So I can recall many puppy training stories, but one stands out for its under feeding problem. Two border collies who`s behaviour, described as nuisance. Into everything. Nose in the bin, licking out the dishwasher, searching floors and eating crumbs. There were behaviour issues with the puppies too like the usual nipping and barking at night and so on.
I sat observing the two puppies during the puppy training consultation which was a 121 in the puppy owner’s home. I observed the dogs to be slick in posture and bordering on being thin. Still looked good though. I then observed one puppy shredding a rope toy and eating it! Not a normal puppy behaviour you should know! The eating of the rope toy I mean!
I knew straight away that this could indicate a under feeding issue. It’s not in a dog’s natural instinct to devour and consume material. But a puppy or dog will if that is the only option for diminishing the feeling of hunger. The evidence for under feeding issues was obvious to me, but how come it wasn’t for the owners you may ask?
I wanted to know what quantities of puppy food each puppy eat a day. I highlighted my concern that the puppies destroying a rope toy and eating the string told me the majority of the issues was down to under feeding. The owners became horrified. Especially when we all observed the speed of the puppies eating later during the 121 home visit. 6 seconds or less, both bowls were clean after.
Feeding guides are just a guide!
The owners followed the recommended guide to feeding a puppy, but let’s remember it’s a guide and it’s us as dog owners who should take other factors into consideration as well. They decided on the lowest guide for the age range etc. They puppy owners did not want two dogs exhibiting obesity at any life stage. I definitely agree with that. So we discussed my guidance as below.
Here are my tips for identifying that your puppy has a under feeding issue. But before we plough ahead let’s be clear, some breeds are always hungry. Labrador! Springs to mind straight off. I am definitely not trying you to over feed your dog either. lets look at some indicators.
Does your puppy do any of the following?
Speed eating and licking the bowl clean. Not always a sign that your dog loves the food, but it could be more that here’s my chance and devour and every last crumb. Try feeding the highest amount on the range for feeding your puppy or dog for its age and weight.
Begging and waiting for any morsel of food to hit the floor. Does your puppy dog hover in the kitchen thinking you may well surrender some beef from the joint as a treat. But this could also be an opportunist moment to scavenge for food, it’s when it looks intent that there may be a hunger issue.
Constant jumping up at surfaces to nick food. Definitely not a good behaviour, making you become super vigilant over your best Sunday roast or protection of work surfaces for hygiene.. A contented puppy will not feel the need to scavage every worktop.
Emptying the bin to seek scraps. I often find a hungry dog will seek out any slightest food scrap that wets the appetite from just the smell of a scrap. A contented dog will not feel the need to seek out the scraps.
Hyper vigilant to any food scraps on dog walk. Your puppy dog pounces on any food found on the path or other less likely places. Generally dogs or puppies who do this cause nuance and frustration to walk. But why does your dog feel the need is the question?
Snatching food from hand during training. Not in all cases, but a hungry puppy often will almost take your fingers off when offering a treat. You have to take all other evidence into question to ascertain if this indicates a that you have a hungry puppy or not.
My advice is to
So if you feel your dog has any of the above puppy behaviours, try upping their food content to the highest recommended amount. Spreading your dog’s daily amount out throughout the day instead rigid feeding programme of two meals etc. Soaking the kibble to encourage a higher water intake and consumption of food. Weighing your dog often to make sure the appropriate levels of nutrition are correct for their development.
Need some advice on your current puppy food manufacturer? I can recommend some high nutritional dog food manufacturers if you feel your puppy needs a change. I can also provide you with behavioural advice on a 121 if your dog is still classes by myself to be a puppy under 24 weeks of age. I also provide advice and have a dog food nutritionist attend my puppy classes.