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How to Feed a Fussy Little Dog: Chile’s List of Requirements

1. Preference to remain someplace safe — lurking in the shadows, under a bed — while the other dogs (“idiots”) chaotically dance around and drool at the ping of kibble hitting the bowl. Rationale: You can get stepped on, drooled on, or accidentally eaten when Maisy mistakes you for a bit of sausage (it could happen).

2. Include something special in the bowl — preferably on top of, not UNDERNEATH (!!) — the kibble. Sausage will do (see sausage comment, above), as will turkey, cheese, chicken, ham, or almost any kind of food preferred by the French. Foods to avoid: Eggs (blech!), lamb (not sure why, I just don’t like the idea of it, I guess), and any kind of vegetable, although clearly this should go without saying. Also, bear in mind that not all dogs like liver and other organ meats, and this includes me. I’d rather have a dry, flaky coat.

3. Kibble should measure less than one-eighth of an inch (1/8) in circumference, or slightly larger than the head of a pin. Not a pushpin, either, but a common pin.

4. Don’t even think about one of those metal bowls. If you wore a collar and your tag dinged the rim (it sounds like Notre Dame!), you’d freak out, too!

5. Please place all other dogs out of my eyesight, as prescribed: Simon behind the laundry room door, Abby behind kitchen island (far side), Maisy completely out of my space (porch or outside in the yard preferred, even in winter). Can’t stand the way they eyeball my bowl, the little Hoovers. And Maisy is just scary. Are you sure she’s a Labrador? I’m thinking wolf.

6. Place bowl at exactly the following coordinates on the runner in front of the kitchen sink: Long.:41.80926461539462; Lat.: -71.0980224609375

7. No touching or petting, please. However, some soothing words of encouragement can help aid the process. Suggested script, “Good dog, Chile!” “It’s ok, you’re a good boy!” “Come on now, little boy… you can eat now. You’re safe.” “Yum… isn’t that good? There you go!” “Yeeeeesss… there’s my little man. Good boy.”

8. Shouting things like “Fercrissake Chile! EAT!!” and “WTF is WRONG WITH YOU!! EAT!!” is not productive. Also, they are hurtful.

9. Repeat #7 for as long as necessary. We could be here a while.

10. Wait for me to be done.

11. Still waiting.

12. Number 7 again, please. And can you use a softer voice?

13. OK, it’s all good. Release the others from their designated holding positions. K, thanks! See you tonight!

* Let the record be shown that Chile prefers “complex” to “fussy,” which he terms “pejorative.”

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17 Responses to How to Feed a Fussy Little Dog: Chile’s List of Requirements

  1. Bethann says:

    can we add High Maintenance to the terms. Middle child complex?

  2. I think number 4 is pure projection (didn’t I read once that noise of this kind annoyed-freaked sounds so harsh- you out?) Otherwise I love this–have been there–and bought the t-shirt in several different colors. Prefers a dry flaky coat to organ meat-I could not agree more! I have a camper that just turned 18–she is on IV fluids but otherwise is a tough old bird that refuses to hang on the porch—she enjoy stouffer lasagna…and beef pub burgers-slightly browned.
    Ann! It is so nice to see you; you made my Saturday just that much nicer.

    • Anonymous says:

      LOL > Thanks, Katybeth. I kinda new you’d get this… ! Re #4: Seriously — he JUMPS when the tag hits the bowl. At least, he did the first few times it happened. Now he just avoids the whole business entirely and stares at the bowl, willing the food out of it. He’d rather eat off the rug.

  3. Dan Callahan says:

    What’s the problem here? It’s all about me, right?

  4. Tobey Deys says:


    I have one dog who must have gravy, with Ketchup, at optimal temperature. She will, as you prepare her food, gaze regally out the window – completely dismissive of your efforts. After HRH’s dish is placed in the pantry, she will sit at the threshold until invited to dine. (#8 … but with restraint). Once dining, inhibit all conversation.

    And biscuits? Must be eaten, with excessive slobber, only over the rug (I have ONE rug). The ‘easy to clean’ floor is beneath her, apparently 😉

    Thanks, Ann. So happy I’m not alone 😉

    • Anonymous says:

      I’d offer to get Chile and your girl together for a playdate… but you know it wouldn’t go well, somehow, right? LOL > thanks for your empathy, Tobey! Glad I’m not alone, either!!

      • Tobey Deys says:

        Perhaps if we broke out the white linen and Grandma’s good china? Bowed deferentially? Better yet, we get Gordon Ramsay to prepare the meal (he can curse like nothin’ else!) 😉

  5. Anonymous says:

    Those are my requirements for eating, too.

  6. Anonymous says:

    You are far more patient than I could ever be. Maggie hardly chews. GULP & GONE! (Which is a much better nick name than you-know-what “*** & Go” LOL.

  7. My Daisy’s requirements are: “is it semi edible?” DONE!

    Her normal eating time is around 20 seconds from full bowl to bowl licked clean. If there’s another dog nearby, that time goes down to around 7 seconds (yes, I’ve timed it!) She’s come kind of lab mix and while the shelter says she’s mixed with boxer, I often think she’s actually mixed with a garbage disposal of some kind.

  8. Lorraine says:

    I can relate. The teacher at our dog’s obedience class told us we have to bring “really yummy” treats to “charge up” the reward for obedience. So we tried jerky made from 100% chicken breast. Meh. We tried liver–freeze dried and sauteed. No way. Finally we boiled organic, pastured, grassfed chicken. Okay, maaybeee. But only if it’s skinned and cut up just so.

    Honestly? It looks (and smells) better than some of the meals I’ve prepared lately.

  9. Greg says:

    I think I’d rethink #7 you might be giving that cute little dog a complex by calling him “little man”.
    Just a thought.

  10. Deana says:

    Thank you for making me laugh out loud! My previous dog had to have no one in the kitchen when she ate, or, everyone had to freeze in place and be silent until she was done. My current Cavalier has been trained to go sit in one area and wait until I release him to go to his dish. If, while eating, any food gets in the water bowl, he paces back and forth until I come get it out for him. I’m happy to have my rescue boy, with all his quirks.

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