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Old 07-25-2016, 05:34 PM
 
17,950 posts, read 10,268,265 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohky0815 View Post
Im not really sure why we ever did it but we have always put down bowls at meal time. We want to switch to just putting down a bowl and walking away. I just dont know how to train the dogs. Put down the bowl(s) and use the wait and enough commands until trained to not eat it all in one sitting?

4 dogs, all older than 1yr.
Why do you want to switch?

It is a bad idea, as several have said. Decades ago, when I only had one dog, I free fed a very laid back dog that only ate when he was hungry. As I added dogs, I switched to regular feedings due to the little laid back dog not getting enough food as the other two would gladly scarf down his food. Putting food down at set times also lets us know if a dog is not eating which is a clue they might need to see the vet.
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Old 07-25-2016, 05:48 PM
 
Location: Montana
1,829 posts, read 2,047,365 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UNC4Me View Post
I doubt this will work in a multi dog household. My dog free feeds and will let his food sit until he's hungry, but he has no competition and is not stressed about not getting enough. Now when my granddog is here, he eats his food as soon as it hits the bowl just to make sure she doesn't get it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Girl View Post
I agree with UNC4Me that it probably won't work in a multi-dog house. We were able to do it with our multi-cat household, and when we had only one dog. But we're not able to do it with two dogs in the house.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZSP View Post
I have four dogs and free feeding would not work here. My French Bulldog would bully the others away and he'd eat every nugget in sight. Not good. lol When I just had two female Boston Terriers, they did ok with free feeding but I stopped it and haven't regretted it one bit. I prep their food, serve it up and they eat. Bowls and feeders get washed and there's a repeat at dinner. Works for me.

Good luck whatever you decide.
Quote:
Originally Posted by twelvepaw View Post
Why on earth would you want to do that?

Bad idea for multiple reasons; here are a few reasons just to start-

1) you need to know how much each dog is eating.
2) in a multi-dog household each dog deserves their own space to eat in peace
3) leaving food out and available is an open invitation to unnecessary snarkiness even between dogs that get along
4) how would you know whether one dog was scarfing all the food and the other dog wasn't getting any food? How would you control portion size for each dog? I guarantee you that a dog who doesn't get their food for a day or two will become more aggressive around food, potentially starting unnecessary issues between the dogs (see #3)
5) free-feeding leads to obesity (dogs and not healthy)
My experience has been different than above posters, but I may have unique dogs, or am doing something that controls food intake that I am unaware of. I am aware vets recommend against this, but I like the convenience, and have always fed the dogs this way - graze or open feeding. I AM NOT RECOMMENDING THIS, I am just sharing my experience with graze feeding multiple dogs - it can be done.

I open feed my three 50-60 pound dogs and have had zero problems with it. Taffy is a Pit bull, Tuck is a Shar Pei Lab mix, and Farmer is some conglomeration of hound - all are rescues from the pound at were varying ages when adopted (but younger dogs). I used to have a fourth dog (Herman, 12 yo Dacshund that passed last year - he was abandoned in terrible health) and he was gaining some weight, but I was keeping an eye on it. They, the dogs, have a set order for who eats 1-3(4) at breakfast and dinner, and they all grab a bite or two through the day.

We walk in the morning about 2 miles (45mins-1 hour) they come home, perform some training for meat treats, play for about 15 more mins, and then they take turns eating. They then sleep until around 11, and we do a "potty walk" around 12, they will play for a while, take an afternoon nap, and are up the rest of the day. I let them out again about 5 for a potty break, and do a 15 minute evening walk around 8. They eat dinner around 6.

I have had a dozen or so fosters over the last couple of years, fostering from a couple of weeks to a couple of months (Farmer was a foster failure). I always do a greet with the pack before adding a foster dog, and I have had an occasional food guarding moment from my permanent dogs when I have a foster that just wants to eat 24/7, but that gets corrected by me instantly, and the fosters sort of "learn the rules" about food and settle in on a two meal a day plus a snack or two through the day routine.
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Old 07-25-2016, 05:58 PM
 
965 posts, read 821,843 times
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Why do you want to start leaving it out? Just wondering. Aside from all the other points that have been made I think it would be "more" work to have to train them (if it is even possible), to leave the others dishes alone. I think it is just simply easier to serve up meals once or twice a day. I get tired of telling my dogs wait or leave it, even when I need to. It is "work" for all involved to have to hold a wait or leave it, no?

I have had 3-4 dogs at a time for years, and I think only one of them would have quit eating when he was full. I did free feed the last time I had one dog (about 25 years ago) she never over ate, but I was not feeding good quality food.

If you try it let us know. I feed raw, so I don't have that option. Well.... I guess I would but the flies.... And the cost.... Not a chance.
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Old 07-25-2016, 06:05 PM
 
7,337 posts, read 4,109,688 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohky0815 View Post
Im not really sure why we ever did it but we have always put down bowls at meal time. We want to switch to just putting down a bowl and walking away. I just dont know how to train the dogs. Put down the bowl(s) and use the wait and enough commands until trained to not eat it all in one sitting?

4 dogs, all older than 1yr.
I have three dogs, they have one food bowl, and they free feed. They have their own pecking order, and they sort it out. What's interesting is that no one dog eats the bowl dry. In fact, sometimes an exact semi-circle of food is eaten, and an exact other half is left for the next hungry pup.

