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  1. Dog acts like he's starving

    I swear I've seen posts about this before, but I can't find them. I have an approx 3 year old pit bull mixed dog. He's healthy and energetic, and if anything a little over weight. He weighs in at 62 lbs, I think he could probably stand to lose a few pounds.

    The problem is, he acts as if he is starving all the time. He will scarf food from anywhere he can find it and he eats very quickly. I have a slow feed bowl to slow him down a bit. I've tried changing foods, but he does the same. He gets fed 2x a day. 1 cup at a time - Canidae right now.

    He is constantly hungry. He will cry for more food. He won't settle down at night without extra food. I've tried to see if it was a training issue, but he still acts like he's starving. Very food motivated, always has been. Will get almost manic about training if there is any food involved, even plain kibble. It's hard to mark or reward behaviors with food because he will stop all behaviors and do only focus and typical obedience behaviors once he knows there is food involved.

    He has been vet checked and had a stool sample checked a while ago, all normal. I'm wondering if anyone else has a dog like this, or suggestions. The food thing is good in some ways because I can stop almost all behaviors by having food available. BUT he's very bright and learns quickly to chain behaviors to get the food. I can't have him keep waking us up an hour before breakfast because he's hungry. We don't even feed him then, just take him to another room and lock him up there, in case it was a case of him training us. He will sit in front of me in the morning and "scream" (high pitched whiney noises) until we feed him breakfast. It's a really annoying behavior but I haven't figured out how to stop it!!!

  2. #2
    Don't give in anymore then. ;)

    It'll be annoying as hell for a while, but he'll get over it eventually. I bet he's tickled pink that he's got you trained!

  3. #3
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    Sounds a little like mine, who gets ecstatic at feeding time, or any time he catches scent of a treat. Cooking with him out of the crate is a pain, he's always underfoot staring at me, hoping to get fed, keeping alert for falling scraps.
    Mine is 65 lbs, active, 9 mos old...his sire was abt 80. I feed 3 cups wellness puppy; 1 cup 3 x day. 4 1/2 cups is what they recommend for his age/wt, but I gradually cut it down because he was a bit chubby.
    canidae can't be too different from wellness wrt calories etc...I was surprised to see you feed so much less than I do...maybe that's naive on my part. Maybe giving him some more bulk in each meal by adding some carrots, boiled rice, or occasionally sweet potato will chill him out.

  4. Quote Originally Posted by monkeys23 View Post
    Don't give in anymore then. ;)

    It'll be annoying as hell for a while, but he'll get over it eventually. I bet he's tickled pink that he's got you trained!
    He's very smart, and I'm sure he has trained me. He was barking at people out the window? So I would call him to me, as for a sit and a quite, and give him a treat. This worked for about a day. Then I realize he would just go to the window and bark then come wait for a treat!!!

    We don't give in for the most part. When he does it before breakfast or at bed time, we lock him in the bathroom by himself so we don't have to listen to it. LOL

    The only time we could be said to be giving in is at breakfast time. we let them out, then give them a few minutes to settle once they come in (always concerned about bloat after a good case of the morning zoomies). He screams the whole time!! I've tried waiting him out, and I always wait until I get at least a minute of silence, even if he's doesn't go lay down. But I swear if I waited for "calm" behavior, none of the dogs would ever get breakfast!! LOL I suppose I could lock him up and feed everyone else, but that would just make him more manic, at least for a while, wouldn't it?

  5. #5
    take charge and tell him NO, he eats when you say NOT when he whines...you may have taught him this is an ok behavior much like when a puppy whines and someone gives it attention. the dog learns that when it whines it gets what it wants or it could be a dominance issue


    how to solve it?

    train HIM you are boss be a tough leader and take your spot back. and teach him that yelping and carrying on will not work.
    You can have someone leash him and whenever he fusses take him outside and wait 2mins and return repeating it. remove the dog from the situation.
    hope that somewhat helps you understand what is really going on here and how easy it can be to train the dog to stop
    Last edited by PatienceFlame; 08-18-2010 at 03:04 PM.

  6. #6
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    I've never met a dog who didn't act like it was starving...

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by omgrobyn View Post
    I've never met a dog who didn't act like it was starving...
    Liberty doesn't act like she's starving. She's pretty apathetic towards food, unless someone lets her beg under the table at a family dinner.
    But she's never been gung ho about her food.
    Lily used to be the type of dog to devour anything in sight. Once I got her dewormed, put on a schedule, and disciplined her eating (I change up her eating command every few weeks, sometimes it's sit, sometimes down, sometimes stand), she's much better. Haven't had a problem since.
    Last edited by LilianaLove; 08-18-2010 at 03:20 PM.

  8. Quote Originally Posted by omgrobyn View Post
    I've never met a dog who didn't act like it was starving...
    LOL. Don't get me wrong. I have 5 dogs and they will all act this way on occasion. Billy is just more... manic about it. But he's more manic about everything. As i said though, he is even very difficult to train with treats because he becomes so INSANELY hyper focused on the food. He takes it gently. He will do any command he knows for food. Commands he's good with. Things like trying to train a retrieve, or trying to mark and shape certain behaviors is much more difficult because he immediately drops the toy, stops the behavior and sits and gives me perfect eye contact and focus. Which is good, just presents other issues. And I'm not talking high value training treats. I'm talking ANY food.

