Greedy, free-loading dog

(49 Posts)
justcly Fri 10-Jan-20 23:02:27

My best friend is working abroad for a year and I have agreed to foster her dog. We have dogs of our own, but they are small terrier types - a Maltese cross and a Poochon. This dog is a greyhound/labrador cross. Who is driving me nuts. He just hoovers up anything remotely edible - his own food is gone in seconds, then he steals our dogs' food, then the cats' (they are mightily unimpressed). He's a damn nuisance if anyone is eating (snatched a cheese and tomato sandwich out of DS's hand and swallowed it whole) and yesterday I found he'd managed to open the fridge and eat a massive chunk of Cheddar. I'm at a complete loss here. My friend feeds him custom food from (which she is having delivered here). Should I switch his food? I don't want to bother her and have her worrying, but at this rate she's going to come home to a massively fat dog. Sorry to sound so pathetic but my two just don't behave like this. He's called Arthur, btw. He's kind of adorable.

OP’s posts: |
LittleLongDog Fri 10-Jan-20 23:06:42

Would the idea be to switch his food on the basis his current food isn’t filling him up? What is he’s just a good driven dog and will continue to hoover up food even if you switch?

Instead, I would spend the money you’d spend switching on a slow feeder bowl, a licky mat, a kong if he doesn’t already have one and a snuffle mat. And I’d use those to feed him to draw out the process and make it more absorbing for him.

I’d also be teaching him (and my family) some very firm rules about human food around the dog.

LittleLongDog Fri 10-Jan-20 23:08:03

Just to add: can you feed your cats in a different room or high out of the dog’s reach for a while until you’ve trained him a bit more?

Floralnomad Fri 10-Jan-20 23:09:01

Which dog food is irrelevant he is just a greedy , fairly normal Labrador x , and greyhounds are notorious counter surfers . You just need to make sure he can’t get anybody else’s food which is easier said than done and get a dog proof lock on the fridge , any food cupboards and probably the bin .

justcly Fri 10-Jan-20 23:44:47

Difficult to separate them; we live in a converted barn and it's very open plan. The slow feeding is a good idea though. I'll go buy a kong tomorrow. Honestly, my lot are so polite compared to this. How do people cope? He keeps trying to sit on my lap too. Which looks ridiculous.

OP’s posts: |
Girlintheframe Sat 11-Jan-20 05:48:37

Labs are generally very greedy. Ours stole so many things including a whole Christmas cake, frozen chicken and wiped clean a pan of sausages and gravy! The only thing that worked for us was keeping food out of his way.

movingdilemma1234 Sat 11-Jan-20 06:05:01

Mine is a small breed terrier and would actually eat anything and everything if allowed. She just behaves like a pig. It's caused a few emergency visits to the vets and great expense.
To manage it, particularly around any other visiting pets, no-one leaves any food where she can get to it ( she can jump from chairs up to table in two seconds flat if chairs aren't pushed in)
She is never, ever fed outside her meal, it doesn't matter how much she stares up at anyone, she is not to be given any extra food
If visiting dogs are here, she is kept away while they're being fed, preferably shut in garden or another room, otherwise she will hoover up their food in seconds.
By doing this I've managed to keep her at an adequate weight, if I slip up ( say leave anything around at Christmas or a visiting child sneaks her a treat) she will pile on weight.
I wouldn't change the food the dog is used to if I was you, just dont allow anything else


Ariaty Sat 11-Jan-20 06:10:13

Would the idea be to switch his food on the basis his current food isn’t filling him up?. Is it even possible to fill up a half lab? I think you need to manage your physical space by creating a comfy enclosure of some sort. If you can't do that, put him on a lead while you feed the other animals or take him for a walk. Then keep other food out of his way. Toddler lock for the fridge. Did your friend not offer you a trial period?

