How not to feed a dog

July 9, 2014
Cute dog photo

The one, the only, RILEY.

Yes, he’s adorable. But those who know and love him get most tickled by his dinner plate, which gets almost as many comments as his adorableness. In real life, that is.  But today, you have the rare opportunity to comment on His Royal Highness’ mealtime ritual even if you haven’t had the honor of meeting him in real life.  (You’ll also know exactly how wise God was to not give me children.)

I’ll say no more. Just watch. And be sure to have your volume on. Because he and I are conversing.

Seriously. There is NOTHING more serious than his mealtime. Just ask him.

And then return for the rest of the story.

You probably figured out:

1. Presentation is everything. Riley likes the pop of colors against a white plate.
2. And that IS a plate, not a dog food bowl.
3. He does not like his food to be combined because he has a specific order in which he eats his meal.
4. He loves vegetables. Dr. Stephanie wants him to lose a few lbs. so Wellness kibble is now a treat, not part of his meal. But green beans are one of his favorites and carrots provide the crunch. The dog food is Natural Balance. The chicken is boiled to remove the fat and since he’s got the taste for it, it’s much easier to get him to eat it when he has the rare digestive symptom and must restrict his diet.
5.Oh, he lost 1.5 lbs the first two months and now weighs 10.6.  He needs to be about 9.5.


I guess you see that he runs the show. Stacy, I know you are reading this but it’s nothing you don’t already know as his trainer.

Speaking of training, the very best training advice I ever got was from Stacy. I’d spent years trying to train the bark out of him. And then she said to me:

“He is who he is. Excitement goes to barking for him. That’s who he is.”

Which saved me much frustration. And, it turns out, his barking has improved.

Carrots are saved for last.

Carrots are saved for last.

Before his diet, carrots would be saved for later. But now, he eats them at mealtime.

Riley is what used to be called "a good eater."

Riley is what used to be called “a good eater.”

2014-06-26 17.10.03

“Can I have seconds?”

He licks his plate clean.

And then, the look.

Feel free to comment on our feeding habits. I can take it.

38 comments on “How not to feed a dog
  1. Puneet Kumar says:

    This afternoon here in India, After lunch I was feeling to read something light and sweet. Video added further excitement while reading. I loved this.

  2. I would have fed him at the first bark! I’m a bleeding heart for animals. The food looks so healthy and he is SO adorable!

  3. Romi says:

    Riley seems to be having a better-balanced meal than many children in my country. 🙂

  4. Carol- RIley is adorable!!!!

  5. kim tackett says:

    No judging here. We let our Toby do pretty much whatever he wanted. In his last weeks we were making him steaks for dinner. Seriously!

  6. OMG this is too freaking adorable. I love how he saves the carrots for last 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  7. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    OMG! Your dog eats better than I do. You are a good dog mommy. And he is so adorable.

  8. Karen says:

    LOL, what a sweetie! Our dog is a barker too (like most shelties), but I managed to train her out of it…maybe I’ll do a post on that some time. Thanks for sharing your pup with us!

  9. Janie Emaus says:

    LOL! And I thought my mom’s dog was spoiled. I’m going to show her your video.

  10. You are an awesome Mom! Riley couldn’t be any cuter. He eats just like my Lance who is also dieting. He inhales his food. His brother Louie eats very slow. My husband says Louie does it on purpose to antagonize Lance, who just stares at his brother eating after he inhaled his.
    Ours are terriers and they bark and bark and bark. I tried spray bottles, the stupid collar that sprays a smelly substance, nothing works. It is how they communicate
    I loved the video, I feel like I know both of you a bit more.

  11. Ruth Curran says:

    I love that Riley eats in order!

    We had a trainer tell us once to distract our dog when he barks by throwing treats on the floor. This good hearted young woman said that getting his nose to the ground and redirecting his attention would break the habit. Guess what happened? Yep, he gained 5 pounds and our house got a whole lot louder :)!!

  12. Hmmmm. Yes, we definitely know who is in charge here!

  13. What’s the big deal about plating Riley’s food attractively? He doesn’t deserve to eat with his eyes as well as his stomach, the same as the rest of his family does?!

  14. *chuckles*

    Just what I needed before heading out for a stressful meeting…

    A vegetable eating dog! Amazing…

  15. Rachel says:

    Super cute. Makes me want a dog but then I’d have 5 plates to prepare rather than 4. 😉

  16. My mother has a similar ritual with her Shih-Tzu, Oliver. He demands food, and she caves and gives it to him, because he will never stop barking until he gets it. He gets boiled chicken and green beans and dog food, but no carrots. She also hides his medicine in the chicken.

    • Oh God. Now I’m doing things that people say their MOTHERS do. Well, alright then. Yeah, chicken is a high value food for most dogs and so when he has an upset tummy and can only eat chicken and rice, and he doesn’t much like rice (but loves pasta), the fact that he is used to chicken is a big plus. Of course, with a diet like that, he doesn’t get much intestinal distress–he is very healthy, thank God. But Oliver would LOVE crunching raw carrots, you should tell her. And yes, bark bark bark until the meal is down. Unless I say, “do you want to go to your room?” and then he susses out the likelihood of that happening. Right now our housekeepers are here and he is barking like crazy to get their attention. Making his talking ball talk (the vibration). Yes, a complicated household!

  17. carol Graham says:

    Loved it Carol. You know what a dog person I am and that communication is of UTMOST importance. Glad to see the good balanced diet you are feeding Riley.

  18. Hilarious! As someone who ended up sitting on the floor, hand feeding both her dogs, I have no judgement to place on anyone who spoils their beloved pets at all!

  19. Donna says:

    Riley Cam!!!! My dog is furious, she is a fan of Riley’s and wants to know why her treatment isn’t comparable. I did have her convinced all dogs killed their food for dinner. Thanks so much Riley.

  20. Lana says:

    Riley is one of the cutest dogs I’ve ever seen. My yellow lab hoovers everything in two seconds flat, and will eat ANYTHING (including cat poop….gross) except vegetables. Go figure. Our previous lab barked all. the. time. Our vet told us that some dogs are talkers, just like people. I really enjoyed this post!

  21. Kathy says:

    Riley is so cute! My dog Kibbles watched the video-wish she would learn to eat vegetables as the vet has said she needs to shed a few pounds. Enjoyed the video-thanks for sharing.

  22. As a fairly new dog mom, I can thankfully relate. My Caesar is so spoiled but he’s my grand-doggie! I too feed him on a plate (veggies are a must). Riley is adorable.

  23. TJ says:

    I will definitely be showing this to my friends and family! Love the video. I get teased about feeding our dogs chicken and mashed potatoes along with their kibble. I even make up little Tupperware bowls of their mix for each meal if we are going away and they’ll be with their sitter. She may not make it correctly, so I’d rather just do it myself. I make no apologies! Oddly, mine love the raw carrot slices that they sell as carrot “dips” but won’t eat the baby carrots. It all carrot, but apparently how it feels in their mouth matters to them. I figure Sophie somehow knows they’re a bit more expensive at the store so that’s why she prefers the dips. Only the best for her! It’s always good to know there are others out in the world that spoil their dogs as much as we do.

  24. So adorable! The sad thing is we eat just alike one thing at a time with nothing touching the other!

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