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Our dog, Joey, has exhibited behavior that I often call bi-polar. I am pretty sure dogs can’t actually have bi-polar, but his mood just changes on a dime and back again. We don’t know what is going on. He can be a very affectionate dog and snuggle with you, but at the same time he often growls and barks at us whenever we enter a room. At times he even acted like he was going to snap at us when we stepped too close. We have just kind of accepted that that is just Joey being Joey, because this is kind of ridiculous. He never has bitten anyone. To give some examples of this behavior:

1. My dad often reaches down from the love seat to pick Joey up, Joey being the one to come to dad for attention. Joey would then growl heavily when he starts lifting him, almost to the point it sounds like he’s going to attack sometimes. Then when Joey gets sat on his lap, his whole mood does a 180°, and he’s back to being super sweet and will even give kisses. Then he will spend that time laying on the arm of the love seat next to dad. Joey is often the first one at the door to greet dad coming home from work because he gets so excited, but dad is also probably the one he growls and barks at the most when he enters a room once he’s settled at home. He doesn’t hardly act this way around my mom, but he can be a little fussy. It’s strange how he doesn’t act like that way much around mom but acts more like a daddy’s boy, at least when he wants to. He even does something to me and dad that he doesn’t do with mom, and that is wrestle when we are laying down. He will rub his neck all over our face and be super playful. Yet he can act like he has never seen us before either.

2. He will often ask very nicely for me to pick him up onto the bed if I am on there, and he acts perfectly fine when I pick him up and set him up there. However, if I leave the room and come back (even if I come back immediately after leaving), he will bark hard at me as if a stranger just walked in.

3. He is not friendly much with our pug for whatever reason, but everyone else he seems to get along with okay. If Joey were to start growling and barking, and we knew it wasn’t directed at us, then odds are it is at Boone (our pug). However, even despite that little rivalry or whatever is going on, he will some times take the time to wash his face and even on semi rare occasions act like he wants to play.

Any idea what could be going on in that little head of his? It’s like he doesn’t know what to feel.
 

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First of all, Joey is cute but very OBESE.. I would say nearly morbidly obese. Cut his food intake by 1/3. If he has not lost weight in a month, cut his food by another 1/3.

Picking up an obese dog can be painful for the dog. That may be part of the issue. Also, obesity can be part of a thyroid issue, so get him checked out for thyroid.

Walk him more. More exercise may help if for no other reason than he will lose weight and you and the dog will develop a better bond.

You need to set boundaries. The food he is still allowed to eat? Feed it only in conjunction with training and the dog must do something to eat every last morsel of food. Anything the dog wants, he must FIRST do something you want. This is called Nothing in Life is Free or NILF. He would be on a strict NILF. He wants up on the bed? he must do something you want first (sit or lie down or some other thing you have taught him). When you leave the bed, he does too. Period. That eliminates the barking when you come back.

Mostly? I would stop picking him up at all.. he is very cute but he sounds like a dog that needs to be treated like a dog (for awhile). Simply set boundaries. When you are preparing food, he needs to go to his bed. When you are eating he is to go lay down. You could also crate him during those activities. When he wants to go out, he musty sit politely until you get the door open and then go out only when you give him a release word (such as OK), All these boundaries will help with his other behaviors.

IF he barks IGNORE him. Do not even LOOK at him. Say nothing. Barking will get him NOTHING. No attention. No words. No eye contact.

Between reducing his weight (don't forget going to the vet to be sure he does not have a thyroid issue), giving him a lot more exercise, setting clear boundaries (he does not get what he wants until you get what you want EVERY time), making him work for ALL his food and totally ignoring him when he barks I think you will see improvement pretty quickly.
 

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First of all, Joey is cute but very OBESE.. I would say nearly morbidly obese. Cut his food intake by 1/3. If he has not lost weight in a month, cut his food by another 1/3.

Picking up an obese dog can be painful for the dog. That may be part of the issue. Also, obesity can be part of a thyroid issue, so get him checked out for thyroid.

Walk him more. More exercise may help if for no other reason than he will lose weight and you and the dog will develop a better bond.

You need to set boundaries. The food he is still allowed to eat? Feed it only in conjunction with training and the dog must do something to eat every last morsel of food. Anything the dog wants, he must FIRST do something you want. This is called Nothing in Life is Free or NILF. He would be on a strict NILF. He wants up on the bed? he must do something you want first (sit or lie down or some other thing you have taught him). When you leave the bed, he does too. Period. That eliminates the barking when you come back.

