Why, oh why, does our dog keep barking at his food dish? It's seriously making me insane!

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Posted 12/11/2011 by Fuji in NSBR Board


PeaNut 83,512
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Posted: 12/11/2011 8:26:24 PM
For the past couple of weeks our dog (8 year old shih tzu) barks incessantly at his food dish. Occasionally, he just stands and stares at it. We've tried moving the dish, cleaning the dish, and replacing the food.

I seriously think this dog is possessed...or thinks the dish is possessed. Is it possible for a dog to hallucinate??

What in the heck could it be???? The barking is driving me nuts!!!

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PeaNut 174,400
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Posted: 12/11/2011 8:31:08 PM
my dog barks at the dish to tell us to come and dump the food out onto the floor or play food fetch!

it's annoying!

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PeaNut 164,125
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Posted: 12/11/2011 8:32:13 PM
Is it possible he sees himself in some sort of a reflection?>?

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PeaNut 390,672
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Posted: 12/11/2011 8:36:36 PM
Myabe your dog doesnt realize there is food in the dish?

I always leave the backdoor open when i let the dog out, but this past week or so he has been scratching on the window to be let in. It's so annoying! Hello, the door is open!!


PeaNut 189,181
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Posted: 12/11/2011 8:38:50 PM
Our dog barks EVERY TIME we give him food. He barks at it for 2 minute or so before he eats. It's like he is giving Thanks to his food! And he is 7 years old.
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PeaNut 83,512
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Posted: 12/11/2011 8:42:13 PM
Hmmm...he doesn't want to play. We can't entice him away from that dish for anything.

He was looking at a wall first and now is looking at cupboards, so there is no reflection.

I think he knows there is food because eventually he barks himself silly and ends up thirsty and hungry, so he eats and drinks.

Thanks for the suggestions! I'm starting to lean toward hallucinations. DD and her friends were watching him do it last night, and they agreed that it was crazy!


PeaNut 337,804
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Posted: 12/11/2011 8:42:31 PM
Can you pick the dish up while he's not using it or is he an all day grazer? My dog eats twice a day and inhales it, she's not a snacker, she'd eat herself sick if I left food out all day.

I have no idea why your dog would be barking at the dish. Pick it up and put it where he can't see it.

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PeaNut 268,201
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Posted: 12/11/2011 8:44:28 PM
Put his food on a paper plate for a few wks - see if that gets him "off his barking kick".


PeaNut 30,940
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Posted: 12/11/2011 8:47:21 PM
My sister's dog has been known to bark at a Windex bottle.


PeaNut 197,496
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Posted: 12/11/2011 8:52:51 PM
One of my dogs would bark at the water fountain in the house in an attempt to tell us that the water bowl outside was empty. Took us awhile to figure that out, though.

Hope you can figure it out - I know it'll make you crazy!


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PeaNut 259,367
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Posted: 12/11/2011 9:42:09 PM
Is it his food bowl? Could there be a mouse in the cabinet or wall nearby? Or does your neighbor outside do something at about that time, like open a garage door with a signal that might hurt his ears?

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PeaNut 70,391
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Posted: 12/11/2011 9:44:59 PM

One of my dogs would bark at the water fountain in the house in an attempt to tell us that the water bowl outside was empty. Took us awhile to figure that out, though.

Our older dog would bark at the fridge when his water bowl was empty. He was barking at the water dispenser in the fridge door.

I miss him soooooo much!

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PeaNut 83,512
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Posted: 12/11/2011 10:21:23 PM
Thanks for all of the comments. I will have to do more investigation.

It's weird that it started so suddenly.


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Posted: 12/11/2011 10:27:13 PM
My pug tries jumping in the bathtub when she needs water (she HATES baths).

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PeaNut 421,228
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Posted: 12/11/2011 10:38:24 PM
My dog will growl at his dish when he needs water, but bark at the pantry when he needs food (where the dog food is kept). I joke that he's angry at the dish when the water runs out. Occasionally, he will start growling and barking at the dish just because its low on food. I'm not sure if he's trying to ration, or just wants fresh, but he'll eventually eat all of it regardless.

Usually when he's doing something weird its because he's trying to communicate something with us and we just aren't figuring it out. DH is the dog whisperer in our house even though Zig is more "my dog", I guess they're on closer wavelengths .

ETA: I was thinking maybe his dish has an odor? What did use to clean it, perhaps the offensive smell is still there or the cleanser used is somehow offensive to him.

Or, maybe there has been a change in his food. Try googling your brand and see if they are doing something different with the recipe.


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PeaNut 162,956
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Posted: 12/11/2011 10:50:09 PM
Ooh boy! My shih-tzu used to do the same thing! I realized it was b/c he was eating from stainless steel and he HATED the reflection of anything in ir or near it. It would freak him out! He hated bowls that were too big either. I ended up getting him cat dishes. For a while I had to "talk him thru" eating, assuring him that it was okay. Yikes........


PeaNut 190,156
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Posted: 12/11/2011 11:13:04 PM
Could it be since he has gotten older he is not seeing as well. You mentioned he is also looking at the wall and cabinets. Maybe he is seeing shadows but can't see clearly.

Might not hurt to see the vet and have him checked out.

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PeaNut 104,551
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Posted: 12/11/2011 11:16:06 PM
I was going to suggest his eyesight too.

My cat randomly walks around howling at the washing machine and cabinets. I finally figured out that that means he's sleepy. Yep, I have to carry the damn cat into the bed and tuck him in for a nap.
He's so damn spoiled.


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PeaNut 24,951
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Posted: 12/12/2011 4:46:50 AM
I am sorry. I'm sure it would drive m crazy, too, but it sounds so cute!!!


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PeaNut 141,872
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Posted: 12/12/2011 5:00:24 AM
My shih tsu used to to do that too! Just one random day he started barking at his dish, and wouldn't eat. The other shih tsu looked at him like he was nuts! This went on for a few weeks. I have no idea what brought it on, and can't figure out what stopped it. I moved him to a flat plate to eat for a few days, then put the plate under his usual bowl and put the food back in his dish. He eventually got back to eating from his bowl again without throwing a hissy. But last week he started again, I yelled "knock it off!" rather sharply right next to him, it startled him enough to snap out of it and start eating.

Stupid shih tsus. Good thing they're so adorable, 'cause they're certainly not the brightest bulb in the box!


PeaNut 68,314
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Posted: 12/12/2011 5:48:42 AM
He is telling you that he doesn't like the food? ha

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PeaNut 250,388
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Posted: 12/12/2011 5:52:00 AM
I keep our dogs treats/food in a cabinet in our kitchen and when he wants a treat or if I'm late giving our dog his dinner, he will come up to us and stare and whine. Then he will trot over to the cabinet and wag his tail and whine and will look at us then the cabinet over and over. Cracks me up!


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PeaNut 169,972
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Posted: 12/16/2011 8:13:37 AM
when my neice's dog did that, he was seeing his reflection in the silver dog dish (he thought another dog was tryin to eat his food) they changed dishes and he stopped. Dogs are funny.

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