Wolfish Savoring


There is the interesting phrase “wolfing your food down” which is quite appropriate. Wolves gulp their food down in huge chunks and are able to swallow even a whole large chicken in one amazing bite. A totally “National Geographic” moment to witness. Especially when they spit it up an hour later for their pups. I think that they wolf down their food because under hunt and pack devour conditions they must eat fast or someone else might take the food. Also they often carry food back to their nursing mate or pups in their belly.

But, they have another mode of eating too. The savoring mode of dining where they consider their food, enjoy the smell, nibble off bits and chew it slowly and fully to get the most enjoyment out of dinner.

Kavi just gave me a good example of that just now. I gave him an peanut M&M candy. He loves them. This is a tiny peanut and chocolate candy. Very small relative to Kavi who is a large dog. He takes it, examines it, smells it, chews it slowly and thoughtfully for a long time. A tiny candy and he’s not wolfing it down. With a huge chunk of meat and he would likely gulp it down whole. Why? He could have made the candy disappear in an instant. He has to work carefully not to swallow the candy quickly but to chew it as his teeth are designed for shearing, ripping and shredding, not really chewing.

He takes his time because he enjoys the candy. It’s a special treat he wants to savor – same as I would do with it. When he got done I asked him if it was good and he shook his head yes and then asked “Please, More, Eat.”

Kavi’s son Hanno is the epitome of a canine foodie. He usually savors his food and rarely wolfs it down.

Outdoors: 42°F/34°F Overcast, light morning snow
Tiny Cottage: 54°F/59°F

Daily Spark: Hubert’s hat is a Hub cap.

Not to worry, our dogs are not allergic to chocolate or peanuts. A vet I spoke with said that the whole chocolate being deadly for dogs myth is way overblown. He said the issue is that chocolate is a little bit toxic to everyone, you and I include, and the problem some small dogs have is that they are very low body mass and they eat a whole lot of chocolate in one sitting, perhaps three pounds at a time. If you ate a proportionally large amount of chocolate all at once you too would have troubles. He also pointed out it is not an allergy issue at all but rather a very mild toxin issue, somewhat similar to caffeine. I’m not saying feed your dog chocolate. No, you should mail it to me instead, especially if it is really good chocolate. :)

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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9 Responses to Wolfish Savoring

  1. David B says:

    I just love the posts about your dogs! I hope someday for more videos of them “talking” or counting. Thank you for sharing :)

  2. Astonishing dog! Worth their weight in gold. We would really miss our guardians.

  3. Sarah says:

    A new reader. What kind of dog is Kavi? Just beautiful!

    • The dogs in our pack are a mix. Their pack has been guarding our farm and herding our livestock for six generations. See Dog Page for details.

      • Sarah says:

        Thank you. The dogs sound amazing. Another silly question (sorry I’m a city girl) would a guardian type of dog ever be fulfilled in the city watching over a child? I have a special needs child that adores the freedom of going outside but doesn’t necessarily watch her boundaries. I’d love for her to have a canine companion that might help with that. I wouldn’t want a dog to be miserable though. Again, I’m sorry if this is the silliest question you’ve gotten.

        • I think you may be asking too much of the dog and a large dog really needs the open country for running to get exercise.

        • Farmerbob1 says:

          You may want to talk to people who train service dogs for blind people. There may be alternate training programs that would better serve special needs people. service dogs are trained to help blind people avoid traffic, etc, but at the same time, blind people are typically very attentive to their dogs. A dog performing the same role for a special needs person would have to have a strong personality, and be willing to be more physical or insistent in warning its ward. It would have to be willing to seriously ‘argue’ with it’s ward. And that might be a problem.

          It might be doable, but you would probably need to reinforce that both the dog and the special needs person are under you in the ‘pack’ so the dog would feel equal in pecking order, and that might lead to problems with your relationship with the special needs person. You would need to treat the special needs person like a child, which they might resent as they grow older, even if it is appropriate.

          Again, I’d suggest speaking to a service dog trainer. If anyone does train dogs for ‘herding’ special needs people, they will probably be able to point you in the right direction.

  4. Sally H says:

    When I was growing up I had a neighbor who raised three closely spaced children while her husband was in the Air Force. She said she could not have done it without her boxer. When they moved she would lay a rope to outline the area in which the dog was allowed to travel (ex: the yard.) She would show the dog the rope, tell it “No” on the far side and “Good girl” on the near. The dog understood that that was the boundary. So much so that she (the dog) was willing to enforce the boundary when it came to the three children, ages 4 – 18mos. Their dad changed the baby’s diaper one day and asked about the small bruises on her bum. They were the result of the dog grabbing her diaper and pulling her to over to the near side of the boundary line. (She herded the older children, pushing them with her head.) A line the dog enforced long after the rope was removed. So there are dogs that can preform this task, but it needs to be just the right dog.

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