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What does it mean when they knock their food bowl over?

Discussion in 'Dog Training' started by NateBazooka, Apr 6, 2010.

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  1. NateBazooka

    NateBazooka Boxer Booster

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    This isn't a big issue, but I'm kinda curious as I still have a lot to learn about dog behavior -

    Every now and then Kevin knocks his food bowl (with food in it) over. He'll walk over to it, sniff it a bit, nudge the bowl a couple of times with his nose (at which point I stop him if I am there), and then will knock the bowl over. I think this tends to happen if he's got a bowl full of just kibble, with no sardine or egg or anything mixed in, and I do think it tends to happen (although maybe this is confirmation bias) after he has recently had a meal where he did get a special treat mixed in with the kibble.

    Is this behavior as straightforward as it seems - He's seeing a bowl of plain kibble and complaining about it? Or is there some reason a dog might do this?
     
  2. NateBazooka

    NateBazooka Boxer Booster

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    BTW, I meant to put this in the dog behavior forum. Oops.
     
  3. Caney Creek

    Caney Creek Boxer Insane

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    That's what it sounds like to me. He's being picky, searching for the "good stuff" instead of eating what's on top. To minimize this behavior you might have to stop putting goodies in with his kibble, and feed those things separately away from his food bowl when want to give him something extra.
     
  4. Kilby'sMum

    Kilby'sMum Super Boxer

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    Not sure what kind of bowl you're using or how old Kevin is but both my girls went through a phase when they were about 4-5mths old where they were scared of their own reflection in the stainless steel bowls so either wouldn't go near it or would tip all the food out, we switched to plastic for a while and they were fine.

    BUT when they were tipping out the stainless, they did that every mealtime for a week - regardless of whether there was something special in there or not so I'd say you're probably right - you've got yourself one clever boy who's just nosing for the good stuff =D
     
  5. Althea

    Althea Completely Boxer Crazy

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    LOL! I'm with Kevin! What were you THINKING put that plain kibble down there without something decent on top? What if you had to eat plain, dry kibble? ;) That is so cute. Annoying, no doubt, but very cute.
     
  6. LILYLARUE

    LILYLARUE Boxer Insane

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    Lily will flip her bowl and then push the bowl over the kibble bits. To me, its like she is hiding it from Buster and saving it for later. Usually she will eat it a few hours later.

    I think it's more of a "burying the food" thing for Lily.
     
  7. gmacleod

    gmacleod Elusive Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't think it really has anything to do with "complaining" that the food is plain kibble ;) This sort of thing is done by many dogs - including raw fed ones (who never get plain kibble). However, it probably is fair to say that it will happen most often with a low-value meal - so to that extent, then yes, the fact that the meal is plain kibble and not spiced up with something does play its part.

    In saying the above, I would equate tipping up the food bowl with burying food. Of course, I can't see how your dog is tipping up the bowl, but very often it is a case of the dog upending the bowl on top of his food. In this event, you generally find that the dog doesn't want to eat the food NOW, but he does want to protect it for eating later.

    What you have to figure is that there is an underlying reason for the dog not eating his food. Usually, it is either that the dog just isn't hungry (which generally means he's being overfed) or else he isn't feeling very well. In my experience, the problem is usually overfeeding (or at least, that's been the problem when my own dog has done this). When I cut back his food a little bit, then the burying of food thing goes away. Do you think this could perhaps also be the problem with your guy?

    The fact that he would eat if you gave him something special isn't a surprise. That's just natural - if you were offered something especially tasty you might very well accept it even if you weren't hungry (most of us do ;)). But having done so, you probably are going to eat less at your next meal, or even delay having that meal - especially if it's a bit boring or something you get often. Weeelll - I think there is a strong possibility that this is what your dog is doing also. He isn't just turning up his nose at the food - if that was the intent, he'd just look at it and walk away. Turning over the food bowl is more indicative of a dog that does want to keep the food, but just doesn't want to eat it right now. I think it is well worth looking at the amount of food overall that he is getting, and trimming it back a little (check treats also). That doesn't mean he can't have extras added to his meals (especially if they're healthy extras), just that the overall volume should be a little less. You may very well find that that solves the problem :)
     
  8. NateBazooka

    NateBazooka Boxer Booster

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    Hmmm, I hadn't thought that he might be "saving" the food for later, but I guess it makes sense. I've been feeding a bit less than the guidelines on the bag of food (about 3 1/2 cups a day, guideline calls for 4, and he gets an egg or a sardine once every 2 or 3 days) and was hesitant to think he was overfed (he still looks like a greyhound), but his behavior in general would fit with that, I think. And he has outgrown his food (Wellness Large Breed Puppy, he just turned one so this is his last bag of that before switching to adult formula, or perhaps Orijen or TOTW). Perhaps its time to cut back to 3 or even 2.5 cups with an egg or a sardine thrown in every other day.

    He's definitely had way too many treats this week, since he's a birthday pup. My girlfriend (who spoils him) was in town this weekend, and brought him a CAKE! A dog cake! I didn't know such a thing existed! I wish I had a picture... but this is a full on double layer iced (well, covered in something that looks like icing) and decorated cake for a dog! It's ridiculous. Kevin was very excited. There are still leftovers. Perhaps knocking over his food is his way of saying "Hey Dad, life is short, lets eat dessert first.".
     
  9. jbbtlr

    jbbtlr Super Boxer

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    Koda will flip his bowl when he is still hungry or just because....he cracks me up. There are times, if I don't pick up his bowl shortly after he is done eating, he will flip it and flip it and flip. Then if I am busy doing something, he decides he is going to carry his bowl to where ever I am at and flip it some more. wackicon

    The other day, he ate then decided to flip his bowl a few times. We were watching a movie so I didn't get right up and take his bowl away. I knew he wasn't hungry because I actually had given them extra that night. He brings his bowl into the living room, lays down on his bed, and begins to lick the inside of his bowl like he is trying to get every last bit of food possible. My husband and I died laughing. :LOL:

    They can be soooo dramatic sometimes!
     
  10. maxandtonka

    maxandtonka Boxer Booster

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    I dont know if this is what your pup is doing, but when my dog flips his bowl over with food in it... its because he is experiencing a bit of nausea. He only does this when he has an upset tummy and the smell of food makes him sick :( hopefully thats not what your dog is doing.
     
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