Zac: Feeding Issues

Posted in The Dawgs by Sandra on March 29, 2009

Yesterday, we concluded that Zac had come from a two-dog household. While Dion and Zac got on really well, it became a whole different story when it was meal-time.

We feed our boys twice a day – once in the morning, and once at night, and times are usually about 10:30am and 8pm depending on what time we humans have our food. (It’s part of establishing the “we humans are you dogs’ leaders” thing.)

1st event:
This was on the day that we brought Zac home. We’d gotten him home about mid-day, so he missed out on breakfast. Dinner time came, and we had two bowls for both boys. Wanting to help soft-c**k-Dion establish dominance over Zac, we let Dion eat first. Zac started later. All seemed to be somewhat okay – until Dion wandered over to Zac’s bowl.

Zac started growling and even attempted to bite Dion, but we managed to restrain him before he hurt Dion. However, Dion was severely shaken and refused to eat if he could see Zac. We had to give him his dinner in the hallway while Zac had his in the study.

2nd event:
This was breakfast this morning. Again, we had Zac on lead, and gave Dion the go-ahead to start first. He started whimpering and did not seem interested in his food at all, despite our efforts to encourage him to do so. I took Dion to another room, but he still did not eat, so we assumed Dion was simply skipping breakfast again – something he does regularly even though he’s a food-vacuum beagle! – and put his food away. Then we let Zac eat.

Surprisingly, Zac did not finish all of his share. He actually set some aside for Dion, who happily scarfed down the left overs. Zac has to be the dominant one in their relationship if this is happening… at least, that’s our reasoning.

3rd event:
Dinner time, today. We set out two bowls again, and let Zac start first (though keeping him on lead just in case). Dion started after, and there was no whimpering, no fighting, no growling. Zac did leave a portion of his food aside again, but realized Dion had his own bowl so he simply finished it. After the two polished off everything, Dion walked over and licked Zac’s bowl clean. I’d expected an outburst of possessiveness over his food bowl from Zac, but he simply curled up and had a bit of relaxation time.

It’s been a very curious process, tinged with genuine worry on our parts in some instances. It has been interesting observing this… ritual of the two dogs.

Zac was extremely protective of his food and aggressive in his defense. Perhaps the other dog/animal in his former home used to steal from his bowl (which would also explain why he’s so damn scrawny), and he felt similarly threatened (due to the conditioning) when Dion approached his bowl.

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