Since my last foster dog, Marley arrived at my house, Coals eating problems solved themselves!
As you may have read in my previous posts Coal was blind from birth until the Dogs Trust gave him two cataract operations to gain his full sight which was great but the result of this blindness was that he was ever so picky about food. He sniffs it for a few minutes before eating it, even if he’s just ate the exact same thing, it still needs sniffed first. You could give him a treat which he would eventually eat then give him another of the same treat and after smelling it he would walk away and leave it, even if was his favourite food. He refuses to eat breakfast from his bowl and instead wants it made into a game by putting his biscuits into a bottle with holes cut out to allow the biscuits to fall out, which he then eats or by putting his biscuits into toilet roll tubes and hiding them around the house. The first year I had Coal, meal times were a stressful event for both of us and usually ended with me resorting to spoon feeding him! I wouldn’t recommend that anyone does this but when he wouldn’t eat for a week I had to get something in him and it was a very last resort. I tried everything and realised that one factor was the stainless steel bowl having a metallic smell so I swapped to ceramic bowls which helped but did by no means solve the problem. I tried several different dry and wet foods and eventually started cooking for him which did improve his eating habits greatly but still not to 100% he would eat two nights out of 5! Which with the amount of energy he expends daily was no where near enough
Then when Tess first arrived as a foster, the ‘competition’ made Coal eat his meals for the first two weeks anyway then he reverted to his ‘normal’ of refusing to eat. It was a complete nightmare that made me want to tear my hair out and of course Coal picked up on my energy. It was becoming a catch 22. I worked out that sometimes if I petted his head it would start him eating or if he was refusing point blank, I would say either ‘Tess will get it’ or ‘give me it back then’ and he would start eating, thinking he was being cheeky! Lol
However things turned around when Marley came, from day 1 Coal ate all of his dinner, cleaning his bowl, even though Marley was fed seperately from both Coal and Tess. I thought it would be a déjà vu of when Tess first came but Marley has been in his forever home for almost a month now and Coal is still eating all his meals and even begging for more treats!
This is not the only change in Coal since Marley was staying, Coal has really came out of his shell and is standing up for himself more. Tess will try to steal Coals treats, as she eats each one as you give it to her, whereas Coal likes all his treats in front of him so he can choose the order in which to eat them, so Tess inevitably tries to sneak round behind Coal and steal a treat. When she did this Coal would just walk away and let her have them until I noticed and stopped her, but now Coal isn’t letting her and gives a little growl to warn her off!
Another improvement is that usually if Coal is lieing on the couch and Tess jumped up next to him Coal would jump down immediately and he wouldn’t come up on the couch at all if Tess was already up. Tess jumped up beside him the other day and he didn’t move a muscle, and last night he jumped up on top of Tess who was already up and pushed her off so he could get some cuddles. This is brilliant to see as he was too much of a gentleman before!
I believe this turn about also has a lot to do with Coal spending time with my friends two male staffies as before Coal was only surrounded by bitches and now he’s learning to be one of the lads and is thoroughly enjoying it! Tess is a bit confused by it all though as she has been so used to getting her own way with Coal but not anymore!
It just goes to show that it’s not just the foster dogs behaviour and health that improves but also the dogs learn from the foster dog so it really is a win-win situation and definately a privilege to watch.
As it is St Patrck’s day today here is Coal celebrating in his Irish tie