New regular posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, extra ‘news flashes’!
Wednesday October 14th 2015
Well, we’ve started. The dreaded mealtime phase three training is in place.
During phase three we will try to address the way Isis behaves when she eats: growling and yipping, planting her front paws on the wall as she jumps up, and in her food when she descends. The noise is ear-tearing and very aggressive. And my impression is that it’s getting worse.
The new regime begins on Monday. I embark on it with trepidation. Here we go. Each time she growls or barks, I remove her food. As expected, she goes ape, yipping and snarling and throwing tail-grabbing tantrums. I stand in the porch fearing the worst: she’ll bite her tail or her feet. Blood will flow.
No dog likes its food to be taken from it. For Isis, who was, I am certain, deprived of food and possibly teased with food before she was rescued, it is very distressing indeed.
Session one: she growls/snarls/barks; I lift up her food stand and walk off with it. When she stops protesting I count to a hundred and return, replace the stand and off we go again. This happens five times. By the time she has finished eating, the hair at the end of her tail is very wet but she has not bitten herself.
Session two is the same: five food removals.
Session three and as I remove her food for the third time she bites me hard on the wrist. Although I have vowed that I will never do so, I deliver a smack.
This is serious and I sit in the back room for ten minutes before putting on my gardening gloves and returning to the fray.
Today, as I remove her meal for the first time she manages to knock the full dish all over the floor and into containers on the nearby shelves. Gee, thanks Isis. It’s impossible to retrieve the food so I leave her to clean-up.
As I write, I hear barks from the kitchen. I have forgotten to zip up the dog meal container and she is helping herself! See, Isis if you ate like a normal dog, I’d not have caught you.
I expect phase three to be a long and difficult job. Although I am concerned that bolting her food as quickly as she does is not good for her, I think I’d let that go in the hope that after a few years of receiving regular meals at regular times she would eventually slow down.
But the aggression has to be addressed. Most importantly because she works herself up into rages so intense that they are hard to dispel and easily leach into other scenarios.
It is no great surprise that other people find her mealtime antics unnerving and quite intimidating. Until the food challenge has been dealt with I am not confident about leaving her in anyone else’s care.
Knowing about her difficulties, I feel horrible taking her food away but this strategy seems the most likely to have a positive outcome.
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.co.uk