Hi,
About a week ago we got an 8 week old Bichon Frise. He is adorable and full of energy, but his eating habits are troubling us.

When he got here, he went two days without eating anything. The breader has given us some of the dry food she had been using and told us to continue using it and slowly mixing in the new Pedigree Puppy dry food we had bought. But, nothing worked. He didn't want her food, he didn't want our new food, he didn't want a mix.

We e-mailed her to make sure all was ok and she told us to try and "jazz up" the dry food with rice and small peices of chicken. We tried it and he loved it.. but will ONLY EAT the chicken and rice and leaves the dog food in the bowl.
We've been at this for days and he loves to eat chicken and cooked white rice but REFUSES to even look at dog food. It sits there and he simply does not eat unless there is chicken and rice available to him.

We are happy to see him eating and have been told by the breeder and many others to NEVER feed a Bichon Frise canned food, ever so we arn't trying that.
This is our first puppy and the vet said during his examination that he is 100% healthy (we didn't ask about the chicken problem because he wasn't eating at all yet when we went for the checkup).

Is it ok for a dog to live on scredded chicken and rice? We suspect he will also enjoy bits of hamburger or streak but don't want to expand this "people food" diet until we check this out. We want him to eat dry food, but it looks like we either give him chicken or watch him starve!
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About a week ago we got an 8 week old Bichon Frise. He is adorable and full of energy, but ... bought. But, nothing worked. He didn't want her food, he didn't want our new food, he didn't want a mix.

This isn't unusual.
We e-mailed her to make sure all was ok and she told us to try and "jazz up" the dry ... and he loved it.. but will ONLY EAT the chicken and rice and leaves the dog food in the bowl.

Time to stop with the chicken and rice. Try some chicken broth if YOU get desperate.
What happens if you offer him a piece of kibble from your hands?
We've been at this for days and he loves to eat chicken and cooked white rice but REFUSES to even look at dog food. It sits there and he simply does not eat unless there is chicken and rice available to him.

Its time he learns to eat other things, including his kibble. Put down the food, no added goodies. Leave it down 15 minutes. Pick it up and wait. Make sure he gets no treats. Offer him some kibble by hand if you wish, but just for a short time.
We are happy to see him eating and have been told by the breeder and many others to NEVER feed a Bichon Frise canned food, ever so we arn't trying that.

Why is that? I'm not a big fan of canned food simply because I don't like paying for water.
This is our first puppy and the vet said during his examination that he is 100% healthy (we didn't ask ... we went for the checkup). Is it ok for a dog to live on scredded chicken and rice? We suspect

No. That is not a healthy dog diet. But you already kind of knew that, right? You were just hoping.
he will also enjoy bits of hamburger or streak but don't want to expand this "people food" diet until we check this out. We want him to eat dry food, but it looks like we either give him chicken or watch him starve!

99% of dogs with food issues will go hungry maybe a couple days, but then they eat. Don't make a production out of it. Dogs, even puppies, are well designed to skip a few meals. Is not something you want to happen often in a puppy this young but it will go more smoothly if you do it now rather than let his behavior become a habit. THe only reason I suggest hand feeding the kibble IS because he is so young. But its a lot easier to break the PEOPLE of hand feeding than it is to break them of unbalancing the dog's diet.
If you WANT to cook for your dog instead of doing a commerical diet there is nothing wrong with that. Just don't shortcut the process. Research the proper balance of nutrition and don't get lazy about it. There are books to help guide you. Yes, the dogs usually prefer it. Commercial dog food is simply easier. Keep in mind, at the same time, that too skinny isn't nearly the problem for our pet dogs as is too fat. And very samll dogs are a challenge to feed just right because the volume of the food is so small that we tend to feel it isn't enough when it is. It doesn't take much food to properly provide for a bichon pup.

Diane Blackman
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We want him to
eat dry food, but it looks like we either give him chicken or watch him starve!

He won't starve. He may hold out for more chicken until he realizes that it isn't coming, then he'll eat whatever nourishing food you think is best. Two days isn't that long to go without eating for a dog. Some dogs hold out for a week, but they all come around. Just make sure he has food that you know is good for him and plenty of water. If his energy is good and he has no symptoms like listlessness or diarrhea, rest assured that he's weighing his options. Why eat dry food when you're not hungry when, if you wait long enough, chicken will show up? That's his way of looking at it. When chicken doesn't show up, and you feel hungry, dry food starts to look good.
Lia
Your puppy knows you are upset not seeing him eat. Like kids they learn fast.
He thinks if I leave this ...they will be upset and give me the food I want. Got you well trained already.
Just put the food down and walk away ...do NOT let him see you watching him. No it is not a good diet for your puppy.
If he really doesn't like died food and you are not happy giving it to him. Why not use an alternative.
Have you tried soaking the dried food.?
Pat.
Here's what I do with my dog when he decides to starve himself. I sprinkle very tiny pieces of his soft treat onto his food. You don't even have to use much at all; I call it adding the dry food some salt. You can dissolve treats like soft and chewy Milkbone very easily and since it becomes as tiny as salt (well maybe a little bigger) your dog cannot separate it from the dry food.

Just scale down the amount of dry food a little since you're adding treats. I agree that your dog will eventually eat dry food when he (she?) can't find anything else, but doing this puts my mind at ease so why not. Oh, and my dog still enjoys the treats during training sessions; it didn't make any difference at all (ie. he didn't get bored with the treats). Good luck.
You've had a lot of good advice, but I have one more suggestion; your little puppy isn't too young to learn a few things, like what "sit" means, or what his name is, etc.
I'd take his meals & put them in a little baggie in my pocket & whenever the puppy did something good, he'd get a piece of the kibble. Sit earns kibble, saying his name earns him kibble, puppy looking at me earns kibble, down... etc.
We want him to eat dry food, but it looks like we either give him chicken or watch him starve!

He won't starve. :}
Try a better quality dog food. Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul has a lovely puppy food packed full of meat (unlike Pedigree, where you have to search for it with a magnifying glass). Start giving it to him as treats while feeding him what he's used to, and slowly wean off the chicken and onto the food.
Also, don't put the food down in a bowl and let him eat it whenever he wants. Hand feed him a few pieces at a time to start with, and gradually evolve to 3 feedings a day in the bowl. If he doesn't eat what you put down in 10 minutes, take it up and don't give him anything else until the next meal time.

You're creating a fussy eater. You can nip that in the bud easily. Don't worry about a puppy going a few days without eating, or without eating much. As long as he's drinking, he's fine.
Canine Action Dog Trainer
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That's not always true. There are isolated, rare examples of anorexic dogs. I know... I rescued one.
Now, what if you'd offered the above advice to a dog like Doll, and the owner ran with it?
Debbie
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