Sunday, August 23, 2009

It's Dinner Time

Isn't it amazing how well animals can tell time without reading a watch? Mine wake up each morning right around the same time give or take five minutes. We have set times we take them outside during the day and they come and tell us when it's time. Though Fudge tries to move it up a few minutes each day, they're still quite accurate. The one they never miss is dinner time.

No matter where they are at 4:oo, they come looking for me to let me know it's time to eat. Here they've been playing outside when the hands on the clock start heading toward 4. They start wandering away from whatever they're doing and coming to see what I'm doing.

I feed everyone in the garage. Their bowls are stacked on a rack above the sink where they've been drying since breakfast. I put their bowls in the dishwasher each night. In the morning after they eat breakfast, I rinse out the bowls and stack them so they'll be ready for dinner.

My dogs eat kibble. They get lots of other things, too. They get fruits and veggies. Sometimes I cook for them making a special stew with turkey and rice and veggies. Sometimes they get leftovers with their kibble.

They don't get special toppings every day. That way they eat their kibble and don't wait for something better to come along. I pretty well know that some of them have preferences. For instance Tsar doesn't like fish very well. When the others get fish on their dinner, I find something else for him.

We keep some special items on hand. I always have some canned ID dog food on hand if someone has an upset tummy or isn't feeling well for some reason. ID is easy for them to digest and they all seem to like it. I also have some small cans of dog food that Morgan used to eat. Now we use them as special treats when I don't have the time or energy to fix them something else.

Morgan, who suffers with OCD, occasionally decides that she won't eat something. Recently she was eating diet dog food since she has a problem with her weight. She suddenly decided that she didn't want it anymore and nothing would make her eat it.

I found another dog food that she does like, but because it's not a diet formula she started gaining weight. After a discussion with Dr B, Morgan is now eating the dog food she likes, but only getting half as much. The other half of her meal consists of green beans. She likes them, they make her feel full without a lot of calories and they give her extra fiber, which she needs.

Today my pack is getting shrimp with their dinner. They're left over from a meal I ordered at a restaurant. I'll cut them up into little pieces and mix them into their bowls with their dog food. They won't last long as everyone except Tsar loves them. Tsar will get some pieces of chicken that I have leftover.

I'm very fortunate to have a refrigerator, sink and microwave in the garage so that I can prepare their meals right there where I serve them. I also have a little area where we keep the dog food. We have to keep a gate up so that some of them, such as Samba and Sky, don't help themselves.

Some time between 10 and 11 PM I'll bring them to the garage for yogurt. I keep a good supply of it in the refrigerator. This is an excellent training opportunity as this is something they like a lot.

I feed the dogs two at a time. This way I can be sure each one eats his or her own food and observe if someone doesn't like something. It puts less pressure on the dogs so they don't eat as fast and I also use the time for training. They each have to sit nicely before I put their bowl down. The first one to finish has to wait quietly for their partner and can't bother them while they're still eating. It gives me a chance to observe each of them and handle each separately.

Rob, on the other hand, likes to feed them all together in one big free for all. He puts down all ten bowls then turns them all loose. Of course he has no control over who eats what and they all try to eat very fast and go after the next guy's dinner. Although I have explained why I do it my way, he doesn't have the patience to feed them separately. It's one of those gender things.

Is it ready yet?


gMarie said...

I'm guessing she's looking in the garage window? I feed mine all at the same time, but in different rooms. Beau & Lucy eat at either end of the dining room and Dudley & Abby eat in the entry way. Abby is the slowest and will often wait until everyone else is finished to even start. That was she can show them all who's boss. Bratty dog :) g

♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ said...

Your pups are so well csred for - looks like you have quite the system there. Mine can tell time too. For Phantom it is always for walking time and bedtime. TD knows all his meal times but most importantly he knows bedtime because he loves his bedtime snackie:)

Tail wags, the OP Pack

Thor and Jack said...

Can I eat there some day? That looks delicious! ;)
Have a great week, guys!


Molly the Airedale said...

Mitch is always trying to figure out a way to move the dindin hour up too!
Meal time at your house must be a very busy time of the day!

Love ya lots,
Maggie and Mitch

SissySees said...

That last photo is precious. My boys told time VERY well, and Fred - like Fudge - tried to move dinner time up a few minutes. The girls aren't so food-driven (and in fact, never ate dinner last night), so time isn't such an issue for them.

Martha said...

Our two know the time as well - it can be annoying but they love their routine.
You do so very well with your dogs knowing all their likes and dislikes.
Our two have kibble with 'extras' too!
We love that last pic - time for dinner!
Martha & Bailey xxx

Rocky Creek Scotties and Rocky Creek Ramblings said...

What a wonderful post about the joys of eating - we all think we know when dinner times comes too - so Mom keeps changing the times. We all eat at the same time since there are only 4 of us, but Mom has us quartered off from each other. Piper eats in a large wire crate because he is a slow eater and he gets his food first. Java, the lucky labradude, gets the whole kitchen to himself. Carrleigh and Lilly eat fairly close to each other because Mom knows if Carrleigh starts stealing Lilly's food that Lilly would just whip her butt!! We guys are much nicer - we just step to the side and let Carrleigh gobble down all of our food!!

Have a great day.

Lilly, Piper, Carrleigh and Java

Lapdog Creations said...

Look at all those yummy toppings! Our kids get a little mix in with each dinner... whether it be canned food, yogurt, cottage cheese, veggies, pasta....

Marjie said...

Thor won't eat dog food unless there's human food in it. We have a bowl of Bites & Bones down all the time, but he rarely eats during the day. He loves his people food, even veggies (although he can't have broccoli, because we can't stand the after-effects). But the funniest pet we ever had to feed was a grey cat named Graceful (who was NOT) who would eat spaghetti with our previous mastiff, and loved green beans! Morgan's beans reminded me of Graceful.

Hero said...

It would be interesting watching dinner time at your house. You should video them doing a nice sit stay as they wait for their meal. I'm not a big fan of food and Tagpi will eat anything any time of the day so neither of us have bellies that are good for telling our hoomans the time.

I eat mostly home cooked meals and Tagpi occasionally eats raw since he doesn't mind bloody meat. I can't stand it. We eat fish 2-3 times a week and beef, pork, or turkey on the other days. We also eat organ meat, eggs and cottage cheese. Veggies and grains aren't a big part of our diet, but when there are leftovers that the hoomans don't finish, mom mashes up the veggies and rice and adds it to our meals.

We also eat kibble sometimes, but since I'm intolerant of chicken my mom has to order food from the states, since all the kibble on our island has chicken in it.

Mad about Craft said...

Meg gets fed at different times, both morning and teatime because of our different start times and getting in times but she will always remind you at some point if you've forgotten to feed her and she knows there is no ponit bothering until after 5pm.

Astrid Keel said...

holy moly! What a great variety of toppings! i get yogurt and sometimes canned food... not too exciting...

Can I come eat at your house? I promise to be on time!

silfert said...

We used to put all four bowls down at once. As Alpha, Kavik was always first to her bowl. Nobody argued, but everybody made sure they were right on time!

Love that last picture...

Tee said...

Hehehehe - love the photo asking 'is it ready yet?'

You're right about their timing. It's really accurate. Our Dogs get fed in the morning and evening too and if you're a little slow in getting their food done, they'd really let you know!