Well I've posted over the last few days Tal's little episode with not eating. I think I inadvertently put him on a path to pickiness with the abrupt change in schedule. Plus at 5 months he is, I'm sure, apt to try and test things from time to time. A schedule does not have to be rigid (and it never has been) but there were certain times of the day I would feed him and play with him.
So last night around 7 I tried to feed him. No go. About 9 he gave me his I want to eat look and I decided if I were going to nip this in the bud I had to be strong. So I refused. Of course I got the pouty look but I just ignored it. We watched TV for awhile then went to bed.
I got up about 7 this morning and fed him and gave him his medicine. Whaddya know he ate like usual! Plus his poop was normal. I am gonna feed him again about 6 or so and he'll get his second dose of his med for the loose stool for the day.
The hard part is being firm with him. But he is just like kids in a way because I think a fairly regular structure gives him security and he knows he can count on me. I just try and stay focused on that.
I just wanted to share these thoughts and say thanks for the advice, support and all. It would have been really difficult without it.
Good job an staying strong! That was probably one of the hardest things for me to learn because I'm big push over when it comes to my dogs. But I have to say that my not giving in at the wrong times has been better for Brigetta. I've never had to deal with a dog not eating or being picky...both of my dogs eat like they've been starved, but I always tell my sister if Sergeant doesn't touch the food after 10-15 minutes...pick it up.
Teresa, mom to Brigetta and Prudence
Yes some Labradors are picky eaters. I can attest to that with Mr. Picky Pants. Yes Clint is fussy. He started right off at 9 weeks old. I was nervous about him not getting enough to grow and so I would hand feed him, add leftovers, etc. My husband warned I would make him picky yet he simply started out that way. He remains so to this day. It's hard for me to find a kibble he likes and he will stop eating one that he loves after about a year. I have gone back and forth a few times with ones I had luck with in the past. I do add in fresh and raw food at dinner time so he always eats that - it's breakfast he often skips. He would be fine if I free fed him but with the others I can't do that. If I only had one dog like Tal I would simply fill up a bowl and keep it filled and see how he does for a month or so in regards to maintaining weight.
Oh and at nearly 100 lbs Clint certainly grew just fine being picky so I learned that from him. Also his puppies tend to be fussy as well. Someone who bred to him called me a few months ago in a panic because the litter wouldn't eat! She was trying to introduce their first mush and they were simply not interested. I laughed - par for the course with Clint babies. I told her to wait a few days and try again - success. I also tell people to warn future families that yes Labradors can be picky!
These guys keep us on our toes, that's for sure!
I maintained a very consistent schedule with Ivy. She was a real handful as a pup, so a good schedule (with mealtime, potty time, playtime, and crate time) was the best way to manage the chaos. ;D
When we added Raleigh to our family, our routine was second-nature and it made it SO easy to bring him into the fold. We don't use crates anymore, but they still lie down on the couch to rest during "crate time" ... but we call it "naptime" now!
Thanks for the encouragement! Up until now Tal has shown no signs of being picky. I think alot of it was his testing me. He has started eating normally again...I just wish he had done this a vet visit and a few dollars ago.. :-\ But one good thing is that I know he is just fine health wise.
Sharon, somehow I never thought of Clint as a picky eater. But what you thought about Clint and his not eating is exactly what I thought when Tal started his not eating routine. I thought man, he wont get enough and that will stop his, up until now, good development! I know now that wasn't the case...well ya live and learn! He and Clint sound alike in some ways. I do let him have a soup bone with marrow occasionally and I always get them with as much meat as I can find. Another thing I am doing differently now is that I use treats alot more sparingly. He pretty much sits on command, goes down on command and I used them to get him to bring retrieves back to me. He does that now very consistently. I think I was overusing treats too. That was probably a contributor as well. I think the only time I will use them for now is when working on his recall. He still does not have full recall when I call him.
I'm glad to hear things are going well in the food department. It doesn't take them long to get the best of us!!
I appreciate how hard picking up that food bowl was; occasionally one of mine will decide not to eat their breakfast or supper. While I never know exactly why, I do know that picking up the bowl and not serving any more food until the next regular meal makes a difference.