Sunday, June 16, 2024

How To Train Dogs To Not Be Food Aggressive

My Favorite Dog Training Books For More Advice

Teaching Your Puppy To Not Be Food Aggressive To You (Taking Their Bone)

The above tips on training aggressive dogs is simple and straightforward however, if you’re still having trouble with aggression in your dog and a trainer is not an option for some reason, you might want to read a more detailed guide.

There are many training books you can look into, and most of them have useful advice, step-by-step instructions with pictures, and tips for canine behavioral problems. My personal favorite is 101 Dog Tricks it’s simple and doesn’t over-complicate things.

Other good dog training books you should try are these:

How To Train An Aggressive Puppy

If you are experiencing an aggressive puppy that is protecting their food, or if you’d like to know how to prevent having an aggressive adult dog, the best way would be through positive training from a young age.

As we regularly mention in our articles, one of the most important factors of educating a healthy and well-balanced tempered dog is by socialisation. This period begin with their mother and their siblings. It the mother that teaches her puppies the rules of coexistence and puts the lessons into practice with all of her pups. For this reason, it is crucial to never separate the family, at least until the puppies are 8 weeks old. Even if there is no mother, which unfortunately happens when a litter is abandoned, the siblings must also remain together for that minimum of 8 weeks.

Later, when the puppies begin to go out on walks they are introduced to new people, animals and different environments. This period is key to their development and will greatly influence their temperament as an adult dog. It is very important we try to provide them with a rich social experience and make sure they are not involved in any traumatising situations.

  • Feed your dog after you’ve eaten. This is recommended by animal behavior specialists because it will help them understand you are the alpha in the pack and therefore, they will respect and trust you more.

Preventing Resource Guarding From Developing In Puppies

The process of preventing resource guarding isn’t much different from the tips outlined above. Prevention is always easier than treatment!

Set your puppy or new dog up for success by:

  • Letting them eat or chew in peace. Don’t put your hand in their food or pet them while they’re eating.
  • Practicing positive-sum trades. They drop a chew, they get a high-value treat, and then their chew back.
  • Teaching them to drop it and leave it.
  • Managing their environment. If you don’t chase after them when they have a sock, the sock will have less value.
  • Make sure to properly socialize your puppy. Socialization is crucial for preventing a variety of dog behaviors, such as resource guarding, fear aggression, and separation anxiety.

There are lots of training exercises you can do with puppies to prevent resource guarding. Here’s one example by Kikopup showing how to help prevent toy guarding in a puppy:

Also Check: Is Natural Balance Dog Food Made In China

Resource Guarding In Dogs: What To Do

This page may contain affiliate links. We earn a commission for qualifying purchases at no cost to you. Our mission is to help save dogs’ and cats lives through our educational content. To help us create more veterinarian- and trainer-approved content, please consider buying one of our web-books for yourself or as a gift.

Resource guarding in dogs, also called “possessive aggression,” can be quite alarming and scary for a dog owner to experience. You go to grab a chew that your dog has whittled down to a tiny piece, so they don’t swallow it but are confronted with teeth-baring, growling, or even lunging and biting. Or perhaps you go to sit down next to your dog on the couch and get a hard stare and a low growl. This can and should send a chill down your spine.

Resource guarding can happen between pets as well. A dog may show food aggression if another dog walks by. Or they might even guard you from the other dog, especially if there are food items or toys involved. If you’ve recently brought home a new puppy or adopted dog, your other dog might be showing some new aggressive behaviors around their toys and food.

Living With Food Aggression In Dogs In Public

How to Calm An Aggressive Dog in 4 Steps

Exercise tremendous caution when it comes to food aggression in dogs out in public. All food should be removed in these scenarios, especially when other humans or pets are in the area. Also keep in mind that many boarding facilities may refuse to take a dog who exhibits overt food aggression. The danger becomes too great for employees and other animal guests. If the facility does agree to board your pet, they may ask you to sign a special waiver. Youll also need to provide explicit instructions about feeding your canine in an area completely isolated from others for the duration of each meal or snack.

Read Also: Iams Ko Dog Food

What Not To Do When It Comes To Food Aggression In Dogs

Frost warns that punishing a food aggressive dog is not only ineffective, it may reinforce or worsen guarding behavior. Owners who take away a treat or bone as punishment for guarding run the risk of exacerbating the problem.

Frost explains that this only serves to teach an already aggressive dog that a lower-level guarding behavior wasnt enough to keep that coveted item. He recommends resisting the urge to intimidate, threaten, or punish your resource guarder.

How To Stop Resource Guarding Step

The best way to help your dog get over his food aggression is with a program designed for desensitization and counterconditioning. The program listed below is highly effective, but only if you follow each stage and take your time. Its essential that you dont move onto the next stage until your dog is completely relaxed and shows no aggression during the current one.

