Saturday, September 24, 2005

Invisible dog food

I mentioned a few weeks ago that Tank was once again on his regular feed, except for the entire teaspoon of chicken and rice I had to mix into it in order to get him to even look at it. While I didn't mention it I knew the possibility was that I was getting scammed, I did say I wasn't going to fight it. I wasn't sure.

Turns out I wasn't being scammed, but times change.

We'd been through several weeks of chemo already and like clockwork, the morning after each treatment Tank would spit out his "Chewy Thingie" (a toffy-like, peanut butter-flavored Glucosamine Chondroitin supplement) and refuse to even try to nibble on a treat much less eat his feed. So it was back to full-strength chicken and rice and then slowly weaning him off that while just as slowly getting him back on his regular feed, until the next treatment when we'd start the process all over again.

Tank had a week off from treatment earlier this month and has had chemo twice since. When we started again, I was expecting to have to start the chicken and rice routine the next morning but didn't have to. And didn't have to this week, either.

Tank's been scoffing down his "Chewy Thingie" and treats, but that danged dog food? Not just no, but HELL no unless I'd mixed that teaspoon of chicken and rice into it.

If he NEEDS chicken and rice I'll cook it, but I'm not going to cook up a batch just so that I can mix a teaspoon of it into his feed!

When the container was empty, I opened up one of the cans of stinky / crappy dog food I'd bought when we were trying to get him to eat anything.

I put a forkful of it in with his feed. The disgusting glob just sat there, so I smashed it into tiny bits throughout his feed. And he ate it.

Same thing with his afternoon feed.

It's such a little bit that after a few days I just put his feed in front of him.

Tank looked at me as I watched to see if he'd eat it and said, Ewwwwww! I won't eat tha- at! It's daaaa-awg food!

Very obediently, I immediately picked up his bowl and added a forkful of canned dog food to his dry feed, smashing and mixing the blob into oblivion.

And he ate it.

I'd learned long ago that we humans do things unconsciously that dogs react to. Sometimes, the best way to correct a situation with a dog is to change something we're doing that's causing it. That can also be the hardest problem to correct because first we have to figure out what we're doing wrong, and then stop doing it.

Tank's a smart old dog and he'd trained me well.

I've been so worried that he wouldn't eat, I've been standing there watching him.

If he hesitates or stops for too long, he's now sure I'll automatically add stuff to it. If I don't notice (now kinda- sorta looking at the newspaper's headlines, going through the grocery store ads, staring off into space like I usta do) he starts eating again. A few mouthfuls later, he stops and looks at me to see if I'm looking at him and noticed.

I do catch myself looking over that way, then stop myself hard and go back to whut.ever. A few seconds later, he starts eating again.

The other thing he's picked up on is me taking something out of the refrigerator, then spooning or forking something out of a container or can into his bowl, and then squishing and mixing and stirring in with his dry feed whatever I've put in there.

Martha Stewart would have a breakdown trying to figure out why someone is keeping an empty dog food can with a baggie over its top in their refrigerator. Marcel Marceau if he were still alive, on the other hand, would be every proud of me.

Scrape scrape scrape, tap tap tap, mash and mix, mash and mix, tap tap tap.

Tank cleans his bowl, so long as he doesn't see me paying too much attention.

The next step is my slow reduction and ultimate elimination of theatrics, so that I can get that damned empty can out of my refrigerator.

Less than two months ago without treatment Tank had, at best, maybe 30 days. He is now in complete remission and we're trying to slow him down because after being so inactive, we're afraid he's going to pull something.


Week Five
Week Four
Week Three
Week Two -- Part Three.
Week Two -- Part Two (We begin).
Week Two -- Part One.
Week One.


Blogger Mark said...

Go Tank!!!! ;0)>

9:27 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

That is good news!

9:42 AM  
Anonymous pam said...

Yay, Tank! :)

My dogs manipulate me in ways I've yet to figure out... but so far I'm just going with it... LOL!

10:57 AM  
Blogger Rob_NC said...

..ya didn`t mention his sleeping arrangements..or would that spill the beans just how well he`s got you trained..this pot is not calling the kettle black...truth is I or should I say "we" got a king size bed just so we could have our really who is the master in this relationship..anwser..our pets...
good to hear Tank`s doing better..!

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Donnah said...

Why insist on feeding him hard, dry food? Where in nature would he be eating such hard stuff?
Put on a kettle of water. Put the dry food in a bowl, add a tablespoon of wet food, pour the hot water in and stir. The wet food will turn into gravy, the hard kibble will be soft, and the meal will be hot. It takes as much time as it would for you to make yourself a cup of tea.

2:05 AM  
Blogger doyle said...

Bones are hard.

Seriously though. The kibbles are small (about as big around as an English pea) but flatter. If I need to make it softer (like I did for Tank's father toward the end) adding a little bit of water (or broth) to the bowl and 30 seconds in the microwave does the trick.

Except for special occasions (birthday, human holidays and such) I've always fed dry. True, it's convenient but it's the concentrated nutrition I like. Another benefit of dry feed, per Da Kid (Da Vet Tech) and Doc, is it's better for their gums and keeping to a minimum the buildup of plaque on their teeth.

5:22 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Whee! Go, Tank!

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Donnah said...

My vet says the teeth cleaning bit is overstated. He says it does a fine job of gouging their gums, and recommended adding hot water to make it an easier-to-eat, more palatable meal.
Try eating a bowl of Frankenberry cereal with no milk. It'll cut you up.

10:33 AM  
Blogger doyle said...

We're both doing what we think is best for our dogs based upon the advice of our vets.

But that Frankenberry thing? That's low. Mention that cereal here again and I'll be forced to smite you severely with a brick of shredded wheat.

5:10 PM  
Anonymous seawitch said...

Animals are so smart!! I am glad Tank is in remission. He sounds a very cool dog.

7:39 AM  

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