Mostly? I would stop picking him up at all.. he is very cute but he sounds like a dog that needs to be treated like a dog (for awhile). Simply set boundaries. When you are preparing food, he needs to go to his bed. When you are eating he is to go lay down. You could also crate him during those activities. When he wants to go out, he musty sit politely until you get the door open and then go out only when you give him a release word (such as OK), All these boundaries will help with his other behaviors.

IF he barks IGNORE him. Do not even LOOK at him. Say nothing. Barking will get him NOTHING. No attention. No words. No eye contact.

Between reducing his weight (don't forget going to the vet to be sure he does not have a thyroid issue), giving him a lot more exercise, setting clear boundaries (he does not get what he wants until you get what you want EVERY time), making him work for ALL his food and totally ignoring him when he barks I think you will see improvement pretty quickly.
Well... the thing is I already have cut his food two or three times, and I also take him and the momma dog for daily walks. In the cooler weather I walk him around the neighborhood for at least 45 minutes, but the warmer weather keeps me from doing that. There has even been a time he walked the entire neighborhood for over an hour straight. He can easily keep up the walking so long as the weather isn’t that bad. He and his momma both only get 1.5 cups of weight management food a day which is already below the suggested amount on the feeding chart. When I started their diet and exercise last year they both lost around six pounds, but they refuse to lose any more.
 

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Well... the thing is I already have cut his food two or three times, and I also take him and the momma dog for daily walks. In the cooler weather I walk him around the neighborhood for at least 45 minutes, but the warmer weather keeps me from doing that. There has even been a time he walked the entire neighborhood for over an hour straight. He can easily keep up the walking so long as the weather isn’t that bad. He and his momma both only get 1.5 cups of weight management food a day which is already below the suggested amount on the feeding chart. When I started their diet and exercise last year they both lost around six pounds, but they refuse to lose any more.
1.5 cups a day is a LOT of food for a small dog. My 25lb Pug only gets 1/3 of a cup twice a day. I would cut his food intake down a lot further, and consult a vet regarding his behaviour to make sure there are no underlying health conditions causing it. But bottom line, if he's being walked 45 - 60 minutes every day and he's still obese and not loosing weight, he's still getting fed too much.
 

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1.5 cups a day is a LOT of food for a small dog. My 25lb Pug only gets 1/3 of a cup twice a day. I would cut his food intake down a lot further, and consult a vet regarding his behaviour to make sure there are no underlying health conditions causing it. But bottom line, if he's being walked 45 - 60 minutes every day and he's still obese and not loosing weight, he's still getting fed too much.
That would have been nice to know earlier. I am feeding them Iams healthy weight dry food, and the food chart says for a 30-40 lb dog whose weight you want to reduce, feed them 1.5-2 cups daily. Being told I am still feeding them too much is like throwing out everything I thought I knew to be true. Quite frustrating.
 

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That would have been nice to know earlier. I am feeding them Iams healthy weight dry food, and the food chart says for a 30-40 lb dog whose weight you want to reduce, feed them 1.5-2 cups daily. Being told I am still feeding them too much is like throwing out everything I thought I knew to be true. Quite frustrating.
I know it's frustrating. The sad fact is that the food charts on dog food bags is next to useless, they ALWAYS advocate over feeding. I mean, it's profitable for them, right? The more you feed, the more you buy. I had to find out the hard way too, when I got my dog. But it's not too late to get your boy down to a healthy weight. I'd get him in to see a vet to rule out any health issues that could be causing his behaviour, and I'd ask them to help you find the appropriate amount to be feeding him. And once you've ruled out any health issues, I'd recommend contacting a qualified animal behaviourist, one that uses positive, force-free methods, to help you resolve his behaviour. Good luck!
 

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The recommended amounts on the bag are just that: recommendations. My two almost always do well on less than the recommended amounts, sometimes as low as half of it.

One thing to consider, if they can't seem to lose wight regardless of what you do, is to have their thyroid function checked. The best option is a full panel, which needs to be sent to an outside lab.
 

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Oh, and when you are measuring out food, make sure you are using a standard 8 fluid ounce measuring cup, like you would use for baking, or else weigh it out on a kitchen scale.
 

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Oh, and when you are measuring out food, make sure you are using a standard 8 fluid ounce measuring cup, like you would use for baking, or else weigh it out on a kitchen scale.
All right. I’ll do that. Thanks for the advice everyone. It is just weird because I even used two dog food portion calculators, and they say to give around 1.3 cups a day based off their ideal weight and stuff. I guess their ideal weight to be around mid twenties give or take. So weird. I even heard before how if they don’t get enough to eat that even that can cause their weight to stay the same because their metabolism slows down to make up for the fact they aren’t getting as much. I don’t know how true that is though. Well, I guess I’ll cut back their portions again. I use an 8 oz cup with a science diet logo printed on it provided by our vet when they originally gave us a different diet food months back before we switched to Iams. The vet even said to follow the chart of the food they gave us back then. It’s like... who the heck do I listen to?
 