  9. #9
    i'v cut buddy down to 2.5 cups a day plus his mid day chicken jerky treat, i felt he was getting to fat. the only time he has acted like he wasn't starving is when i was feeding him like 4 cups a day when i was trying to put weight on him

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by omgrobyn View Post
    I've never met a dog who didn't act like it was starving...
    My dogs act like that aswell it is an instinctive behavior. ALL dogs do it but there is a fine line between a normal behavior and an obsessive/demanding behavior.
    My dogs wait to eat and they dont whine or yelp or carry on for food. what the op is dealing with is something NOT normal and needs to be corrected and if the dog has been doing the same patern for 3 yrs it has turned into a obsessive compulsive disorder and deemed a behavior issue and needs to be delt with properly.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by shan79m View Post
    LOL. Don't get me wrong. I have 5 dogs and they will all act this way on occasion. Billy is just more... manic about it. But he's more manic about everything. As i said though, he is even very difficult to train with treats because he becomes so INSANELY hyper focused on the food. He takes it gently. He will do any command he knows for food. Commands he's good with. Things like trying to train a retrieve, or trying to mark and shape certain behaviors is much more difficult because he immediately drops the toy, stops the behavior and sits and gives me perfect eye contact and focus. Which is good, just presents other issues. And I'm not talking high value training treats. I'm talking ANY food.
    He sounds like my parents Lab. He has ALWAYS inhaled food, any food he could find. You know how on the Animal Cops shows when they have dogs come in and if they eat really fast they're always like "see, this dog has been starved".. drives me nuts because I've known many dogs to eat like that and they're obviously not starving!

    Anyway, we never gave into the "I want more food" mentality, and the dog eventually figured it out. I was the 'trainer' of the family, and just stopped using treats to work with him eventually because he'd just lose his damn mind if I brought food out. He worked for praise, which honestly, is a better way of training. I've had to start weaning my guys off of getting so many treats during training because they've turned into little brats if I don't have food :rolleyes:

  12. #12
    Sounds to me like you just have to do some ignoring.... don't give him any attn when he acts like that... heck all 5 of my dogs don't even bother telling me when they truly are hungry they understand that they'll get fed when I dangwell say they get fed Lol period.

    IMO, not too difficult... Ignore, Ignore, Ignore... He'll straighten up, won't have any other choice.

  13. Quote Originally Posted by Megan&Riley View Post


    My dogs act like that aswell it is an instinctive behavior. ALL dogs do it but there is a fine line between a normal behavior and an obsessive/demanding behavior.
    My dogs wait to eat and they dont whine or yelp or carry on for food. what the op is dealing with is something NOT normal and needs to be corrected and if the dog has been doing the same patern for 3 yrs it has turned into a obsessive compulsive disorder and deemed a behavior issue and needs to be delt with properly.
    Actually, he is about three. We are not sure. He is a rescue. We have had him about a year, and this behavior has gotten worse over time. He has always been a "foodie" but not pushy about when he was fed until the last couple of months. I try to keep my dogs on an irregular schedule on purpose, and always have. All dogs, including billy will sit and wait, and even allow me to leave the room and come back without touching the food until released (of course Billy will have a HUGE puddle of drool under him though). The really pushy stuff has only started in the last few months, that's why we did a vet check too, and why I'm looking for advice. I (or my fiance) must have inadvertantly trained this. Of course he acts like he never sees it, which probably is because he gives in to it right away. Thereby making the whining worse when he is with me, cause it works at other times....

  14. #14
    It does sound like a bad behavior that has been trained to be worse. I have noticed I have slowly trained Osiris to do things I don't want him doing. Then I have to train him back. I'm no trainer but when you said they are outside before breakfast and he will be quiet but not calmed down, I would let everyone who is calm in and ignore him until he calms down. I would think a few days of that he would start to get the picture that he won't get food until he calms down.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by shan79m View Post
    Actually, he is about three. We are not sure. He is a rescue. We have had him about a year, and this behavior has gotten worse over time. He has always been a "foodie" but not pushy about when he was fed until the last couple of months. I try to keep my dogs on an irregular schedule on purpose, and always have. All dogs, including billy will sit and wait, and even allow me to leave the room and come back without touching the food until released (of course Billy will have a HUGE puddle of drool under him though). The really pushy stuff has only started in the last few months, that's why we did a vet check too, and why I'm looking for advice. I (or my fiance) must have inadvertantly trained this. Of course he acts like he never sees it, which probably is because he gives in to it right away. Thereby making the whining worse when he is with me, cause it works at other times....
    what is his background before you got him? and if your fiance is giving in that could be the source of the issue and why it has gotten to this point.


    ---------- Post added at 05:58 AM ---------- Previous post was at 05:54 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by xosirisx View Post
    It does sound like a bad behavior that has been trained to be worse. I have noticed I have slowly trained Osiris to do things I don't want him doing. Then I have to train him back. I'm no trainer but when you said they are outside before breakfast and he will be quiet but not calmed down, I would let everyone who is calm in and ignore him until he calms down. I would think a few days of that he would start to get the picture that he won't get food until he calms down.
    and even the removal from the room will do the trick, everytime he cries or looks anxious remove him from the situation and wait till he calms down. If he fires up quickly do the same thing. remove him from the situation.
    It is hard work, means no slacking or giving in and it wont change over night.
    be consistant with him and he will learn that it is not acceptable to act that way. ;)

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