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lulah62

Obsession With Food

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Hello,

 

Maybe this one should be in the food forum, but I kinda suspect it's more of a behavioural issue..

 

I've had my grey Ghillie almost a year (and have had lots of help from this forum along the way!) and I feel like he's almost totally settled in now.

 

One issue that has got a lot worse recently is his food obsession. When I got him, he was a little underweight and VERY food driven. After a few weeks he started to respect boundries a little more and learnt he can't snatch etc (still a thief if food was left within his reach, but I grew up with other counter-surfers so that's no big deal)

 

I was clearly spoiling him as a new (and underweight) dog so he put on a little too much weight (only 1.5kg too much) so I upped his walking and cut down a little of his treats (but not his meals). He's now the 'correct' weight, but his thievery has become awful. He cries and tries to snatch every time anyone else is eating - it's really like he's starving.

 

 

I know a lot of greys are super food orientated, but is it normal to see such a link between him being a little tubby and more relaxed vs being a normal retired (ie not racing) weight and behaving as if he's starving to death?

 

I've read a lot about how bad it is for them to be overweight at all, so I guess I'm also asking how much attention people pay to the prescribed weight of their hound as well? He is a fairly average sized (??) 4 yr old and I'm told he needs to be 35kg. He wasn't sluggish or anything when he was heavier, but I did notice less rib-y than other greys we know. Is it better to let him be a little heavier and more relaxed about it? Is there such thing as a husky-grey?!

 

He has Burgess Sensitive lamb biscuits (which are complete) and whole pilchards, plus cod liver oil (he has really dry sore skin, hence the heavy oil content) so there shouldn't be any nutritional issues. He has a super sensitive stomach, so I hope it's not a problem with his food as it's the only combo I've found that helps his skin and coat and doesn't make him poop gravy

 

Any wisdom would be gratefully received :) His starving puppy dog eyes are giving me the worst guilt in the world!

 

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The "correct" weight for a greyhound is a topic of much discussion amongst greyhound owners. Underweight, overweight, some ribs showing, 5 pounds over race weight, some hip pointers, no hips - the evaluating can get quite intense! It doesn't help that there *isn't* a set "correct" weight - it's all based on your individual dog's physiology and body type.

 

No, you don't want your dog to be overweight. Generally, it can cause more issues than being underweight, but neither is ideal. Your dog should be able to be active without undue stress (extended panting and recovery time). He should get enough exercise to hold his weight on the amount of food he's getting. He should have a nice tuck up, no fat pads on his flanks/hips, looked toned in his thighs and chest, and carry himself in an athletic manner - he should move easily and well, with a spring in his step. Whether his ribs or hip pointers show is less important than his overall look - some greyhounds are lanky and bony, and some are stouter with less of their skeleton showing!

 

The food he's on should contribute to his well-being. It should have enough calories to sustain his weight for the amount of exercise he's getting. His poops should be well-formed. He should not have excessive gas or tummy upset. His coat should be soft and shiny with little need for excessive maintenance. He shouldn't be itchy or smelly.

 

Adjust his amount of food and/or his amount of exercise as needed.

 

If he's recently lost soome weight he may still be adjusting to his new normal and thinking he should have more food. But a LOT of greys are just *very* food motivated when they are younger. This tendency should gradually extinguish itself as long as everything else remains stable.

 

So before you decide about his food issues, evaluate his overall health and body condition. Is he the proper weight for his body type? is he getting enough of the right food? Does he need more exercise? If everything is positive, then the answer to your question becomes easier. Greyhounds can be stubborn and *very* persistent when they are motivated, so it may take a while for his begging to lessen. You can help it along by being consistent about not rewarding bad behavior. Teach him that he needs to be on his bed or in a certain spot to get food and treats. It will take some patience, especially if he's been getting rewarded at being bad before.

 

Be strong and feel no guilt!


Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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I'll throw in a different perspective, and say that food thievery is not at all related to weight. It's a behavioral issue IMHO, and you posted in the "right" forum. If your dog is healthy, forget the weight.

 

Now - being a brat about food is more about being comfortable in the home, settling in, and seeing what he can get away with. What exactly is he doing? Taking food from people's hands? Begging at the table during dinner? Getting into the refrigerator? These are all behaviors that can be dealt with. What behaviors exactly are the issue?

Bottom line - your dog is not starving. Get over that. If he's begging at the table, we have advice. If he's counter-surfing, we have advice. If he's opening the refrigerator, I have advice. Been there, done that, and my Sobe was not starving.

