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How To Solve Dog Aggression Around Food ?

Dogs who are aggressive around food  are not naughty, they are just protecting one of their means of survival.

Dogs who become aggressive around food, are  just protecting what is theirs. Whether you have given it to them or they have found it, it actually belongs to them and you dont really have the right to snatch it off them or ask for it back. Ok, in the ideal world  its great to be able to walk past your dog whilst he’s eating and not get snapped at. But, always think how would you feel if someone gave you a treat or a meal and then started popping their hands onto your plate or trying to remove the food?

Should You take Food Away From your Dog to Prevent or Cure Aggression Around Meals & treats?

When we give, it should be just that. Do not try to remove the bowl to ensure you’re pups won’t get grumpy as they grows up, because thats a sure way of ending up with the behaviour you didnt want. Instead whilst your pup is eating, pop more food into their bowl, happy days for the puppy, he sees you as the one that gives him extra and there will be no issues.

With an older dog who already has grumpy tendancies around food or any items that he posesses or one that you’ve rescued and you have no idea what the reaction is going to be, then you need to be seen as the giver of food and treats and not the challenger or taker. Take a look at this method I use with great success below.

Always remember though, the fix is not to be able to take food from your dog, but mearly for your dog to be able to eat in comfort and with the knowledge that your not trying to dominate him but mearly be his understanding friend.

What Treats Are Best To Give A Dog Who Gets Aggressive Around Food?

The best treats to give your dog are the ones that are chewed and gone, fo instance Bella and Duke treats such as, fish skins, heart, liver or chicken wings or lamb rib bones for a longer chew, but one that will be gone in 15 minutes or so. If you have a chew that will last for days, when your dog has had enough of chewing he will prace about with it, or pick it up when the oportunity takes him to display his behaviour and enforce the behaviour yet again.

  • Feed twice a day
  • Start with a calm and thinking dog
  • Prepare dogs food on to his plate or bowl and split the quota for that meal into 3 or 4 bowls.
  • Pop a morsel in your mouth (human food is advisory here!) Nibble on a nibble …. It’s just what dogs do, eat and go, I’ve finished, your turn. Simple with no eye-contact. Dominant behaviour is if you eyeball the dog when you take a nibble. Teasing is when give and then take. Keep it simple and do what the dog understands.
  • Remember you are not going down the road of dominance or control, so looking away from your dog is paramount when doing this, then you’re just having a snack.
  • If your dog jumps up, you step in so he gets down naturally. Remember not to make eye contact.
  • All four paws on the ground and you place food opposite side to where he is standing by you, so he has to walk to it. He needs to make the effort as nothing comes free. Do not ask for a sit as you wish him to self-control not be controlled and above all read the natural information you are giving out.
  • Place yourself facing away from your dog and when he’s finished his food, you’ll hear him walk away.
  • Place number two bowl down away from him so again he has to walk to it. No eye contact.
  • While he eating contents of bowl 2, remove bowl no 1
  • Continue until all bowls completed.
  • If at any point he walks away from a bowl and doesn’t eat, do not put another bowl down.
  • Remove the bowl when he’s disappeared off into another room and door shut between you and your dog.
  • Remember that at no point when your dog is eating should you approach him or look at him.
  • If you drop food on the floor whilst cooking, happy days for your dog, do not rush to pick it up or challenge him or tell him to leave it…don’t control the situation by trying to win. You’ll come off far worse. Choose your battles, and this should not be one of them!

Are You Concerned Your Puppy Is Displaying Aggression Around Food?

Some people say that their 3 month-old puppy is aggressive around food; actually s/he’s testing you, and just being a puppy. Do not read anything more into this or try to correct the behaviour. It will right itself if you simply ignore it and don’t go into battle. Puppies play around with lots of situations just to see what happens; they lose interest if they get minimal reaction.

When you give your puppy his food, let him enjoy the food and do not force him to give it up. Add in a bit extra whilst he is eating his food. If you show him that you give; you do not take- then he won’t feel the need to protect what is his.

With older dogs (and if this problem exists at 16 weeks and beyond) then you need to be seen to give and give some more as written above.

Caroline Spencer


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