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2 ?'s on training Bailey...

January 6th, 2005, 10:17 PM
Greetings! As many of you probably know, I have a new puppy, Bailey, he is a full blooded St. Bernard about 12 weeks old. So far he has been a great puppy except for 2 things...

1. I also have 2 cats & feed them in seperate rooms. (I started this so he wouldn't eat all of the cat food -I leave dry food out for the cats 24/7- or bother them while they were eating.) When he was first w/ me I would say "No Bailey" in a stern voice & he learned very quickly to turn around & leave the cat food alone... he's so smart :p . However, lately, he will do whatever he can to get to the cat food! If I see him & tell him no, he listens & walks away until he realizes I'm not watching, then he'll go over & eat as much as he can until I, or some one else, catches him. I can't seem to get it thru his head that that food is not his. (PS~ He's also got dry food out 24/7, so he can't be hungry.) I thought about only putting food down for the cats at certain times of the day, but they were here first & I feel like I'd be punishing them for me getting a new dog. Any suggestions?

Okay, now the next one...

2. He has gotten into a habit of trying to almost bite... When I say "almost" I mean he puts your (or whoever's) hand in his mouth when you're petting him, etc. and kind of bites down, but not hard... The real problem is his little puppy teeth are so sharp that he can scratch your hand & sometimes it can hurt a little. I'm afraid if I let this go on he'll start really biting. I've tried, when he does it to me, to just hold his mouth closed & say no, but that seems to only aggitate him (I'm sure this is the wrong thing to do, but I couldn't/can't think of anything else). Any suggestions w/ this one?

Here's a little background info for everyone... Bailey is an extremely SMART dog! ~Of course I'm a little partial.~ I've only had him a little less than a month & I've already taught him to sit, shake, speak (on demand & when he needs to go out or wants in), and lay down... I'm trying to teach him to wipe his feet when he comes in (my sister-in-law's mom taught her dog to do this) & he's already learned to go sit on the rug by the door... not quite got the wiping part down yet. He's also taught himself to fetch... Don't ask me how, he just started doing it one day :rolleyes: . He's also very treat & praise motivated, I always give him a good petting & tell him how good of a boy he is in a baby voice, you all know what I'm talking about.

I would be grateful for any suggestions! Thanks so much! :thumbs up

January 7th, 2005, 01:19 AM
I have no clue about actually training a dog not to eat the cats food but we've been having the same problem and I didn't want to take their food away either cause our cats were here first as well.
What we did was put the cats food in a room that the dog can't go. At first this worked but then the dog got smart and just followed so we got a hook and eye lock for that door, one with a really long rod... it holds the door open just wide enough for the cats to fit through but not the dog, he doesn't even try anymore.... but just keep in mind to put the lock up high enough so the pup can't open it, wouldn't that be a nice new trick? :p

January 7th, 2005, 07:07 AM
We use a baby gate to stop our dogs from getting into the cat food and the litter box. We have one of the push style so that you can raise it partially up the door frame. That way as our youngest grew, we could elevate it a bit so she could not get over it. The cats can hop it easily.

As for the hand biting, I would suggest removing your hand and immediately replacing it with a toy.

Good luck, St. Bernard's are lovely dogs!

January 7th, 2005, 07:30 AM
When we were dog sitting for a friend, we had the same problem, the dog kept eating the cats dry food, as well as messing around in thier litter box.
So my husband installed a kitty door in the door to the room where we kept the food, and litter boxes. So we always keep the door shut This totally solved the problem.(It was funny watching a large Golden retriever try to get through a kitty door, only his nose would fit) Works great for keeping the kitty litter box smells :yuck: out of the rest of the house!! It was also an escape for the cats, when they had enough of him!

January 7th, 2005, 08:23 AM
Can you put the cats food up highter?
Another command you can use is "leave it"..This is what I always taught my dogs when pups.And you using his name before the "no" is great.This way he also learns his name.. :)

Bailey is teething,so he will be mouthing.You need to re-direct him.As BMD stated,with a toy.A kong is a great thing to have.Stuff it with treats.When he starts to bite(mouth) say Bailey "no".Then re-direct him to a toy of your choice.Then praise him.Lots of praise. :)

What you can also do for his teething is take a facecloth,roll it up,soak it in water and freeze it.You can also sprinkle a tad of Garlic Powder for taste. :D ..Then let him go to town.... :)

Just out of curiosity,what are you feeding Bailey?

