Preventing Dog Food Aggression

By Sally Gutteridge | Behavior

dog_food-aggressionDogs have learned throughout their many years of existence that they must protect their resources, such as food, in order to survive. They’ve learned that they could easily keep other dogs from eating their food by growling, showing teethes, snapping or even biting other dogs that came too close to their food.

But dogs live a very different lifestyle since we’ve started to domesticate them. Some of their ingrained behaviors are not acceptable when living with people, such as dog food aggression. This could be very dangerous, especially when the dog begins to protect his food from his owner, or anyone who comes close to him.

Some dog owners have the tendency of leaving unlimited amounts of food available for their dog. The dog can then eat whenever it wants, as much as it wants and is subject to no rules. There are a few reasons why I advise against doing this, mainly because the dog does not understand that you are the provider of the food, but also because it usually leads to the dog over-eating and becoming overweight.

To prevent dog food aggression, it is always a good idea to give your dog measured meals and at regular intervals. If you look on the back of your dog food’s packaging, you will find a chart that indicates how much food your dog should eat, relative to his weight. You should also give your dog more food than the maximum amount indicated if he is a very active dog. When feeding your dog, place his food bowl down, and give him a maximum of thirty minutes to eat, and then pick up the bowl and any remaining food.

If your dog has already bitten someone while defending his food bowl, then you should immediately contact a reputable dog trainer or behaviorist. They will be able to access your dog’s behavior and to determine the safest way to proceed with his training.

Training your dog to not guard his food bowl is best done while he is still a puppy. However adults and older dogs can also be trained, it will just take a little bit more time and dedication.

The best way to get your dog to accept people around his food bowl is to teach him that wonderful things will happen when people are nearby when he is eating. Please follow the following instructions carefully, while making sure that your dog is comfortable with each step before moving onto the next.

  1. Give your dog half of his usual meal, when he finishes, pick up the empty bowl and add the second half, then give it back.
  2. Randomly walk up to your dog while he is eating and drop in super delicious dog treats in his food bowl.
  3. Walk up to your dog while talking calmly, and stoke and pet him lightly. Then drop in a super delicious dog treat into his food bowl.
  4. Take away your dog’s food bowl before he is finished, add some super delicious treats and give it back.

Dog food aggression is one of the most dangerous and most common problematic behaviors encountered. Small children are especially at risk around food possessive dogs. If your dog training efforts do not work or show progress, please call a reputable dog trainer or behaviorist as soon as possible.

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