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Looks like you've essentially trained him to eat like this.
I don't free feed. I also don't hang around to watch any of the dogs eat--I'm often in the kitchen while they are eating but most of my (nearlly always) intact males inhale their food. And I feed a specific amount in each meal--I don't keep adding more food to their bowl once they've cleaned it up. In the past the dogs I've occasionally had problems with were older puppies 10 months to 2-1/2 years and it usually coincided with the period of time when they really weren't mature and needed to carrry 2 to 4 pounds of undeniably excess weight so that they looke more mature when they were showing in conformation.
All except my first Doberman ate fine once they made it through the initial raging hormone period. The first dog was the one I made every mistake in the book on--I added all kinds of stuff trying to get him to eat more. I hovered over him while he ate, I begged him to eat, fed him part of and sometimes all of his meals out of a "special" spoon.
And he wouldn't eat for anyone else--when I was in the process of moving when he was about 16 months old he ended up being kenneled for a month--he ate about 1/4 of what he actually needed and looked like a starvation case when I finally took him home--then to add to the problem he was so accustomed to eating tiny amounts it took forever to get him back to a reasonable weight.
I also don't screw around with how fast my dogs eat. Dogs are actually designed to eat fast, eat a lot and then go somewhere quiet and sleep it off. So if puppies eat so fast they choke themselves on huge mouthfuls of food or puke up part of their meal I just let them re-eat it. Or if it happens a lot I put the food on a cookie sheet so they can't grab huge mouthfuls.
I aways feed kibble with water--that also slows down eating and makes the kibble smell better and slide down more easily.
Sounds to me that the way you are feeding him accounts for the way he eats. I've had outright gluttons who would eat as much as I'd feed them (if I didn't know better I'd have suspected those Dobes of beng part Labrador) but I know that either of the two adult males I have at present would quite happily eat more than the two cups per meal than they get--and if I gave them four cups or more in one meal they might eat some but probably not all of the next meal. That's probably the explanation for why he stays in good shape dispite the way he eats sometime and doen't at other times. And if you keep accurate records over time it probably does average out.
So along with the things I don't do when feeding a dog there are things that I do--deliberately. I don't do things like teach my dog to only accept food from me (if there wasn't any other reason the handler who shows them in conformation would lose her mind if she couldn't use food in the process of teaching a dog what he was supposed to be doing in the conformation ring) but I want other people to be able to feed him if I'm not around. And one of the very best indications that something may be awry with the good eater is when they start skipping meals--one missed meal is no big thing but two will have me taking them to the vet. Some of my dogs have never missed meals--my Australian Shepherd was one of them--when he turned his nose up at breakfast it was so incredibly unusual I took him to work and we ran a full senior panel so that by the time we went home I knew that he was in the early stages of lymphoma.
I don't know how old your male is now but it's true that old habits die hard with dogs so I doubt that his pattern of eating an/or not eating isnt likely to change but good luck.
Last edited by dobebug; 03-01-2017 at 03:42 PM.