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agilityaddict, Pet Trainer
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 2175
Experience:  20 years experience training dogs in obedience and agility, current 4-H agility superintendent
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I have two rescue dogs, English setters, approx. 4 years

Customer Question

I have two rescue dogs, English setters, approx. 4 years old. both females. found together after being abandoned.
One of the dogs "N" has damage around the face and jaw, which makes chewing difficult for her. She is a slow eater as a result. Recently she has started refusing food. She guards the bowl, and will engage in growling and snapping at the other dog, "A". A is the alpha, and mostly ignores N.
I've tried feeding them separately. N still refuses. Even when A has left the room N will still protect her bowl and growl and bark at the door.
What can I do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  agilityaddict replied 1 year ago.


How long has this been going on? Are there any other changes in "N"s behavior or health? Are the dogs crate trained?



Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Lynn,N, Nava has done this in the past for a day or two and then it has subsided. This has been going on for over a week and escalating. Nava's health and energy appear good. I've not observed any other changes in her behavior. The dogs share a crate (large) .
Expert:  agilityaddict replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the additional information. The first suggestion I would have for you to try feeding Nava in the crate, and the other dog in a different room. Hopefully being in the crate would make her feel more secure, and less threatened. She can also have all the time she needs to eat her food this way.

If that doesn't work I would recommend taking Nava in for a check up because sometimes behavior changes like this can be caused by an underlying health problem such as hypothyroidism. If there are no medical issues, an anti-anxiety medication would be something to ask your veterinarian about. If you have further questions let me know.

Best wishes,


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I've tried feeding her alone in the crate, or alone in the bathroom. She just cries and turns up her nose. This appears behavioral by the cacophony of growling and barking that occurs. any other suggestions?
Expert:  agilityaddict replied 1 year ago.

This is a tough problem to deal with especially with a dog that has physical problems with eating as well. If you haven't tried different foods, or adding a small amount of canned food to her dry I would do that, to see if it can be made a little more tempting to her. (Though I'm guessing you've done that as well.) You could try a natural calming aid such as Stress Free Calmplex from Springtime.

If these things don't help, if it were my dog, I would take her in for an exam, and to discuss prescription anti-anxiety medication. You've been doing everything that typically helps already.


Expert:  agilityaddict replied 1 year ago.
Hi Judy,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

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