Knucklebones for knuckleheads
It never ceases to amaze me how the simplest of activities can provide such joy to these dogs.
I purchase knucklebones, or beef marrowbones, or soup bones from the grocer once every few weeks to help keep the tarter off their teeth. I look for the ones that are rounded, with a limited amount of fat on them, as those provide good jawing power. I only have to start to open the package and eager noses begging for their own, surround me.
As I hand each one out, Winslow excitingly grabs onto an edge of a piece of dangling fat and then lays down in a full stretch to start gnawing on his.
Passion sniffed it, not sure what it was, and just looked at me.
Marm gingerly took hers and went to the far corner of the yard to start her chew process. Which is a very slow, deliberate attack on it.
Passion saw Marm take it and decided she could do that too, and put it half in her mouth and half out, and then placed it on the grass, looked at it and finally stretched out to enjoy it.
Annie, the Italian Greyhound, all of 12lbs opened that smallest jaw and fit the whole thing in her mouth - she is such a mooch. Show her the FOOD and she is there! And she attacks that bone, I'm sure she thinks if she can quickly devour the whole thing, then she can go get someone else's.
And Beauty, though she wants one, wants you to help her with it. She'll start to pick it up and then drop it. And I'll wash it off, and hand it back to her. Finally I give up and just place it on a dog bed or chair, and eventually she deigns to put it in her mouth and take it someplace to start chewing it. She stays upright though, probably because of her spine and arthritic issues, and reaches down to chew and lick it. See Annie, in the background, keeping an eye on her next acquisition!
Their body language when intent on these bones is telling. They all go to their part of the yard to chew in private. Marm the farthest away, as she's the least trusting about her food. Winslow and Passion right next to each other, as they could care less. Annie just a little ways off, so she can get to someone else's bone quickly if they abandon it. If another dog should come near them, they turn their bodies, so that their bone is away from the other dog who is looking at them. If the dog persists in standing there, they will sometimes pick up their bone and move elsewhere, or just totally ignore the dog standing there. A growl can also tell the watcher that they are not wanted in the vicinity. When I have new dogs I always monitor, as they can get very jealous over these bones. Passion is new to the group, so though she has not exhibited any very upfront alpha bossiness, I'm keeping a close eye on the bone game.
Yep, there goes Passion. Walking over to every other dog and checking to see if their bone is better than hers. No problems though, everyone just ignores her.
And it's just another day at the Gang, pleasing those doggies! And no, Winslow was not supposed to bring that inside to chew on the couch!
Addendum: I used knucklebones when I free fed kibble. I have been feeding raw for about 5 years now, so everyday the dogs get raw turkey necks and raw meats. They love it, and their health and teeth have improved tremendously.