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February 25, 2014

All Roads Lead To Food

For three years I have fed Eko twice a day, every day.  But apparently three years is not enough time to inspire faith in Eko that I will remain vigilant in providing him food.  Eko is the ultimate guard dog, as long as your goal is to prevent mealtime

For three years I have fed Eko twice a day, every day.  But apparently three years is not enough time to inspire faith in Eko that I will remain vigilant in providing him food.  Eko is the ultimate guard dog, as long as your goal is to prevent mealtime from being stolen by time.

Ever vigilant, Eko has a multitude of fail-safes in place to ensure he is well fed.

 Eko has the ultimate selective hearing. No matter what time of day or night and no matter how deep his sleep might be, Eko will jolt upright if anyone so much as whispers the “H-word”  

For a time I would spell out h-u-n-g-r-y but Eko quickly caught on to that game as well. If I accidentally say “hungry” it usually means I will be pestered until I feed Eko.

In addition to explicit verbal cues, Eko also uses some implicit cues to cajole me into feeding him earlier in the evening.  I used to buy dog food and fill up the container whenever I got home.

However, Eko perfected his “Don’t be a jerk and do this in front of me” face.  I guess it was unfair to torture him like that so now I only fill up his container during meal time

Situational awareness is another strong point of Eko’s.  The first time Emily worked the night shift, she happened to wake up for work every day right around Eko’s dinner time. So before she left she would feed him.  This was all well and good until Eko realized that whenever Emily woke up, he got food.  So Eko took matters into his own paws and started breaking into the bedroom to wake Emily hours ahead of schedule.

I give Eko credit for creativity, but he and I were both in the dog house for a while because of that stunt.

Eko’s “But it was a good plan!” mopey face

While Eko will poke or paw me if he thinks I’ve forgotten dinner time, my favorite is when he uses “psychic” powers to compel me to feed him.

Eko will quietly sit by his food bowl and stare at it with such intensity I can only assume he attempts to conjure food with mental powers alone

You might think Eko’s psychic powers are fake, but he hasn’t missed a meal in three years!

Do your pets have any friendly reminders or cues for you when it’s time for a meal?

Comments for All Roads Lead To Food

  1. We get the “eyes” and the staring, too. Otherwise, we get the big giant paw (or 2 paws, considering we have 2 dogs) on our legs starting about an hour before dinner-time. Fortunately, our dogs are good sleepers, so they generally don’t wake us for breakfast. But the words “food” and “eat” are triggers around here. Spelling them out makes no difference, they know that, too!

  2. Emma says:

    We pretty much know when mealtime is and just wait around for it. Mom has never missed a feeding, however, she has told us that one time she did forget to feed her first dog Trine. She still feels bad about that like twenty years later. If food is getting late, we do get antsy and remind her that time is ticking. Eko, I don’t think you need to worry, someone will make sure you always get your meals.

  3. Great post Will!

    The last photo of Eko staring at his empty bowl just made me laugh out loud! Orlando, my Maine Coon cat does exactly that too. If nothing magically appears he places his eyes on me and sends a telepathic message! It has happened that when my back is to him I will get a sudden feeling I should turn around – and there he is, just sitting and staring and the whole surprised “Oh, there you are…..I was just waiting for my bowl to fill…” performance starts.

  4. Victoria says:

    yep – Rigby will come up and put his paw on my arm or chest (really hungry he jumps up) and Muffin will nose the stainless steel bowl, making tons of noise, until i come over and fill it up with her food – sometimes its hours before chow time when she does that so then i just distract her – don’t want her thinking she is in charge and i move when she tells me too (although my family would say that is the case)

  5. Sometimes I think Easy swallowed an atomic clock. But he isn’t as nice as Eko, he throws his bowl around while he barks like a berserk.

  6. nerdgrl (Kim S.) says:

    Steffi usually comes and stands in front of me and stares. Yep, must be an inborn trait, that stare! If I’m sitting at the computer, she’ll come and start twisting around my legs like a cat (she’s about that size as a mini schnauzer). She always gets a treat for doing her business (and she’s over 14 now so it’s been going on a LONG time) and sometimes we think she goes out just so she can get a treat. It’s a wonder she isn’t a lardball.

    If either of us dares to ignore her, sounds start coming from her that would wake the dead! She has quite the octave range!

  7. My strategy is the death stare. Mom says she can set the clock by it. I say forget the clock and get me some dinner….

    Love and licks,
    Cupcake

  8. Audrey says:

    I adopted a senior (9.5 years old) yellow Lab in October last year, she was malnourished when I picked her up so I wasn’t surprised she attacked the food bowl and she was on the prowl looking for food every second first 3 months, I thought this would pass once she’s settled in and caught on that she will have food and treats like breathing the air; but we’re well into 4th month now, still, every morning she wakes up and starts her panting mode and thrashing in circles for breakfast, she actually has this really real panic look in her eyes, and every hand movement of mine to her is ‘food, treats’ still; so needless to say I’m so happy to read that there are food fiend dogs out there like her, and Eko is one of them. By the way, because she ‘attacks’ her food bowl still, I bought a WETNoz Studio Scoop Pet Bowl, now I can hardly hear the racket when she attacks the bowl at chow time.

