There’s a lot of advice out there that dogs should eat when we decide that they should, and that we shouldn’t pander to them. Whilst I agree that feeding our dogs needs to fit into our lifestyles and we need so have some control over it, I don’t follow the put it down for 10 minutes and if they don’t eat it take it away and then feed again at the next feeding time.
In case this might help other people who feel that they HAVE to follow this advice but would like an alternative I thought I’d explain what I do with Ted. I completely understand that this might not work for a lot of people but it works well for Ted and I.
Ted is fed twice a day, he has a very, very small breakfast stuffed into a Kong with some salmon oil on, I’d say it’s about 10% of his daily intake and is more of a snack than anything. He pretty much without fail is waiting for this when we get back from a walk and eats it straight away. Him not wanting this meal would be a sign for me that he’s not feeling well.
He then has a dinner which is fed some time after his afternoon walk. Ted is fed on a towel in the lounge whilst I am with him. I only put the towel down when I am ready to supervise him feeding. I put down his food and one of two things will happen. He will either get stuck in straight away or he’ll inspect the food then go off to do something else.
This is where what I do diverges from a lot of the advice. I pick up the food pretty much straight away as if he hasn’t started eating he is going to right then. I don’t give him 10 minutes because experience shows that he isn’t going to change his mind in that time frame. But I leave the towel down.
When Ted is ready to eat he will let me know by sitting on the towel and grumbling! I then give him the food back. He will then get stuck in. I figure that this is no different to me deciding to eat later than I normally would because I’m not feeling hungry. As I said this doesn’t inconvenience me and I want Ted to know that if he feels hungry he can ask for food (he self regulates so he’s not a greedy dog).
As he self regulates I often give him larger pieces to work on over a couple of dinners but I can also judge pretty well what is the right amount for one meal and feed these sizes too. Only once have I knowingly underfed him. I know this because he finished his dinner then remained on the towel grumbling, I was a bit distracted so didn’t do anything until he decided to go and grumble at the fridge! Still not 100% convinced I never the less got something out of the freezer, ran it under the tap and popped it down for him. He got stuck straight in!
I know that this won’t work for everyone for lots of reasons, but I love the fact that Ted knows he can ask for food if he is hungry and that he will be fed.
What do you do at feeding time?