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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My dog has suddenly became scared of her kong and I don’t understand why. I used to give it to her when I leave for work, and she took it no problem. Recently she started not taking the kong and instead she would follow me, so I thought she made the connection kong = me leaving which she may not like. So I decided to mix things a bit and I started scattering some kibble in the backyard in addition to leave a Kong lying around for when she is done hunting the kibble. This seemed to work for a few weeks, she would get distracted with the kibble hunt while I left and when I came home the kong was done. Two days ago I found the kong completely full. I tried to sit down with her and encourage her to eat it but I realised she was shaking!! I tried again today to give it to her inside while staying with her (while I usually give it outside) and she walked away from it and cowered. Any clues?? I don’t know if it has to do with me leaving - I monitored her with a camera as I used to do when she was a puppy and she doesn’t seem particularly distressed about being alone. She is one year and a half, she is a rescue and she is on the skittish side. She has been with us for about a year now. Note that she is food obsessed so this behaviour is really surprising to me.
 

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total guess, but sounds to me like she does associate it with you leaving. Maybe start taking her somewhere fun and giving it to her as soon as you get home. Sit there with her and talk to her. Have her Kong associated with positive things. I find it works best for my rescue, Molly, who also is anxiety ridden. I change up what I leave for her all the time. Also invested in a couple of food puzzles, even though she figured them out pretty quickly. I change those up as well. I hate it when I come home and she hasn't touched anything. And like you, I look on the camera and she seems ok. I have 3 cats as well, and she loves to cuddle up with them...well, 2 of them, the other one is kind of jerk...but she still does not to be left alone. sigh.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
She now won’t take food from her bowl!! This morning I gave her breakfast and she ate half and kept walking away, then she just left it. This is so unusual for her as she is usually so food obsessed. I had to sit down with her and encourage and praise her and then she ate all the food. In all this I was sitting on the couch with my computer so no sign of me leaving. I am at a loss of what’s going on! She seems perfectly fine for the rest, had a big play at the park before breakfast and she doesn’t seem unwell. I will definitely consider taking her to the vet if she keeps going but to me she just seems anxious. We are moving house and there has been lot of disruptions happening so I wonder if that has anything to do with this behaviour? What should I do moving forward? I don’t want meal time to became a stressful moment for her
 

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Ah, moving. Do you know her background? That could definitely be stressing her out. I still have to stay in the same room as my rescue when she eats. You are her pack leader. She looks to you for safety. I think once you move and are settled she will settle. But if I were you I would still rule out a health issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you! No, don't know much about her background, but she has always been an anxious pup. I just know she was starve as a puppy, hence the usually primordial hunger she has! I think us being stressed with the move has stressed her out a lot. I think I'll stop feeding her before I leave for work at least for now and I will sit down with her while she eats and probably in general try to make her feel comfortable and safe again. She is so sensitive and sometimes I definitely cause her stress without intentions 😕
 

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I made so many mistakes at first with mine. I didn't get the food thing right away either. And she really doesn't like to eat in the morning until after her walk. I just try to be as consistent and calm with her. It's really hard sometimes I know.
 

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I'd be running her by a vet at this point, even if stress is a likely cause. I'm always wary when a food-loving dog starts losing their appetite, and I'd rather rule out physical issues first (tooth/jaw pain, GI issues, pain elsewhere that's making it hard to be enthusiastic about eating, etc.) than try to approach it as behavioral only to find out a couple weeks later they have a broken tooth or something. If a vet rules out physical causes you can be confident in approaching it as a behavioral issue going forward.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone. I ended up going to the vet on same day I posted, just for peace of mind. The vet didn't find anything obviously wrong (e.g., broken teeth, pain in the tummy or fever), but because her poo was sloppy, she gave me some probiotics in case her stomach was unsettled. She then had very bad diarrhoea for a few days, so I think she was actually unwell, and the kibble was putting her off. I have been feeding her plain boiled rice and chicken and I have been giving her the probiotics and she is eating eagerly. I'll try to slowly reintroduce the kibble when she is better and see how it goes. We will also finalise the move this weekend so hopefully she can settle across the board. Thanks!
 

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Stress can definitely make dogs (and people) more prone to illness and GI upset, so that makes sense! Fingers crossed she recovers quickly and settles in well.
 
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