I was asked recently if the boys had any food aggression issues and the answer was an easy no. They have not exhibited any food aggression issues mostly because they have had very little opportunity to have them.
The first week or so that Julius came to live with us, the boys were completely separated so feeding was just another facet of that. Julius was ravenous and scarfed down his food so that I started very early on giving him food puzzles and creating obstacles in his bowl that he had to eat around in an effort to slow him down. His first vet check showed that he wasn’t by any means skinny, so I’m just assuming that while he had sufficient food, I suspect it was not delivered on a regular basis.
Once Ju-Ju moved into the mainstream of life with us, I continued to feed him in his crate with the door open, but made sure to hover between the two boys. Ray had always been a grazer and I constantly was looking for tasty toppers to enhance his kibble so that he would finish his meals in one sitting. With work schedules, it wasn’t feasible to feed him more than twice a day and Kongs generally went untouched if he was alone. He seemed to have to be with someone (usually me) if he was eating a meal.
As the weeks progressed, the boys’ eating habits began to even out. Julius was taking more time, savoring his kibble, if you will, and Ray was finishing his meals quickly and without the aid of additional toppers, other than the teaspoonful of organic coconut oil they both received. They were both still fed in separate rooms as Ray eats in the kitchen and Juli still eats in his crate. One day I actually found Ray budging his big bully head into Juli’s crate to eat puppy kibble and Julius just sat nearby and allowed it. Needless to say, I stepped up the vigilance a bit, but all in all the boys seemed to be willing to share. Julius cleans up the floor near Ray’s bowl and Ray always inspects Julius’s area for left overs.
With the holidays and a new home, we ended up moving the crate yet again so Julius began receiving his meals around the corner in the dining room but not in his crate and since that went so well through most of December, I tried an experiment and fed them both in the kitchen, but on opposite sides of the cabinets. The only issue with that one was that Ray now eats faster than Julius, so I stay nearby to moderate, but in all actuality, this is the most gratifying thing I can think of. In my opinion, Julius is so confident that is food will come regularly twice a day that he no longer needs to inhale it. I feel like we’ve given him the gift of security and he has given us one even more valuable: trust.
That's interesting. When we adopted Lucas, we were so naive… Neither one of us had ever had more than one dog at a time, so we just got a side-by-side feeder and expected him to eat right next to Emmett. Thank goodness neither one had a problem, but Emmett eats so much faster that we eventually got him a slow-down bowl so that that could keep pace with each other. It sounds like you've worked out a perfect system!
So good to see them so well-managed and set up to succeed. Herbie and Julio are the same way… we didn't give them a chance to fight over food, and they happily share and eat side by side.
Our pooches are totally cool, too. I think they would share. Edison eats his so much faster than Tess, we are mostly worried that she's not going to get enough and he's going to get too much. We put Ed's bowls in the 1st floor bathroom and Tess's in the kitchen. It's worked well for the past 2.5 years!
Love that you set them up for success! My boys are pretty much the same and I, like you, play moderator consistently. They love meal time so much, I want it to be enjoyable and safe!!!
I've always fed Kaya and Norman next to each other or near each other and it's never been a issue either. I've even caught them eating out of the same bowl but I stopped them only because I don't want them to get uneven amounts.
And Gina usually sits by Norman's bowl, shoving her head in and grabbing pieces of kibble as he eats. She probably only ends up with about 5 pieces by the time he's done. He obviously doesn't mind:)
Once I tried to see how they would react if I put my face next to theirs while they ate. I ended up with a face full of kibble slobber…twice.
If it weren't for so many wonderful Dog Parents in Blog Land, I probably woudn't have known to be so careful but I'm fortunate that so much good info abounds out there.