I honestly see you main problem being lack of exercise and mental stimulation rather than the thyroid and weight issue. All the behavior you mention just screams that your dog isn't getting the exercise he needs. His world is limited to his yard, and dogs don't do well mentally when they're limited in that way. Getting him overly excited and running crazily around the yard isn't good exercise, as you already know, because you aren't getting results. If ever a dog needed a job, this one is it.
You MUST get him on a leash and out in the world. I don't mean using the 25 foot lead that lets him just do whatever he wants. You have to challenge him mentally during that walk, and that means he has to pay attention to you, his pack leader. I could write a book on what I sense your dog needs, but your best bet is to get a trainer to come work with you at home. If you can't do that, I strongly recommend you read any or all of Cesar Millan's books (The Dog Whisperer on the National Geographic Channel) and rent one or more of his DVDs available at the video store. Your dog is telling you exactly what he needs. Most people don't realize what that is. Now you do. No more excuses. You've got to get him out of the yard and walking every day.
First of all, Purina is a not a high quality commerical diet for any dog to eat. It conatins corn gluten and other "fillers" that are not beneficial for dogs. Some dogs are even allergic to corn...making their tummies distended. If your dog has a sensitive system, then you can try California Natural. There are other high quality commerical dog food better than Purina One, and they don't cost that much more than the lower quality of food.
As for treats, only give your dog "healthy" snacks, avoiding grapes, raisins or prunes since these can be extremely toxic for some dogs. In extreme cases, it can case permanent kidney damage. Raw carrotts are good, and so are bananas and apples. Cooked white chicken meat (just boil in water) is good as long as he doesn't have chicken allergies. I would avoid cheese, sausages and hotdogs. Some dogs can't handle dairy,and well sausage and hotdogs are bad for dogs and humans. You can also purchase holistic dog treats...or all natural..no preservatives or gluten.
All dogs need exercise. Since you have a Golden Retriever and is overweight, then your dog needs to be walked at least two times a day. Start off slow and build up his endurance, since it seems like he gets winded easily.
Wow 2 walks a day huh? lol - Thats gonna be funny, but it needs to happen and not just for Taz obviously. We watch the Dog Whisperer all the time and I strongly believe in what Caesar teaches, but the 4th person in this house thinks its all hogwash and all it takes is 1 person to ruin a regimen. It is not as simple as exercise though. Ya'll have to remember he has hypo-thyroidism so diet and his meds are key in combination with the exercise. I know he needs more exercise for sure especially now since you two replied, but I guess I'm asking what dieting portions I should try and whats a good brand. We've just never had to exercise a dog more than we are doing with him now and to be honest he gets more exercise now than any other dog we've ever had and we've had a Collie, Bassett Hound and a German Shepherd before this.
All we have in our town here is Wal-mart and 3 other grocery stores and I'd have to visit each one to find out what dog food lines they carry, but as I recall its all the same. There are no pet stores here let alone health food stores or pet health food stores. The PurinaOne that we are giving him isn't the cheap one. Its the higher line for dogs with sensitive systems, but I'm willing to try an off brand I've not heard of if it'll help him lose weight.
I forgot to mention too that we tried him on Science Diet for 2 months a while back and we gave him the amount of food it said to give for what we WANTED him to weigh and it did absolutely nothing, but now its obvious the exercise element of the equation was missing.
Other thing - I have tried Caesar's tactics many times with Taz on walks. He is belligerent to the core. I have a short leash and he always runs out ahead of me, always pulls and yanks and I mean I'm not fighting a small weight dog here. This his 135lbs of fat/muscle pulling on me and he isn't dumb either.... he's pulled himself OUT of the collar several times even with it at its last notch. We've been meaning to get him a harness because the time he pulled himself off the collar was when he went to attack other dogs. Thats part of the problem of walking him too; we never know when he is going to try to attack another dog and the last time that happened the other guy was walking 2 dogs (1 on leash and 1 not; which was dumb on his part) and our dog bite the other one though there was no bloodshed. Seriously though, I change my mood to happy, I try to put Taz to my side as we're walking, but he will not stay there. He always jolts in front, pulls, yanks, etc.. I manage to keep him out of dog fights most of the time by just continuing on forward till his attention refocus' elsewhere, but sometimes its unavoidable as most dog walkers know.
Yeah, everyone has to be onboard to see change. It just makes your work even harder.
Exercise is important at any age, but take it slowly with your guy...he's 8 years old and has other health issues. All dogs are different, too...can't compare them. You can try Fly Ball in your backyard. He's a Golden Retriever, and this should be really fun for him. But it's really important that you walk him. He's looking to you to lead. Try walking in the early morning or in the evening when it's cooler, and bring water with you (for you and your dog).
