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Multi Dog Feeding

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  • Multi Dog Feeding

    I did not see a sticky for a protocol on feeding multiple dogs. Maybe we could start one. What have you done that has worked well in your home?

    As an owner of 4 dogs, ages almost 3 thru 15 yrs, we have stuck with same rules and each dog had slightly modified version suit the situation.

    Dog #1. Once he understood simple commands "sit" was a must before food was place down on floor. Unknowingly, his "sit" occurred in the exact same place in the kitchen. So be it, that was his spot. Also, we stood by him to make sure he did not eat the cat food which at the time we kept on the floor. When his bowl was empty, meal was over!

    Dog #2. Rescued with ZERO manners! Dog #1 was proofed to his meal spot so we could focus on teaching Dog #2 her spot and when she was done eating she could not go to another's bowl.

    This was quite interesting because we were conditioning both dogs to eat politely and respectfully in the presence of another dog for their first times!

    Dog #3. At this time #1 and 2 are proofed to the meal routine so heavy attention goes to new puppy as the others are running on default! Sweet!

    Dog #4 Rescued with ZERO manners, also special needs. Others are proofed and go to their default places to eat so we can put all our energy to teach Dog #4 not to jump on our shoulders, dig and scratch our backs and legs, and to sit before getting food. Actually, we were very diligent and making wonderful progress but within a week we changed plans. We decided that he (Bumper) needed to start eating in his crate so he would have a use for it. This would help us in crate training. He had to walk in his crate and wait patiently before we put food down. Within a week of this change he would RUN to his crate at meal time.

    I will say that we may not have the most wonderfully trained dogs but we are no joke at meal time.
    June, Bumper (deaf & blind), Joey, Daisy, and Angel Ann (deaf)
    RIP Dakota Blue Moon
    Oct 27, 2006, Oct 01, 2012

    "I'd tell ya...but I'd have ta lick ya"

  • #2
    we had crate training issues and Keebler would hover over Mick until Mick would give in and walk away so Keebler could finish it off, so we now feed in their crates...they both are in a down stay (the only time I demand it from Mick because his hips are getting bad) until the food is in the bowls, then I say "kennels" and both go to their respective crates. They eat with the doors open now and we've had no problems (though in the beginning the doors were closed). Now Mick is usually the first one done, lol.
    "Mom, he's touching me"
    Emily - Mom of Mick (12yo collie/aussie), Rosie (9yo fawn dane) and Keebler (4yo black dane)


    • #3
      Well I did it exactly like Humbug:

      1st dog: Got to sit and got her food always at the same spot.
      2nd dog: Came as a pup and was showed the meal routine, and got corrected if he strayed to other bowls.
      Rinse and repeat for dog 3 and 4.

      Everybody has their place. Sits while food is being prepared. Goes to their bowl when released. All are supervised during feeding time. The dogs that are done feeding are sent away from the feeding area to their place.

      If there are treats (bones, pig ears etc.) they are sent to their specific places where they can chew and they have to remain at their place until all dogs are done with their chewies.

      Other treats are given for obedience during training, or cookies for being good, then I always ask everybody to sit and wait their turn.

      I never allow the dogs bothering each other over food or toys. If one tries, its corrected and redirected. All dogs learn that they have to give their treat (or toy) up to me without a fuss (I always praise this highly and taught it 100% positive, their reward is always a higher value).

      This helped me a bunch to keep everybody from being a resource hog.
      With best regards,
      Jeannette Luca & Leo and now Lilly & Sophie


      • #4
        We do similar to June and Jeann, except dogs are allowed to crowd around the food closet while bowls are being filled. I like that they have to practice self control around each other in a high excitement situation.

        Once bowls are filled, we feed in the same order at each dog's spot. Spots are far enough away that dogs get to eat in peace, but they're not totally isolated.
        Bowl goes down, then dogs have to sit and make eye contact before being released to eat.
        Very often once everyone is eating, I'll add goodies to their food (leftovers), so they associate someone approaching them while eating with good things. Most of the time the kids (human) do the feeding and often the add ons too. Supervised of course.

