Dog Journal Entry
June 23, 2017
I am comfortable as I sit in my air-conditioned home. It is two in the afternoon, and it is 114 degrees outside.
I have a dog problem to solve. I am looking at my future when I have the Casita, and we are traveling. How will I feed Bernie and Chris?
Here, at home, we have a routine. I prepare the food; each dog has his own bowl. Bernie is fed in the office, and Chris is fed in the bedroom.
I close the bedroom door when I feed Chris. When he is through eating, he gives a single, sharp bark. That is my signal to open the door and let him out.
This has worked very well because Bernie is a chow hound. He wolfs his food down and immediately seeks more. In this case… more is Chris’s food.
Usually, Bernie finishes his food before Chris. Bernie will then park himself in front of the bedroom door. When Chris barks, Bernie springs up and impatiently waits for me to open the door.
As the door is partially open, Bernie pushes through and heads for Chris’s bowl. Although it is empty, Bernie attacks it and licks it clean.
With this ingrained habit… both Chris requiring a closed door before eating and Bernie automatically licking Chris’s bowl clean… How will I feed both dogs when traveling in the Casita?
If I want to continue the current behavior of separating the dogs while they eat, I have a couple options.
— Feed Bernie outside and feed Chris inside the Casita.
— Feed Bernie inside while Chris waits. When Bernie is finished, I put Bernie either outside the Casita or put him in the car while Chris eats.
Although a cumbersome solution, I would not have to modify their behavior.
My desired solution is both dogs be fed at the same time in close quarters without a fuss. Chris will eat his food and Bernie will not bother Chris.
There is one small issue. Chris doesn’t always finish his food. He is healthy, so I haven’t worried about the small amount he leaves in his bowl. Bernie enjoys cleaning Chris’s food bowl.
I believe it would be difficult to train Bernie to leave Chris’s food alone and then offer him Chris’s remaining food. The portion is usually too small to bother saving.
I suppose I could pick up Chris’s bowl and dump the contents into Bernie’s bowl.
Today, I will start to shape Bernie and Chris’s behavior. I will leave the bedroom door open while Chris is eating. I will observe Bernie when Chris signals he is through eating.
I will use my remote dog training device to shape Bernie’s behavior.
An associated issue is how Chris will respond when the bedroom door remains open. What if he won’t eat? I have not figured that out