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Discussion Starter #1
I was recently adopted by an as yet un-named cocker spaniel. So far, so good. He's a smart little guy who I've already taught the "crate" command and he heels pretty well on a leash as well. I picked him up from the local humane society on Friday evening so he's been here about 3 and a half days so far. I am a little bit worried about him for a couple of reasons.

1. He only eats intermittenly. I've never free fed any dogs I owned (although it's been a few years since I owned a dog) so I put food out for 20-30 minutes in the morning and the evening. He will usually eat one of the meals but not the other. I don't know if this is because he's used to being free fed or because he doesn't like the food or what.

2. He doesn't seem to like any toys. I'm gone at work for 8-9 hours a day and I will leave him in his crate with a couple of toys or in the yard (if it's nice) with a couple of toys as well. The problem is he doesn't like any of the toys. I've offered him a nylabone, a dental bone, a rope bone, a kong and a purple squirrel type thing you can put treats inside. I tried covering the toys with peanut butter. He licks the peanut butter off and then is done with the toy. I don't want him getting bored in the crate and injuring himself or getting bored in the yard and digging or running off.

3. He doesn't seem to like treats. I've tried Milkbones and beggin' strips and I'm reluctant to buy even more treats that he won't eat. I offer him Milkbones and he sniffs them and is uninterested. It's like he doesn't seem to realize it's food. I offer him a beggin' strip and he sniffs it, takes it in his mouth and puts it right down on the ground and ignores it.

Am I panicking or is there something I'm doing wrong or something possibly wrong with this dog? We have a vet appointment on Saturday so I will definitely ask my vet then, but until then, I'm king of worried.
 

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I'm not very experienced with dogs but I've had mine for 1 1/2 months and have read a lot. None of this sounds worthy of panicking over to me. I'll give some comments on each of your points:

1. Don't start free feeding. He'll adjust to your feeding schedule with time.
2. What do you know about his history? He may have never played with toys before. They're just strange objects to him. My dog didn't play with toys in the beginning either. It took her a lot of time. But the first time she picked one up, I praised her immensely. Spaniels love going after moving objects. I have a CKC Spaniel mix. I recently discovered that she loves it when I make her toy animals move quickly and unpredictably. I'll make it look like they're leaping like frogs--if that makes sense.

Being gone for 8 to 9 consecutive hours a day is really harsh on a dog. If you can come home for a brief break to walk the dog and spend a few minutes with him, he will be a much happier dog.

3. That definitely surprises me! I'm not sure why the dog doesn't like treats. Maybe mention that to your vet.

Your dog is adjusting to a new environment. He's had to do many adjustments already. He had a first home. Then the Humane Society. Then your home. Maybe other things in between. He's probably scared and confused right now. Good luck and congrats on getting a new dog. Cocker spaniels are a great breed! Can you post pics? I'd love to see him. He's probably really cute!
 

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The eating really depends on how much he's eaten at the first meal. If you're going by the feeding guide on the bag that's at the high end of the scale...dogs that are very active all day long.....herding, hunting, pulling sleds. That could also explain the treats.
Play doesn't come naturally for most dogs. They have to be taught how to play. Some never like stuffed toys (my male Sheltie avoids them...he prefers a tennis ball) while others love to chase a ball or a frisbee. Both of my dogs like the Buster Cubes.
 

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Ice only likes toys (balls or plushies) that squeak, or that have food in them. She ignores every other kind. They just don't do it for her, I guess. =P
 

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Re: #2, have you played with the dogs in front of him? My puppies are very playful, but they didn't "get" a lot of the toys at first (wouldn't squeak the squeaky ones, wouldn't roll balls, etc.) until they saw me batting them around playing with them several times. It may take a while but he'll get the hang of it!

For #3, try using freeze-dried liver... my older dog turns her nose up at any biscuit-type treats (as well as just about any other treat), but she loooooves freeze-dried liver.
 

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I just recently got a stray that didn't like most treats. He does like Pupperoni's Beef flavor though. And Chicken drummies (flat chicken flavor treats.). Will not eat hard treats like milk bones. Maybe try some of the soft treats like Pupperonis.

Cockers are great. I've had 3, and now have a Cocker mix in my group.

They cockers I've had all like stuffed squeaky toys. You do have to teach them how to play, by squeaking it, and kinda bopping it on the ground and bumping it into them and moving it away.

A longer lasting treat that my dogs all like are "Chew lottas". A bone shaped hard treat/chew that lasts about 45 min.
 

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The eating really depends on how much he's eaten at the first meal. If you're going by the feeding guide on the bag that's at the high end of the scale...dogs that are very active all day long.....herding, hunting, pulling sleds. That could also explain the treats.
Play doesn't come naturally for most dogs. They have to be taught how to play. Some never like stuffed toys (my male Sheltie avoids them...he prefers a tennis ball) while others love to chase a ball or a frisbee. Both of my dogs like the Buster Cubes.
That's a good point. Mine only likes furry stuffed animals. I've got a few rubber toys that I think I'm going to donate to the local Humane Society because Chance just ignores them.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Lots of good information there and some stuff I'm going to have to try. I've only owned 3 other dogs in the past and don't have a lot of experience. The first dog was when I was a kid and we basically put the poor guy in the backyard and tossed him food on a regular basis. The second dog was a lab that we tried the same arrangment with. Didn't work out well and he tore up the lawn to the point where we chained him in a corner of the yard until we finally gave him away. The third was a small terrier I had about 6-8 months while I was working 12 hour days and didn't have any time for him. We did not get along at all as he had way too much energy to begin with.

