoroughbreds that I adopted and my terrier mix from a rescue whom I know even less about as he came in as an abused stray. Plus I have brought home several barn kittens along with several other adopted and well bred pups alike. To me I feel sorry for these pet store pups. They get born into a horrific system, and they have no control over it. They were just born and get the brunt of it all because giving them a loving home that they wish to have supports the monsters that brought them to life.

    Not sure how I left any details out in that novel of an original post, but I did. He gets a little more than a quarter cup of kibble with two heaping teaspoons of wet. Though the wet is enough to mix thoroughly with the dry. The 4Health suggests up to 2 cups for him hence my feeding so much and so often. I also have picked up the adult dogs’ food while he is with them because he would sneak their food and not eat his. Plus Sir Pees-a-lot hadn’t quite understood that he shouldn’t drink half his weight in water and have all sorts of accidents. I am proud to say that he has been accident free for nearly 2 days (knock on wood) so I may let water stay down more often. I have been giving him lots of little water breaks simply for potty training purposes.

    And I guess it never occurred to me that I was feeding too much. My boyfriend and I discussed feeding too much per feeding but not in general. I’ll admit that I am very worried that he’s not getting enough to get “big and strong” but didn’t think I was giving too much. Perhaps I should cut back on both kibble and wet by a tiny bit? Or do the same ration just twice a day?

    #46283 Report Abuse

    aimee
    Member

    Hi Katie,

    I’m a bit biased here because I had a dog with a congenital liver disorder. Unfortunately you don’t have the benefit of comparing your pup to littermates in regard to size and growth rate. However, if the concern is he is small for his age, may not be eating appropriately and drinks a lot if this were my pup I’d do a complete blood panel, a urinalysis and maybe even bile acid panel.

    #46285 Report Abuse

    Katie J
    Member

    He’s due for his last set of shots on the 14th. I didn’t get his vet records from his previous owner after many attempts so my vet wanted to redo his second set just to be sure. But my vet is a friend of the family, so I’ll ask him if I should bring him in earlier. I’ve not seems a loss of appetite per se, and he does visibly appear to be full after a meal. I figured that the feeding too much thing was a good guess. Stepping back to two meals yesterday made him gobble down dinner. His stools seems to be normal to soft, but can get slightly runny when a food changes… But he did get upstairs and found the adult dogs’ water dish before I could grab it and have himself quite a water belly. Definitely better safe than sorry about such a thing.

    #46286 Report Abuse

    crazy4cats
    Member

    Hi Katie-
    Thank you for taking this little pup in. I don’t really have any recommendations. Just wanted to give you my vote of confidence! Sounds like you are on the right track. Good luck!

    #46297 Report Abuse

    Dori
    Member

    You should definitely at this point only be feeding him twice a day. You can feed kibble for one meal and wet for the next. He’ll eventually get use to the two meals a day. He also may be gulping his food at dinner time afraid your other dog will get it? Possibility. I have three dogs as I’ve said before. Katie and Lola each eat their meals in their crates with the door shut. Hannah eats her food bowl on the floor between both crates near the water bowl. I have a small area rug on one side of the kitchen counter with the water bowl in the middle and one crate on either side. That insures me that whatever amount I gave to each of them I know that they ate it and not one of the other dogs. Also feeding this way I know if one of them is under the weather and is not eating. It also takes away any anxiety that any may have if they eat a little slower than the others worrying that one of the others will come along and eat their food. NO! Do not spoon feed your dog. YES, your dog is training you to spoon feed it. Unless it’s sick, when your dog is hungry then he’ll eat. If he’s leaving food in the bowl then you’re feeding him too much. They are like people, some meals your hungrier than others but you don’t then have someone spoon feed you the rest and force you to eat it all even after you’re full.

    What you’re doing with the water bowl breaks is what I’ve always done when I first get a puppy. I find that otherwise they some times just entertain themselves with drinking water. Not that they are thirsty. Just something to do. Don’t forget that drinking way too much water is also not good for him so until you’ve got the potty training a little more under control then I would continue with the water breaks.

    #46308 Report Abuse

    Katie J
    Member

    He actually watches the other dog eat. So I asked my boyfriend, who he apparently eats better for, if he bring my terrier in for feedings. He does not. I thought he had been being that I told him to… Lol. I had been separating the pair in the bathroom of all places. It was just a convenient place at first. It is quite crowded with the three of us. But I do have to keep any dog getting something special out of sight of the spaniel as she is very territorial over food/treats/anything special. Perhaps the extras I having been giving my terrier will just have to be after I feed the pup for now. I don’t have an ideal situation currently. Eventually they will have special places to eat.

