I have always free fed my dogs and I have never had any food related agression issues with them. I believe that schedules are good for some but this method works for me and my dogs. They eat when they feel like it, they don't fight over it and they know its there.
If my children (human) are hungry at 3:00pm I don't say sorry you have to wait for dinner time.
I just was at the groomers and she said that free feeding is basically handing control over to the dogs, I don't agree.
I don't free-feed, per se, as I do leave my boy's measured meals out 'til he eats them (i.e., I don't remove them after a certain amount of time). He doesn't get his next scheduled meal 'til he finishes the one before.
I guess as long as your dogs don't have resource-guarding issues, don't eat more than they should, and regard you as their leader, free-feeding shouldn't be an issue.
If I had a dog with any of those issues, I'd definitely want to control meal-times closely.
BTW, if my human kid is hungry at 3PM, he might get a small snack, but he's not gonna get a meal 'til suppertime.
My thinking on free feeding is that it depends a lot on the individual dog. Some dogs will scarf everything down, including everyone else's if given the chance.my dogs like to pick all day, so I do free feed them. I also think that as the dog gets older, it's a smart thing to feed them at given times, since they're more likely to put on weight as they get older.
I agree with Pen2. A lot depends on the type of dog. We had always had Yorkies. You could always leave food out, in our case they never over ate. Now we have a mix beaglepug and he eats whatever we put down and so fast I have no idea if he even tastes it. We rescued him when he was 5 mths old and where he had been they put food and water down once in the morning and once at night period. Soooo when we got him, he would drink a bowl of water till his belly swelled and then try to drink more.. After a few days of us leaving water out all the time he adjusted to just drinking when he was thirsty. The food thing though, he will still eat as much as we put down as fast as he can. He is only 15 months old now and possibly he will change, but I honestly don't think so. He gets measured amounts every day and since he was gaining weight, we cut back on the amount and I was given an excellent tip by Irish to mix some no salt added green beans to his food to help fill him up but not put weight on him. He loves them and it serves its purpose.
No free feeding here either. I want to know if someone isnt eating. Weight control is also an issue....every dog metabolizes at a different rate. 1/2 cup to one dog nd a 1/2 cup to another dog of the same size may leave one under weight and one over weight.
If you have only one dog, then that is different and not so much an issue.
People are like slinky's, not really good for much. But its still fun to push them down the stairs.
i have always free fed all my dogs. i do occasionally have one that won't eat on a schedule and i wound up throwing a large amount of food away. they never get more than what their daily allowance is from the start so gaining weight wasn't a concern.
now because of the puppy, i cant free feed like i used to or the pup will go and eat their food instead of his so we are back to feeding on a schedule.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
ya with Tito i put 2 cups of his food in his bowl at 6am and leave for work. Sometimes he will finish it and other times theres still a lot of food in it. So then i add what i need to for his daily food amount and by 7 he has it finished.
Ours have food at all times. They were raised this way. They seem to eat the most in the morning and evening but also nibble from the bowls throughout the day. The bowls are not all in the same room of the house. Our dogs don't fight over food. They will protect a toy or treat that has been given with a growl (only toward other dogs, never people) but are not overly concerned with their regular food since it is always there, just like the water buckets. If 2 want to eat at the same time the less dominant dog simply goes to a different bowl. With 6 of them in the house this works well for us. If you have a breed that is prone to bloat I certainly recommend raising the dog this way because they are not as hungry as they would be with a set feeding time and are less likely to gulp down a lot of food at once. Some dogs just can't be fed this way and will eat every morsel you put down for them. It depends on the dog and your schedule.