Dogs love food, no surprise there! And Labradors have a particular reputation for being food obsessed! So one of the challenges of working with a guide dog puppy is to try help the dog develop a healthy relationship with food. So what is unhealthy? In a nourishment sense the answer is anything human or more accurately anything that isn’t the recommended dog food. Rochester is an inquisitive dog and has so far found a number of items to “taste”, spinach, bird seed, sticks, washing powder, grass being a small selection. We have become very adept at removing items from his mouth and even more vigilant about not dropping stuff or leaving intriguing items lying around.
- “Please sir, can I have some more”?
Behaviourally we need to help Rochester not to be distracted by food. The future working guide dog needs to be focussed on the work rather than the tempting smells and tastes around him. There is a famous, maybe apocryphal, story of former Home Secretary David Blunkett’s
dog “stealing” meat pies on the way to work, the clever bit being that he did it without breaking step! It is a funny story, but could have serious consequences if the dog drags it’s owner across the road in pursuit of a tasty morsel. The easiest way to avoid dogs getting into this habit is to stop them ever getting started …. hence no human food.
Dogs idea of dog food
Rochester seems pretty good so far. He isn’t overly interested when we are eating our meals and seems quite happy to sit in his box or play with his toys. So if he’s not eating all this other stuff, what is he eating? Well he is on Eukanuba large breed puppy complete food and seems very happy with it. We soften the kibbles with a bit of warm water and he has four 50g portions a day.
Mans idea of dog food!
This week we played “guess the weight of the puppy, estimating him to be roughly equivalent to two bags of potatoes! You have a sense that he is getting heavier; the effort of carrying him around is definitely harder! When we used more traditional methods he checked in at a healthy 5.2kg which is OK for 10 weeks.
"put me down, I'm not a fairground attraction"!