        When dogs get finished, they are allowed to see what everyone else got within reason. If another dog is eating, they have to wait at a polite distance and the other dog has to show he's done, before going to check out the bowl. This is all carefully supervised but I allow it because of our current pack make-up and that they really need the practice with respecting each other's signals. Bates and Lunar are both very strong willed, pushy males and reminding them to "use their words" (not their teeth) helps keep the peace.
        Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened.
        - Anatole France


        • #5
          Resident dog always fed first, with manners, (sit, stay down owners choice).
          Foster or Newbie/second resident fed second, always fed outta sight with manners.
          With any foster, new dog entering the home crate fed/treated in crate or bowl until feeding routine is established, all treats given to any dog is given in crate/bowl during honeymoon period. always the same order, no exceptions.
          Food aggression always assumed by family members- for the life of both dogs, no matter age, sex, temperament etc- for preventive measures with kids, visitors, house sitters etc.
          Dogs are allowed to check for leftovers when everyone is finished and have left their spaces.
          Last edited by myboy; 11-10-2011, 04:56 AM.
          Myboy RIP at 2 1/2 product of BYB


          • #6
            Originally posted by myboy View Post
            Food aggression always assumed by family members- for the life of both dogs, no matter age, sex, temperament etc- for preventive measures with kids, visitors, house sitters etc.
            Dogs are allowed to check for leftovers when everyone is finished and have left their spaces.
            Yep, I use this approach as well.

            Manners are enforced while I am preparing meals and sit-stay is practised before release.

            Dogs are always supervised during meals-even the cat. Everyone has their own mat and I can move their "spot" if I must as they are used to using their mat. They can check out each other's bowls after but again always with supervision.

            Oh and because I feed raw there is a "no kiss for at least a half an hour" rule that is stricly enforced as well.

            Kiizhik-LabXRotti (1999-2012) R.I.P. baby girl.
            Gimaakwe-LabX (2004-
            Deaglan-Dane (May 2008-Feb 26, 2016) RIP My Sweet Boy.
            Jadzia-Dane (2010-
            Gallagher-Irish Wolfhound (Dec 4, 2016-


            • #7
              Feeding 3 males is not as hard as I thought. Luckily my boys seem to have a very good read on each other's place in the pack. Shadow (terrier cross) is the leader flat out. Goliath is second and Charlie is third. I have three feeding stations and they all sit while I fill bowls etc. I say ok and they all go their bowls and eat. Often Charlie will wait until the other two are done and have left the room...then he eats.

              But I am very grateful no issues so far here.

              You sound like you are doing great with yours


              • #8
                I have 4 dogs, 2 danes and 2 shelties. They all must sit and wait until they get their release word. This has worked for us and I have never had any issues.


                • #9
                  I have a pretty easy going trio. They figured out their own things, and that's what they do. No one is allowed to check out bowls that don't belong to them, they know that and don't try to.

                  As soon as I scoop kibble, Sky runs to her bed to wait, Angus waits in the hallway (so Sky doesn't run over him) and Libby follows me around, waiting for an ice cube, bc I Sky prefers those to water. Once she has her cube, she takes it to the living room to crunch away.

                  They all know the 'out' command, so if it did get crowded, I could boot them out easily.

                  When they are done (Sky first, Libby second and Angus will get there eventually), they naturally return to the living room and their beds.

                  Libby(lab mix)
                  Sky (RIP--April 18, 2012)
                  My heart, Angus (RIP Jan 16, 2014)


                  • #10
                    Both of mine know how to eat out of bowls politely, but I prefer to feed out of hand. This way I know exactly what each is getting.

                    Ximmy goes to her rug to wait for her food, and eats it there. Sprocket stands on my right and eats his right there. They both eat raw, so I clean up thorougly after they are done.

                    They are then to rest for about an hour. We usually pile on my bed and while they snooze, I read DOL.
                    sigpicLynn - Ximmy's Mom's Mom - John & Lynsie, skin kids, Faela & Gus skin grandkids,OnzaPous, ReignaPous, Banshee & Kit-ten and now Dare Devil and Fuzzy Butt the cats, and of course......Ximmy Ximmy Xoom Xoom and [COLOR=red]Sprocket (aka Sprockey Wocky Puppy Pants) and Sibanca our newest Dane rescue


                    • #11
                      The end result is the residence dogs and the fosters eat in their place, they trust their food won't be taken away, and when finished, come to me for a burping session, and are now ready to go outside to do their duty.

