There are a few steps you can take to help your dogs learn to eat from their own bowls.
Table of Contents
- Step 1: Supervise Eating Habits
- Step 2: Separate Dogs
- Step 3: Give Vocal Command
- Step 4: Bring Dogs Back Together
- How Do You Feed Two Dogs Separately?
- Should I Separate My Dogs When They Eat?
- Can You Free Feed Two Dogs?
- Why You Should Not Free Feed Dogs?
- How To Keep Dogs From Fighting Over Food
- 1. Have Enough Bowls
- 2. Keep Eating Areas Separate
- 3. Teach Manners
- How Do You Feed Multiple Dogs When Overweight?
- Why Do My Dogs Eat Each Others Food?
- How To Transition Multiple Dogs From Free Feeding
- Step 1: Establish Meal Times
- Step 2: Have Everyone Sit
- Step 3: Fill the Bowls
- Step 4: Keep Them Calm
- Step 5: Name Bowls and Hand Them Out
- Should I Use A Microchip Pet Feeder For Two Dogs To Keep Them Separated?
Step 1: Supervise Eating Habits
To determine which dog is the guilty party, you should feed both dogs as you would normally. Supervise them to see which dog is more dominant. Are they bullying the other dog? Do they both trade bowls? Are they eating from the same bowl?
Once you understand what is happening, you can take the next steps.
Step 2: Separate Dogs
Feed them again. When the dominant dog tries to eat from the other dog’s bowl, then separate the submissive dog from the room. Stand between the dominant dog and the bowl they’re trying to steal from.
Step 3: Give Vocal Command
While you’re blocking them, give them a verbal command that they’ll recognize as meaning to stay away. This verbal command should only be used in this instance. When the dog returns to its own bowl, you can praise them.
Step 4: Bring Dogs Back Together
Let your dogs eat together again. Whenever the dominant goes attempts to eat from the other bowl, stand between it and the bowl and give you vocal command. This will take several days, if not weeks, to perfect. Eventually, your dog will learn to eat from its own bowl.
How Do You Feed Two Dogs Separately?
Feeding two dogs is possible by giving them each their own space. Dogs are territorial. They’ll come to think that anything in their territory belongs to them. That includes their food and water bowl. You should first help your dogs establish their territories.
That might mean giving each dog their own personal room. It might mean designing your kitchen in such a way that there are physical barriers that create little rooms for your dog. Once you have their separate rooms established, you can start to make them feel like their own personal territories.
Fill their spaces with their toys, blankets that smell like them, and their food and water bowl. Once they associate that area with themselves, they’ll consider it their territory.
Any time you feed them, you should allow each one into their room or space. They’ll eat from their bowl at the same but separately.
Should I Separate My Dogs When They Eat?
Separating your dogs is a good idea if one is dominant over the other. Dogs consider themselves as part of a pack. In that pack is a pecking order. You are the pack leader because you keep them fed and establish the rules. However, they’ll often fight one another for the position below the pack leader.
One way they may try to establish their dominance is by eating the other’s food. This makes them grow stronger, and the other weaker, which makes them more likely to come out on top.
If your dogs are especially aggressive towards one another during dinner time, then you should consider feeding them in separate areas.
Can You Free Feed Two Dogs?
It is possible to free-feed two dogs as long as you know who is eating and who isn’t eating. Some dogs are capable of regulating themselves. They’ll only eat when they’re hungry. Others will eat food if it’s present no matter what. You need to first understand what kind of eater your dogs are.
Then you need to know if either of them displays dominant behavior towards the other during dinner time. If they do, then there’s a good chance that the dominant dog will eat the food before the other one can. This makes free-feeding impossible.
You can train your dogs to free feed if you can keep them from fighting one another. That might mean that both dogs are given their own rooms to eat. You can control who has access to the room with microchip dog doors.
Why You Should Not Free Feed Dogs?
Free feeding certain dogs can be problematic. Dogs tend to follow their survival instincts. They’ll eat any food that is available to them, whether they’re hungry or not, because it’s encoded in their DNA to do so. Instinctually, they’re never sure when their next meal might be. They may believe that they’ll face starvation.
This isn’t the case. However, it can cause your dog to eat food whenever it’s in his bowl. This can lead to dog obesity and other health problems.
If you have multiple dogs, then having a bowl of food open for anyone to eat might encourage them to fight one another. One of your dogs may not be eating at all.
Scheduled feeding is a better option because it ensures your dogs only eat the amount of food they need to eat to stay healthy.
How To Keep Dogs From Fighting Over Food
Here are a few things you can do to keep your dogs from fighting over food.
1. Have Enough Bowls
You should have enough bowls for each dog. In other words, every dog should have their own bowl. Eating from the same bowl can encourage aggression.
2. Keep Eating Areas Separate
If the aggression becomes bad, then you should separate their eating areas. Place both bowls far from each other. The dogs should be able to recognize which bowl belongs to them. Otherwise, ensure that each dog eats from a separate bowl.
3. Teach Manners
You need to reinforce that you’re the pack leader. They’ll fight less if they recognize you as the leader. To do this, you should command them first before allowing them to eat. Take their bowls and tell them to sit. Once they both sit, you can put the bowls down. You should also feed them the last bit of their food to reassert that you’re the leader.
How Do You Feed Multiple Dogs When Overweight?
If your dog is overweight, then keeping them separated is even more important. The overweight dog should be given a strict diet and plenty of exercise. They also need to be unable to eat from the other dog’s bowl. Your healthy dog should have their eating spot behind a door or some other obstruction.
Why Do My Dogs Eat Each Others Food?
Dogs eat each other food to exert dominance. It’s a way for them to fight over who is the top dog after their pack leader. Some dogs are also just gluttonous. They want to eat anything they can. Finally, some dogs may believe that the other bowl has something tastier and want to eat it for themselves.
How To Transition Multiple Dogs From Free Feeding
Here are a few steps to follow to transition your dogs from free-feeding to timed feeding.
Step 1: Establish Meal Times
One of the first things you need to do is establish the times of day that you intend to feed your dogs. They enjoy routine, but you need to make sure that you stick to the routine to help them understand it, too.
Step 2: Have Everyone Sit
You should put down the empty bowls and have everyone sit before you fill them. If someone gets up, then you wait until they sit down again. This establishes that you’re the pack leader.
Step 3: Fill the Bowls
Once everyone is sitting, you can fill the bowls with food.
Step 4: Keep Them Calm
The dogs should not be trying to eat from the bowls. You should continue to keep them calm and sitting for a few seconds after the bowls are filled.
Step 5: Name Bowls and Hand Them Out
Once your dogs are calm, you should say their name and give them their bowl. Stay with them and let them eat. Once they’ve finished, take the bowl away. Do not let them eat from the other bowls. This gives them the understanding that they have a limited time to eat and that they shouldn’t eat from another bowl.
Should I Use A Microchip Pet Feeder For Two Dogs To Keep Them Separated?
Microchip pet feeders can be helpful in establishing which bowl belongs to which dog. It will only open for the specific dog that has the microchip. You do need two feeders, however, because you shouldn’t encourage one dog to eat before anyone else. This can make them feel dominant over the other.