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big fat lab and a small skinny jackapoo

Posted by on Dec. 20, 2012 at 7:16 PM
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Skittles is our lab she is quite overweight. She steals food off the counter. Her latest snatch was a batch of gingerbread cookies that had just been iced. The real issue is she eats all of the dog food. We tried separating them when they eat but Cowie the jack a poo will eat a few bites then walks away. He does not care if the other dog comes over to eat his food. Most of the time he just walks away. The vet had us switch the lab to a weight control dog food. The lab won't go for walks. She walks around the perimeter of our house. I have tried walking her a few houses down but she refuses she sits down. Any advice on how to get her moving. If everybody in the family goes for a walk with her including the other dog she will walk.
by on Dec. 20, 2012 at 7:16 PM
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marshsmom
by Group Owner on Dec. 21, 2012 at 4:09 PM
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Counter surfing is a self rewarding behavior, and no matter how much scolding you do, the reward has already been received so it doesn't matter.  Because I foster dogs who often had to scavenge to survive I've dealt with this behavior a lot (as in a 50 pound bloodhound with all four feet on the counter! lol).  First and foremost you have to keep a very controlled environment in the kitchen.  Your lab has succeeded at getting food from there and each time she does it will reinforce the behavior which gaurantees you that she will try again.  You have to keep the counters clear of food when you are not cooking or eating. When you are in the kitchen and food is out find a place to call hers and toss small crumbs to her.  Don't do it while you acknowledge her just act as if you didn't realize the crumbs were falling.  Eventually she should start to associate that food comes from the floor not the counter.  You can also stage a scenario where you can work intensely on teaching her to stay down.  To do this, place food on the counter and stand and wait for her to attempt to get it.  When she starts to look at it and move in the direction give her a verbal correction and have her go to her "spot" and offer her a small reward. 

To get your other dog and the lab to eat their own food, establish a feeding schedule and also make sure you are feeding the right amount for their weight.  Place the food down at feeding time and stand watch while they eat, correcting the lab if she tries to go to the other food bowl.  After 15 minutes pick up whatever is left.  Cowie will not starve himself and eventually he will learn to eat when it is time.

For exercise, I would say take the whole family walking.  Also, being a lab, Skittles would surely enjoy a sport of some sort, fetch with a frisbee or ball, hide and seek with a toy or treats. 

Keep in mind too that when you offer a food reward, like a milk bone, the whole milk bone is overkill and will add calories.  All you really need to give is a little pinch.

Good luck!


marshsmom
by Group Owner on Jan. 5, 2013 at 12:37 PM
1 mom liked this

Tulip on the table

See what I mean? Lol
I had to share this with you! There was no food on the table, but she has been successful before, I guess she thought it was worth a try :/. This deemed a squirt from a water bottle. The water bottle works well when the dog is out of reach and needs a correction. She has learned not to do this, but apparently she is clever enough to misbehave when no one is looking. I was in the next room taking a pic of my son and she was in there with me, she snuck away with her evil plan! Lol
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Gooberzilla
by New Member on Jan. 14, 2013 at 2:08 AM

I agree about the self-rewarding behavior.  You have to make sure you keep your counters clean and food put away so doggy can't get food for scavenging.  As far as exercise, I would suggest games.  Catch, chase, tag, anything to get her moving.  If she doesn't like walks then find something she does want-the truth is walks can be b.o.r.i.n.g.  Maybe trick training?  Labs really like working and being stimulated.

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