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Q: Razzie, our 20-year-old Weimaraner, will take a mouthful of food, then walk away from his dish. He goes somewhere else in the house, drops it and then proceeds to eat it piece by piece. He will return to his dish and do the same thing. We have noticed that if we are in the living room, he will bring the food there and drop it and eat. Any ideas for us? – C.P.V., Lancaster
A: First, absolutely see your veterinarian to rule out any dental-related explanation. Dog trainer Tamar Geller, who spoke recently at the ACES International Conference for Animal Welfare in San Diego, says: “It might be the dog doesn’t feel safe eating at the bowl. Or perhaps it’s that this most often occurs because your dog doesn’t feel safe without you being there, and wants to eat wherever you (or other family members) are.”
Geller’s suggestion: “Hand-feed your dog at the bowl a piece or two of kibble at a time, but add in a special treat every 10 pieces or so. Once that goes well for a few days, now drop the pieces two or three at a time into the food bowl with a special treat going in once in a while. The idea is to make it a pleasure to eat from the food bowl.”
If it’s a matter of him wanting to eat only in the presence of you or other family members, then take the food bowl into the living room or wherever you are. A few inches at a time, back the bowl up day by day toward the kitchen or the room where you ultimately want the bowl. It may take weeks, but if you go slowly, Razzie won’t likely notice that soon he’ll be chowing down his food in another room.