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When the transition to solid food began, she continued to exhibit ingenuity. I use a large, flying saucer or donut-shaped, stainless steel puppy feeding dish. Sometimes, the smaller pup may get squeezed out by the rest of the litter as they all put their heads into the dish and begin to circle it as they eat - in a May pole fashion. Falling victim to the squeeze play once was enough. This spunky little bitch solved the problem in short order by climbing right into the dish and literally swam through the milk and baby rice cereal - also known as "puppy mush" - eating until she had her fill! And she did a repeat performance at each subsequent feeding.

Puppies are capable of learning at a very young age.

Conditioning puppies to the "come" whistle (three toots) can begin as soon as the puppies are being weaned and they start the transition over to solid food. Each time they are fed, I’ll blow the whistle. They quickly associate this - the whistle - with something "good"… dinner… and will come running. I’ve found this to be especially helpful when they are out in the yard and a pup begins to wander off from the group too far or when it’s time to go inside.

Competition for the lion’s share of the food within a litter can be fierce. It can get to a point where, at dinnertime, they seem more like little vacuum cleaners than puppies… Hoover… Eureka… Electrolux! Seriously, this concerns me because I don’t think it’s particularly healthy for their digestion when they eat so rapidly that their food is not even chewed. Sometimes, they will gag and choke or even regurgitate the meal. It can be a difficult habit to break. Some dogs never seem to be able to overcome this sense of urgency and habit of eating too fast.

To discourage puppies from gobbling their food and encourage better eating habits, I put away the puppy kibble dishes. Instead, I scatter their dry kibble on fresh, clean, fleece blankets and bath towels. This slows the pups to eating just one piece at a time as they search each kibble from among the folds of the bedding.

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