Thursday January 1st: New Year’s Day, and just over four months since Isis came.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Just before Christmas P gives me a ‘Green’ feeder to try out with Isis. She bought two at Crufts this year but only one of her dogs has worked out how to use it.
Green encourages dogs to work for their food and thus slows down their eating.
Now, cranky Isis loves to play ‘hunt the chocolate drop’ (special ones for dogs, of course). She seems to perceive it as a game and happily snuffles around the room until she finds them all however long it takes. No irritability. No growls. No yaps. So the Green has a chance, I think.
It is essential to reduce the risk of triggering one of her rages. Food rages are one of the main precursors of her self harming.
I introduce the feeder to Isis very carefully. And only with treats. The first time I put the six treats along the outside rim so that they are easy for her to reach. I sit next to her, stroking her, talking to her, whether she hears or not. And I rave about her cleverness when she manages to retrieve one. She still does a short-lived foot/tail attack but doesn’t make contact. And she still wags when I get out the feeder again.
Next time again I place the treats close to the outside rim. Isis struggles and inadvertently licks the treats further in. She gives a cross little woof then bashes the feeder with her front paws trying, I think, to upturn it. I slyly flick the treats back towards the outside. She carries on happily extracting and eating them.
The third time I put some of the treats on the outside rim and a few a little further back. Isis persists.
The fourth time I scatter the chocolate drops over the feeder, put it down and bring her in. I sit down across the room and wait. Clever Isis takes her time. She concentrates hard. She doesn’t make a sound. She moves the odd awkward one with a well controlled paw. She dislodges them all, missing only a fragment of chocolate stuck on a middle spike. I offer it to her on the end of my finger and give her congratulatory hugs.
I am delighted. Not a shred of frustration.
I shall use it only with treats for the next few days, then replace a couple of treats with dried food. Hopefully, I can gradually substitute dried food for treats until I am able to serve her breakfast in the feeder.
Fifteen days now since she bit a back paw and made it bleed.
But she still makes attacking gestures towards her feet every day, so we’re not out of the woods yet.
* Images from older posts keep disappearing. I apologise for this. I know how frustrating it is when an expected image just isn’t there and am in the process of finding out how to solve this problem.
Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or www.dogwatchuk.com