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Hand Fed Spoiled Dog
by Steph
Hand Fed Spoiled Dog Hi there! I'm new to this site and was wondering if anyone else has my problem. My dog, Lucky, won't eat by herself! She'll only eat if my husband or I hand feed her or "play" with her food by putting it on the ground a little at a time. I'm sure she'll eat if she gets hungry but if we don't feed her by hand, her dog food stays in her bowl for a couple of days. She'll eat on her own once in a great while but usually, we have to feed her every morning by hand. Does anyone have the same problem or know what we can do to wean her off this spoiled habit? Thanks!


Neil's aunt and mother did with Penny (a very pretty long-haird dachshund) who was about 6 or 7 years old when they adopted her. She wouldn't eat for the first day until they hand fed her. After several months of handfeeding, it became a bit of a problem. I told them to just stop doing it switch to meal feeding .. only leaving the food down for 20 minutes then taking it away.. 3 times a day. I suggested they put something really tasty on top to give her the idea (actually, to make them feel less guilty.. they really did love this cutie-pie). Penny was a little toughy.. and held out for a full two days.. even with the chicken on top. On the third morning.. she ate every last bit in her bowl.. and the only times she stop eating after that day was when she was sick. I do realize how hard it is to do this.. I loved Penny as if she was my own. We hated the pitiful looks Penny gave at first.. but it was for the best. I've never seen a dog go more than three days without eating when food was offered.. unless it was sick. Really, even a small dog can go several days without food without any long term problems(I wouldn't let them go more than 3 full days though). Alternatively, you could leave the food down all the time instead of meal feeding.. but do change it at least twice a day so it doesn't get bad. For all those that think this is cruel, understand that we had no choice.. Neil and I were going away to school, and his mom and aunt's arthritis was really bad during the winter months.. bending down to feed the dog was getting to be too much for them. Penny lived to be 15, and was very happy and loving .. she died quietly in her sleep of an apparent heart attack.

They sure get spoiled fast and train us just as fast!!! I would just leave the food there. They really won't starve, and will probably start eating. You are just gonna have to be strong!!
Robin K.
Hi Steph, how old is Lucky? How long has this hand feeding been going on? If Lucky is an older dog and you've always hand fed her, you can break her of this but it will take some time. If the dog is a puppy, it will still take time but probably won't be as difficult. My younger dog BriAnna did this after a stomach virus she had when she was 7 months old(she's now 1 yr. and 1 mo. old). Her vet told me when she had the stomach virus no food for 24 hours and than only baby food for 3 days. I hand fed her the baby food from a baby spoon. After 3 days when she was better and I put her food bowl down she looked at me like, "well, aren't you going to feed me?"So I hand fed her all her food for a week and thought, "this is ridiculous!". The vet told me when she gets hungary enough she'll eat. She did what your dog is doing for 2 and a half days and as much as it pained me I didn't give in and hand feed her and she started eating again on her own. You should call your vet and ask what they recommend. If you don't give in to her she should start eating on her own again-but check with your vet and Good Luck!
Wow. What a pain. Your Lucky is not lucky. I guess you did it to yourself by feeding her by hand so much. No dog will starve itself if food is readily available. Maybe you just have to tough it out. The only reason I am saying this is that my Otto was sick and I was worried that he wasn't eating, so I sat with him and enticed him with delicious morsels. For two days. After he was better, he, of course, wanted me to sit with him. I saw where that could be headed and was firm on his solo eating. He was confused, but eventually got the point. Best of luck - I know how hard it is.
Thanks, everyone, for helping me nip a bad habit in the bud. Rudy is just over 4 mos. and I'm guilty of "occasionally" hand feeding when he hasn't been that interested in the food I put down. I know it's wrong when I do it and I needed this little kick in the butt to stop it. Thanks again and good luck, Steph...
I know all our babies are spoiled but your baby has taken it to far. Why feed herself when she has you. Your going to have to use tough love and let her eat on her own. I have a dog who does eat her food out of a bowl, but when it comes to table scraps if you throw it on the ground she looks at it and then back at you like "What? Am I supposed to eat it off the ground." but if you pick it up and hand it to her(hand or fork) she will eat it. She just did it the other day with a Mcdonalds cheeseburger.
Kathy S.
Ditto, to the others. Beau (6 mo) wouldn't eat for 2 days when we brought him home at 4 months. I would have to hand feed or put a little on the ground. I switched foods, tried, wet on top, everything. Finally, I just gave up. He is fed twice a day for 20 minutes. If he doesn't eat (which occurs now every 2-3 feedings) I pick up the bowl and that's it till next feeding. It might not be that he is so spoiled, as much that he may just not be a big eater. Beau's vet was a little concerned that he hadn't gained much weight, but, he said that he has enough meat on his bones and looks good. I wish I had eating habits like Beau. P.S. Beau hated Eukanuba, and wet food. He seems to like Science Diet puppy small bites.
Thanks for all your helpful resonses! I was afraid that I would have to use "tough love" and stick it out and not give in to her sad looks. She's only 9 months old so it shouldn't be too hard for her to give up this bad habit of hers. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks again!

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