This guy is the first dog I've really owned and had time for. I don't get that the dog won't chew on anything. I thought that was kind of an instinctual thing. I tried a rubber ball with him when we were at the pound, but he wasn't interested in it at all. I haven't tried any squeaky toys yet.

I don't know much about his history except that he was allegedly owned by a family with a couple of kids who kept him inside. Beyond that I don't know anything about him.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
We may try the hot dog thing. He's actually started eating on my feeding schedule now so I was probably pushing the panic button too early on that. I'm trying to accustom him to the milkbones by including them in his kibble. We'll see if this works. He did entertain me today at Petco by sticking in head inside every single food bowl. I tried to explain to him that foodbowls are not usually sold with food inside them, but he didn't seem to believe me.
 

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I rescued an english bulldog in the past. He didn't start (or learn) to play with anything until I had him for ab little over a year. The first time I saw him play was one of the happiest days of my life.

You haven't had him very long... be patient. All things great are worth waiting for.;)
 

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2. He doesn't seem to like any toys. I'm gone at work for 8-9 hours a day and I will leave him in his crate with a couple of toys or in the yard (if it's nice) with a couple of toys as well. The problem is he doesn't like any of the toys. I've offered him a nylabone, a dental bone, a rope bone, a kong and a purple squirrel type thing you can put treats inside. I tried covering the toys with peanut butter. He licks the peanut butter off and then is done with the toy. I don't want him getting bored in the crate and injuring himself or getting bored in the yard and digging or running off.
I adopted my dog two weeks ago and only in the last couple has he started showing even the slightest interest in toys. I finally got him to play tug with me yesterday for the first time and today he chased a ball for a while (no fetch, just me throwing and him chasing, then staring at it in confusion when it stops moving). Keep working with him and trying different toys. Eventually something will strike his fancy.

3. He doesn't seem to like treats. I've tried Milkbones and beggin' strips and I'm reluctant to buy even more treats that he won't eat. I offer him Milkbones and he sniffs them and is uninterested. It's like he doesn't seem to realize it's food. I offer him a beggin' strip and he sniffs it, takes it in his mouth and puts it right down on the ground and ignores it.
Mine wouldn't eat treats for the first couple days, either. Now he gobbles 'em down like they're the only food he'll ever get. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I think he has officially rejected the Milkbones. I put one in the middle of his kibble. He ate all the kibble and put the milkbone off to the side. I think he's trying to tell me something.
 

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I think he has officially rejected the Milkbones. I put one in the middle of his kibble. He ate all the kibble and put the milkbone off to the side. I think he's trying to tell me something.
Hehe. Ice also refuses any kind of baked biscuit treat. She only likes meaty treats. :rolleyes:
 

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I think he has officially rejected the Milkbones. I put one in the middle of his kibble. He ate all the kibble and put the milkbone off to the side. I think he's trying to tell me something.
Heh heh... sounds like my older pup. When the vet or the drive-through bank teller or whoever gives her a dog biscuit, she doesn't even give it a sniff... SUCH a treat snob, that girl! Like Pai's pup, mine only likes the meaty ones (jerky or freeze-dried liver or something).

That reminds me, I bought some chicken gizzards and hearts tonight. When I offered them to my puppies, I thought they'd gobble them up, but they acted horrified when they saw what they were and ran away!
 

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Heh heh... sounds like my older pup. When the vet or the drive-through bank teller or whoever gives her a dog biscuit, she doesn't even give it a sniff... SUCH a treat snob, that girl! Like Pai's pup, mine only likes the meaty ones (jerky or freeze-dried liver or something).
Well of course, she's a Poodle! ;) LOL Mine won't eat dog biscuits, or the nasty stuff like pupperoni, etc., because they're used to dehydrated lamb lung, NBs food rolls, or real food, like garlic chicken. At Starbuck's, the staff there used to give them little milk bones. Maddy and Beau would accept them (they are polite, after all), wag their tail, and then promptly drop them on the ground! However, they LOVED the cranberry scones, which made staff laugh! Now, there's always a take out bag with a cranberry scone for them when we stop by on Fridays, on our way to the beach!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
How old is he? It will take time for him to settle in. How about trying some raw chicken wings. My dogs love raw meaty bones. They don't get that excited about boring old kibble.
I'm told he's a year and a half. At least, that's what the Humane Society told me. I'm horrible at figuring out a dog's age. I tried giving him one of those rawhide bones with a meaty center. He was completely disinterested.

I took another shot at the Kong and struck out. I filled it with dog food I had soaked over night and topped it off with peanut butter. He loved the peanut butter, wouldn't bother going after the food inside the Kong. I don't get this guy. I'm really worried that he's gonna get bored and start tearing up my back yard while I'm not at home but I hate to keep him crated all day long when it's sunny and 60-70 outside.
 

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Most dogs that are under stress won't play, and often won't eat. He's only been with you for a few days; let him settle in and take things at his own pace. You can teach him to play and there are some great books about teaching your dog to play (with people especially) that could help.

Let him take things at his own pace - you're learning about him, and he's learning about you. Definitely not something to panic over, just don't rush him.

Gorgeous dog too. I love cocker spaniels. =)
 
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