We have a three year old Alaskan Malamute, rescued as a puppy from a shelter. It's our first family dog, and he has simply made his way into our hearts, and the hearts of our day care kids. When we adopted him we had the best of intentions-we bought the best food the vet sold, took him every three months for a checkup, brushed his coat and teeth regularly, and did all the right things.
I'm not sure when all of that went by the way side, but I recently realized that it's been about a year since I bought him dog food. How does a dog get to be 80-ish pounds without eating dog food? Here are some hints: I bought a package of meaty bones at the store to make soup with. I gave the dog one out of the package, raw, to gnaw on. He sniffed it, pushed it away with his nose, and then walked away. He didn't want it so I threw it away. After I boiled the other bones in the package for soup, and seasoned the resulting broth, I fished out the bones, pulled off all the meat I could get, and tossed the bones in the garbage. But I didn't shut the door to the cabinet the can was located in, and when I turned around, ddog had the bone, the cooked and well seasoned bone, and was chewing to his hearts content. A dog can't really prefer cooked meat, can he? I convinced myself he couldn't, and let the incident go. A few days later, and it was Friday. Our family tradition dictates we make homemade pizza and watch movies on Friday nights, and we do this almost every week. It's a fun, comforting tradition we all love. Including, apparantly, ddog, who, as I watched in shock, stood by the stove until one of dk's gave him a paper plate with his own slice of pizza on it. That was the point at which my dh and I decided enough was enough. It was time for the dog to learn to eat dog food.
We cut him off people food cold turkey. And, surprisingly, he actually ate the dog food we bought, even though we had to mix dry food with wet food to get him to do it.
All went well, and when we left for vacation last week, we boarded him for the first time ever, sure that he wouldn't starve to death while we were gone. When we came back, he was thrilled to see us, and no thinner than when we left. Our first night home we ordered pizza, the "5-5-5" deal that's popular around here. One pepperoni, one cheese, one sausage. The dog never even looked at us while we ate. We'd won. But, there's something a little sad about a dog who doesn't beg for food, using those big brown eyes to get what he wants.
When I cleaned up the kitchen after dinner, he was there, waiting for a can of food at his bowl. I looked around furtively, then petted him, whispered sweet nothings to him, and slipped him a slice of the sausage pizza, just to let him know we still loved him. He took it immediately, going to the hallway with it. The hallway? I followed a short distance behind, trying to act like I wasn't watching him. There, in the hallway, he sat down with his winnings, and as I watched, pushed it into the corner, where several crusts had already been stashed. Training over, I guess!