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Thanks for both of these bits of advice!

 

@greysmom I'm fairly certain he's in very good condition - he had terrible skin when I got him, lots of cracked callouses and sore patches, but now he's so much better. He has a very thin coat naturally, but it's really glossy and he's very alert, playful and skips along very lightly. He's possibly the slowest greyhound in all the land, mind, when he really runs (I used to joke that nobody ever made money off him until someone told me some greys only race well because they're terrified, so he was probably one of the greys that ran fast out of fear than anything else :'(

 

@sobesmom, he just about stops short of opening the fridge! He watches me cook, begs at the table, will snatch food off people if he can reach (all while crying like an abused animal!) - those are the ones that are getting worse. He is a terrible counter-surfer when nobodies looking, but when I signed up to greyhound ownership I assumed that would be the case. If anyone has any advice about stopping them stealing when you're not looking, that would be great but it's not really the main issue.

 

 

I've been trying to build his self control around food at feeding time - I make him sit before I put his bowl down, then hold him back (soft hand on chest to stop him lunging) for a moment until I say he can go. I've only been doing this a week or so, and he is of course incredibly stubborn so I haven't seen any results yet.

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(I used to joke that nobody ever made money off him until someone told me some greys only race well because they're terrified, so he was probably one of the greys that ran fast out of fear than anything else :'(

 

If you have your boy's racing name, or can read his ear tattoos, you can look up his career on GreyhoundData.com and see if he did race or not. Since he's 4 now, and you've had him a year, he came into adoption around 3 years old. Greyhounds begin training and racing at around 18 months of age, so that leaves a good year and a half for him to be at a track. He could have been too slow, or just wanted to play instead of run competitively, or had an injury, or any number of completely benign reasons for not having a long career. It's highly unlikely that he was abused.


Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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I don't so much mean about being abused, I just heard that noise reactive hounds sometimes run away from the sound of the traps out of fear rather than 'for the fun of it'. He's generally pretty chilled, but is definitely very jumpy around loud noises

 

I've been trying to look up his tattoos actually (I posted another thread on it here http://forum.greytalk.com/index.php/topic/321433-who-is-he/)I should contact the Irish Coursing Club really and try find out some more about him!

 

Thanks for your advice :)

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I happen to have a fearful dog. He was retired after 9 races because he kept coming in last. If there was even a shred of truth to it, ALL of the top racers would be fearful dogs, and that is most certainly about as far from the truth as you can get.

 

Sounds to me like you have adopted a clever fellow who has figured out how to get himself extra snacks!



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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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I also have a VERY food-motivated dog. She would regularly raid the kitchen trash can, until we came up with a way to outwit her...we are lucky that our trash is in a pull-out drawer, with a small drawer above--we simply put a hair tie or a heavy rubber band around both knobs. We've also switched the trash/recycle positions within that trash drawer, so the trash is in the back thereby making it harder for her to get at it if the drawers are banded together.

 

Of course if there is extremely enticing trash, we simply empty it. No need to make it more tempting.

 

Phoebe also was one to be underfoot in the kitchen. We started with the command "OUT", and showing her that it means to be off the kitchen floor and on the living room carpet. We reinforced this with a soda can with a few pennies in it--this was originally a tool we used to interrupt the cat when he was doing something naughty, just give the can a shake, but we noticed that Phoebe was also scared/startled by it, so we really use it more for her now. In fact, all I need to do now is say to her, "do you want me to get the can?", or even just, "can", and she immediately removes herself from the kitchen. She's a smart cookie!

 

You can also search the forums for a video that Krissy posted, about teaching your dog to "wait" when giving treats. It's kind of a game, and it really works! The good thing about food motivated dogs is that they CAN be so easily trained when food is the reward! Now Phoebe understands completely what "wait" means, and when I give her a treat, I tell her to go to her bed, then "down", then I put the treat between her front paws and say "wait". She waits! In fact she will sometimes even drop the treat if she's picked it up and you tell her wait again. Plenty of drool involved, but she has really learned a lot.


Phoebe (Belle's Sweetpea) adopted 9/2/13.

Jack (BTR Captain Jack) 9/28/05--11/2/12
Always missing Buddy, Ruby, and Rascal.

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I have a very food motivated dog, also. He’s learned to wait for treats. I don’t give him scraps or feed him when I’m eating. It’s up to me to make sure nothing is in reach, and that includes on top of the fridge. He’s not allowed in the kitchen when I’m there, either.


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Xavi the galgo and Allen the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09.

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