Ray’s new toy?

Ray’s eating and drinking habits have always had their challenges!

Immediately after he moved in with us, we noticed that he would treat food as if it may disappear any moment. He would devour it in a few seconds. Initially he did not chew, but simply gulped… a very good reason for not giving him any of those “bone type” chews in case he choked. We started to give him his meals in stages so he could take breaks.

He treated water in much the same manner in that, regardless of how much water was in his bucket, he would gulp his way down to the bottom! We started to control just how much water went into his bucket! We later decided to add water to his food bowl so that he would consume water with his meal which, we thought, may lessen his visits to his water bucket.

All these ideas had some degree of success, but Ray was still quite aggressive with his meals.

Relatively recently, we have been putting a toy in his food bowl so that he has to work around it in order to empty the bowl. It has been quite successful, although he would eventually grab it and toss it out of his way!

Our latest venture is rather different however, it should be understood that Ray has two bad habits when it comes to food. He gulps it down very fast if he can, and he gets very frustrated and irrational if he cannot eat easily. As an aside, giving Ray a frozen Kong to keep him quiet really frustrates him, and he becomes very agitated and irrational.

Our latest idea is a compromise. We bought a giant Kong that has a removal weighted base, and a single hole in its side. The concept is to simply put his food inside the Kong, and all Ray has to do is roll it around so that food falls out. It appears to be working quite well so far, except when it is nearly empty! At that point, simply rolling it is rather “hit or miss” as to whether anything comes out, so Ray then resorts to picking it up and dropping it! The other slight drawback is when he starts kicking it around (he would be a good soccer player!), his food goes everywhere and we often have a frustrated Ray staring at the refrigerator, or the stove. We know that there must be a piece of food under there!

At the time of writing this, he is still “playing” with his giant Kong at most meal times. It will be interesting to see how it develops!


17 thoughts on “Ray’s new toy?

  1. Must admit that’s one thing Maggie has never done, even with another dog in the house. her food is down all the time, and we make sure her water bowl is always full. She’s one of these dogs who ets when she wants to, which sometimes isn’t often and then I have to resort to treats in her dinner!

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  2. It will be interesting indeed! One thing I’ve always thought when reading your blog is that Ray is lucky to have a family who looks out for him so closely, but not only that, actually take the time and effort to work through his challenges! This is how I wish all pet owners would be.

    Eager to hear how this method turns out! 🙂

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    • Thank you Phoebe. It is really sad that those people who do not take the time and effort to understand and work with their dog, are missing out on so much. I just hope that they never have children! 🙂


    • Hi Ilex: Our kitchen does not lend itself too well for spreading his food around, but it’s an interesting idea. His gulping, while undesirable at any time of course, is a real concern with large items. Whereas we simply do not buy the bone/rawhide kinds of chews that could be problem, it gets very scary when he suddenly grabs something when out on a walk. In those circumstances, Carol forces his mouth open and thrusts her hand in the get whatever it was! (You would never catch me putting my hand in his mouth!) 🙂

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  3. Do you have to worry about his weight? Hazel (our tubby cat) wolfs food down and will steal it from the other cats if she thinks they are done. (She’s very polite. She will sit and stare at them while they are eating. When they finish she acts like the Cinderella who didn’t get dinner.) I was thinking of getting a “food toy” that drops food slowly for her. I’d really like to get her more exercise but that’s hard to do with an older cat. They yawn at a lot of toys that require more than a paw movement. I bet there were times when Ray didn’t have enough food when he was young. *hugs for Ray*

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    • Hi Kate: Ray was a stray when picked up by our Humane Society which may explain his interest in food, although of course his younger days could also have been “less than ideal” for a growing pup! As for his weight? Yes! Weighing in at 75lbs when he moved in with us, and given the amount of training he clearly needed, we would consciously cut back on his meals. Even today, we still use the 2 x 2/3cup measure for his meals, but cutback a little on the second cup. Ray is currently around 78lbs. 🙂

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