Posted : 5/23/2010 10:05:20 AM
Your current problem is reason #1 why it's important to feed and water small puppies out of different bowls all the time. Then, they get used to eating and drinking from lots of different materials while they are in the socialization stage, and they generalize that "bowls" are to eat/drink from, rather than learning that "this bowl, and only this bowl" is to eat/drink from. It's the same principle that gets people in trouble with house training - their dogs learn not to soil at home and to ask to go out there, but take them to mother-in-law's house and they suddenly have no idea where to go (after all, the only toilet they've known is somewhere else and the house looks strange - where is the door?)
One thing you can try is to up the ante by pouring a little chicken broth, or steak drippings in with the water just once to show that the bowl is safe. Some dogs will overcome their reluctance at the new bowl if what it contains is tempting enough.
Or, you can purchase a bowl similar in size and material to the previous bowl. So, don't try to replace a stainless steel bowl with a plastic or ceramic one, for example.
I also really like the idea of putting water in the dog's current food bowl and trying the transition that way. It's more important for the dog to have water than food in the short term, and few dogs will starve themselves rather than take food that is in a strange bowl, even if it takes them a few days.