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How much food

June 28, 2019, 9:35 AM
Q: We have a 9 week old mini bernedoodle who is a finicky eater. Some days she will eat her dry food well & other days hardly at all. We have tried mixing all the recommended stuff but it was the same. Any other suggestions? Also, she is a biter. Suggestions to break her of this?
A: Here is some info on both situations that may help: There are a few guidelines of adequate consumption that are just as important as the actual volume of food eaten. During the transition to a new home it is extremely important that your puppy eats frequently, you should offer food at least each 1-2 hours during the day and each 4 hours overnight. Allow your puppy to eat whatever it wants in about 5 minutes or so. Keep in mind your puppy's appetite will vary during the day, and day to day, just like us. Leaving dry food available as nibble food is a good idea unless you have other pets that might take advantage too often. Once you are confident your puppy is eating regularly you can begin reduce the number of feedings. By the end of the second week shoot for about 4 feedings per day. Your puppy's attitude will generally tell you if he is eating enough: if he eats regularly, eliminates normally, plays energetically for a while and then sleeps things can't be too bad. If you feel there are changes to this pattern let me know as it could be a signal that something is up. A decrease in consumption coupled with a decrease in activity spells trouble. Biting is a common problem, and it has little if anything to do with teething. The first step is to help teach your puppy what acts you object, then there has to be a consequence that is rememberable. You might try adding a period of shunning. After a LOUD (needs to slightly frighten her) "NO" then you pretend that she doesn't exist, the only eye contact is a menacing stare and a few words that carry the same tone. She needs to feel that you don't like her anymore (just for a little while). Start with maybe 10 minutes and adjust accordingly. If you try a timeout it also needs to be rememberable, often putting her in her crate is not effective since many puppies like their crate. You can use another room or even a leash to restrain her where she can see you but she cannot interact with you. Most trainers say that you should not use your hands for reprimand since that involves the object of her action. I have had quite a few puppies in my lifetime and still the most effective reprimand is a quick, firm but not harmful thump on the nose and shunning. Diverting the play to another action, like throwing a toy can work for some puppies but that is only after a firm reprimand. I think some puppies have a problem with this approach because it all seems like play. As with any training attempt your response needs to be immediate, consistent and result in some, at least temporary sacrifice for your puppy.