Wednesday 6 April 2011

Dining with Pavlov

The daily routine:

It's five o'clock; Tosca reminded me ten minutes earlier. She has a clock in her stomach, I swear, although it runs ten minutes fast.

"Dinner for dogs!" I call. That's my equivalent of a dinner gong, and it's music to their ears.

The cats, who can eat freely whenever they like and no longer have a set meal time, gather to watch the floor show. The dogs hop up and down and trip me up.

Dogs' dinner time is somewhat ritualistic, and fraught with tension.

First there's the waiting. The scoops of food are dispensed, warm water added. (The water slows Flossie down a little, and helps 7-toothed Tosca to manage her kibble.)

Flossie illustrates the Pavlovian conditioned reflex.

Then comes the wolfing. Dinner lasts only a few seconds for Flossie; she will also eat anything.

Flossie's dinner is served in the back kitchen.

The baby gate is there for a reason.

It takes longer for Flossie to do her washing up than to devour her dinner. When her bowl is spotlessly clean, she waits again; then she must fetch it to me...

...and hand it over. She learned this from the other dogs at Fran's house.

Meantime, on the other side of the baby gate, Tosca is tucking in. She eats steadily, but hasn't got Flossie's high-speed hoovering technique.

Her Personal Taster has inspected the food, and pronounced it safe to eat, although not appetising to cats.

The gate gives Tosca time to finish her dinner without having a large black dog looming over her, watching, waiting, drooling.

When Tosca has finished, Flossie does the washing up for her too. Nobody can polish a dish like Flossie can!

Then it too is handed over.

And they both get a little treat.

Dessert for dogs.

And then it's all over till breakfast the following day.

It's a simple enough life.....


Julie said...

Same routine here, big black bouncy greyhound x lab girl wolfs hers then sits quivering in the living room while peering round the door at the almost toothless wobbly whippet slowly, slowly eating his.

Flossie and Tosca are beautiful, but Tosca is a little heart-melter. She would give my whippet a run for his money in the 'pulling a doleful face' stakes.

flwrjane said...

Nika mentions she get a touch of protein finely chopped( though why bother) heated up with her water.

A bit of meat or an egg adds FLAVOUR and then some.

She's just sayin....

xo jane and Nika

judy in ky said...

I admire your orderly routine. And I love the dogs' faces in that last photo.

John said...

What a joyful dinner routine. I might try "Dinner for dogs" on my teenager.

the veg artist said...

Could I borrow Flossie please? I've hurt my back, and could do with someone to pick things up for me!

rachel said...

I didn't mention the occasional treat added to their dry food! Sardines or a little soup are current favourites. Then there are the little extras throughout the day, just to stop them dying of starvation, you understand!

Fran Hill said...

I was just thinking as I logged on to the computer, 'Oh, I do hope someone has posted a picture of dog drool!' And there you were, fulfilling my dreams!

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

The fear of starvation looms large when you're a labrador ..... Let's face it , all that washing up takes it out of a girl .

walter and me said...

Oh this made me smile....nothing like a greedy lab (or retriever!), their stomachs seem to have the capacity of a dustbin! Like Flossie, Walter will eat absolutely anything....

Anonymous said...

Our little poodle, who was a delicate spoiled little princess, had chicken for her main meal, which she would eat daintily one piece at a time over several hours. Enter the voracious spaniel, and the poodle soon learned to stand at her bowl and eat it all in one go! For their other (small meal) they would often have what we were eating - they loved spag bol/lasagne - and Malcolm always made extra gravy with Sunday dinner to go on their dried food on Mondays!

Marcheline said...

That bringing the empty dish back trick is SO CUTE!!!

Susan said...

Flossie's giant snout in the tiny dog's tiny bowl -
priceless (I can't imagine a dog smaller than my cat) - we LOVE Tosca !!! (+ Flossie too of course)

Oliver (having visited the cat's blog) says M. Millie is a wonderful doggy nurse maid xo les Gang

Pam said...

The excitements of life in Casa Slow Lane!

June said...

Don't I wish mealtimes were that efficient here.
We have the kibble, and the soaking.
And then we have the pills on the sides of the dishes, hidden in butter.
And then we have the pre-feeding argument about the territorial dividing line.
And Mom watches carefully to make sure the pills go inside the right dogs.
Max usually has to take a potty break mid-meal, and then come back and . . . perhaps . . . finish. And perhaps not.
It's exhausting, I tell you!

jabblog said...

We have three feeding areas - one for Winston the cat who eats fastidiously, one for Jenna (Labrador) and Frodo (Dalmatian), and one for Greedy Gus (Labrador).
The biggest drooler is Frodo, followed by Jenna. It takes moments to consume - the longest time is the cutting up and apportioning of the raw meat. Sometimes our kitchen looks like a knacker's yard!

Maggie Christie said...

I must train mine to pick up their bowls. Clever Flossie! My Schnauzer and Flossie-like Lab eat in the same room, side by side. The pup will inspect the Big Dog's dinner, which is acceptable. Big Dog wouldn't DARE eat little dog's food (unless asked to do so whilst he's washing up). I sometimes wonder if he is really a dog. He's far too polite!

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