They'll sort it out on their own, and they won't over eat.
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Old 07-25-2016, 06:33 PM
 
Location: Santa Barbara CA
4,994 posts, read 11,927,146 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lieneke View Post
I have three dogs, they have one food bowl, and they free feed. They have their own pecking order, and they sort it out. What's interesting is that no one dog eats the bowl dry. In fact, sometimes an exact semi-circle of food is eaten, and an exact other half is left for the next hungry pup.

They'll sort it out on their own, and they won't over eat.
I do not think one can claim that dogs that are free fed will not over eat, maybe yours do not but there are some that will. My late Dash and my current Chaos are dogs that would eat until they exploded if you let them. I think a lot of vets will tell you that many over weight dogs are free feeders. Some dogs are like some people and just have that tendency to over eat.

Then you have the fussy eaters like Dazzle who would look at the food and walk away while Chaos inhales her food and would then inhale his so he would come back to an empty dish if I free fed.

I think one important thing about not free feeding that was mentioned in other posts is you know right away when something is wrong and a dog is not eating as it normally does that, monitoring how much a dog pees and poops and what the poop looks like can help one catch a sick dog early and take action faster to help prevent the dog from getting sicker .

I think feeding time is also just a great training practice time as my dogs have to sit and wait for their release word before they can eat so every meal is a practice session as I believe training is a life long thing.
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Old 07-25-2016, 06:46 PM
 
7,337 posts, read 4,109,688 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dashdog View Post
I do not think one can claim that dogs that are free fed will not over eat, maybe yours do not but there are some that will. My late Dash and my current Chaos are dogs that would eat until they exploded if you let them. I think a lot of vets will tell you that many over weight dogs are free feeders. Some dogs are like some people and just have that tendency to over eat.

Then you have the fussy eaters like Dazzle who would look at the food and walk away while Chaos inhales her food and would then inhale his so he would come back to an empty dish if I free fed.

I think one important thing about not free feeding that was mentioned in other posts is you know right away when something is wrong and a dog is not eating as it normally does that, monitoring how much a dog pees and poops and what the poop looks like can help one catch a sick dog early and take action faster to help prevent the dog from getting sicker .

I think feeding time is also just a great training practice time as my dogs have to sit and wait for their release word before they can eat so every meal is a practice session as I believe training is a life long thing.
I get it. I have two standard poodles and a pug. The pug is the latecomer, and he thinks he's the General. He initially thought that he would dictate who ate, and when, and he assumed that he could eat all the food every time the bowl was filled. It didn't take too long for him to be set straight by the standards, and now he plays by the rules. Dogs are pack animals, and although one may not understand pack rules, the alpha dog does and will impose pack rules in the same way that a ***** socializes her pups.
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Old 07-26-2016, 07:15 AM
 
14,381 posts, read 16,877,582 times
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Why on earth do you want to free feed your dogs? Is it really too much trouble to put down a bowl of food twice a day?

You're opening the door to fights, uneven nutrition, weight problems and all kinds of craziness. Free feeding might work in a situation where your dogs are being constantly exercised and have a solid pack dynamic or with a mama dog and her pup[s, but mostly it's a recipe for disaster.
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Old 07-26-2016, 09:03 PM
 
Location: Wasilla, AK
7,449 posts, read 6,326,832 times
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I free feed my dog and it has never been a problem in the 10.5 years she's been with us. I use Eukanuba Labrador Retriever blend in a tower feeder and have never had a single issue. This allows her to eat on her schedule, not mine. Today, she is a healthy 57 pounds and has no issues.
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Old 07-27-2016, 10:00 AM
 
Location: Montana
1,829 posts, read 2,047,365 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlaskaErik View Post
I free feed my dog and it has never been a problem in the 10.5 years she's been with us. I use Eukanuba Labrador Retriever blend in a tower feeder and have never had a single issue. This allows her to eat on her schedule, not mine. Today, she is a healthy 57 pounds and has no issues.
I feed mine Blue Wilderness Salmon Formula and free feed the three I have (5, 4 1/2, and 2 ish). I have noticed when they go to my daughters, who feeds a cheap corn based kibble, they chow down like they are kids eating sugar cereal. I am thinking a combination of good high quality kibble, regular scheduled exercise, and the dog's experience/training that food is always available, but not always eaten, makes for a successful free feeding environment.

As I said above, I know free feeding goes against most vets, trainers, and assorted experts advice, but it has worked very well for me and my dogs - and the only fatty is me .
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Old 08-01-2016, 09:00 PM
 
16,196 posts, read 23,385,389 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twelvepaw View Post
Why on earth would you want to do that?

Bad idea for multiple reasons; here are a few reasons just to start-

1) you need to know how much each dog is eating.
2) in a multi-dog household each dog deserves their own space to eat in peace
3) leaving food out and available is an open invitation to unnecessary snarkiness even between dogs that get along
4) how would you know whether one dog was scarfing all the food and the other dog wasn't getting any food? How would you control portion size for each dog? I guarantee you that a dog who doesn't get their food for a day or two will become more aggressive around food, potentially starting unnecessary issues between the dogs (see #3)
5) free-feeding leads to obesity (dogs and not healthy)
Add to this, you would be taking dogs potty all day long. Eating triggers their bowels. I think doing this is a very bad idea for the dogs and you.
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