During the summer, it’s wonderful to spend a few minutes in the morning sun while the dogs chomp away at their breakfast bones.
In the winter, my short-haired dogs can only be outdoors for a few minutes, and I don’t always want to go outside to supervise them.
You definitely don’t want your dogs to drag raw bones all over your house in search of the perfect corner to enjoy them. It would be awful to have your dog eating a bone on your couch or rug, getting stains all over the soft surfaces in your home.
To make cleanup easier, you can put down a surface on which your dog can enjoy their bones. An old rug or towel can be tossed into the washing machine after use. However, you’ll have to hang it to dry, or put it in the dryer. You would also have to put your “dog towels” in separate loads, which could be a waste of water and electricity.
I decided that I wanted a nonporous surface that I could wipe down in the sink after meals. It had to be small and flexible enough to easily fit in the sink without splattering water as I washed it.
I finally settled on a silicone mat designed to be placed under dog bowls. It’s the perfect size to keep on the floor at all times. I can roll it up and run some soapy water over it, then wipe it dry and put it back on the floor. It only adds a few extra moments to my daily meal preparations.
Teaching Your Dog To Eat In One Place
Of course, if Cow had a choice, she would eat her bones on the couch. That would be a nightmare. I didn’t trust her, at first, to stay at her mat during meals, so I put her on a leash and collar the first few times I fed bones indoors.
I also put the bone back onto the mat if she dragged it away. I still have to wipe down the floor of stray droplets of meat juices, but overall, she’s gotten pretty good at keeping her meals on the mat.
This would be more difficult if she had any degree of food aggression. I do not scold her when she moves her bone off the mat, because that would make mealtime stressful, and could cause an anxiety/aggression problem where there is not one. I simply praise her when she eats on her mat, and the enjoyment of being able to eat without interruption is motivating enough for her to happily comply. You could also practice with small chunks of boneless meat or a ground meat stuffed Kong.
You should also make sure your dog has plenty of private space to enjoy their bones. If they’re eating close to other dogs, they will feel anxious while eating, and will want to find a private spot to enjoy their food. You could place their bone mat in a secluded, cleanable area in which they feel safe.