One of my four pup's... the ridiculous mutt one, Charlie... I absolutely could NOT free feed. Never.
He is from the street and I assume he had to fight for food ans was possibly starved a bit as a pup or young dog. He gulps food too fast, and will eat every single bite he can find including trying to steal from my slow eaters hit and run style. Though he won't test boundaries that I set to get to it, because he's a good pup.
I tried one of those "slow eating" bowels for him with the bumps of the bottom because he chokes himself sometimes. It was a JOKE! Not nearly enough texture there to slow him down at all.
But I found a great free solution!
I always keep the marrow bones from making beef shanks (after licking them as clean as I can myself of course ) and let my dogs have them, so they collect around the house. The dogs always have a nice little bone to carry around, they are nice long cooked thick beef bones... never had one break. And one day it occurred to me as I was picking up all the bones to have a bit of a purge... HOLES! So I fitted a scad of them all down into his stainless food bowl like a bit of a puzzle, with just a little room in between, and poured his food over the top come dinnertime. The food filled the bone holes and between the bones making it so that he has to work at it to get all the pieces out, and even turn the bones over to get to what is under them. Hahahah!
I win little dog.
Speaking of shanks...
It's that time of year again. *nods*
Chili tonight, but I really need some nice osso buco soon.