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Dog is afraid of water bowls

About 4 months ago we unexpectedly adopted a 9 year old aussie (maybe?) mix.  Her owners didn't want to pay for bladder stone surgery and they brought her to a vet to have her put down.  The vet thought of us since we currently have an aussie and a border collie and we ended up with Gizmo.  We have no history on her except her most recent bladder issues.

So I've just noticed that she is afraid of all water bowls except one of the big plastic ones we have down.  We are a bit of a dog hotel with our friends and family so we keep 3 large bowls down at all times, but it wasn't until I started paying attention that I realized she only used one of them.  So we experimented last night and put down just the big blue bowl.  She will walk up to it and sort of case it out.  Then she'll attempt to approach from all different angles, but will jump back.  Then she'll stand as far away as possible and lean in to take maybe one gulp before jumping back.  It is really strange.  We watched her behavior for a few minutes and then put the one she likes back down. 

I'd really like to get her past this because not drinking water on our hikes isn't safe (this is why I started paying attention to her habits) and I'd rather not have to bring this one bowl around with her forever.

Any thoughts?  Thanks!


Re: Dog is afraid of water bowls

  • Is the bowl metallic or plastic?  When we first got Renzo we had a big metal dish for him.  His tags would clang against the bowl when he drank and he FLIPPED out!  We put his dishes in a plastic elevated feeder thing so now his tags just his the plastic and he is fine.

    Dogs can be really weird about stuff like this.  :-)

  • They are all plastic, but that is a good thought.  Maybe she had a traumatic experience in the past with a metal bowl?  So strange.  I can understand the portable hiking ones because they are squishy and much smaller.  I just watch her and try to imagine what could possibly going through her head.

    Would it make it worse to continue trying new bowls out and trying to get her used to a variety? 

  • image LifeTakeTwo:

    Would it make it worse to continue trying new bowls out and trying to get her used to a variety? 

    Hmm.  I'm not sure.  With Renzo there are few things that make loud noises that seem like he'll NEVER get used to them (the oven timer beeping for example, he runs for the hills when it goes off).  Some things we have conditioned him to believe are okay.  It might be worth trying a few different bowls and when you find one that works stick with it! Is there a favorite plastic toy like a ball you could float in the water in the dish?

    He didn't like it so much when his ball bounced into the empty bowl.  Poor guy.  I tortured him long enough to get a video and then retrieved the ball for him.  :-)

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