January 7th, 2005, 09:07 AM
i agree with Sneaky. i also have the problem with our dog eating the cat food all the time. it used to work just leaving the door open a crack but when he wants to be extra naughty, he would help himself. without the expense of putting in a baby gate, the hook works great and makes it easier for you to go in and out.

of course my opinion is that tyson sees the cats eating his food on occasion and feels it appropriate that as long as we are all sharing...

January 7th, 2005, 09:42 AM
i agree with Sneaky. i also have the problem with our dog eating the cat food all the time. it used to work just leaving the door open a crack but when he wants to be extra naughty, he would help himself. without the expense of putting in a baby gate, the hook works great and makes it easier for you to go in and out.

of course my opinion is that tyson sees the cats eating his food on occasion and feels it appropriate that as long as we are all sharing...

I think Bailey thinks this as well... It's just that the cats won't eat up near as much as his food as he will of theirs!

As for what I'm feeding Bailey, I leave dry food (Purina Puppy Chow) & water out for him 24/7. Then, when I get home at about 5:15 pm, I feed the cats & Bailey wet food. I give Bailey Mighty Dog in the pouches for puppies & Alpo canned w/ dry food since it's not specifically for puppies.

Thanks for all the suggestions, keep 'em comin'! :thumbs up

PS~ Could this mouthing thing be just a puppy phase that he'll grow out of?

January 7th, 2005, 09:42 AM
The reward he gets for stealing cat food is far more powerful than the correction he gets from you. He has also learned to be sneaky and it works. So part of the picture is about management - put the cats food & litter in a place he can't get too.
Do not leave his food out all day - it is not good for him pysically or mentally. The leader owns all of the food and if he thinks he owns the food because it is always there for him then he will surmise that he is the leader.
It should only be down for 10 minutes and then its gone. You can feed him 3 times a day so he won't starve, but it is also healthier for him physically to eat and rest - not be picking all day and having his disgestive system working all of the time. It will also make house training much easier - afew big poops in the day that are easily timed around meals - not lots of little random poops that are unpredictable.
The putting teeth on you too hard is about teaching him 'bite inhibition' which he would have learned from his mother had he stayed with her longer. So now you have to teach him. He is doing it to engage you in play and dosen't get that it's not permitted. You clamping down on his mouth is just an extention of the play and it gets him riled.
He is a smart boy and you are doing a great job of teaching him, but what he really needs to learn is to respect your word. When he puts his mouth on you too hard you can push your hand far into the back of his mouth (making it uncomfortable) and say 'quit' in a firm sharp tone and then offer your hand to him again and allow him to make a better choice. Dogs will typically only challenge you 3-5 times. OR when he does this - position your hand so that your thumb is on his tongue. When he presses down too hard you can press quickly down on his tongue (and release quickly too) and say 'quit' and then offer your hand again allowing him to make a better choice. At first he might not take you seriously, but then when it happens again he will start to make the connection. But with all corrections you must be intense enough to impress him but not scare him - just enough to get the job done, and continue to allow him to make better choices so that he learns to play nicely and thats the reward.
Some people cry 'ouch' when he does this, but to us it places you in the submissive role and does not teach respect for your body. I would rather you have a firm tone and tell him to 'quit' so that he realized that he crossed the line with a leader not a sibling.

January 7th, 2005, 09:53 AM
I just read your newest post.
He should be eating adult food and if you can do better than Purina dog chow that would be best.
In nature a pup does not get different food than the rest of the pack once they are off mom's milk. This ensures that they grow slowly - growing too fast can cause major physical problems including bone cancer later in life. You need to think 'slow and skinny' when growing such a large breed. He will reach his true size - don't worry about that. But you should always be able to feel his ribs (not see them), and keep his exercise down to what he would get by playing with his siblings around the den. Do not think he needs long walks just yet. His muscles are not strong enough to support his bones for long walks. Once the muscles get tired and he is still walking then you are just rubbing bone against bone and doing damage that he will pay for later.
Sorry to jump on your case, but large breeds need special care and I want to make sure he gets the best.