For each stage, you should use special treats that your dog loves and doesnt get often. Small bite-sized pieces of beef, chicken, or cheese are perfect for this exercise. Here are the seven stages to help your dog get over his resource guarding and food aggression:

Related: Why Dogs Are Always Hungry

  • Stage One
  • First, stand a few feet away from the food aggressive dog while he eats his kibble from a bowl. Do not move towards him while hes eating. Next, speak to him in a light, conversational tone and say something like, Oh, whats that? and toss a treat in his bowl as a reward. Continue to do this while he finishes eating. Once youve repeated this exercise a few times, and he begins to relax while eating, you can move to the next stage.

  • Stage Two
  • The first part of stage two is talking to your dog and giving him a treat like in the first stage, but with one key difference: youll step toward him, toss the treat, and then step back. Keep repeating this while he eats.

  • Stage Three
  • Stage Four
  • Stage Five
  • Stage Six
  • Stage Seven
  • If youre having trouble with any of these stages, here are some tips:

    Read Also: Which Dog Food Is Better Pedigree Or Purina

    The Three Main Rewards For Your Dog Are:


    Pats, cuddles, lots of high verbal praise.


    Games, throwing a stick or object, chasing your dog etc.

    Your dog is always going to work harder if you are fair in your training. Even if you do not want to use food you should make sure that you use affection accordingly when your dog does well.

    Things You Should Not Do To A Food Aggressive Dog

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

    Never, ever, ever punish your dog, because this behavior is not his fault. This statement holds true no matter what your dog has done that youre not happy with. Its down to a lack of training on the part of the dog parent, so if your dog is not behaving as you would like, I recommend you hire a trainer to help.

    Dont try and wrestle the food or bowl away from your dog.

    Don’t Miss: Where To Buy Darwin’s Dog Food

    Your Dog Must First Look To You As The Pack Leader In The Home

    Only then can you convince him that you are the pack leader on the walk.

    Once you have convinced your dog that you are the pack leader outside, then upon reaching the point where he usually is aggressive you will find that he will actually start to take notice of how you are behaving!

    If you arent then your dog will probably continue to ignore what you are doing at this point forever.

    One of the best examples of a professional dog trainer putting this all into practice is The Online Dog Trainer. The site has live videos of this method being demonstrated and explains exactly how to stop dog aggression by simply convincing your dog that you are the pack leader.

    How To Stop Dog Aggression With Food

    Below are a few ideas to help prevent or stop food aggression in your dog.Bend down slightly, holding the treat out just an inch or two in your dogs direction.Besides this, food aggression in dogs might also be the result of abuse when the dog hasnt been fed regularly.But it could also be a sign of dominance in dominant dogs who want to establish their leadership.

    But results can differ depending on the nature of your dog.Close a door between the feeding areas so they cannot see each other as they eat.Continue to add more valuable food to additional bowls, but stop if your dog shows aggression.Create a positive association between people and food.

    Depending on the severity and characteristics of your dogs food guarding, it may be recommended to try one of the following strategies.Desensitize your dog to the presence of people and other dogs while hes eating.Do not feed multiple dogs out of the same dog bowl.Do not get close enough to evoke an aggressive response

    Encourage him to stop eating the food in the bowl to take the treat.Feed the dogs separately for a few days.First take your dog for a walk or a run.Food aggression in dogs doesnt always present as a dog that growls and snaps.

    Guarding food is a natural instinct that derives from a dogs pack behavior.Here are five methods you can use to combat food aggression in your dog:How to stop dog aggression over food?How to stop dog stealing food:

    Recommended Reading: Is Pedigree Better Than Purina

    What Causes Food Aggression

    Dog aggression usually comes from insecurity and fear. If your dog is aggressive at feeding time, its usually a sign that they are worried about where their food will come from and where they will get more. Food aggression is also a way for a dog to assert pack dominance, seeing you and the other dogs in your home as competitors for resources. Food aggression can also be a product of environmental or routine changes that make dogs feel anxious and apprehensive about eating. Finally, food aggression may be a sign your dog has developed an illness or is in physical pain.

    If Your Dog Growls When Eating It Might Be A Medical Problem

    Use " THIS"  For Food Aggression in Dogs, or Hate Yourself ...

    In some instances, there could be a medical reason why severe food aggression takes place. These are just a few examples of medical problems that might result in aggressive dogs.