A lot of the high quality dog food aren't sold at PetSmart or Walmart, etc. Unfortunately, you would have to special order them, or find a small specialized pet store. The reason is that most of the top quality dog foods don't mass produce for large chain stores like PetSmart, Walmart, or a supermarkets, etc. They end up catering to small doggy boutiques. A high priced food does not mean it's high quality food. There's a difference. Therefore, it's really important to read the label. If you want to, you can cook your own food...boiled white chicken meat and brown rice (not white) is healthy for dogs.
How many times a day are you feeding Taz? Usually adult dogs eat one meal a day. If Taz can't handle that, then feed him 2 times a day, but adjust the portion. Portion size is important. The recommendation on the bag of dog food is always too much for a dog. You'll have to make that determination on your own...based on the dog's individual needs.
Good luck! Keep us posted about Taz.
Wow, there's a lot going on with Taz. Is Taz short for Tazmanian Devil? I mean this is the most light hearted way, because I like the Tazmanian Devil.
Last months issue of Whole Dog Journal had a list of the best dry dog foods. I don't remember all but what I do remember is that none of them are sold in Walmart or Grocery Stores - are there any feed stores nearby ? Sometimes they carry good brands - I feed my guys Chicken Soup for the Dog Lovers Soul and I get it at a feed store. Try to look for foods that do not have corn or fillers - Any type of "meal" or "by-products" are not good either. Go on-line and research for the best dog foods and go from there. But regardless of the food exercise is really important.
You can always check online for premium dog food that can be delivered to your home. Ask your vet to recommend a few different brands and take it from there. When you read the ingredients, you want the first few ingredients listed to be "real food" like meat instead of "meat by-products" and higher in meat than grains. I now use Royal Canin for a Dalmation with a sensistive tummy. He's doing great on it, and both of my dogs go nuts over it. None of my dogs has ever been enthusiastic about kibble until I started the Royal Canin. scoty2 is right to look for foods that don't have a bunch of corn in it. Corn is notorious for causing allergic reactions and tummy troubles. It's very cheap, so that's why manufacturers of cheaper dog foods tend to rely on it.
I can tell you that the cheapest foods at the grocery or discount stores will not be the best for any dog. They are high in fiber and fillers, and low on nutrients, resulting in the dog eating 4 times more than normal and pooping 4 times as often. It's really worth the few extra dollars to feed with a premium food.
Yes, lol - Taz is short for "Tazmanian Devil" because thats what he reminded my sister/father of when they went to pick him out as a puppy. At the time they went to get him he had the police chasing him down for some reason or another (so I'm told).
Taz eats twice a day and we control his portion very well with a measured cup. I have since this post though dropped the food down to 3 cups + 1/2 can of green beans in the morning. We feed him 1.5 cup(s) of food per serving now and I'm making sure now he doesn't eat later than 4pm after his initial 8am-ish 1st serving.
Thanks scotty2 for the info on the dog food. I do not believe there are any feed stores around here either, but I'll look into this.
Thanks Jaybay and puppy_boo too. I had no idea about any of this "corn" and "by-product" business till I posted to this thread.
I will start doing some research on the best foods. Try to continue the diet and see how things. I'll be following this thread and posting back progress too.
I wanted to say too. Yes, I've always known people to feed their dogs 1 time a day and we used to feed Taz 1 time a day, but now there is this psychological worry for no reason embedded into my family's minds that since he's so big and begs worse than someone living on the streets no matter how often or how much he is fed that he'll DIE of hunger which to me is quite ridiculous, but it seems to ring true as sanity in their minds. I may move him to feeding only in the morning (3 cups + .5 can of green beans) so that he'll burn it the rest of the day, but I'd rather wait till he loses weight before giving him just 1 meal time for sake of himself and his weight/calorie requirement right now as well as the sake of the minds in this house that feel he NEEDS to be fed 2x a day.
For those that know whats what on dog food labels please look at this food label at the following link. This is what Taz is currently getting: http://www.thinkrolland.com/images/externallylinked/TazzyFoodPurinaOne-0001.JPG
Personally I don't see anything wrong with it except the "corn gluten meal" being in it at all. Earlier when I read ya'lls response I thought small amounts of this would be ok, but I went back and reread and ya'll are saying not to have it in there AT ALL. From what I know of my mom looking for food around town thats going to be hard to find. I may just have to resort to the ordering of the food as suggested.
Well I feel like a real jacka$$ now. I spent all kind of time looking for the best dry dog foods and took ya'lls advice of what I ingredients I DON'T want in the dog food and then I went and bought this by mistake:
I meant to get him this because its actually available in a nearby pet store that I didn't think had other than the major brands at Wal-Mart:
Do ya'll think the Nutro Natural Choice that I made the mistake in buying is better than the PurinaOne I was giving him? Cause if I can't take it back I'd like to make use of it.