Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Ritual

Feeding time around here for the dogs can get a bit interesting. Sugar, the boxer, gulps down her food. In not much more than the blink of an eye her dish is stripped clean and Sugar is searching for more food convinced she's done so quickly because she didn't get enough in the first place.

Delilah, the Siberian Husky, on the other hand is much more lady like about the way she eats. Delilah is a grazer and she can take hours sometimes before her meal is gone. Delilah picks at her food just enough to drive Sugar crazy savoring each morsel as if it were some great meal sculpted by a culinary master.

Because we never know if Delilah is going to eat her meal in one sitting or use it to torment Sugar, Delilah's bowl is put into her crate while Sugar gets hers placed next to the water bowl on the kitchen floor. Delilah usually will start off laying down in her crate nosing at her food while she watches Sugar wold down what she has.

The real entertainment begins once Sugar has finished her meal because the first thing she will do then is begin plotting to get Delilah's food too. The husky lays in her crate with her paws wrapped around her bowl glaring at the silly boxer. Sugar sadly whines hoping Delilah will take pity on her.........but, of course, that never happens.

Eventually Sugar will give up at actively begging and takes on a more passive role. The boxer lays down right in front of Delilah's crate looking at the husky with those boxer droopy eyes pleading for sympathy all the while Delilah noses her food around the bowl just to torment Sugar. Finally Sugar will retreat and act like she's found something else to occupy her time. That's when the real fun begins.

Delilah then leaves her crate acting like she's lost her appetite for the game and her food. Slowly but surely Sugar will creep up to Delilah's crate to steal a mouthful of food. All the while Delilah keeps Sugar in her sights wanting her attack to be perfectly planned. Only at the instant when Sugar reaches for Delilah's food will the husky strike.

The sound of kibble clanking in the bowl tells of Sugar's failed attempt to gain access to Delilah's meal. Sugar races off with what's left of her tail tucked down tight in cowardly fashion. Only after the husky has inspected her bowl and left again will Sugar skulk back looking for lost kibble somewhere in front of the crate. If she's been lucky there will be one or two kernels of treasure waiting for her. Even that must be grabbed quickly because the boxer's approach anywhere near the crate brings the husky back to defend her space AND her meal.

This ritual can go on for hours depending on Delilah's mood or her appetite. The boxer will not quit until the food is gone and the husky won't ever allow the boxer the satisfaction of cleaning up after she's finished. The only time Sugar is allowed anywhere near Delilah's crate is when Delilah is done with her own time.

Tonight, there was a little variation to this theme. It must have been too warm for Delilah in her crate, so she took to laying right on the floor in front of it. Sugar tried standing over the top of Delilah in a dominant position only to be ignored. The husky was neither intimidated nor swayed. If Sugar even looked in the direction of Delilah's bowl, the husky would attack and Sugar knew it. Sugar came to me putting her head on my knee begging for help..........its going to be a long night.

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  1. I have 2 little Jack Russel mixes who took their eating manners from the Sugar School of Kibble Wolfing. Whoosh! It's gone. Whichever one gets done first will immediately rush to the other one's bowl and try to strong arm (paw?) her way to the spoils. Chula the Doberman eats one kibble at a time like Delilah. Sheesh, like it's not bad enough that I have to play cafeteria lady to the horses!

  2. Funny! We feed our dogs in separate areas or we'd have a circus, for sure.

  3. funny, our dogs used to get seperate bowls as well, or only one would ever eat, and not the one who needed to. Now we dont have dog and kinda miss the ritual.

  4. Sounds like fun, the only food issues here are if Skeeter takes a notion to eat out of Winstons big bowl, he will run back and forth guarding the bowl ,Winston just backs off and waits till the "show" is over

  5. Delilah is very lucky to live with you. If she lived here several things would happen.

    First, she would be earning her kibble (thinking of the previous post where Sugar got out), I'd be using that for door behaviors.

    Second, she would have to learn to eat. To leave a bowl down at my house causes so much anxiety for the other dogs....we would probably have fights.

  6. Very funny. They sure know how to torment each other.

    Maggie will wolf her food down while Murphy sits and takes a bite at a time, while she stares him down. The funny thing is she'll never even try to go for his food, because she knows better. Even if he lets it sit there unattended she won't take it. It's fun living with animals and watching them interact.