View Full Version : been awhile, but I'm seeking advice!

25th June 2009, 11:28 PM
Hi, All! I know it's been ages since I've been here. I guess I'm going through a forum-less phase. Still, when I need advice the good folks here are one of my go-to sources!! I hope you don't mind lending a few ideas!

You may or may not remember I now have four cavaliers, Cedar, Willow, Holly, and Bella. All but Cedar were rescues from different types of situations. Ever since dog #3 (Holly) joined us, we've been working on minor meal time issues. When Holly joined us, she started off eating her meal in her bowl on the floor near the other two without any problem. Then, she realized that if she ate her food really quickly, she could go and steal Willow's food. Willow was low dog in the pack, and she backed off if Holly shoved her way in (which is Holly's approach to everything in life --she just shoves her way in!). So, we started kenneling Holly at meal times, and presto! No problem. She's to the point where even after we moved her feeding place (went from an xpen to a kennel in a different room) she would still go sit in the old spot, even without a barrier, and eat her own bowl! Now she's retrained to go to her kennel, and she's one of my best at mealtimes now.

Then comes dog #4, Bella. Bella came to me as a foster from a puppy mill. When I got her, she was three-pounds underweight -- just skin and bones. At first, she was perfectly fine eating from her bowl on the floor near Cedar and Willow (and Holly in kennel). Then, as she got stronger and more confident (great strides!!), she started doing the same as Holly -- hurry and eat and try to steal from Willow. Bella's not as confident as Holly, though, and Willow wasn't as easy to push around. Bella just tries to push in, and Willow blocks her and they go around and around. (No fighting -- more like shoving!)

Since it worked with Holly, I tried kenneling Bella. However, although Bella couldn't get to anyone else's food, she still ate like her food would disappear any second. She would eat so fast that she'd regurgitate what she swallowed and eat it again. I thought once she was used to the kennel, that would eventually stop. However, it only seemed to get worse.

SO-- I decided to kennel Willow, who is perfectly find eating anywhere, and Cedar does not let any dog push her away from her food. Even Holly knows that! ;) Still, though, Bella ate too fast. This summer, then, I have been on a training mission eat meal time to control Bella's eating. I started feeding her by hand so that I could control when she got a piece of kibble. She had to wait for the kibble to come to her -- no stepping toward the kibble! She also has to gently take the kibble from me rather than shark biting at it. She's learned this (and I still have all my fingers!) and I can feed her by hand fairly quickly. I've recently tried to transition this training to having the kibble in the bowl. however, I have less control over when she gets the food when it's in the bowl -- she gets rewarded for her shark attacks at the food. I'm only putting a few kibbles in at a time (to extend the training opportunities and to ensure she doesn't eat too much too fast), but even with just one kibble in the bowl she dives in. I've tried putting my hand in the bowl, holding the bowl and taking it away, keeping the kibble in my hand and just holding the bowl under it when feeding. Anytime the bowl is used it's like it triggers her to eat really fast.

So, do you have any suggestions how I can help her understand that she needs to eat as gently out of the bowl as she does out of my hand? :confused:

25th June 2009, 11:45 PM
When my girl started hoovering up her food a little to quickly, I placed a rubber Kong in the middle of her dinner so that she had to eat around it which slowed her down. You could also place some of her kibble inside the kong which would slow her down further. Might be worth a go? :)

Mom of Jato
25th June 2009, 11:47 PM
I have one that eats super fast too! She has always done this, but never throws up afterwards, just burps. :o I feed her around the corner from Jato in the kitchen and stand between them so she can't steal his food. He eats VERY slow, and will let her steal from his bowl when she has the chance. :( I hope someone has advice for us- just thought I'd let you know you're not alone in this.

25th June 2009, 11:52 PM
When my girl started hoovering up her food a little to quickly, I placed a rubber Kong in the middle of her dinner so that she had to eat around it which slowed her down. You could also place some of her kibble inside the kong which would slow her down further. Might be worth a go? :)

Thanks, Phoebe! I've tried putting things in the bowl -- including my own hand! -- and that only seems to make her eat more forcefully. I have not tried putting her food in a toy, though. I'd probably have to kennel Cedar (as well as the other two) since Cedar loves those toys and they are HERS when they are out. Bella's not the smartest dog in the pack -- I wonder how long it would take her to eat her entire lunch from a toy?

Thanks, Phoebe, for the other option!

26th June 2009, 09:30 AM
My friend has 4 labradors, and they all eat in different rooms for just that problem, the younger two will steal the older twos food and the cats if they get the chance. di

Brian M
26th June 2009, 09:37 AM

I can only think she is by nature a quick eater and to break her meal down to less but more often so giving her more time to digest .My Poppy is a hoover:v*cuum: but thankfully she just burps after her meal ,but Daisy is dead slow and stop up to 30 mins per meal and Rosie just take some persuasion to start and she takes about 15 mins and Pops around 3-4 mins ,but Daisy and Rosie are fed in their crates and Poppy just outside so theres no food pinching goes on . :)

Kate H
26th June 2009, 11:36 AM
I too have a rescue from a puppy farm (mill) and similar problems. A friend who knows a lot about puppy farms tells me that the dogs are often fed as a group by simply having one bowl of dry food put down - so our rescues come from a background of having to fight for their food, and need to get the confidence that those days are over and they will have plenty of food without needing to fight for it. But it takes time to unlearn a longstanding habit. My Aled is now fed in the bathroom (I live in a small bungalow, so it's just across the hall) - we only have a problem over dry food at supper time, breakfast (a small amount of tinned food or a raw chicken wing) is generally fine, bones are fine. To begin with Aled was so busy barking in the bathroom he didn't eat his food; now he eats it up quietly, and if occasionally he finishes his breakfast quickly and starts bullying Oliver for his, he knows he will be put in the bathroom immediately until Oliver has finished. Oliver won't let Aled steal his food and we've had some stand-offs, but considering Aled has only been with us 6 months, the situation seems to be improving. It's really hit and miss and trying different solutions until you find what works!

Kate, Oliver and Aled

26th June 2009, 01:48 PM
I have a rescue that eats like this. He waits until everybody else is finished & then attacks his, constantly looking around as he does. I've thought about buying one of these brake-fast bowls. http://www.brake-fast.net/ If someone has tried this I would like some input on your experience.

26th June 2009, 02:08 PM
I got the small aluminum Brake-fast bowl for Sparky to slow him down.

He was inhaling his food in 3 seconds flat and it was giving him horrible tummy troubles. He's a rescue too. The new bowl slowed him down to about 45 seconds.

This is the link to it:

I like that it is metal so it doesn't absorb bacteria and stuff like plastics can.

Kate H
26th June 2009, 06:42 PM
Just after I sent my earlier post I saw an advert in Our Dogs for a bowl that slows down fast eaters. It's called the DogPause bowl and seems to be available in both UK and US. Their website is www.dogpausebowl.co.uk (http://www.dogpausebowl.co.uk)

Kate, Oliver and Aled

28th June 2009, 12:03 AM
Thanks! You've given me some new ideas to try! If anyone has any more advice, I'd appreciate it.

I'll let you know how it goes!