My animals are all confused...

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KevinK's picture
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My wife and I currently have 4 rescues. Dakota our pup, and 3 cats, Salem, Fenny, and Little one. They're all a little confused, it seems...

In your typical home with cats and dogs, usually you have to worry about your dog taking food off the table. Not us. Dakota doesn't touch the food, Little One does. She has it down to a science, she knows the sound of a fork being put on a plate, or a plate put on the counter and knows it means we're done. 2 seconds later, she's looking for the leftovers. If we cook something, and are putting it out, we have to put it somewhere she can't get to so she doesn't eat our dinner.

We can leave Dakota's bag of dog food out right next to her dish, and free feed her. She never overeats, and has never once tried to get into her dog food bag. We can leave her treats within her reach, and she has never taken one. We have to limit our cats food, and arrange feeding times, and if we leave their bag of food out, they will rip it open and keep eating. We also have to leave their treats in a closed drawer so they don't eat the whole bag in one sitting.

Fenny thinks he's a dog, and loves running around with Dakota, and follows us around all the time. He taught Dakota that it's cool to sit on top of the couch to get a better view of the birds out the window. Dakota now sits up there with the cats, and they take turns grumbling at the birds. 

I've said ever since we had him, if I could teach Fenny a solid recall I'd totally take him out in the yard and on walks. We call him our agressive cuddler, and he's all up in our business.

Little one loves to play fetch... Dakota loves to chase, doesn't necessarily love to bring something back.

Dakota has never chewed a piece of furniture, but we have to use couch covers because of the cats.

When a stranger comes to the house, Salem is the one that goes into guard mode. Dakota just want a rub on the head. But, Fenny is usually right up there with Dakota looking for some loving from his new best friend. For Fenny, there is no such thing as strangers... Just new best friends he hasn't met yet.
 

 I'm sure there's more I'll add, but these are the ones that I thought of right away. 

jeshykai's picture
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My cats were easier to train than my chihuahua. I had them sitting, sitting pretty, waving goodbye and fetching. I had to childproof my cabinets because theyd raid for food. The one cat I raised with Miles, would chew dog bones with him.

Reading your story made me miss them. Having a mixed household is always fun, because behaviors get picked up that otherwise never would have!

Joined: 2011-06-21

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What are you feeding the cats? I've heard stories of cats fed extremely poor-quality food & they'd raid their owner's pantry, chewing holes in the chip bags lol

KevinK's picture
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They all eat high quality food.  My pets eat better than I do, that's for sure lol Fenny doesn't raid anything else, just his own food lol.  Little one likes to finish our cereal, and eat the seasoning off meats haha.

jeshykai's picture
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They were on high quality food. But yes sometimes they do that because they need more protein in their diet.

Joined: 2011-06-21

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Yes, what is the protein percentage of your dog & cats' food? The higher the better, anything under 35%, & you need to switch to something higher in protein like Orijen or Taste of the Wild. Read the ingredients list & make sure the protein isn't supplied by corn, wheat, soy, or cheap vegetable grains, cats & dogs will just poop it out instead of absorbing it into their bodies. Real meat or real meat meal (i.e., duck meal, chicken meal, etc.), not by-products, need to supply the majority of the protein. The same applies to your dog. Did you say she was free-fed?

KevinK's picture
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My dog?  yes, she is free fed.

Lady Kate's picture
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Kevin.. Do you free feed the kitties? (As in leave the food out?) It can make your Dakota very very sick if you do..and if she decides she might like to try it.
not all creatures are created equal.

KevinK's picture
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I keep all the kitty stuff in areas that Dakota can't get to.  I'm just as careful with that type of stuff as I am with everything else with my pup.  When I go to my parents, same thing, I make them put up the food where she can't get.

KevinK's picture
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Powerbreedtrainer, the vast majority of dobermans do not do well on high protein diets.  Usually the 26-28% range is ideal for most dobermans.  35% sounds more like cat food, so I'm guessing you were talking about for cats.  Many dobermans do poorly on TOTW, and Orijen, even though they're considered high quality foods.  They are too rich for many of them.

