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So glad to have found you guys. We have a senior morkie, a 2 year old rescue terrier, and as of a week ago, a large 4 month old rescue puppy, like will be lab size (what were we thinking). Mealtimes have turned into a clown act for me. All of a sudden the senior half blind dog will leave his bowl and hover around giant puppy's bowl, then terrier sneaks over to senior guys bowl...meanwhile Dave the large puppy is eating from his bowl in a fashion that would have you think he's always starving (got a big bowl with channels in it to slow him down but he's just frantic about eating and I need to sometimes hold his bowl from shooting all over the kitchen. So not used to big pups! He's only 4 months old as of today so he can't have a long history of actually starving but dammit he eats in a frantic fashion...the vexing bowl actually increases his franticness, same with treats handed to him, I taught him to sit for a treat, then to relax and be gentle, he does, but still grabs it like a great white when I open my hand. Any tips for the frantic eating? He is starting semi private manners classes next week but not sure that will help with meals.
 

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All of a sudden the senior half blind dog will leave his bowl and hover around giant puppy's bowl, then terrier sneaks over to senior guys bowl...meanwhile Dave the large puppy is eating from his bowl in a fashion that would have you think he's always starving
The frantic eating could be because there are other dogs around he feels are threatening his food. I would physically separate all three dogs during mealtimes to prevent stealing, or even making the puppy feel uncomfortable. Crate them, use a pen, whatever you have to do, but perhaps that will make the puppy feel more secure if he doesn't have to worry about snarfing down his food to keep another dog from getting it.

Some dogs are just really fast eaters for whatever reason. If the snarfing continues, you might try a snuffle mat, or even food toys (again, make sure he's physically separated from the other dogs). Make sure to pick up said bowls, snuffle mats, or food toy after meal time is over to prevent any dogs from developing resource guarding habits about "their" stuff.
 

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Some dogs, and puppies, just eat fast. I like to think of it as a sign that they love my "cooking".

First the easy problem - the moving bowl. I put the bowls right next to the cupboards so when the dog eats, the bowl pushes against the cupboard rather than out into the room. You could also try using a mat underneath it - maybe a silicone one - one that the bowl's base will catch onto and hold in place.

Treat inhaling - making them sit is a good start, but you want to combine that with an actual release command. I use OK. My prior two dogs were great but sometimes got overly excited when taking the treat. So I would use the word " gentle" right after OK if I felt they were too exuberant. It worked great and I reduced the number of sore fingertips greatly. When Moose-dog got old (the last year), he lost his depth perception and would often take my whole hand with the treat - he never meant to hurt me, so I tried to ignore it.

Senior dog hovering - increasing the space between the dogs' bowls can help. But mostly, you just want to keep redirecting the senior and the terrier back to their own bowls. With three dogs, you might want to enlist the help of a family member. You can toss a treat into their own bowl each time they return to encourage them.

Fast eating - As I mentioned, some dogs just eat fast. I've tried the special bowls, putting a rock or inverted bowl in the dog bowl, etc. None has ever really slowed the dog down. I never tried it, but you might try a snuffle mat. It should be better at slowing the dog down, and being a mat will not move around the room.
 

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Some good suggestions already, just wanted to throw this out there: if you have the time, meal times could become a training opportunity. You'd have to be working with the dog individually, obviously, but it would be a way to get some use out of meal time.

I did this with the new dog. Instead of putting the food down, I doled it out 1-5 pieces at a time, just throwing it on the ground and letting her chase it. Ask for a sit, throw some food, call her name, throw some food, ask her to wait and throw food as soon as she pauses, stuff like that. I've also had success using meal times to get a dog to stop attacking the vacuum and to let me touch her feet (and eventually clip them). She was older, not a puppy, though. I imagine that could be more of a handful with a puppy! Might be a good opportunity to work on the impulse control, though.

Basically, any training you need to do anyway that involves classical conditioning, you can use mealtimes to do it and kill two birds with one stone. It's nice because you don't have to think about it too much. You just present the stimulus and throw the food over and over until the bowl is empty.
 

