My dog’s way of eating was taken to a whole new level last week…
I got inspired by a book (Wanja und die wilden Hunde: Mein Leben in fünf Jahreszeiten) by Maike Maja Nowak. It’s an amazing, amazing book if you can read German – I highly recommend it. She entirely changed my views on feeding my dogs (and many other things as well).
Here’s how Maike lays it out: Searching and hunting for food is practically a dogs life. Putting their food in a bowl is like telling them: “Look! I did your favorite hobby for you! You don’t have to do it (search for food) anymore – I put it in this bowl for you.” Which is nice, because you’re feeding them, of course. But it also makes their life boring and a favorite daily activity is over in a matter of minutes.
She feeds her dogs by telling them to stay, throwing their food in a meadow (I’m pretty sure she uses chunks of meat – bigger and easier for the dogs to find) and when she says “Okay”, the dogs go and search for their food. This happens during her walks, bike rides, or jogs… In the evening, she fills a Kong with wet food for them.
So. I was very inspired. I can’t afford to throw my dog’s dry food into a field because I’m guessing I’d probably lose about half of it. But I bought a Kong. Genius! It takes my dog about an hour to eat and he get’s so excited and focused. His dinner has always been a small meaty bone that I buy by the bag.
This is how I feed my dog now:
Mornings – Fill Kong a little more than half way with dry food and pack the rest up with wet food. It takes him a while to even get to the dry food and then he has to figure out how to get the last kibble bits out…
Evenings – One, or two, of his small bones. Then I take one of those bigger treats that are “strips” of dried meat. I stuff it into the Kong by breaking it in half and then pack it densely with wet food (my Kong isn’t that big, so these are fairly small meals, but take a long time for him to eat). This last meal of the day takes the longest, because the wet food doesn’t just fall out like the kibble does. The dried meat strip is surprisingly difficult for him to get out. He works on it on and off all night if I can cram it in well enough.
Just some… food for thought! I have a better feeling knowing that my dog is more stimulated from eating now. I hope to hide his food on our walks over the meadow someday, too.