First I sit like a Wimbledon umpire between my two dogs to ensure fair play. Jemma jumps into her bowl with gusto whilst Jamie shows a vague interest in the proceedings.
When Jemma is two thirds of the way through her meal, Jamie decides it's time to zero into her bowl.
So Jemma starts eating Jamie's food. This is when the umpire is called upon to intervene using various options:
- Juggling Act: Juggle the bowls back and forth between the dogs in order to confuse them. However ensure that the right bowl finally ends up in front of the right dog. (Jamie still manages to suss out which is Jemma's bowl)
- The Disappearing Bowl: Remove Jemma's bowl from play so that Jamie has only one choice. Then when he is not looking, sneak Jemma's bowl back in front of her.
- Rapid Transfer: If Jamie insists on eating out of Jemma's bowl, shovel handfuls of food from his bowl into Jemma's bowl and hope you've estimated correctly how much to leave for Jemma in Jamie's bowl. (Confused yet?)
- Hand Feeding: Use a saccharine sweet voice to persuade Jamie that the food in his bowl is the same as the food in Jemma's bowl. This is done by hand feeding him small amounts of pellets or dropping them near his bowl.
- Less is More. ( You won't believe this one. ) Put a bigger bowl in front of Jamie so that he thinks he is getting less when in fact he is getting more. This is to trick him into thinking he is losing out and better get a move on.
- Give up until the next meal. But beware! Don't overcompensate because then he won't eat his next meal.
I am sticking to my dog food of choice because despite his irregular eating habits, his coat is still glossy and he looks good. But since one needs to feed puppies three times a day for at least six months, I estimate that this takes up almost an hour of my day. (Another hidden cost factor because time is money!)