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Question
Posted by: Jakkals | 2004/12/09

Food Habits

About two weeks ago we saved a 6 week old Boston Terrier X puppie from sure death. It was obvious that she has been treated very badly. I now have two problems:
1. She grabs food out of my maltese poodles mouth. It is as if she has to fight over the food although she gets her even share.
2. She carries the food and water bowls around the house, and spills food and water everywhere!

What can we do to make her stop? She gets scared very easily, even if you walk up to her to fast, she runs away. She also doesn't trust people very much - especially men.

Please help

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

Hi Jakkals
Well done for rescuing the pup. With any puppy you need patience and with this one you may need even more because she seems to have been deprived of food and either abused physically or neglected by her previous owners.
1. Feed her separately. Leave the food down for half an hour (while the dogs are separated) and then remove it till the next mealtime. She should be getting at least 3 meals a day of PUPPY pellets. The amount she should get will be on the bag, but you can increase it by 10 % for a while until she has got over the "famine syndrome". You can also add grated carrot or apple or cooked vegies or rice to it if she wants to eat more.
2. If you take the food away between meals there won't be any food bowls to carry around. Plastic or metal water bowls can be weighted down by putting a rock or brick inside or by filling the underneath with cement.
3. Fear of people needs patient, kind and gentle behaviour from all the humans she comes into contact with. Never reprimand her or punish her. If she does something naughty then either ignore it, walk away from her or distract her with something like a toy or treat. She needs to learn to trust people and you may have to use treats, toys and gentle touch to encourage this.
Karen Gray-Kilfoil
ANIMAL BEHAVIOURIST

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

2
Our users say:
Posted by: Pi | 2004/12/10

Jakkals, great that you saved this puppy, wish I could save every single abused animal in this world. Everything with a dog takes time and patience and consistence. A dog needs to know that things will happen the same every time. Establish a routine with the feeding and like Chill said, get a proper dog bowl that she can't pick up. Feed her seperately and give lots of praise.

Also a good idea might be to attend obedience classes, it makes a world of difference for you the human and the dog. I've learnt so much about dog behaviour just by attending obedience classes. You will also establish a bond with her by going for training.

To boost her confidence she needs to learn that humans won't hurt her, especially men. Lots of praise, lots of play, lots of attention, but always on your terms.

Have fun!!

Reply to Pi
Posted by: Chill | 2004/12/10

She's just a baby. Feed her separately, and get her a proper dog bowl that she can't pick up. Don't let her get away with bullying your other dog - a stern word when she does it should suffice, expecially if she's fairly timid - although of course you will have to repeat this until the penny drops.

Treat her kindly and she'll grow into a confident dog.

Reply to Chill

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