    • Pain If a dog is having an issue, such as an ear infection, that can make them exhibit aggressive behavior when touched near their head. So, if you pet your pup while theyre eating, it might look like theyre food guarding when, in fact, they just feel lousy.
    • Thyroid problems If a dog suddenly shows aggression, while at the same time exhibiting lethargy, losing hair, and gaining weight, they might have thyroid issues.
    • Seizures If your dog has a seizure and acts aggressively after an episode, that might be because the part of their brain that regulates aggression has been affected.6

    Obviously, if your dog suddenly acts in an aggressive fashion whether theyre guarding their meals or other items, such as toys take them to the vet to see if a medical problem is the culprit.

    Read Also: Can You Buy Dog Food With Food Stamps

    Can You Train A Food Aggressive Dog

    Another treatment option is training: many dogs that have food aggression can be put through a training sequence, laid out in seven stages, focusing on desensitization and counterconditioning to put your dog more at ease with eating near people. Try these seven steps to help put a stop to your dogs food aggression: 1. Stage One: Get your dog used to your presence when eating. This step focuses on acquainting your dog with your presence when they are eating meals or treats.

    Never Encourage Bad Behavior

    If allowed, dogs will repeat bad behavior because they dont know what the boundaries and limits are. As the pack leader, it is the owners role to train the dog and set the boundaries of whats acceptable and whats not. Of course, this can be hard because we all love our pets and let them get away with naughty behavior sometimes. Here is when you need to take on the leadership role:

  • Small dogs are often hard to train because the owners dont reinforce the rules. Most aggressive behavior with small dogs comes in the form of barking or snapping at other dogs. What owners tend to do in this situation is that they pick up the dog and hold it in their arms. This is not best the way to deal with this problem. The pet will internalize this behavior as a reward for trying to protect or control you. Instead, let the little dog walk by the other dog and snap it out of the barking state.
  • When you are walking with your aggressive dog, and you see another dog approaching, never cross the street or pull your animal far away. If you panic, the dog will understand that those other dogs are an imminent danger, and it will try to protect, thus lunging, barking, and biting.
  • Never begin to yell at the dog. This tone will actually raise the dogs energy, making it excited and potentially more aggressive. Always speak in a calm voice, even if its hard to do so in a tense moment.
  • Don’t Miss: Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Low Fat Canned Dog Food

    Treating Dog Food Aggression Step

    This is a sample step-by-step-process, you might need to change it depending on your situation. The whole idea is to give you and example you can follow and adapt to your particular dog food aggression case.

    Please wear protective gloves and better yet get the help of a certified dog trainer. There is always a risk of injury when training animals and you assume all responsibility, please read the full disclaimer.

    Teach The Dog Avoidance

    Training the dog that bit me- How to train an aggressive dog!

    To help make walks easier, practice avoidance. It means ignoring other dogs and their owners. It can seem like you are being rude to others, but this simple act will help your dog avoid fixation on other animals. You want to ensure your dog doesnt obsess over other dogs. It must learn to ignore them unless you deliberately take them over for an introduction.

    When walking, keep your head high and look straight up and ahead. Walk at a natural pace and avoid eye contact with other dogs or their owners. By not making eye contact, we are teaching the animal that we do not want confrontation. Instead, we seek avoidance of conflict. Dogs are quick learners, and the chances are that if you practice restraint for a while, your dog will begin to ignore other dogs unless directly engaged.

    You can also teach avoidance by distracting your dog from the other dogs. Keep some yummy treats handy, and when you are out on a walk and sense danger, distract your dog from the others by giving it some treats. This is a quick way to prevent a fixation or obsession because most dogs will just be happy to receive a treat, and theyll stop worrying about the other animals nearby.

    Also Check: Is Royal Canin Dog Food Made In China

    What To Do About Food Aggression In Dogs

    When you see that your dog is displaying food aggression, the first step is to assess your dogs overall behavior. Is he only being possessive with his food, or is the behavior extending to other things, like favorite napping spots, toys, or even people in the pack? If the behavior extends to more than just food, then your dog is displaying general resource guarding, and you may need to employ the techniques we list below in any case, your dog is showing aggression over an object .

    You should also take account of your dogs overall behavior and confidence. If your dog is dominant by nature, you will have to assert yourself as the Pack Leader assertively and calmly. If he is naturally timid or fearful, on the other hand, then you will have to build up his confidence by playing and working with him and let him know that his food is safe with humans around.

    Lastly, figure out whether your dogs aggression is mild, moderate, or severe. For serious cases, you may want to consult with a professional until you can get the dog down to a reasonable level of aggression.

    How Long Do I Have To Practice These Routines

    If you have a dog with a tendency to guard food or objects, you should practice the above routines often to prevent any future problems.

    Disclaimer:Best Friends Animal Society is not responsible for any injuries to anyone using the techniques described in this article. Any person using the techniques described here does so at his/her own risk.

    Read Also: Royal Canin Gi Low Fat Liquid

    Popular Articles
    Related news