availability of food bowl for the dog

Posted by tarek
Jan 18, 2010

my Rottie (Rolf) is used to eat many times during the day from his bowl.
i tried to fix a period of time for the bowl to be available for him, then remove it. but this way he eats less and he started losing weight. Now he has his bowl all day long.
does this affect his behavior in any way? whats better (behavior wise and health wise), to leave the bowl for him from meal to meal? or to set a period of two hours for example then remove the bowl?
Posted by crazycrayonmom
Jan 18, 2010
Imho I don't think it's wrong to leave food out for your dog all day if he isn't an over-eater. I know there are some pack leader reasons for feeding our furr babies after we eat but if you don't have those issues either I don't see why Rolf shouldn't get to nosh during the day.

With a multi-dog household I've never been able to leave food out because it seems like I've always had at least one dog that's part pig. I say as long as Rolf isn't over weight let him enjoy!
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Jan 18, 2010
Hi tarek and crazycrayonmom;

I don't want to recommend free feeding (leaving food all the time) not only for the health reason that crazycrayonmom explained but also from a training point of view:

If food is available to Rolf all the time, he would take it for granted and the value of food diminishes. This can affect his motivation to work hard to get rewards (treats) when you want to train him.

I would take the food away after 15-20 mins. He will be fine if he misses one or two meals. He will soon learn that he needs to eat whenever the food is offered and he will be looking forward to his next meal time.

I think dogs living in more structured life (i.e., meal times, walk times, training times, play times, etc.) will be more curious about their owner's routine and typically more alert to what their owner is going to do next. This will be very helpful to get your dog's attention.
Posted by tarek
Jan 19, 2010
[QUOTE=crazycrayonmom;4787]Imho I say as long as Rolf isn't over weight let him enjoy![/QUOTE]

Hi crazycrayonmom and MaxHollyNoah ,
no Rolf is well shaped i believe, he is 88 pounds. but behavior wise, i would prefer now to set limited times for his feeding at least to increase his dependancy on me and regain his trust that i am in charge.

but i am only feeding him once at 5 pm with bowl left till morning.
now i will start leaving bowl for 30 minutes, going on to 15 or 10 minutes.
should i add a morning meal?
Posted by kjd
Jan 19, 2010

I give my dogs an AM and PM feeding. Although Rolf is a good weight right now, I am glad to see you are taking him off the self-feeding plan; that can lead to overeating, if only when bored. If you do feed twice a day, find out how much he should be eating and give him half at each feeding.
Once you have Rolf used to eating at set times, you may have to adjust how much you feed him, depending on whether he changes weight or not.