Joined: 2011-06-21

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Where did you hear that? I didn't know that:) I don't mean to be critical, I'm just curious. I suppose if she's not overweight & her coat is sleek, smooth, & shiny, she's fine diet-wise.

Free-feeding? NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!! bad human, BAD HUMAN!!! Don't ever free-feed a dog. The number one symptom of a sick dog is loss of appetite. If your dog is free-fed & they pick at their food all day, you'll never be able to tell if she's suddenly lost her appetite. Free-fed dogs are also almost always overweight.
How food-motivated is your Dob?

KevinK's picture
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But, you're assuming she picks at her food all day.

I'm well aware of the risks of free feeding, and I almost always recommend against it.  My dog is in perfect physical condition, and I can tell how much she has eaten because I measure the food that goes into her bowl daily.  I don't have a huge bowl of food out, it gets measured and filled daily.  She also eats on a pretty solid routine, she eats after we play in the morning, and eats again at night.  She does not pick during the day, does not over-eat, and even though her food is always out, it is also measured.  Believe me, I know you haven't been here too long, but I am very on top of everything relating to my girl.  If there was any shadow of a doubt, I would not be free-feeding, and again, I almost always recommend against it when people say they free feed.  In most aspects, I would call Dakota the exception to the rule.  Prior to her, I have never free fed a dog, ever, and it's very likely after her I won't be free feeding any other dogs.  

I would call Dakota VERY food motivated.  Having a high prey drive, she is also motivated by other things, and we use a wide variety of rewards.

In terms of the high protein for dogs, it's something i've picked up after years of experience with the breed, and dogs in general.  In general, as an example, puppy kibble often has higher protein levels to help with growth.  With doberman's being slow growers, often not fully stabilizing until about 18 months, (vs. many breeds being done growing well before this) this is one of the reasons why many people never give their dobe puppy food.  Different dogs do well on different foods, so just because one dog does well on higher protein foods doesn't mean they all will.  Your best bet is to always get the best quality food you can afford, and also whatever is best for your dog.

Happydance's picture
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(ut-oh)  I've been watching long enough without making any comments on many threads so far.  I'm just curious Powerbreedtrainer,  could you tell us a little about yourself?  What kind of experience in the dog world have you had?  

Sorry to hijack the thread Kevin.  That's a great story!  Cats are critters unlike no others, LOL.  Bless you for taking in the rescues.

Joined: 2011-06-21

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That's interesting, she doesn't just pick at it. I just thought that what all free-fed dogs do. Hm, learn something new every day, I suppose. Just curious, what about high-protein food doesn't work with Dobies? Is it do to their stomach sensitivites? I'm just curious, as I intend to adopt another Dobie some day, & I want it to be as healthy as possible, as we all do.

Chipindob's picture
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Kevin, I love it! It sounds like your house is so much fun!!

KevinK's picture
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Yea, it's quite ridiculous, but in a good way lol.  We're pretty much always kept entertained!

darth206's picture
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Kevin, May God bless you!!! Three rescues. That's fabulous. Did you go to the SPCA or were they strays? I just lost my older cat Dante this passed Friday. Here all this time I kept thinking he was 13 yrs. old, well it ends up he's more like 17 yrs. old. I found his old pictures when we first found him on the street with the dates on them.

Isn't neat to see how animals learn from one another. Now if only humans would,LOL. Keep us posted on your many indoor adventures!!

KevinK's picture
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Thanks, it's quite the zoo here!!

Dakota and Salem were from a rescue, fenny I found on the streets, and little one was from someone who had an accidental litter and didn't want the kittens.