    I had planned to switch to 2 meals and found out that the boyfriend fed lunch today. I will just give him a very small dinner to hold him over. We’ll go to 2 tomorrow. I am nervous about having him eat just dry as he hasn’t been forced to suffer that torture in about a week. 😉 Would doing a mostly dry meal in the AM and a mostly wet meal in the PM be a good compromise?

    I had a sneaking suspicion that I was totally getting played with the spoon feeding. And there is a reason that I have furry kids and not the human kind. I guess I would be that mom forcing food down her kids’ mouths! It’s been several years since I’ve had a puppy as opposed to an adoloescent or adult. I have been extremely paranoid and concerned with every bit of him.

    I did a bit of online vet work to see about his water habits. And I was figuring that he just hadn’t understood that water isn’t just a boredom thing. His potty training has been coming along so I was thinking about letting him get a few more water breaks so he can get the hint. I will discuss his habits with our vet just to be sure as he acts like a normal puppy.

    We just picked up some new goodies for him tonight: 2 samples of Signature and two cans of Wild Calling. And since the price was good on the Orijen Treats, he got those too. We almost picked up a small bag of the Stella raw, but we were wanting to try a small bag of the rabbit before committing to a big bag.

    Crazy4cats – Thank you. He’s my little special man. I just want the best for my little guys!

    #46585 Report Abuse

    Paula D
    Member

    FWIW, I don’t think three meals a day until he’s about six months is too many meals, and when I had a foster puppy, she would eat more,overall, on three instead of two meals a day, so if you’re wanting him to eat more, the “lunch” meal might help.

    Unsolicited .02: try adding just one new supplement or food at a time, give it a couple of weeks, before trying something new, in order to give pup’s tummy a chance to settle and to more easily identify if something is bothering him. Alas, this is from bad experience of me being over-anxious about my foster puppy with “issues” when my adult girls were pretty easy keepers.

    Good luck!

    .paula d

    #46646 Report Abuse

    LexiDog
    Member

    Just a thought – If everything is ok with him health wise – maybe he just got the Shiba Inu size and not the Akita size from the mix….

    #46738 Report Abuse

    Katie J
    Member

    Paula – I do agree that I feel like I have been very lucky with how he has handled transitions. I panicked when he stopped eating like a chow hound! Fortunately he has handled switched very well, and I was lucky enough to get several samples of particular foods to give him time to adjust. All in all, he seems to like having something new. And I keep careful watch because I know I am throwing a lot at him.

    Amy – Some may say he’s small even for a Shiba. Though their normal weight is around 20 lbs. I think we are coming close to 10 lbs. he gets weighed again next week. I would guess he’s put on 3-5 lbs in the month I’ve had him.

    As for his feedings, we scaled back to 2. His AM feeding with me seemed lackluster with an extremely enthusiastic dinner. After my boyfriend asked me one dinner feeding if I had even fed him that day, I decided that especially on fun, high activity days (going to the barn or taking trips to pet stores) he probably needs a lunch/snack. I cut his breakfast down the next day and gave lunch before heading out to play. Dinner was gobbled down and then some. By the looks of him, I think we’re hitting another growth spurt. My boyfriend and I both agreed he looked bigger since the morning! And now my terrier has acceptable his role as puppy playmate so it’s a nonstop cycle of playing until they pass out so they are both looking for more food!

    At this rate, I think we may hit 30 lbs by adulthood. Though I think that’s the max we could possibly do. Personally I am happy with anything as long as he is happy and healthy. So far that’s the case! My boyfriend wishes he would get bigger though. This little guy reminded him of his favorite childhood dog, a 100 plus Akita. I just had to break the news to him that Gichin will grow to a certain size regardless of our presences. Heck I like small dogs! We’ll just have to love him nonetheless! 🙂

    #46751 Report Abuse

    zcRiley
    Member

    If the quality of dog food is not “within your budget”, why would you adopt another puppy? Also, puppies are not food samplers, they need ONE quality puppy food, four times a day, in correct portions, and a lot of clean water to drink. And a puppy does not need any kind of MILK after 2 months of age. Splashing goat’s milk over bad dog food, I’m surprised he even took it from the spoon. If you can’t afford this extra dog on top of all your other dogs, you did him more harm than good.