  9. Cheryl Mandell says:

    Somehow both dogs, with mental telepathy, will come over to me. One sits on my left, the other on my right. They begin,at the same time, after staring didn’t work, to paw me! I do get the message then!!!!

    Sent from my iPhone

  10. Stephanie says:

    My new ridgeback mix puppy has been alerting me to his insatiable hunger by attacking me with his hardest puppy bites and jumping up on eeeverything while wagging his tail like a maniac. My old dog used to pick up his dish and drop it in the doorway to the kitchen and make his “speak” noise (he wasn’t allowed in). I read the stories you write about Eko to remind me that this new puppy will grow up eventually. 😛

  11. Mum says I’m like Yoda trying to will the food to the bowl or floor. I spent 30min staring at leftovers on the table the other day… Did not move from position.
    Toddler is a good source of food sharing too.

  12. Oh Eko, you remind me of Boomer and Dottie. About an hour before it’s time to eat they will follow us around the house and stare at us no matter what we’re doing. Sometimes they will even bring us their bowls and drop them on our feet (good thing they aren’t heavy!)

  13. stevebuddy says:

    Will I.have said this to many of people before, Our Dogs Have.Us Trained, Not We Have Them Trained.
    Sure looks like to me.Eko has trained.you over the past 3 years ?
    Now Buddy has my number, he is more of a routine type, I have a hard time figuring out
    what he wants from me, I have only.had Buddy now just over.a year since I.adopted him.
    What he does for food, potty, or anything else when I ask what he wants, is put his chin in my.hand for all the above. So it’s a guessing game with him. Since he eats mainly wet food, I don’t like to leave it out for long time, but he sometimes will eat hard kibble, so I.always leave a bowl out for him.
    But when he eats, he has a routine afterwards, he gets a small peanut butter rawhide strip, then he will have about half, then he will come for.his smoked rawhide bone, have about half of that, then he moves onto desert, 7 tablespoons of yogurt.
    Now if I forget any one of them, I have a dog that will follow me.around the.house or sit in.front of me giving me.that look till I.get it right.
    Then it’s off for.a nap for him.
    I been.working with.him, to try to.change him, to.do.something else then.give me his chin.for.everything, nothing has worked.so.far ?
    But I am not giving up.!

  14. Misaki says:

    I get super excited leading up to feeding time, it can be anytime between and hour and 5 minutes before dinner:-)

  15. The cats gang up on us over the weekend. One heads in to our room to let us know the bowls are empty, then another and then a third. By then we are outnumbered and going back to sleep is impossible. Then they jog down the hall ahead of us, to make sure we don’t get sidetracked on the way to the kitchen.

  16. Casey says:

    Audi recognizes words like hungry, eat, food and all of their spellings. Instead of staring at her bowl to magically conjure food, she’ll stare at me with such intensity I can physically feel her gaze on my face. In the mornings, she’ll army crawl to the top of the bed and lay on my pillows until I move a fraction of an inch and then she hover over me breathing stinky dog breath in my face until I get out of bed. And yet she’s still so easy to love 🙂

  17. harrispen says:

    In our house Walter keeps the schedule. He even reminds us to eat our lunch just so he can get some treats from us (we know…bad habit, but it works for us). Millie on the other hand could wait until we felt like feeding her and wouldn’t care if we forgot either.

  18. Because Donna gets her food in her crate, she will go into her crate and sit there and stare at me. 😉 like… you get the hint, human?

  19. omg ARE YOU KIDDING? I have a dog AND a cat here and they are a tag team! lol! One starts and then the other does……everything from meowing, to barking, to spinning to staring….the list goes on and on!

  20. […] course, she has this other face that Eko is demonstrating very well over here. I call that the Pathetic Face. I’ll show you Donna’s pathetic face another time. 😉 […]

  21. Kyla says:

    I’m verrrrrry vocal. It starts off with low growls and then progresses to a barkfest if there’s no action.

  22. If I forget to pick up their food bowls, Artemis will bring them over like “Hey, they are still on the ground, does that mean I get another round?”

    Maybe it’s unintentional but she also used to flip over the water bowl if there was a little left and carry it around.

  23. The cats jump in my lap if I am sitting or on my side if I am in the bed. Chancy will grab my arm and pull on it until I get the message that he wants his food. He has brought his bowl to me a couple of times. Love the picture of Eko staring at his food bowl. Hugs and nose kisses

  24. Is it ok if I tweet about this article?

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