                      The new fosters always eats first not because of a hierarchial standing in my home but its my attempt to control the feeding anticipation emotion. The longer a new dog waits for their food, the greater the antiicipation emotion that can result in excitable unwanted behavior. For Essie, my puppy Great Dane, I would always feed her last because she is very hyper by nature, she gobbles down her food, and I am sure she would bother the other dogs. When I changed the order in which she was fed, at the same time as the fosters, amazingly she slowed her eating time down and now the foster finish way before her.

                      When a new foster comes into my home, the dog eats in the first round of feeding, is separated, and in view of the other dogs eating. I stand close to the new dog eating but am careful not to bother or invade the dog's space. Eventually, the new dog gets acclimated with me and the other dogs feeding around it. In other words the new dog has built trust that there will be no bothers when eating. At this time, the barrier goes down and if an incidence occurrs, I body block the dogs. With fosters, no matter how acclimated they get, I always supervise feeding times.

                      After the fosters are fed, the 2nd round of feeding is for the residence dogs. The order, the routine, the feeding rituals, and with time, they are quite use to eating side by side without incidense.

                      On a side note, personally, I feel meal time is a dog's entitlement and the dog does not have to do anything (work for) in order to get a meal.


                      • #12
                        Mine go out to potty, then come bounding back to their individual crates for feeding time. I feed them seperately (although still side by side and clearly visable to each other, just with the assurance factor that no one can steal anyone elses food .. they can see and smell and be inquisative .. but not touch) to insure no quarreling. Quinn is a sensitive Sally sometimes and acts like Bain is killing her if he even looks at her food lol .. I just find the prevenative method works better than me hoping I could seperate them if something were to occur).

                        We potty, play a little, eat, rest, potty.

                        They know the routine so well, anyone (that Bain knows lol) could take them out in the morning with no problems .. they are like well oiled little (haha, well you know) machines in the morning/feeding time.
                        A backyard breeder (BYB) is someone who has been deemed not a reputable breeder.

                        A "Responsible Breeder" supports their buyers, supports their own dogs, and supports the lives of any fututre puppies by having (and keeping up with) all the appropriate health testing suggested by the GDCA.


                        • #13
                          Similar to the above, I put mine out for a potty break before I feed. When they are let in, they go to their "spots" to eat. For some, their spot is in their kennel. For others, it is a place in the house. I do not let them eat out of others' dishes. Once they are done with their supper, they either hang around me or go back outside for post-meal pottying.

                          I let mine out in different yards, too. I do not want to have an excitement-based altercation so I prevent it. They all run together when I'm there to supervise, but they don't go out together especially pre-feeding. They go out in smaller groups that are well established and stable.


                          • #14
                            I have two danes and my male is extremely dog aggressive and is extremely alpha over the female who has a neutral and mellow personality. I'm working with a behaviorist in San Diego, Dr. Schwartz, and she gave me a plan to follow if you are in my shoes. Just about everyone has easy going dogs and it's not an issue. But if not, try the following feeding routine.

                            The alpha dog, the male in my case, must always be fed first. The other dog can be within site, but must wait until alpha dog is done. He has to earn everything, so he does a sit while i'm preparing bowl and then must do a wait until released after bowl is placed down. When done, he leaves room, but cannot come back into room while 2nd dog is eating.

                            Same routine with second dog.

                            This has honestly worked wonders. Prior to seeing the behaviorist, I was feeding both at the same time since day 1. I was having "overly rough" play on the male side against the female and the female was always sorta "skiddish" during dinner time and would usually wait until the male was already starting to eat until she started in with her food.

                            Anyway, the rough play has almost completely stopped and both enjoy their feeding routines. It has definitely helped me with my overly aggressive male.

                            I also make sure I follow this routine with treats, greetings, etc...

                            RIP Chaos! July 25, 2009 - Sep 4, 2015. Your sister and I miss you deeply, but will see you again some day!


                            • #15
                              We've fed up to 5 dogs at a time in our house. Each dog gets their own room. I think dogs should be able to eat without feeling like another dog might take their food. They all get into the routine pretty quickly and when the bowls are ready they run to their room.
                              Duds and Miles 5- and 6-year-old fawns, Smudge (terrier mix); Bobke, Fig, Olive, Albert (cats); Einstein (African Grey), Rocky (Amazon Parrot).
                              RIP Willow 12/95 - 04/04, Maia 03/05 - 10/11, Maverick 11/07-10/14, Spencer 05/06-12/14
                              Upper Midwest Great Dane Rescue Volunteer