Puppies, I have to be honest with you. I love food. I mean, I love it so much I lose control of myself whenever I think I am about to get food. I get so excited I just have to dance. Foody-food-food. Oh, sorry, I was getting around to the topic of the day. Feeding time means our humans have to make choices that affect our physical and behavioral health. At my house we begin with six clean bowls - some purchased, some donated - we are not picky about dishes.
Then Mama and Papa measure out our kibble to help us maintain a healthy weight.
Recently we met some nice people from a company called FreshPet
, and they donated a whole bunch of food to MaPaw. Papa chops up the roll so it is easier to scoop and mix with our kibble.
Now it is time to work. Each puppy must perform a task, based on skill level, to get the glorious food. Bailey and Ananya usually do a long sit-stay or down-stay because they have the most training. They begin when the empty bowls are on the table and stay through the food preparation until the dishes are down and they get the Okay. You can see it is challenging for them because Ananya is drooling and Bailey is keeping his eye on his food dish.
I like to dance during the food prep, which Mama says is okay as long as I stay in my spot anddo not disturb the other puppies. Before I get my food I also must sit and stay for about 10 seconds because that is enough of a challenge for me.
When the 3 of us are sitting calmly, it is finally time to eat! We always eat before the foster dogs because it reinforces our status at the top of the pack. It is important that our pack positions do not shift around when the pack is always changing so we do not get too stressed.
Now it is the foster dogs' turn. Since they usually do not have much training background, most of them just do a sit for food with no stay at all. Codey tried to cheat by sitting before Mama asked, so then she asked him to down for his food.
Sometimes we have a foster dog who has food aggression, is nervous around the rest of us, or
just cannot control his Sibe puppy exuberance (Dawkin) and disturbs the rest of us when we are trying to work. Those puppies have to go in the hole. Just kidding, they go in the laundry room, which is just off the kitchen and has just enough space for one puppy to eat comfortably. As their behavior improves, they gradually move up to eating in there with the door open and then to eating in the kitchen with the rest of us. Before they can get to those stages, they must first accomplish a sit for their food while in the laundry room.
Although Ananya, Bailey, and I must all be sitting at the same time to get our food, the foster dogs just have to sit one at a time for their food because they have not worked on stay yet. I am usually done eating my food by the time they all get to eat.
As we finish, we each must go outside to wait for the other puppies to finish. That rule prevents scuffles caused by puppies wandering too close to each other's bowls. Usually either Dawkin or Codey is the last to finish eating.
That is how we incorporate a litttle training into our mealtime so that we stay in practice, and at the same time prevent scuffles with a regular routine. It is just one aspect of our NILF