Dogs are funny creatures; they will do anything for you to feed them; they will plead, beg, and look at you with sad eyes to make you give them food. However, when it is mealtime, some dogs can decide to be persnickety. Many dog owners often wonder why their dogs always choose to eat only when they are around. This eating behavior is quite common to many dogs.
There are various reasons why your dog will only eat when you are around; they include separation anxiety, the dog is too busy to eat, the dog wants some company, the tension resulting from the territory, the dog being on guard mode, and the dog has had a history of having someone around when it eats.
It can be annoying when your dog does not eat except when you are around. The dog will not be healthy, especially if you spend most of your time outside. If you own a dog in this category and are curious about why it only eats when you are around, keep reading!
Why Won’t My Dog Eat When I am Not Home?
Food is essential to dogs, and they are expected to eat a minimum of twice daily. However, some dogs often refuse to eat sometimes whenever their owners are not home. This could be worrisome for dog owners, as we all know that lack of eating is not healthy for any creature.
If your dog has not been eating whenever you are not home, you need to understand a few reasons. We will explain the reasons below and how you could help the dog eat alone even when you are not home.
Your Dog Wants Your Company
Although many dogs have been domesticated lately, they still have this instinct of exhibiting some behaviors from their wild ancestors. Back then, dogs would hunt and eat together in groups in the wild. However, since dogs now live with humans, they consider us pack members.
So, it is pretty normal for some dogs to refuse to eat whenever their owners are not around. Perhaps your dog loves that experience of eating with its pack members. Dogs are naturally social creatures, and having their owners’ company could be a good motivation to eat.
If you do not mind, you could stay around in the room while your dog eats. However, if you might not be available to always stay with the dog, it is essential to train it on how to eat alone comfortably. A way of doing this is by standing by the door while your dog is eating. After a short while, leave the room for a few seconds, then return. You will have to repeat this process while gradually extending the time you stay out of the room.
Your Dog Gets On Guard Mode
Another reason why your dog does not eat when you are not home could be because it guards the house while you are away. This is more common for very territorial dogs. The dog becomes very busy protecting the house when you leave the house and might not eat until you return.
This is more likely to be the cause if you notice your dog always rushing to eat its food just immediately after you return. A dog that has been trained to remain on guard during your absence will not listen to anyone except you. Most times, the dog will refuse to eat unless you are around.
To help dogs in situations like this, you need to make the environment feel as safe as possible before leaving home. You can put off the television for noises and draw the curtains closed. In addition, you could also engage the dog in some exercises before leaving the house. That way, the dog would feel relaxed while you are away.
Your Dog Is Feeling Anxious
Dogs suffering from anxiety might find it difficult to eat alone sometimes. Anxiety in dogs could be due to different things such as loud noises, meeting strangers, and abandonment. For dogs even suffering from separation anxiety, it gets worse. They often find it difficult to do anything when their owners are not around.
Separation anxiety often affects dogs in different ways. Aside from not eating, some dogs could display very destructive behaviors such as chewing things, barking, trying to escape, and having accidents in the house. So, if you are sure your dog does not eat due to anxiety, it is essential that you first identify the actual cause of the anxiety.
Knowing the root cause would help you understand how to help the dog. For instance, if the cause is separation anxiety, you may need to always put on the television or radio before leaving home. Hearing human sounds often help dogs suffering from separation anxiety cope alone.
Also, you could employ a dog sitter to stay with the dog whenever you are away. However, if you cannot identify the cause of the anxiety or do not know how to help the dog, seek the help of a professional. A veterinarian or a pet behaviorist could help give professional advice on how to treat, train and help dogs suffering from anxiety issues.
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Different dog breeds have different personalities, some breeds are specially for security, and they perform the job excellently. Others are social and want to always be with people. So, a mistake you will make as a dog owner is to make a social dog play the role of a security dog.
One of which can be the refusal to eat except when its owner is around. When a dog is outside its comfortable environment, it will become restless, uneasy, and perplexed. Moreover, until it is taken out of that hostile environment and returned to its area of comfort, it will not behave normally.
My Dog Will Not Eat Unless I Stand Next To Him
If you have a dog that will not eat unless you stand next to it, the issue is that it has had a history of supervised feeding. As a dog owner, if you spend time staying with your puppy while it is fed, you have inadvertently established a history of supervised feeding, and it will be very difficult to curb.
The dog has learned to get accustomed to its owner standing next to it while it feeds right from puppyhood. As an adult, it has formed a habit, and unless the owner stands next to it, it will not eat. At this point, the dog will choose to follow you anywhere you go the moment you step out while it is feeding.
Why Does My Dog Eat When I Eat
Dogs are one of the most social animals on the planet, and they consider a lot of things social activities, including eating. Dogs are affected by a phenomenon called “Social Facilitation,” this is when the behavior of other creatures (humans and animals) affects the dog’s behavior.
Social facilitation affects a lot of the dog’s behaviors; this is why sometimes you notice that your dog gets the desire to eat when it sees you eating; the urge to play is prompted when it sees other dogs playing. So, as a dog owner, you should know that your dog will be prompted to do some things that you do once in a while.
Dogs like companionship, relationship, and bonding; it is almost impossible to see a dog that loves being alone. This trait also affects their relations in the wild, including wolves, foxes, wild dogs, hyenas, and coyotes. They all live in packs and do a lot of things together. Hence the reason your dog enjoys doing some things only when you are around.
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Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.