We used to feed our English Bulldogs (two of them) together, and then the female began to get really aggressive with the food. We started to feed them separately and for a while it was working out fine, until a few months later, the male dog is refusing to eat from a bowl. He eats fine from the floor, but when I put the food in the bowl, he cowers and hides from it. I feel like he is afraid to go near the bowl because of the aggression from the other dog (kind of like a PTSD kind of thing?) If this is the case, how do I get him to eat from a bowl again?
Note: The fearful bulldog is not an old dog and he has no medical illnesses. (He’s one year old).Emily K. – Chatham NY
Here are some considerations and suggestions regarding getting him back on track but depending on the age of the female there may be other issues between them coming down the pike.
Does the fearful bulldog avoid the bowl even if it’s empty and in other areas of the home?
Keep the female away from the fearful bulldog when doing any of the following:
- Keep the bowl with you and him in multiple areas and times, always with the safe distance slowly changing as described above.
- Test to see how close he can tolerate the mere presence of the bowl to the food on the floor and add the bowl a little further away for many meals. Move it closer in a slight increment. When 3 days pass and he continues to eat, decrease again. Always, 3 days before making a change.
- Once the bowl is right beside, put a few kibbles in. If he eats them. A few more after 3 days.
There are other things to do as well but that’s as good a start as any.