Fenny had a cool story, I was at work, loading into a job, and saw a bunch of kittens.  They were hanging out, at the end of the night the workers would throw out scraps of food for them.  Must have been about 10 of them.  They were all pretty timid, but Fenny, (full name "William Fennimore Cooper"...  yea, I'm an idiot lol) came right up, and started following me around.  As I was grabbing things from the truck, he would sit on my foot, then follow me to the door of the building.  He would then sit by the door and wait for me to come back, and do the same thing.  After a while, I started thinking how cool this cat was, so I picked him up, gave a quick once over for bugs, seemed clean.  I texted Steph a picture of this cute cat I found, she loved him.  After about an hour inside, I came out, he was still there, so I said ok, I guess it's meant to be, and took him home.  My neighbor is a groomer, so we took him over for a good bath, got him cleaned up, took him to the vet.  Vet said he was the runt of the litter, and he would always be tiny.  He was about 7 pounds or so at that time, I don't really remember, but he was pretty small.  Otherwise, perfect bill of health.  He is now about 17 pounds, and is not fat at all.  So much for being the runt! 

Joined: 2011-06-21

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Ha, really!

Joined: 2011-06-21

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Sorry, happydance, I didn't see you there!

Dog experience: Parents brought me home, one dog in house, Turk the Border collie. My mom says Turk was a herding phenom. Turk would herd ants and toads. Few years later, bring home Tacey the German shepherd/collie mix. There are two things I've learned from my parents about dog raising. One: punishment does not work. Two: how to successfully housebreak a dog.

Keller the Lab: A puppy given to us through the TSA Puppywalker program, a program for socializing & training (obedience training) future bombsniffing dogs. First discover Cesar Millan's methods but do not use them because they conflict with training. TSA training guidelines were for specific purposes that had to do with the future lifestyle that the dogs would need to lead. These Labs were not American stock but Australian stock Labs, which were more lean & muscular and highly specialized for their work. Keller did extremely well, testing off the charts for intelligence & aptitude, & would have passed her "final exam" but for a suspicious reading on her hip dysplasia medical test. She did not go on to formal training with the TSA, but was eventually adopted as a pet by someone else. There are waiting lists a mile long for these dogs. She was truly special.

Tat the Doberman: Adopted at approximately four months old, from a single mother with a young toddler. Tat's rambunctious playfulness, combined with her pent-up energy from being confined all the time, proved too much for her to handle. My method of training: Cesar's way. Yes, the dreaded Cesar Millan. I tried his methods with Tat & they worked wonders for her. Tat, as a big, powerful, potentially dangerous breed, needed to understand her place in her pack so she could settle down. For example, after mastering the walk, Tat went from pulling like a manic dervish, even on a no-pull harness, to staying right beside me with no tools necessary. She began to sit & wait patiently at the door until invited in, as opposed to charging in like a bull in a china shop. When I fed her, I could walk back to the front door & give her a command to eat. She would never attempt to eat before I gave the signal. What really amazed me about this was that Tat had previously been free-fed, so she ate all the time throughout the day. I also used clicker training with her. A positive-based training method, combined with Tat's extreme intelligence, made us a great team. I taught her sit, lay, shake, peekaboo, & high-five.

Ultimately, the negative issues of her breed had been cemented into her by the time we adopted her, such as being unable to be left alone for long periods of time without becoming destructive. We didn't have the luxury of that critical window of time when you can condition a dog, like a Doberman, to be left alone.  But as many have said, when one door closes, another opens. The first week we brought Tat home, my mom ran into a guy with a Doberman while picking up mail at the post office.  This man willingly accepted her. She now lives with someone she can be "Velcoroed" to, & has 10 acres to run around on with a mate to keep her company when her owner's away.

Her breed-related tendencies were not all bad, however. Her protective, guard-breed instincts kept the deer from wandering onto our property & eating our irises. She would always alert us to rouge vehicles, and evil people beyond redemption, at least from her perspective! Her one purpose in life was to sit, statuesque & with an air of regality, in front of us, making sure we didn't sneak off out of her guarding presence. Her playfulness & love of people made her a great "breed ambassador". Everybody loved her, & appreciated her natural beauty. Even while arguing with us, Tat would be completely focused on me, her handler; present in the moment, just like Cesar says.

After reading the heartbreaking story of author Andrew Lewis' dog, Noble, who died at the age of four despite being perfectly healthy, I did an immense amount of research on dog food & nutrition. This research is what has based my love of high-quality, high protein, grain-free pet food, such as TOTW & Orijen.

Does that answer any questions?