Els1e Sat 11-Jan-20 06:50:40

Mine is like this. We should have called him Henry the Hoover. I think some dogs just don’t have the off button when it comes to feeling full. Personally I wouldn’t change his food. If he’s healthy and his poos are good, I would work on moving temptation out of his way. Do you think he’s a bit anxious due to the changes? Might be worth trying one of plug in things (is it adaptil) to see if it helps with his neediness

adaline Sat 11-Jan-20 08:23:16

Sounds perfectly normal for a Labrador and it won't have anything to do with his food - they are dustbins on four legs!

Put the cats food up high so the dog can't get to it - ideally in a different room with access blocked off with a door or baby gates.

And don't let him be around you while you eat. Our beagle would snatch food out of your hand given the chance so he has had solid training in impulse control! He has to either lie on the floor by our feet or go to his bed. If he jumps or begs he knows he goes behind the baby gate in the kitchen so he doesn't do that anymore 😂 he likes to be with us so would rather lie on his bed than be put in another room!

MartyrGuacamole Sat 11-Jan-20 08:50:20

Could you train him to go in a crate while he eats and you/the other dogs eat? I'd be worried that him taking their food might start to cause resource guarding among them. When my dog was younger he was crated for every meal of his and whenever the dc were eating. When I ate I made sure he laid down and rewarded him with praise or a filled kong to keep him busy, depending how active he was at the time.

My dog gobbles his food so has small meals in a slow feeder bowl. (I got one from poundstretcher for about £3). I still feed him 3 or 4 times a day because even if he has bigger meals he starts looking and mooching in between. He has some of his kibble in a kong with yoghurt, fish oil, a little fresh basil and mint and often some raw food nuggets. I then freeze these and he has them when I need him to relax as they take him a good while to get the food out of.

Is he getting enough exercise? It might be worth trying to fit in an extra sniffing walk (a gentle potter where you let them sniff anything and everything). It's supposed to be very relaxing for their minds.

Also bear in mind he may be feeling slightly anxious as his owner has left. Maybe an adaptil plug in would help settle him?

Booboostwo Sat 11-Jan-20 09:04:02

How much is he eating of his food? How does that compare with the recommended amount by the manufacturer?

How much does he weigh? Is he under or over weight?

If you are underfeeding him, then he needs more food. Also the dogs should be fed separately with any remaining food removed. This is just good practice to avoid arguments. The cat food should also be out of reach and removed if any is left after the cats eat. Almost all dogs love cat food, so there is no need to create an added temptation.

If he is eating the right amount and is the right weight or over weight I think you need to start by taking him to the vet. There are some physical problems that show up as insatiable hunger that are worth ruling out.

If he is otherwise healthy, look at lifestyle issues. Is he getting as much exercise as he needs? He probably needs a lot more than your other two. Is he showing any signs of stress at the change of home/owner? You know this is temporary but he has no clue, as far as he knows he has been abandoned by owner.

Scarsthelot Sat 11-Jan-20 09:07:58

He is greedy. My in laws had a rescue Springer like this. The previous owner had over fed and nor walked her. She was massive and probably felt starving on a normal diet.

You need to train the dog to not snatch food our of children's hands. That could end up as a serious issue.

I dont think changing the food will help.

Get locks for the fridge and cupboards. Find somewhere to shut him away when other animals are being fed and dont leave food around.

EnidBlyton Sat 11-Jan-20 09:10:04

a lab is a stealer.
definately try a different room
and some strong commands.
we had to have a luggage tie round the fridge for our longdog.

EnidBlyton Sat 11-Jan-20 09:10:56

dogs are by nature scavengers

CottonHeadedNinyMuggins Sat 11-Jan-20 09:39:54

My mix breed (including lab in it which doesn't help with the greed) is a scavenger too, even at 11.

He will eat out the bin if he can and also eat his own poo on occasion if he gets to it before I do.

He used to go crazy for his food too, really snatch it from his bowl into his mouth and wolf it down.