    #46752 Report Abuse

    Katie J
    Member

    He’s eating Earthborn and trying Fromm currently. I didn’t know these were poor. I meant that I could not justify a commercial raw diet. We are pricing a homemade raw diet. This pup hasn’t even digested anything below a 4 star food since I brought him home. I picked up samples because I was concerned he didn’t like the first food I bought him. We have since found good he does like and plan to rotate with those. Thanks for your concern though.

    #46755 Report Abuse

    Katie J
    Member

    I can’t edit now. But I wanted to add that I am really thankful and grateful for all the advice given here and in other threads that I have read. I went from almost buying Purina’s puppy formula to having two solid (in my opinion) brands to rotate and a couple that I I want to look into as a potential third. I have nearly figured out how to balance a raw diet and have both of the “bibles” on order. I am pricing making the switch and putting together a plan to do so. With a new job for me in the future (I just received the offer this week), I plan to get that ball rolling.

    It’s been awhile since I had a puppy. A long while. And I have tried to spend a lot of my free time researching and learning to make things better for him. I’m certainly not perfect and still learning. Without the kind folks here, who knows what crap I would have gotten him from Petsmart or whatever my local store has been told to push! I had to listen to about a 5 minute speech on Evanger’s canned. They left out the part about the huge recall though.

    To me, little Gichin appears to be flourishing. I see a happy and playful puppy that is growing what seems like daily with appropriate and normal elimination. He’s officially settled in after nearly a month in his new home. His potty training has been fantastic. I can’t remember the last time he had an accident.

    And I really have this forum to thank for all of it as they help me tweak everything to make things perfect.

    #46756 Report Abuse

    crazy4cats
    Member

    You are doing a great job! There are always a few “snarky” comments that you just have to ignor. Good luck with your pups and your new career!

    #46757 Report Abuse

    DogFoodie
    Member

    Katie, you’re doing a great job!

    Commercial raw is expensive and can be out of reach for a lot of folks, myself included. Making homemade raw balanced, takes research and care and you’ve certainly demonstrated that you’re up for the challenge. In the meantime, you might want to check out Steve Brown’s great little download about supplementing a diet of kibble with fresh whole foods. The download costs $2.95 and is worth every penny! Here’s a link to the download: http://www.seespotlivelonger.com/home/sll/page_41/see_spot_live_longer_the_abc_way___electronic_down.html. Steve Brown’s book, Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet, is probably one of the books you have on order.

    Answer’s goat milk is great. My dogs love it too. You just reminded me to get a carton out of the freezer. My dogs are always getting something different, too.

    Congratulations on the new job!!

    #46759 Report Abuse

    crazy4cats
    Member

    Hey, great advice, Betsy!
    Katie-
    I also have the download that Betsy is referring to and have implemented that approach to my dogs’ meals as homemade and commercial raw are not an option for me either. Again, good luck!

    #46762 Report Abuse

    Katie J
    Member

    Thank you, Betsy and crazy4cats!

    I did purchase that booklet and found it very informative. It’s on my phone to reference at any time. I still want the other two books as well so I can be properly armed for when I do decide to go raw. My boyfriend wants to do kibble/wet and raw, but I would prefer to go completely raw. The convenience of kibble in the AM when we are generally scurrying off to work may just be the deciding factor assuming both dogs can handle the split diet. But honestly why would any dog go back to kibble after having tasty raw?! Lol!

    I’m using Answer’s as well in his AM feeding. He only gets a small splash, but it’s been doing wonders with his digestion while we find good he loves.

    He really seems to like the variety or at least the better quality over 4Health. Another thing I learned here was that while 4Health is rated well it’s made by Diamond, and I am not comfortable with making it a staple in his diet. I may have missed it, but does Diamond make the wet food too? Because I really like the price point!! Anyhow I would have stopped the variety had he shown a poor reaction to it. As long as things are going well for him, I want to continue. Though if we stick to kibble with a wet topper, I will likely pick 3-4 brands to rotate and rotate the proteins within brands.

    And thank you for the new job congrats! I am looking forward to the change and growth potential. Plus the extra money is nice 😉

    #46765 Report Abuse

    crazy4cats
    Member

    Diamond does NOT have a cannery. I believe a lot of their foods are canned by Simmons.

    #46773 Report Abuse

    Katie J
    Member

    Thank you. Simmons appears to have a better reputation that Diamond from what my search pulled up. I don’t think I’ll have to rush back to TSC to return the cans my boyfriend picked up!

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