Bessie has been slowing getting over her eating disorder. And what I had once thought was a fear of her metal food bowl. OK, I've spent so much time observing the problem and trying to think of causes to eliminate that I've let my mind wander a bit. After all, there's nothing wrong with thinking outside the box. An hour ago I saw something that added a new wrinkle to the situation.
Our normal routine is that I get up first in the morning along with Bessie and Ruff, take them out to pee and then we have our breakfast together. Sort of, anyway. Ruff eats anything, any time, any place. Bess is more finicky. So Ruff has a bowl of dog food and Bess practically stays out of the kitchen until I open the jar of peanut butter for their pills and biscuits. Then Bess comes out and gets hers and always takes her big Milk Bone biscuit into the family room to eat it.
Awhile later its time to get the Mom out of bed and take Axl outside for his pee. Then Mom and Axl come out to the kitchen for breakfast. Since it takes longer to get my wife's breakfast I always set down a bowl of food for Axl first. Today I gave him a bowl of kibble with a handful of cheddar cheese sprinkled on top. When I set this down for him Bessie was also at the feeder so I made a second bowl of kibble and cheese and put it down for her. And Bessie and Axl ate their breakfast together standing side by side at the feeder.
Since the first day I brought Bess into her new home she has treated Axl differently that she treated Ruff. Axl earned the name Grandpa Axl because he acted more maturely to Bess than Ruff did. I had thought that Ruff was supposed to be teaching Bess discipline but he quickly became her playmate with all the daily playschool stuff that I was calling combat lessons. Meanwhile, Grandpa Axl remained aloof and acted more like a curmudgeon to the pesty little pup. The first time little Bess tried to jump on him to play like she does to Ruff, Axl swiped her with his huge head and flung her across the room. It was also the first time in six years I heard him growl.
Later on as Bess got bigger she warmed up to Axl and started flirting with him with ear licks and kisses. She was treating him with respect and he was responding to it. Many times I saw her laying very close to him, something that she never does with Ruff.
So the observation at the food dish this morning immediately told me that Bess prefers to eat along her Grandpa and does not like to eat with Ruffin. And tonight at dinner time I'm going to arrange it.
UPDATE: 7 PM same day.
Something old and something new.
Well, dinner time arrived and I did what I had planned. My wife and I had a late supper so I fed Ruff about 6 o'clock which is close to his normal meal time. As mentioned, Axl doesn't come out to the kitchen until he follows his Mom so I held off putting down his and Bessie's dinner until we sat down to eat. Once again, just like at breakfast, Bessie stood next to Axl and they both ate from their bowls. Only difference was Axl finished his meal and then went to lay down next to my wife's chair at the table but Bessie walked away after only eating a little bit. Then I realized why. The humans still had food on the table.
So after we finished our meal and Bessie got to help pre-wash the dinner plates and pick up a few scraps of leftovers, she then went back to her unfinished dinner and gobbled it up. I have seen this before. She treats her dog food as a backup meal and won't eat it until she is sure all of the people food is gone. (Actually, Bess only cleans my plate. Axl always cleans his Mom's plate.)
It amazes me what I've learned from watching them. Lets try this again in the morning.