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I know it's frustrating, but the thing is, different foods have different caloric contents, and dogs have different metabolisms from one dog to another, just like people do. So, all you can really do is monitor your dog's condition. If they're gaining weight, cut back their portions until you find the portion size that keeps them at a healthy weight. Same if they're overweight and not losing it even with exercise. Unfortunately, it just comes down to trial and error in the end mostly. Also, do you give any treats at all? If you do, you need to factor them into your dog's daily caloric intake and cut the meals down further. Or, do what I did when my Pug gained too much weight when we lived with my parents briefly and my mom couldn't stop feeding him, cut out the treats entirely and replace them with carrots. Most dogs love carrots, and they're filling without adding any extra calories. Good luck!
 

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I have a mini-schnauzer that weighs 13 lbs.

He would eat all day long and eat every bit placed or offered to him. His breed is prone to weight gain. So, his food intake and exercise are managed. Food is 2 meals each day as a short 3/8 cup each meal. His exercise is 3 walks each day for at least 30 minutes. Many walks are 1 hour plus. He also gets several short run romps in the back yard off leash. Treats are typically very small, only enough for a taste and a smell. Training rewards vary with small treats, pets or play. Dogs dont need a whole hot dog as a reward. They are happy with a smell and a taste coupled with a praise and pet.

I don't weigh him on a regular basis. I use the "feel" method. I feel for his ribs, spine and hips. I am able to feel these structures without pressing. These structures are not prominent either. His muscle definition is easy to determine by feel.

I do agree with the others. Your dog is very heavy. Training as suggested will help establish the boundries. I'd suggest to cut his food down to 2 meals each day at a 1/2 cup each meal. Then couple the training, food reduce with increased exercise. Walk more. 1 walk each day for 30 minutes is not enough. His training treats should come out of his daily food alloment, not in addition to the daily allotment.

Weight loss is simple. Less food in + more exercise = weight reduction. You should check his food for the amount of carbs in the ingredient list. Meat is the best protein source. Peas, lentils, beet root......etc are poor sources of protein and is mostly low quality filler. I'd also suggest to steer clear of grain based ingredients.
 

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As said above, the dog food bags LIE. Think about it.. if they suggested the correct amounts they would sell less dog food.
1.5 cups is huge. Cut it to 1/2 of a cup twice a day. If no weight loss in a month, cut it more....
 

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You really do need to tailor food intake to the individual dogs' metabolism, age, and physical activity levels. These dogs are fed the same food. The pittie gets 1/2 a cup less than the GSD, despite the 20 pound weight difference. Both eat at least half a cup less than the bag recommends.

2020-4-12 Dogs DSC_0155 by Rosemary Elwell, on Flickr
 

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You really do need to tailor food intake to the individual dogs' metabolism, age, and physical activity levels. These dogs are fed the same food. The pittie gets 1/2 a cup less than the GSD, despite the 20 pound weight difference. Both eat at least half a cup less than the bag recommends.

2020-4-12 Dogs DSC_0155 by Rosemary Elwell, on Flickr
Well... I wasn’t expecting this kind of conversation based on the purpose of the thread, but I do appreciate everyone’s input. I’ll start cutting them back more and see how that goes. I also plan on getting a vet’s opinion.
 

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Well... I wasn’t expecting this kind of conversation based on the purpose of the thread, but I do appreciate everyone’s input. I’ll start cutting them back more and see how that goes. I also plan on getting a vet’s opinion.
I think that's the right thing to do. I fed our dog what was recommended on the bag and she gained a bunch of weight. At first we used the same food she got at the shelter (Pegigree) and we had to put apple sauce in her food to get her to eat it.
Our vet told us to cut back and it's worked wonders. We switched to Purina Pro Plan and she goes berserk for it.
 

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From the picture that you attached here, it is looking like that your dog is overweight. According to Dr Peter L. Borchelt, a certified animal behaviour consultant says that like humans animals especially dogs don't have bipolar disorders. But, it could be their external environment which can cause sudden changes in their behaviour. You need to change his daily activities and try to turn them into positivity.

Change in eating habits, more time for play, your attention and also the better use of water will probably sort out this issue.
 

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I agree with others, first have a vet check to eliminate any medical issues. The obesity may be caused by a thyroid issue, but based on the amount you feed, I'm guessing it may be diet related, haha! But it you cut back on food and the weight still isn't coming off with diet and exercise, then it's probably medical. Obesity can also cause joint issues which could possibly be painful.

