Feeding My Chow Hounds

Alternate title:  So Much for the Totem Pole (#MultiPetMania)

Feeding my three chow-hounds can be challenging at times.

Even though I’m retired and don’t have to rush around the house in the morning getting ready for work, I do have time constraints at times.  I try to get the girls fed before we eat so they don’t beg and whine at us while we’re eating.  (There are two things I hate while I’m eating: having the dogs right at our feet begging for some of our food, and having hubby encourage the begging by sneaking them a bite of his food. — In his defense, though, he’s been really good about not doing it since before we got Ducky’s IBD diagnosis.).  Let us not forget that there are three different personalities at play here…

First there’s Callie. You would think by looking at her that she would be satisfied with her meals and occasional treats. She’s at an ideal weight for a dog of her age and activity level. But every now and then, she decides she wants more.  Or, maybe she just wants to make sure Shadow didn’t get more food or different food. Either way, there are times when she does not show any respect for Shadow’s personal space; and I have to divert her attention elsewhere. (Like back to her own bowl to finish her own food.)

Then there’s my sweet Shadow. Shadow has always been very respectful of Callie’s space.  And of Callie’s seniority status.  To the point where unless she is extremely hungry, she will wait for Callie to start eating before approaching her own bowl. Maybe she learned that from her biological mother, I don’t know.  She certainly didn’t learn it from watching Callie. 

  

But, because she is so respectful of Callie, she demands the same respect in return. And rightfully so. The first time I saw my two girls in a bitey-face brawl (when normally they shared everything quite nicely) it was quite a shock and a bit scary. When it dawned on me what was going on, circumventing it became a matter of watching their body language. Now, I can spot trouble before it starts and 99% of the time I’m successful at keeping things calm and quiet at meal time.

Of course there’s always one in the group who has to stir the pot at every opportunity.  Yup, I’m talking about my little brat dog, Ducky.  I still have to take away the opportunity at times.

So, I feed the big girls first and then I feed Ducky.  Whether she gets the connection between being fed last and being low dog on the totem pole is highly questionable.  But then again, considering she is constantly trying to usurp Shadow’s seniority over her own, maybe she does get it.  Ah, sibling rivalry.  ðŸ˜

Then there’s treat time. Oh. My. Dogs!  Sometimes I feel like I need a clone, or a robot. Whatever form it would take, I need a third hand at times.  

Thankfully, now that Callie and Shadow are seniors, they’re getting more like me.  If I have to get up from my nice, comfy chair — in their case, a cozy dog bed or the couch — to get a treat or snack, I’ll just wait until it either comes to me (thanks, Dear!) or I have to get up for some other reason.  Callie and Shadow will usually wait for it to come to them.   It’s those times when they don’t want to wait that get a little challenging.

Luckily, Callie and Shadow have learned over the years that Mom will always give them identical treats so they don’t have to argue over who got the bigger, better piece.  Or who’s Mom’s favorite of the two. 

And then there’s Ducky. Ducky’s ego tells her “what’s everyone else’s is mine and what’s mine is my own”. And you thought dogs didn’t have egos. Ha! Watch Ducky interact with her sisters, her daddy, and me for as little as five minutes and you’ll be convinced otherwise.  

I have found that the easiest way to keep peace among the furry siblings is to give Ducky her treat first. Then, I give the big girls their treats at the same time while Ducky’s distracted by her own treat.  Oh well, so much for the totem pole.  ðŸ˜

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18 thoughts on “Feeding My Chow Hounds

  1. Emmadog says:

    Funny how for most dogs fighting ensues with food but at our house, food has never been an issue. We fight over attention from Mom or visitors. It is good you can read your pups, Mom reads us too and knows exactly when trouble is about to begin! Thanks for joining the hop!

  2. Cascadian Nomads Bethany Clochard says:

    My boys share food quite well too which is a huge relief since Tynan was VERY food aggressive. There was a whole long waring about it on his Human Society paper work. Like Emma’s family, our issues are over attention and couch and bed space. I love what you said about needing a third hand at treat time… yeah. Maybe we can invent one of those while our hubbies are at day care! 🙂 Poor little Wilhelm almost always gets a treat last because I cannot get my hand down to him without someone with a taller mouth grabbing it. And that little doxie sits and waits so patiently and nicely for his treat too! Thanks for joining the hop again. I look forward to seeing your three out getting their multiple pet exercise next week!

  3. Kari Neumeyer says:

    Men! Rob always complains when the dogs get in his face begging for french fries. He brought this on himself. I point out that they never do this to me (because I don’t share my fries with them; I eat them all myself!).

  4. Jan K says:

    I love how your dinner time sounds very similar to our house! Everyone has their own corners to eat in, and they have to be fed in a certain order (oh, isn’t it fun when we have a house sitter coming and have to get all that straight). Luke and Cricket have to be watched to be sure they don’t try to push Sheba out of her bowl, since she eats the slowest.
    And I love how you have to deliver treats to Shadow and Callie….Sheba prefers hers delivered as well, and even Cricket does sometimes too.
    If I do have all three right there for treats, they are pretty good about sitting and waiting their turn. But if a treat hits the floor….all bets are off and the scramble begins (Cricket usually wins since she’s closest to the floor….LOL).

    • My Golden Life says:

      My neighbors have a bulldog puppy that they are feeding outside; and training him to accept them being all around the bowl while he eats. The last bulldog they had killed their 9-year-old chihuahua over a Greenie she had hidden. It was sooooo sad.

      • Jan K says:

        Oh no, that is so sad! We had a fight break out outside between our two boys at the time (golden and beagle) and we think it was over a treat. Now no more treats outside! We just try to do everything we can to avoid any conflicts too.

  5. Dogs N Pawz says:

    It’s a chore to feed our dogs! Scout has to eat inside because we are feeding him canned food right now and the other two will eat it right out from under his nose if we aren’t careful! Ash has gotten protective of her food in just the last month and stands by it and growls and barks if Scout or Teddy comes close. I don’t know what has gotten into her!

  6. Tails Around the Ranch says:

    Never underestimate the ability of a dog’s eyes to be bigger than their stomach when it comes to food/ Sometimes I felt like a mean dog mom about meal times when there were 3 dogs, but they learned early on that the one unbreakable rule in the house was never, ever beg when the bipeds were eating. They could lay at our feet, but not beg. 😉

    • My Golden Life says:

      I don’t even want them laying at our feet. Why? Because it’s too convenient for hubby to “accidentally on purpose” “drop” some food in his lap. I not only have to deal with the begging; but I also have to limit the chances of Ducky’s IBD flaring up again.

  7. somethingwagging says:

    I’m so wary about fights over food that in 4 years of fostering, I never once fed a foster pup in the same room with Honey.

    Honey is more like your Shadow. But because she’s so sweet I believed she shouldn’t have to put up with a crazy foster puppy at dinner time.

    Sounds like you give your feeding lots of thought. And then the dogs just throw a little silliness into the mix to keep you on your toes.

  8. Maggie says:

    Sweet Ducky! I have SUCH a soft spot for pot-stirrers. 🙂 We have always put the dogs in a row in the kitchen, had them sit and wait until their bowls were down, the release them all to eat with an “ok” at once. Recently, though, Cooper and Emmett have gotten into it when I’ve been prepping bowls, so now we’re doing separate zones. It’s a hassle for sure, but I’d rather things go smoothly. Sounds like your system works really well for their unique personalities!

  9. Jodi says:

    Hehe, we always feed Sampson first and he usually gets treats first, with the exception of Kongs and that is mostly because Delilah is the persistent one. 🙂 If it’s any consolation, I’m not sure Delilah gets the correlation either.

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