Staff and volunteers of the Elmbrook Humane Society will be blogging about what's going on at the society, as well as other observations about life in Wisconsin.
The mission of the Elmbrook Humane Society is to promote the human-animal bond through adoption and education, to provide shelter to homeless animals, and to prevent animal cruelty and neglect. EBHS services the city of Brookfield, the villages of Butler, Chenequa, Elm Grove and Nashotah, and the towns of Brookfield and Delafield. EBHS shelters unwanted pets and strays, and rescues injured domestic animals and wildlife, provides resources for individuals with companion animals and provides Humane Education to schools and civic groups.
Visit our web site at www.EBHS.org.
In my opinion, all dogs should be fed on a schedule (i.e., no open feeding) and if you crate, their meal should be in a crate. Feeding in a crate allows you to monitor their food, makes the crate a GREAT place to them, and prevents dogfights. I have fostered many dogs and I can't believe how many times I have been told that a dog who comes in for fostering is a picky eater…NOT AT MY HOUSE. We have no picky eaters. I also have had dogs leave my house that later "become picky eaters," usually because I find out they free-feed.
Now for those that say, "I only have one or two dogs and I want them to be able to have food whenever they want," I say WHY?? First of all, feeding on a schedule is a very easy way to have well-behaved dogs. The reason? In packs, the pack leader controls the feedings. When you free-feed you lose that easy alpha move. Next is the possibility of an overweight dog. Some say dogs know when to stop…I say they don't. I have seen many overweight free-fed dogs, and how many people do you know who at times overeat? Probably many...if we as people don't always have the sense to "stop," why should our dogs? Next, free-feeding IMO creates picky eaters...they’re thinking, “why should I eat THIS…I will wait to see what else comes along at the end of the day.” Last but not least, you are setting your pack up for a competitive environment where often one dog will eat or guard the bowl while the more submissive dogs are afraid or cautious about eating.
Why feed in a crate? 1. Because it makes the crate a positive place where good things happen and 2. It forces you to be consistent. Dogs are creatures of habit and Mondays are a very hard day for many dogs because they often aren’t crated all weekend and enjoy constant companionship only for you to go off and leave for 8 hours on Monday! By feeding in a crate, it forces you to crate your dog daily, even if only for a short time, so the dog isn’t thrown out of his routine by the time Monday morning comes along.
For those that still aren't convinced, think about Thanksgiving...the smell of the turkey, the anticipation of the big meal, then finally the dinner....and restful nap after. Would you get so excited if that turkey was out all day long for you to look at? My point...mealtime is a HUGE deal at my house...the smell, the anticipation, the nap after. My dogs get excited, they wait, they look forward to dinner. It's one of the high points of their day…why deprive them of that excitement by having the same bowl of food looking at them all day? Free feeding IMO takes the fun out of a dog's dinner and mealtime...why would anyone want to do that??
So there are many benefits to feeding on a schedule. Oh yes, and last but not least...it makes housetraining MUCH easier! Control when and what goes in, and you control when it goes out!