Sunday, June 16, 2024

How To Stop Food Aggression In Dogs

Signs Of Aggression In Dogs

How To Stop Food Aggression in Dogs

While some dogs eat quickly because they simply love food, others do it because they are afraid someone will take their food away. When dogs with food aggression eat, their body will be very stiff, and they may keep their head down. This is a way of using body language to hover over the meal and protect it.

Also be on lookout for visible whites of your dogs eyes, low tails, or raised fur on their back. Fido may also growl or bite if they are approached when eating.

Food Bowl Guarding In Dogs Can Be Stopped Before It Ever Appears

Posted November 25, 2014

The man standing beside me was a dog behaviorist visiting from England. He shook his head slowly and commented “That was the breeder’s fault. Food aggression needn’t happen.”

“You mean you think that it’s genetic?” I asked.

“No, it’s learned when dogs are still in their litter and it is easily prevented,” he replied.

I wanted to hear more about his thoughts on this so I offered to buy him a cup of coffee and we sat and chatted a bit more about this issue. His ideas were interesting, and although I have been unable to find any research on the topic I thought that, at least on the face of it, he was quite likely to be correct.

Guarding food from other animals or humans is normal behavior for dogs. In the wild, animals who successfully protect their food and food related resources are more likely to survive than those who don’t. However, in our pet dogs, we generally find the tendency to guard the food bowl using aggressive behaviors to be undesirable, and perhaps even potentially dangerous if there are young children in the household who have not yet learned to leave the dog alone when he is eating.

Although I have not found any research testing this approach to prevent food aggression, the idea seems sensible, and since it is so easy to implement it is certainly something that breeders should consider doing.

S To Take To Help A Food

  • Make your dog sit before you give her the food bowl.
  • Only feed your dog after you have had your dinner. Make sure she knows you are in control of the food and when it is passed out.
  • Stop leaving food down all of the time. This is based on the pack theory, similar to the first two tips. If your dog recognizes you as the one who is in control of her meals, she is more likely to respect you as the leader and will no longer be aggressive.
  • Feed twice a day so your dog does not get too hungry between meals. Some food aggression is caused by your dog not knowing when her next meal will come along.
  • Put her feed down in a quiet, secure location so she does not feel threatened. You should leave your dog alone and not even pick up the bowl until she has gone into another room. This may be all that is needed for some dogs.
  • An alternative food bowl may be helpful. There are a lot of other alternatives that might be more successful, so do not buy a bowl and expect it to solve your problems.
  • With some effort, food aggression can be stopped.

    cc-by dogsbylori 6483951427

    Food aggression might take a long time to get over.

    Read Also: Iams Veterinary Formula Skin And Coat Plus

    Teach Your Dog To Trade

    Another way to curb your dogs food aggression is to teach him to trade. Your goal will be to show Rover that no one will take his food when he is not looking.

    In addition, youre establishing that people near his bowl is a good, not a bad thing.

    Heres how to teach your dog to trade:

    • Give your dog his regular meal.
    • Approach him with something tastier that you know Rover wont resist.
    • Offer the treat to Rover and wait for him to get it.
    • Remember to praise him.
    • Let Rover finish his meal at peace.
    • Continue this routine until the dog starts to relax when youre near his bowl.

    Issue : Food Obsession

    Dog Food Aggression Around the food bowl

    Food obsession can, but does not always, lead to food aggression. Essentially, food obsession occurs when a dog fixates on food and typically stems from their owners giving them too many human treats, allowing them in the kitchen, and allowing them to beg at the dinner table. This can lead to the dog getting up on the counter to steal food, opening cabinets or even the refrigerator to find food, or getting into the trash.

    This behavior can be corrected but the owner must be willing to retrain not only the dog but themselves as well. Heres where to start:

    The goal with food behaviors is to show your dog that you are in control, their food is safe, and that they dont need to be aggressive, steal food, or beg because they will be given plenty of dog food and treats. That said, setting firm boundaries between dog food and people food while also ensuring that your dog feels comfortable and safe eating around other dogs are steps in the right direction.

    Read Also: Iams Veterinary Formula Intestinal Plus

    Managing The Situation Is Not The Same As Solving The Problem

    If youve ruled out the above scenarios and your dog is still resource guarding, youll want to make a plan to change their behavior.

    While you are developing your plan, its important to keep your dog from patterning resource guarding behavior.

    The last thing you want is for one of your dogs to get away with bullying another dog with growls, lunges, barks, or bites.

    If these behaviors have the desired effect , then the aggressive dog will learn that those actions bring on successful results.

    That is where management comes in. While management will not solve the problem, it will keep things from getting worse.

