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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone,

I'm new here - first post - though I've been reading the forum regularly, and also reading about Vizsla's in general (I've had Rhodesian Ridgebacks before, and other breeds).

I am an owner of a puppy that went to his first home at 8 weeks of age via a cross-country airline flight. The first family had him for about 12 days when they discovered that their daughter was allergic to him. They didn't want to subject him to an airline flight back to the breeder, so I took him in and have had him for a little more than 2 weeks now. He is now 3 months old.

He has the strangest eating habit and I was wanting some advice on how to get him "normal" again: he seems to only want to eat if I spill food on the floor and then hand feed it to him (to get him started -- and to keep him going as he loses interest). He generally doesn't like eating out of a bowl, or eating while in a crate, and he'll usually only eat if I am present near him.

I thought he was a very picky eater, but I've come to realize that he is hungry and wants to eat and likes his food, but his quirk keeps him from doing so. He has been eating Nature's Variety "Prarie" kibble with some canned mixed in (from Wellness, Nature's Variety, etc....), and he is fed 3x a day (or more if he didn't eat a meal).

My vet previously checked him out and found no discernible problems. He was, I think, malnourished when I got him, and he has put on more than 4 pounds (now weighs about 14.2 pounds at 3 months old). I'm not sure if his eating problem started at the breeder, or during the 12 days (or so) that he was at his first home before coming here. Regardless, I'd like him to eat "normal", like other dogs!

He is otherwise very curious, attentive, and has a great temperament.

Any thoughts?

Regards!
 

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Two things to look for;

1. An undershot jaw. If his lower teeth are significantly behind his uppers, he'll have trouble with the contour of a bowl. I had one like this for 14 years. I also used to have to give a Tagament from time to time due to his sensitive stomach.
2. He doesn't like the sensation of the lip of the bowl on his ears.

Try feeding him off a plate or shallow dish and see if he likes.
Make yourself some tuna, and express the water into his food. See if that helps.
Try a different food. The current one may be upsetting his stomach.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks! Good input...

My vet checked his jaw/teeth/mouth, and they are fine -- he has a good bite.

I've been feeding him on a flat surface (such as a plate) which he prefers, but he doesn't mind drinking out of a water bowl with raised sides, so I don't think that is it. But who knows...

He's finally trained me this past day and I can get him to eat consistently by spooning food onto a plate, and hand-feeding him the first few bites. Once he starts to eat, his hunger takes over, and he will eat as I continue to spoon small portions onto the plate. I guess he is just quirky and will hopefully outgrow it. At least he is eating well now, and hopefully continues.

He now weighs around 15.5 pounds at 3 months of age (he's freshly eaten, so his true weight is somewhat less than that). Other posts I've read indicate that maybe 18-20 pounds is "normal" at this age, so he might still be underweight? At least he is gaining...

Appreciate it!
 

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I started laughing when I read your post. Our Ziva who is now 6 months old would not eat out of her bowl for the first 4-5 months. If she did, it was just to get a big mouth full and drop it on the floor and then she would eat it off the tile. Now, she will eat out of her bowl but only if we put a handful on the floor beside it. Howevever, she still prefers it scattered. She is on wellness puppy and is doing great. She also has to pounce on her food before she eats it. We just thought it was one of her quirks. After reading Gunnrs post we checked her teeth and they seem fine; we had never even thought there might be a reason behind her habits.
 

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For months Hobie would only eat if I spilled the food on the floor and let her pounce on it first. She would eat one kibble at a time..... she looked like a bucking bronco flailing about when she ate, jumping around it. It was crazy.

I can't remember when she started eating normally. ::)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ahhhh.... great!

Pouncing on food, barking at food, wanting food spilled on the floor before eating, etc..., is everything I'm experiencing. So it's not a quirk, but is normal behavior. :)

I feel better!

Thanks...
 

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A brief follow-up:

My puppy is now 13 weeks old. Last week I went through the hand-feeding / etc described earlier, trying to feed him 3x a day. It worked for a few days, and then he stopped eating as much, and went back to his old habits.

I switched tactics last weekend and started feeding him on 2x a day (kibble + canned) -- leaving the food down for 15 minutes, and then picking it up. He didn't eat much the first day, but by day 2 and following, he is now very hungry in the morning (6:30am) and then again by late afternoon (4:00pm) and eats everything.

I'd rather feed him 3x a day, but it seems that 2x a day will work and helps him develop a good appetite between meals (at least for now).

Regards!
 

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haha this post made me laugh too. our puppy scooby (i think there's another scooby in the forum) did the same thing when he was around 9-14 weeks old. he got over it and now he eats straight from the bowl.

isnt it so cute how they eat outta ur hand?
 

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I'm resurrecting this old post! This is exactly what I've been going through with Daisy (13 weeks old today)! She won't eat from her bowl until I've hand fed her some or if I dump her food on the floor (my kids sprinkle it all around her dish & she loves to eat it that way, too). For the 1st week or so, I had to hand feed most of her meal or she wouldn't eat. Now I just have to get her started by sprinkling some around her dish, then she'll eat the entire serving. I did consider the fact that she might not like her ears touching the sides of the cold bowl, but just like the original poster stated, she drinks her water just fine & it's in the same type bowl. Weird & quirky! I just thought it was her! :)
 
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