4 Sneaky Ways My Dog Has Perfected the Starving Dog Act

Dr. Patty Khuly and Slumdog

No dog does hangdog like my Slumdog. But his imploring eyes take on an extra-special intensity when food is involved. In fact, when he's hungry, there's no doubt in my mind that he could take home the gold for top hangdog.

And Slumdog is always hungry.

I’m sure there are plenty of you out there who know just what I'm talking about here. Many of you will probably dispute Slumdog's right to the title of "most pathetic beggar," claiming that your pet could melt a polar ice cap with her hungry look.

Who’s got the “hungriest” dog in America? The world may never know. But the point is clear: A great many dogs are so shockingly food motivated that they’ll stop at nothing to manipulate the kibble controllers among us to play fast and loose with their food.

Here are some tricks that Slumdog has tried on me. But, first, an explanation: Slumdog is a mentally taxed animal — he was diagnosed with hydrocephalus — but he still manages to recruit the few neurons he has left to search for anything edible. And I use the term edible very loosely.

1. Will Dig for Food!

Slumdog has learned how to tunnel. He never knew this trick, until he learned that avocados were food. Once equipped with this life-altering information, Slumdog ran with it — or, rather, dug for it. He put his ill-formed feet to good use and began to carve vast subterranean tunnels in the direction of some nearby avocado trees. This led to lots of fancy fence work on my part (I was mostly unsuccessful) and many months of picking up green poo.

2. If You Can Pass It, Eat It

To Slumdog, paper is edible. Palm nuts are edible. Leaves are edible. Unfortunately, edible does not mean it's always digestible. In any case, this strategy has served the ever-starving Slumdog well — except when he requires assistance to get the Bounty out of his butt.

3. Munching on Egg Shells

I never met a dog who sought out eggs. Sure, foxes know this, but most domesticated dogs don't consider eggs to be quite as incredibly edible as their wild cousins do. Yet Slumdog the Dumb has discovered that raw eggs are delightful snacks. All you have to do is dig under the section of fence leading to the chicken coop and accidentally smash them with your ill-formed feet, proving that when you’re stupid and clumsy, sometimes the universe throws you a bone — or an egg.

4. When All Else Fails, Make a Scene

Slumdog’s fervent begging doesn’t just stop at the hangdog. Around dinnertime, he starts to lick my legs while whimpering, whining and even howling. It’s so horrible that I sometimes have to sit outside.

But the worst part of his crafty act is when Slumdog attacks his food like he hasn’t eaten for a month. Slumdog coughs, gags, inhales, sputters and snorts, while food flies in every direction and you can hear his teeth hit the ceramic bowl. And then he does all this again the next day.

So what about your ravenous pets? What starving dog tricks have they perfected?


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