    To manage your dogs negative behavior, you will have to prevent as many incidents as you can.

    What that entails will depend on your dog and your situation, but it may mean feeding your dogs separately, removing all bones and toys from the house, and keeping your dogs crated when people are eating.

    You may also have to suspend visits to the dog park or other dog play-dates until the behavior is corrected.

    Ask Family Members To Leave Your Dog In Peace

    Would you like to be petted or picked up when youre eating? Probably not. Ask children and other family members to let your new puppy eat in peace or feed the puppy once the children are in bed. Find a quiet corner where your dog wont be disturbed when theyre eating you can even shut the door so that other animals cant make them anxious, and let them out once they have finished eating. Remember, food aggression comes about because the animal is worried about their food supply so make sure they havent got any reason to worry.

    Also Check: Can You Buy Dog Food With Food Stamps In Florida

    Why Do Dogs Resource

    It is perfectly normal for any animal to guard a valuable resource. Have you seen people fight over a parking spot around the holidays? That is a version of resource guarding in humans. Food is one of the things a dog can’t live without. Before dogs were domesticated, when resources were scarce, the dog that fought for and won his dinner was the one that survived. Even now, when dogs don’t ever miss a meal, food remains an important resource.

    Resource guarding isn’t limited to food. Sometimes dogs guard resources they deem important. The blue stuffie may not seem important from your perspective, but your dog may place that item at the very top of his priority list. In addition to food and toys, dogs guard space , other animals , and even people.

    Most resource guarding isn’t appropriate, though. For example, I don’t want Schooner to develop the habit of growling to move the cat away from his food bowl. The longer the resource guarding persists , the harder it is to convince the dog that resource guarding isn’t a good idea. It’s important to recognize resource guarding so that you can intervene immediately and work on changing the dog’s mind about guarding his things.

    Heres How To Prevent Guarding:

    How to STOP âFood Aggressionâ?/ Resource Guarding in Dogs- WITHOUT FORCE

    Place an empty food bowl on the floor. Sit or kneel on the floor near the bowl with a bag of kibble. With your hand, place a few pieces of kibble in the bowl. Say to the dog, Take it, and let the dog eat the kibble. After you and your dog practice this routine a few times, place a few more pieces in the bowl, but this time keep your hand on the bowl. If the dog is fine with your hand on the bowl, practice three more times.

    Then, if there have been no signs of guarding , put a few pieces of kibble in the bowl, but this time, take the bowl away and add a treat to the kibble something that your dog likes even more than kibble . Give the bowl back to the dog so she can eat. Practice this routine five times. Use just a few pieces of kibble each time, adding only a small amount of wet food or a small treat.

    If your dog has still shown no signs of guarding, move on to the next step. Stand up and remove the bowl from the floor. Add a morsel of wet food and return the bowl to the dog. Repeat five times. If you can complete all these steps without signs of guarding, you should be able to safely feed your dog. One thing to remember, though, is that she may be fine with you, but not with other people who attempt to feed her.

    Also Check: Kidney Disease Diet For Dogs Recipes

    Two: For More Difficult Dogs

    A variation on this method is to teach Fido to sit for special treats when hes eating his meal. Start by teaching Fido to perform say please by automatically sitting during non-meal times. Dont yell, Sit, Sit, SIT, while hes jumping up to get your attention or a treat instead, just ignore him by standing as still as a tree. When he happens to sit on his own, quickly deliver the tasty bite-sized treat so that it gets to him within a split second. In fact, since this is only a practice session you can actually use his regular kibble. Next deliver several more sequentially to reward him for remaining seated patiently. Repeat the exercise by briskly walking several steps away as if youre playing a game and want to get him to follow. Then wait for him to follow you and sit again. Repeat this until he clearly gets the game and thinks its fun. Then, randomly practice this throughout the day. If you train him when hes hungry or motivated for the food reward, he should be an ace at this behavior in just a day or two.

    Leave-it, food on the ground: Now apply this automatic say please by sitting game to getting other things he wants. Well start with the leave-it exercise. This leave-it exercise will teach Fido that he will get what he wants if he just exhibits some self control, so he has no need to be possessive. It also teaches him he gets a lot of things he likes when hes calmly sitting and looking at you.

    How To Stop Food Aggression In Your Dog

    Food aggression is an incredibly dangerous behavior. Aggressive eaters can present a threat to you, the members of your household, and your other dogs. Even worse, food aggression can lead to other forms of aggression and possessiveness in your dog.

    So it is extremely important that you learn how to stop aggression during feeding time before the behavior becomes a huge problem for your family.

