View Full Version : Free Feeding or Scheduled Times?

Sydneys Mom
4th January 2013, 04:16 PM
Just curious what everyone does. When I first brought BellaMia home, we free fed 3/4 cup of dry as that is what the breeder did and I didn't want to change too many things too fast. She nibbled on this all day and finished her portion by the end of the day. She ate calmly, no running around and dancing, no excitement. I have since transitioned her to 3 meals, 1/4 cup each meal and now she's literally running in circles, jumping and diving into the food bowl. I made this change a month ago. I want to stop this crazy behavior.

I do give training treats throughout the day. She munches on a bully stick and gets a biscuit while my husband and I eat dinner. He thinks we should have continued with free feeding, I think scheduled feeding is better overall for health and digestion.

Thoughts or suggestions?

4th January 2013, 04:41 PM
With this breed in particular, free feeding is not a good idea. But trainers, vets and good breeders all generally strongly advise against free feeding for any kind of dog 9and I don;t do it any longer for cats either -- encourages obesity and I had two that were getting overweight).

Makes it difficult to see how well the dog is eating, promotes dogs becoming finicky and food-guarding, can create problems if they are being boarded ot at vet; food left out can be attractive to flies; if you get a second dog or a cat this type of feeding becomes a flashpoint for fights... feed measured amounts at regular times, and consider using a kong or treatball for the entire meal or feeding through the day as rewards for training -- many trainers say feeding from the bowl is boring for the dog, encourages eating too fast, and wastes a training and/or brainwork opportunity.

Vet Sophia Yin just had a post about this recently on her Facebook page. :)

4th January 2013, 04:43 PM
To train for a calm response -- just refuse to give her the bowl til she is sitting and waiting calmly. It doesn't take long for them to figure this out. :)

Using a treatball or kong lets her work her way through her meal and not gulp it.

Puppies tend to eat more slowly than maturing dogs.

Sydneys Mom
4th January 2013, 07:07 PM
To train for a calm response -- just refuse to give her the bowl til she is sitting and waiting calmly. It doesn't take long for them to figure this out. :)

Well, I guess this is what I'm going to try at next meal.!

4th January 2013, 07:20 PM
It really does work Joyce! Sparky is from a puppy mill and he used to be insane at dinner time. I just held the food dish up until he stopped jumping around and sat quietly. You have to be patient and just wait them out until they get calm.

It took a little while to get it consistent, but now he doesn't do that anymore. he gets a bit excited when I put his snood on, but doesn't do the whole crazy dinner dance anymore

5th January 2013, 01:35 AM
Its not really that hard to switch from free feeding to meal times.I mean sure little dog gets hungry and stays that way to an hour or so but........ it only take a few meal times, feeding 3 times a day maybe 2 at most. I have done it with a bunch of dogs never had one just not get it tho some take longer than others.

As for crazy dog running circles VERY happy to see the bowl come outicon_whistling Fletcher is a bit of a nut doing to crazy dinner dance HOWEVER I have been able to calm that some, he's allowed to get excited just no jumping up on me and I will not put the bowl down until he in his crate. However, jumping up on people is a BIG NO-NO in my house!!!!!! It's just a pet peeve of mine. Not to mention I have a little kid, even at age 5 Mr. Monster is still small enough to be knocked over by my 11 month old cavalier. My kid is a shrimp!!!!!! I like the little happy circles "Mommy your making me SOOOOOOO happy dinner dance". I mean if my family applauded when I put a meal on the table I would like that too ;)