What stopped him was changing his bowl to one with bits in the middle to stop him being able to gulp his food. Think it's something like a slow feed bowl. We got one from pets at home then a couple more from home bargains to replace as needed.

We also changed his food though it was a big long process. It seemed the cheaper the food the more he wolfed it in. Ava stopped him grabbing at it too. He's now on royal canine through force not choice (needs the liver one) and he ears that normally too.

He's not solved 100 percent however. If he gets anything as a treat (like a dog safe Christmas Dinner) that is gone in seconds. Same with his new years eve dinner (naturo pet food christmas dinner, he bloody loved it!) but he has improved 80 percent at least.

He may be trying to make himself alpha hence eating everyone else's food.... Or he may just be a greedy boy who gets what he wants at home. grin

Medievalist Sat 11-Jan-20 09:48:51

He may have the Labrador gene which makes him permanently hungry and obsessed with food. Nothing you can do about that.

Various labs/lab crosses we've had have eaten a birthday cake, Stilton complete with wrapper, chewed their way into lunch boxes stolen from school bags etc etc. Vigilance is the only way forward.

Could you put him outside with his food and not let him back in until the others have finished? Obviously not if it's raining!

justcly Sat 11-Jan-20 10:02:03

Thanks for all your replies. He isn't aggressive at all, just greedy. He's only 15 months old, so still a kid, really. I'm picking up a Kong and a slow feed bowl later today. He is normal weight, very healthy (had his MOT just before Christmas). I didn't get a trial period because he was supposed to be going somewhere else and they let her down last minute.

Our plan is for DS to take him for a walk (slow and sniffy) whilst the other animals are fed, bring him home, feed him, and then final walk/toileting with our two. I'm hoping that will work.

OP’s posts: |
thatonehasalittlecar Sat 11-Jan-20 10:16:08

Sounds a lot like our long nose cross was at that age! They are just super food orientated. He’s stolen a chicken drumstick from a toddler, countless sandwiches from anyone nearby, and in one mortifying high speed fly-by, a croissant from the mouth of a picnicker. He’s loads better now, but I still dread picnic season... unfortunately, the only thing that reliably works is removing temptation, and reinforcing distance boundaries, especially when other people are eating. They do get better with age...Although I’m shuddering at the idea that it’s mixed with the most notorious of all the food hounds, the lab!

As for sitting on your lap, my dog is insistent on cuddles. I think he thinks he’s a cat. I love it, the, although I wish all that food snaffing would equate to him being less bony!!

GCAcademic Sat 11-Jan-20 11:04:04

Sounds like my spaniel. If you find a solution to this, let me know. DDog is 11 and nothing has worked so far.

Frouby Sat 11-Jan-20 11:09:20

My whippet is like this. Nothing I have done over the last 8 years has changed her.

She isn't a fan of dried food/kibble which is what she is mainly fed on, it's permanently down for her. But is obsessive about human food.

Ellmau Sat 11-Jan-20 11:11:27

He keeps trying to sit on my lap too. Which looks ridiculous.
But adorable. I knw a Bernese Mountain Dog who thinks she's a lapdog. Now that really does look ridiculous ;)

Feed your dogs in another rom so they get their dinner in peace. The walk idea is good.

He's just a Labrador. They do this.

TheGirlFromStoryville Sat 11-Jan-20 11:18:46

Our OES is the same. We feed him twice a day with Lily's Kitchen dry but he is constantly begging for food. He loves human food especially toast!
Haven't really found a way of dealing with it, he's now overweight as his ribs have disappeared.
No ideas really op but you're not alone!

YetAnotherSpartacus Sat 11-Jan-20 11:32:23

I'm thinking of that scene from The Good Place where Eleanor was dog-sitting ...

averylongtimeago Sat 11-Jan-20 11:41:24

I just knew he would be a lab or lab cross grin

Can't add anything else to the good advice above- We have Golden retrievers and they are just as bad!

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in