    Before we dive in, we need to give the usual disclaimer when dealing with aggressive dogs. If you do not have experience and training with aggressive dog behavior, this is a situation where you must get some advice from a professional trainer. The longer you wait, the worse things will get and the harder it will be to correct the behavior. You will need to be the judge on how to handle the situation, but be very careful as bites are extremely common with food aggressive dogs. The advice given in this article only serves as general guidelines and techniques that can work in SOME cases. The only way to truly stop aggressive behavior is to develop a customized training plan for your specific dogs needs.

    Recommended Reading: Where To Buy Darwin’s Dog Food

    S To Stop Food Aggression In Dogs

    Just like any pet, dogs can be territorial – especially when it comes to mealtime.

    Food aggression causes dogs to exhibit behavior of being protective over their food. It can become an issue for a couple reasons: those living with the dog could be at risk of being bitten, and it could lead to your pup becoming possessive in other areas of its life.

    There are ways to treat food aggression in dogs by properly training your pup and managing their behavior. You can also take steps to prevent it entirely. Read on to find out more.

    Add A Delightful Treat And Then Take A Step Back

    How to Stop Dog Food Aggression From Developing

    It would help if you also took this action when managing a food-aggressive dog. When the dog is feeding, you should add a delicious snack to its dish. After that, you should instantly walk back to your initial distance.

    You should make this move consistent. Make it a duty to reduce the initial distance between you and your dog when its feeding each day. If you can stand two feet away after adding a treat for ten meals in succession, then your dog has reduced its food aggressiveness.

    Read Also: Can You Buy Dog Food With Food Stamps

    Possible Causes Of And Fixes For Food Aggression In Dogs

    While any dog can become a food aggressive dog, the behavior is more common in puppies especially those who come from breeders. Often times, a breeder will only use one large pan to feed a litter of puppies, leaving them to fend for themselves for what they can get.4

    The puppies who tend to be the most successful also tend to grow larger and stronger. This, in turn, can lead to a puppy being food aggressive all the time, because they feel theyll be rewarded for acting aggressively.5

    Can You Train Aggression Out Of A Dog

    Yes, it is possible to train a dog not to be aggressive around their food. But once this behaviour is ingrained, it becomes very difficult to correct. This is one of the reasons that seeking help at an early stage is sensible its a lot more difficult to train a dog not to be aggressive if theyre an adult that has been doing it for years.

    Also Check: Is Iams Dog Food Any Good

    How To Stop Food Aggression Towards Other Dogs Family And Children

    When you see these signs, it is time to ensure this aggressive behavior does not continue to happen. Therefore, you need to find a way to turn these issues around. For instance, one of the first things that you may need to do is start training your pet. Enrolling him in classes like, how to stop food aggression is one of the keys to protecting your family, friends, kids, and other pets that invade their space.

    Developing Food Training Schedules

    How to STOP Food Aggression in Dogs

    Materials Required: Time & Dog Food

    Training Time Required: Depends on your dog

    Time until completion: 1-3 months

    A food training schedule is simply a schedule that you create to remind you when your dogs need to be fed based on their age, size, and breed type. Here is a snapshot of a food training schedule that I have created for my three dogs that you can use to help you create one for your dog:

    Benefits of developing a food training schedules:

    • Reminds you of the best time of the day to feed your dog
    • Prevents underfeeding your dog
    • Reduces the chances of developing food aggression
    • Reverses the effects of dogs with food aggressive behaviors.

    Another way you can follow a strict food training schedule with less work for you is getting an automatic pet feeder. I recommend using the Arf Pets Automatic Pet Feeder because it allows you to set a very specific time for your dog to eat. It automatically dispenses your dogs food at whatever time you set it at without you having to worry about the hassle involved.

    Recommended Reading: Iams Intestinal Plus Dog Food

    How Not To Treat Resource Guarding

    • Do not punish your dog. This will only make your dog insecure and fearful, which will usually lead to more aggressive behavior.
    • Do not ignore the behavior. Because resource guarding is normal, it can be tempting to accept the behavior as long as it isnt serious. You will not, however, be able to manage every single encounter your dog has with other animals, and all it takes is one aggressive outburst for a dog or person to potentially get hurt.
    • Do not generalize. Just because a dog learns not to guard the food bowl, does not mean they wont continue to guard their bed or toys. You will have to work through each and every situation systematically, and the course of action will be different for every dog.
    • Do not hesitate to call a professional. Animal Behavior Specialists are trained to deal with issues like resource guarding. Theres a good chance they will have worked with hundreds of dogs that have the same behavior issue as yours. Use them and their knowledge to your advantage.

    Popular Articles
    Related news