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My current dog is very food driven and eats voraciously. I don't care. He is fine. Scarfing down food rapidly doesn't seem to hurt the dog. Just leave him alone.

Until recently I had more than one dog. I NEVER EVER fed them loose and next to each other. Ever. Each ate in separate kennels in separate rooms when inside and in separate full size kennels outside (ther were rarely fed outside).

It is a bad practice to feed dogs next to each other. It can create issues such as guarding or theft.

Separate the dogs first (separate crates or rooms) and then feed them.

Dogs are not like people sitting at a table eating. They want their food and to be left alone to eat it.
 

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I disagree. Unless you are talking about large groups of dogs (such as at a kennel, etc), most dogs are fine eating in the same room. There are some guidelines to follow: separate bowls, spaced apart, teaching basic manners, etc.

None of my dogs, or my parents' dogs, have ever been separated at meal time. None have had issues with guarding or stealing, etc. There have been as many as six at a time of varying ages, sizes, breed/breed mixes, sex, and neuter status.

To me, a lot of this is about building trust with your dogs and providing training and consistency. My dogs eat in the same room without issue because I didn't just throw down the food and let them fight for it. There are rules established so that each dog feels safe.

Now, with that said, if you choose to feed your dogs separately that's fine. It's a preference just like letting them sleep on the bed.
 

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I'm on the side of separating the puppy when eating and see if that changes the behavior. If eating alone slows him down, I'd take that to mean he's currently stressed out by having the other dogs around while eating, and I, personally, don't like to create undue stress around food. In this case, there's a chance you can work up to them eating in the same room once he's more settled into your household and you've worked on the older dogs keeping to their own bowls until everyone's done eating.

If eating alone doesn't slow down the gulping, than it's likely not related to stress over the presence of other dogs and you can continue to feed in whatever location you like, though I would strongly suggest managing things closely so no one gets into anyone else's bowl. He might tolerate it as a puppy, but some dogs will reach a point where they decide 'enough is enough' and start guarding their food if another dog/person gets into the habit of bothering them. Doling out the majority of kibble in training sessions or enrichment games could be a great approach in this scenario, though again, make sure you're allowing him enough space so he can eat without the other dogs horning in (and to prevent your small dogs from turning into beach balls with all the ill-gotten extra calories, haha).

In my household, my youngest prefers his meal in an open crate on the other side of the apartment (which, granted, isn't very big) from the kitchen, where my older dog eats. They can eat in close quarters without a problem if necessary, largely because we've set strict, consistent boundaries for our vulture of an older dog to prevent him from bullying the younger dog away from his food, so I don't see any reason to not allow him space while eating the majority of the time when that's how he's most comfortable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So much great advice thanks to all of you. His bowl has rubber feet things but he still pushes it around..he seems oblivious to the other dogs but he could have gotten this habit at the short time he spent at the shelter with all his siblings. I will certainly start being certain there is no bowl swapping, thanks.
 

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Might be a good opportunity to work on the impulse control, though.
I was thinking this.
It would be a great chance to teach Impulse control. Basically you sit in front of your pup with treats in one open hand. When pup moves forward to mouth at the treat, you close your hand. When they back off, you open your hand again. Repeat by closing your hand every time pup goes to take it on his own. What you want is for pup to back off and just wait a second or two. At this point is when you use your praise word (ours is "yes!") and with your other hand you take a treat from your open hand and feed it to your pup. As long as pup is still waiting, you feed with your other hand every say 2 seconds. Gradually work up if you want.

I don't overdo this excersise, my pup gets bored easily, but I find I use it to calm him down before training sessions or if he just needs to calm down lol. I usually do some training (games) with a portion of his meals before giving him a food puzzle.

One more thing, food puzzles. It doesn't have to even be something you buy, you could use a few tiers of towels with kibble (meal) scattered under them. Your dog has to sniff and snuff through the towels. Or wrap treats or piles of kibble in scrap fabric and roll into a towel for your dog to unroll and unwrap.
 
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