24 May 2008

Solving the Eating Situation

We'd been trying to get Molly to eat on a schedule. After 5 days, she ate supper. The next day, she ate supper again. But then there were several days before she would eat another meal. So despite doing things right for teaching her, it just doesn't work for Molly right now. We've tried different foods and the ones we have now she likes fine--she eats them happily as training treats.

In all likelihood, Molly just finds eating kibble out of a bowl once or twice a day to be too boring, even if her only other choice at that moment is to lie in her crate and do nothing. So to make sure she gets enough to eat on a regular basis, we're going to have to hand feed, put food in her kong every day, and give a lot of training treats.

It seems to be working. Molly especially enjoys kibble in her kong. It doesn't have to be doctored or anything. Just a small handful of kibble loose in her kong several times a day so she can work to get it out inspires her to eat a day's worth of food with no stress. If there isn't time for her to play with a kibble-filled kong, I can just reward her for training or jobs with a few pieces of regular kibble instead of only one tiny treat piece.

So that's the end of eating on a schedule for this girl. She's not eating when she wants to anymore, though. The food is in our control and she gets it when we want to give it and only then. I think she'll end up pretty regular out of it now that she won't be eating in the middle of the night or right before bed time. We'll just have to keep tabs on her and see how it goes. It certainly feels better knowing that she's getting enough to eat every day.

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