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Canine Behavior/"People food" vs Dog food


Hello Jill,

I believe I have written you a few times before about my dog, Princess, but now I have an entirely new problem.

I have always fed my dog the best and most nutritious dog food I can find, both dry and "wet".  In the past few months I have been feeding her with natural foods made by "Doggy Cuisine", which comes frozen.  I also feed her "Natural Balance" Dry that I get from Petco.  I mix them together and up until recently she has gobbled it down and licked her bowl clean every time.  But 2 days ago that changed.  

Princess came back from my neighbor's house carrying a BISCUIT in her mouth, and dropped it on my front porch.  I have told my neighbors not to feed her People Food, but apparently they do not take me seriously.  I suspect she had more to eat than just the biscuit, like maybe a bowl of gravy, but I have no proof of that.  But the reason I am writing you is because since that day, 2 days ago, she will not touch her food bowl.  Do you think it is because now that she has tasted 'people food' she does not want to eat her dog food?  Tomorrow will make 3 days since she has eaten, and I'm getting worried.  She is 13 yrs old and I have tried to feed her the best foods I can afford since she was a puppy, because I want her to be with me as long as possible.  Can you tell me if this behavior is normal, or can she get interested in dog food again?   Please let me know ASAP.  Thanks!

First and most important:  DO NOT ALLOW YOUR DOG THE FREEDOM TO WANDER WHEREVER SHE PLEASES.  Not ok and potentially dangerous: suppose a neighbor has hired a pest control person who has placed bait around a house?  Your dog is then dead.

Second:  No healthy dog will starve itself.  I suggest you contact your veterinarian, share this incident, and ask his/her opinion (seeing as the dog is elderly).  There are nutritional supplements available from your Vet (such as Nutri-Cal) which s/he will sell you if s/he considers it necessary.

The fact that the dog refuses her food might mean she is returning to the same location where some idiot is putting food out: for her, for other animals, who knows.  PREVENT THIS.  Make sure she is hydrated.  First thing tomorrow AM: call to Vet who will sort this all out.

Canine Behavior

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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