Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Teaching an old dog new tricks!

I mentioned in a post last month about my 2 Boxers and about how even though they both have access to the same food and exercise how one is skinny and one is kind of porky.  

My porky boy is Chakotay and he is extremely strong and muscular, but he also has too much fat on him.  As a brachycephalic dog, he already has some issues with exercise and breathing, especially when the weather gets warm.  But his weight makes things much worse.  Already this year - when it hasn't even gotten that warm out - we've taken him on a couple of walks and only a couple of miles in he is gasping for breath and sounding like he's about to keel over.

This is not good for many reasons.  And Marc and I are obviously a very active couple who take the dogs with us everywhere.  So Chakotay has to be able to keep up and join us on long hiking excursions.

So about a 2 weeks ago, I started doing some research.  Everything that I have read tells me that I can't "free feed" and expect my dogs to be a healthy weight.  Well I know that this isn't true, because I have always free fed my dogs and Chakotay is the first to have weight issues.  

Ok, says the websites, but there is no way he will lose weight unless you start feeding him twice a day controlled portions.  I thought about it for a bit and then said "BULLSHIT!"  You know lots and lots of people - including experts, told me that there was no way I could lose 228 pounds without surgery or another type of aggressive intervention.  I was told that relying on myself to lose that amount of weight wouldn't work.  I mostly believed it myself.  And you know what?  I DID IT ANYWAY.

So for the last week or so, I've been working with Chakotay to try to help him manage his eating.  I have noticed that if he is not distracted he will just continue eating - out of habit or boredom.  So now, he goes over to the food and starts eating.  And once he's eaten a few mouth fulls, I call him over to me and start chasing him and playing.  If he's actually HUNGRY, he will keep going back to the food.  But, if I call him away and start playing with him and he's not eating out of actual hunger, he will forget about eating and move on to other activities.

Guess what?  In just one short week, I've noticed that he is already doing better at moderating himself.  He will eat and then look around and come see what Archer or I or Marc is doing, rather then just continuing to eat and eat.  I always praise him when he does this.  AND guess what part 2?  I think he may have already lost a pound or so, and he has a TON more energy outside.  

Usually he lays around in the shade and watches Archer play.  But this week, he's been chasing after the frisbee and wrestling Archer for it.  It's awesome to see!

If I can do it, so can my beloved boy - with some help from his mommy and daddy.  I'll keep you posted!

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