Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Dog is Making Me Fat

Whenever you add a dog to your family, you have to start as you mean to continue. You have to make it clear that you are the Boss. You have to make this point more regularly and obviously with some dogs than with other dogs. Some dogs shrug and say “OK, you're the boss” before flopping down in their beds with a chew toy. Other dogs are like surly teenagers. “You're not the boss of me!”

Toby is somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, but since he has shown some signs of being a dominant dog and he's relatively young, we're being careful to remind him consistently and clearly that we're the boss. One of the simple ways to remind the dog is the control of food. Some trainers say you should always eat before you feed your dog and you should make him wait until you tell him to eat.

Fair enough, but the convenient and logical times to feed the dog don't always neatly coincide with my mealtimes. The vet said to feed him once in the evening to get him on a proper “walkies” schedule. But I was worried about bloat, especially since the car situation was dicey in the early days. (It's not like bloat is something you can treat at home and the vet is 18 miles away.) So I started feeding him twice in the evenings, one cup of food each time, with about two hours between meals. It's a good schedule from the “walkies” point of view, since he goes nearly precisely at 7.20 every morning.

But I need to eat something before I feed him. Just something small and easy – usually I just grab a slice of cheese from the fridge. You usually hear about people losing weight when they get dogs. I think I may end up being the first person in the history of active dogs to actually gain weight. And it's all the dog's fault.


At 1 March 2007 at 08:52, Blogger Fence said...

We've never had trouble with a dominant dog, Shady is perfectly aware that he is bottom of the pile in the family, but he is happy to be there :)
We've always done the whole "No eating till permission" which of course doesn't apply if no one is in the room. Or if the food is on the floor.

At 1 March 2007 at 15:48, Blogger laurie said...

well, ann, here we go again. back when i was (briefly) a newspaper columnist, i wrote about how my dog Toby was making me fat. first, of course, i made him fat by giving him all my leftovers and pouring bacon grease over his kibble and sharing my dinner with him.

and then, when i realized he needed to lose about 10 pounds, the only solution seemed to be for me to eat all the leftovers myself....

with predictable results: he got skinny, i got fat.

At 1 March 2007 at 15:49, Blogger laurie said...

ps toby was also a middle-of-the-night eater. i'd fill his bowl and he'd ignore the food until 1 a.m., or so. i'd briefly awaken, hear him happily crunch-crunch-crunching in the kitchen, and i'd fall back asleep feeling that all was right with the world.

At 4 March 2007 at 23:33, Blogger Career Guy said...

Can we get a look at this dog? How about a photo? You may have posted one and I missed it. Togy at rest, Toby in action, Toby looking winsome--that sort of thing.

At 5 March 2007 at 16:45, Blogger Terri said...

... but on the plus side, at least you can put the blame on the dog ;)

At 5 March 2007 at 19:56, Blogger Jack's Shack said...

That is pretty funny.

At 5 March 2007 at 22:06, Blogger Arbusto said...

I can't wait to have 3 cats, 1 dog and an assortment of animals for my own personal zoo. Ferrets FTW.

At 6 March 2007 at 07:13, Blogger -Ann said...

Fence - Cleaning up food on the floor is one of the best fringe benefits of having a dog. :)

Laurie - Ha! Of course you've written about this topic before. I am jealous that you were a newspaper columnist. That's my dream job. I've never had a dog who ate in the middle of the night. Ours fall into their food dishes like we'd never fed them before.

Dad - I sent an email out to the family with a link to Toby pictures and house pictures ages ago. Maybe it got lost in the shuffle while you were out of work?

Terri - Absolutely. I am just a victim of the dog's needs.

Jack - It would be funnier if it weren't true. At least for me it would be.

Arbusto - 3 cats and only 1 dog? I think your balance is a bit off there. Dogs are the pack animals, after all. :)


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