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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20221
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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When coming up to meal times my dog gets very animated and

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When coming up to meal times my dog gets very animated and will not not sit down or quiet down until she is fed. Meal times are getting earlier and earlier and when trying to delay her we suffer continual pestering and whinging.

She apparently has the same sort of reaction at the dog groomers!

What can we do to calm her down?
Hi JaCustomer,

My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.

What breed is your girl?
how old is she?
Does she get food at the groomers?
does she seem hungry all the time?
how long has this been happening?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hello Jane


My dog is a cocker spaniel.

I don't believe she gets treats at the groomers no. She turns around and around in circles whilst on the grooming table apparently!

She certainly likes her food but is generally calm after breakfast until lunchtime when she gets a treat and then starts the daily routine of demanding food mid afternoon. Once fed she is calm again.

It has been happening for a long time now but it seems to be getting worse. She is eleven years old and has been checked by the vet for obvious illnesses such as thyroid problems.

Many thanks


Thanks for the additional information. I was more concerned with possible diabetes since that is one condition that causes dogs to be constantly hungry. If your vet hasn't checked for diabetes, I would have that done. I am glad to hear that she has had a thyroid panel done to check for irregular thyroid values since even a slight shift can lead to behavioral symptoms.

She is elderly, so it is possible that she is starting with Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) and has been seen in dogs younger than yours. There is a wonderful site that explains it well and also explains how to document your dog's behavior and discuss it with your vet. The good news is that there is a drug called L-Selegeline (Anipryl (R)) which has been recently approved for use in the clinical indication of cognitive dysfunction (CDS) in dogs.

Please see this site for more information and other causes that may exhibit the same symptoms.

Unfortunately, the site does not allow me to make clickable links, so to view the supporting websites, you will need to copy and paste the link into a new browser window or tab.

Dogs with CDS can have a break in house training, forget people and even forget they have been fed which is why I mention this.

If the dog is spinning and getting attention for the behavior, she may just have learned that if she exhibits this behavior long enough, you will go ahead and feed her or give her a treat. It is very important to not give in and feed her early or give her treats since it encourages the behavior. If you haven't been working her on obedience training lately, you might start that back up. Make her perform commands in order to get treats. You might even use part of her regular meal when training so as to not overfeed her.

Working her on obedience should help her calm down a bit as she is getting attention and food for obeying rather than the hyperactive activity. You will probably want to start when she is in a calm state of mind such as after breakfast and use very tasty treats initially like raw liver slivers so she associates doing the comand and being calm with the special treat. As she makes the connection between the treats and obeying, you can start adding her regular food mixed in with the special treats for training during the problem times.

This obedience training usually helps keep them in a calmer more submissive frame of mind and once she is back to being obedient, you can command her to sit to help keep the restlessness and excitement down a little. Spinning on a grooming table is not that unusual. They might also use a treat and the commands you teach her to keep her calm there as well. Calm dogs tend to not get the same attention on the table as the ones that are moving and more difficult. Now I know groomers that actually have a sling with holes for the legs in it. This keeps the dog from moving too much during grooming. The groomers I know using these slings often use them for dog that are aggressive during nail clipping and grooming around the feet and legs.

I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
Jane Lefler and other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you Jane, that's very helpful.


Kind wishes



You are very welcome, Dominique!