Hand Feeding and Chews for 11 week old Remy

I've had Remy for 3 weeks now and he's doing great!  He's a BIG chewer though and I'm wondering about chews for his age--11 weeks?  I've got puppy nylabones and lots of toys for him to chew on but I was thinking of adding in something more interesting as we intensify our crate training so that I can leave the house for a bit.  My vet said "anything that you can make an indent into with your fingernail."  So that's great, but what types of products does that include?  I've never bought bully sticks or himalayan cheese chews before so I don't know if those are "indentable."  Any help is appreciated.  

My second question relates to feeding him.  The positive training book I have been using recommended I hand feed him for the first week.  We did that and everything was great.  However, here we are 3 weeks in and he won't eat out of a bowl by himself.  If I don't feed him by hand, for the most part, he doesn't eat.  I've tried just picking the bowl up and putting it back down at the next meal but this hasn't worked.  I've tried leaving my hand in the bowl while he eats out of the bowl and that works for a minute or so but then he either walks away or paws at me to put the food in my hand.  Ugh.  Any suggestions?

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  • Himalayan chews and bully sticks aren't things I would leave with a puppy when they are alone, if they get a big piece off it can be a choking hazard (unlikely but you never know).

    Kongs are the only thing I will leave with my dogs when I am not in the house as they are virtually indestructible.  You can stuff them and freeze them and lets pup work on them for a while to ease the separation anxiety.

    Toby had the same issue with not wanting to eat out of his bowl (he's 18 weeks now), but I just gradually lessened the amount of hand feeding with a few methods.  He grew out of it and now he's totally fine eating from his bowl.

    - Sit with puppy at their meal time on the floor.  

    - Put a bit of kibble on the floor beside the bowl.  For some reason that was more acceptable to Toby and it often got him interested in the kibble in the bowl.  Sometimes he paws at the kibble in the bowl and then eats it off the floor.  He's a strange pup sometimes :p

    I know it's hard but don't give in and let him hand feed all the time, he needs to learn to eat without you "babysitting" him through it :)  He won't starve himself.  

    • Thank you.  I'm glad to hear he should grow out of having me hand feed him.  Remy is the same with the food on the floor.  He will eat some of it that way if I'm sitting there with him.  I've even tried all different kinds of bowls--plastic, ceramic, and metal.  LOL. Silly pups!  I'll just keep working at it and we'll make gradual progress.

      As far as the chews go, thank you for the warning about leaving them alone with them.  I didn't know what to expect with them so that's vaulable information.  If I were to introduce them while I was at home and watching him, are those safe for his age--i.e. not too hard and easily digestible by young puppies?  

      In the meantime, I'll keep using the Kong.  It works for a short time but he seems to lose interest after about 15 minutes.  I'll just keep trying though.  I'm sure he'll work through it.


      • Anything that is edible, as Karen said below, should be for under supervision only.  Riley has LOVED both bully sticks and beef tracheas but they upset her tummy so we don't give her those anymore.  With the things like bully sticks etc. I would limit the amount of time when pup is very young because it's essentially a new food item so it's best to proceed with caution.  If it's something small like a pig ear or a small trachea or something though I wouldn't worry too much about it.  Riley would get big braided bully sticks and the gigantic tracheas and I had to take it away part way through. 

        Himalayan chews never gave my pups any digestive upsets, it seems pretty gentle on the stomach (it's basically just milk and lime juice most of the time).  I just can't give them to Riley because she can crack one in half pretty easily, she's very strong.... and I can't give one to Toby because Riley would be very sad lol.

        Kongs have never held my dogs' interest for long, you can try plugging the end with peanut butter, filling the Kong with water and a few pieces of kibble.  That holds their interest for longer if you're going to be gone for a few hours.  These days we're working from home so we haven't had to do that though, they're fine with just having a rest in their crate with no entertainment for an hour or so.

        Between Riley's ability to destroy things and her sensitive tummy we only have Nylabone DuraBones and Kongs as chew objects in the house.  The Kongs are only used as a little evening treat when the dogs get put in their crates while we get the kids ready for bed etc. but they can have the nylabones anytime they want.  

    • Stick with the non-edible things for crate time: the puppy nylabones are fine, you might want to also consider Benebones. 
      However, I strongly disagree with the vet advice about only giving things you can dent with your fingernail. It's stock "vet speak", and what's behind it is the fear that some dogs may fracture a tooth on ultra hard chew objects. But it's impractical and ridiculous, IMO.  I mean, you can't really dent a piece of kibble with your fingernail, lol. You can't dent a Nylabone. I'm a big fan of beef tendons, tracheas, & scapulas, and pig or cow ears as chew objects for dogs, and you can't dent those with your fingernail either. So for times when you can supervise, forget that fingernail stuff, lol.
      It is sometimes recommended to hand feed your puppy as a way to bond with him, and it's also a tool used for controlling/correcting resource guarding, but it's really not necessary. A lot of puppies are hesitant to eat from a bowl at first, mostly because they have never eaten alone and the whole concept is foreign to them. They absolutely do need company when they eat. I like J's suggestion of sitting on the floor with him, and trying it with a few pieces of kibble on the floor. I had great success with a cat bowl when Jasper was a puppy, it is shallow like the feeders many breeders use. A paper plate might work too.
      Never give your dog food or water from plastic bowls or containers; they are porous and can cause dark staining around the mouth.:)

      • Thank you!  You guys are so helpful!

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