January 7th, 2005, 10:26 AM
He should be eating adult food at 12 weeks of age? Our large breeds are on puppy food until 6 months... have I been doing something wrong? Thanks

January 7th, 2005, 11:13 AM
After speaking with many Mastiff Breeders and owners the general concensus is no puppy food after 3 months good quality adult food. I would not feed anything sold by a vet (Science Diet and Iams) or anything from a grocery store. Reasons for this are good quality the best you can afford are they are not made with corn, soya and filler. They usually contain glucosamine in the large and giant breed formulas for their joints and hips. You want a giant breed to grow slowly so that the bones get dense enough and the joints hard enough to support their weight. The better the food in the long run you will save money in vet bills and you will also feed less of good food since it is not filled with garbage. I might suggest Costco's Kirkland Series Chicken and Rice it is a good quality with supplements in it and you cant beat the price. I was feeding Diamond Large breed but have switched to this since it is made by Diamond and I was paying 65. for a 50 pound bag I buy the Kirkland for 20. for 40 pounds and my guy likes it. I also buy supplements there at a fraction I was paying before. By putting your dog on better food the benefits are healthier and longer life with less health problems. About the mouthing I alway say a big ouch whenever the mouth even goes around your wrist you want to deter this as quickly as possible and replace with a toy and then praise for taking the toy. Good luck with your new pup and post pics

January 7th, 2005, 12:50 PM
He should be eating adult food at 12 weeks of age? Our large breeds are on puppy food until 6 months... have I been doing something wrong? Thanks

My thought exactly! :confused: I've read numerous places that feeding puppies adult food is hard on their digestive system. (Not trying to sound like a no it all, just what I've read.)

Also, with the putting the food up, I don't think this is a problem w/ Bailey.... We have a Black Lab outside & he goes out & plays w/ her most of the day, when he does come back in, he either goes to sleep or chews on a rawhide, but rarely ever eats. (He does usually get a drink too.) So he's already got an eating schedule made for himself. Also, he goes out 1st thing in the morning & goes potty (1 & 2) :p then, at nite before bedtime, so he's got a schedule here too. But, if you think putting his food up would be best, I can do it.

Thanks! :thumbs up

January 7th, 2005, 01:30 PM
Mentally it is healthier for him to look to you for his food. You dictate when he eats which places you in the leadership role.
Puppy diets, senior diets and large breed diets are really just a marketing ploy to get you to spend your money. If your dog is getting a proper diet then you don't need to worry about adding more or less of anything to accommodate his age or size.
If you do feed kibble (and there are some very good kibbles out there) don't go by the bag instructions on quantity either. Every dog has his own metabolic rate, growth rate, exercise regime etc. - so go by his ribs - can you feel them? great! Can you see them? not great - increase his caloric intake. Can you feel them at all or are they covered in fat - time to decrease his food intake and/or increase his exercise.
Dogs are omnivores who require mostly protein as their first source of nutrition. Kibble has to be mostly carbohydrate to stick together like cereal does. The best food you can feed is real food - raw meat, raw bones, organ meats, yogurt, cheese, raw eggs, steamed veggies, overly ripe fruit and a little grain. Kibble is typically sterile (cooked at high temperatures) and lacking in fundamental quality nutrition. He requires bacteria and enzymes to come from his food and they just don't exist in cooked food. Extracted kibbles (which most are) are also dangerous as they expand in his stomach and can lead to bloat or torsion - which can kill your dog. The more raw meat you can give him the better - but introduce it slowly so you don't shock his sterile system.
Oh, and toss the rawhides in the trash, tons of surgeries are done each year to remove chunks of rawhide from dogs stomachs. Try to go with natural 'soup' bones, nylon bones or compressed rawhide - these come apart in small bits and donít create problems. *if you see a soup bone starting to splinter then toss it out too.
Be careful not to make the lab his babysitter. He will bond to her more strongly than to you if she is who he spends most of his time with. He also needs to learn how to be alone. Little bits of time alone are important to ward off separation anxiety down the road - increasing the lengths of time as he is successful.
Good luck.

January 8th, 2005, 03:49 PM
Also,please make sure that Bailey has access to water all the time.Also,how many times a day is he being fed?Pups at this age should be getting fed 3 times a day.

So true about the Bloat TF.My friend lost her St Bernard to Bloat at 8 months of age.Even though Bloat more or less happens in older dogs,it can happen to younger dogs.I have always been very cautious with my GSD's and Bloat.This is why they have always been given both dry and canned food.

hdd,you may want to read up on Bloat.