To put feeding recommendations into perspective, I feed my 55 lb. highly active dog 2 cups of food per day. We live on 22 acres, and he RUNS everywhere and regularly patrols the entire property at high speeds. He burns calories! Despite that, he STILL can get a little porky if I overdo it on treats or I think he deserves a little extra at meal times, haha! You should be able to easily feel the last two ribs with gentle pressure and see a dog's "waistline", but I'm sure your vet will be able to show you better examples of a healthy weight.

If your dog is neutered, that can also have an effect on weight. Neutered dogs generally seem to have a slower metabolism than intact dogs.

I would also agree with the suggestion to have a certified, positive, trainer evaluate the situation, as it's difficult to say for sure what is causing the dog's behaviors without actually seeing it.
 

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You have a crazy dog. My brother has one, and it won't change dramatically. Yes, dogs can have mental problems, and their brains are susceptible to toxins, like any animal, which can alter how their brains perceive what is happening. Were he a rescue, I'd consider a possible violent past, as a possible cause. Best you can do, if just know your dog, is respect their boundaries, while establishing yours, be firm yet kind, and hopefully with time, he will mellow out. Don't expect a quicker change, unless you work with a professional. Older dogs mellow out too, so expect him eventually to be less reactionary.

Our dog, Joey, has exhibited behavior that I often call bi-polar. I am pretty sure dogs can’t actually have bi-polar, but his mood just changes on a dime and back again. We don’t know what is going on. He can be a very affectionate dog and snuggle with you, but at the same time he often growls and barks at us whenever we enter a room. At times he even acted like he was going to snap at us when we stepped too close. We have just kind of accepted that that is just Joey being Joey, because this is kind of ridiculous. He never has bitten anyone. To give some examples of this behavior:

1. My dad often reaches down from the love seat to pick Joey up, Joey being the one to come to dad for attention. Joey would then growl heavily when he starts lifting him, almost to the point it sounds like he’s going to attack sometimes. Then when Joey gets sat on his lap, his whole mood does a 180°, and he’s back to being super sweet and will even give kisses. Then he will spend that time laying on the arm of the love seat next to dad. Joey is often the first one at the door to greet dad coming home from work because he gets so excited, but dad is also probably the one he growls and barks at the most when he enters a room once he’s settled at home. He doesn’t hardly act this way around my mom, but he can be a little fussy. It’s strange how he doesn’t act like that way much around mom but acts more like a daddy’s boy, at least when he wants to. He even does something to me and dad that he doesn’t do with mom, and that is wrestle when we are laying down. He will rub his neck all over our face and be super playful. Yet he can act like he has never seen us before either.

2. He will often ask very nicely for me to pick him up onto the bed if I am on there, and he acts perfectly fine when I pick him up and set him up there. However, if I leave the room and come back (even if I come back immediately after leaving), he will bark hard at me as if a stranger just walked in.

3. He is not friendly much with our pug for whatever reason, but everyone else he seems to get along with okay. If Joey were to start growling and barking, and we knew it wasn’t directed at us, then odds are it is at Boone (our pug). However, even despite that little rivalry or whatever is going on, he will some times take the time to wash his face and even on semi rare occasions act like he wants to play.

Any idea what could be going on in that little head of his? It’s like he doesn’t know what to feel.
 

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Definately figure out if it hurts him to be picked up. Maybe he has a medical issue. Otherwise, you likely have a crazy dog. My brother has one, and it won't change dramatically. Yes, dogs can have mental problems, and their brains are susceptible to toxins, like any animal, which can alter how their brains perceive what is happening. Were he a rescue, I'd consider a possible violent past, as a possible cause. Best you can do, if just know your dog, is respect their boundaries, while establishing yours, be firm yet kind, and hopefully with time, he will mellow out. Don't expect a quicker change, unless you work with a professional. Older dogs mellow out too, so expect him eventually to be less reactionary.
 

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You have a crazy dog. My brother has one, and it won't change dramatically. Yes, dogs can have mental problems, and their brains are susceptible to toxins, like any animal, which can alter how their brains perceive what is happening. Were he a rescue, I'd consider a possible violent past, as a possible cause. Best you can do, if just know your dog, is respect their boundaries, while establishing yours, be firm yet kind, and hopefully with time, he will mellow out. Don't expect a quicker change, unless you work with a professional. Older dogs mellow out too, so expect him eventually to be less reactionary.
While some dogs truly aren't wired right, a lot of behavioral issues have an underlying medical issue. Once the medical issues are addressed, behavior can improve dramatically.
 
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