Dog aggressive around food

Learn how to teach your dog to trust people near its food bowl and be "safe" around food.

Dogs happily sharing a boneFood aggression is much easier to prevent than to cure and there is no better place to start than with a puppy.

We live in a world where we never seem have time to do anything, we live our lives at such a pace that we inadvertently teach puppies and adult dogs to eat alone. We throw the food down for the puppy / dog and immediately rush off to do the next thing. Despite this some puppies develop into well adjusted dogs around their food bowl and never show signs of aggression, but this is more luck than judgement.

Many, even though they never show full-on food aggressive behaviour, show signs that they are not happy with people/dogs close to them when they are eating. As you approach these dogs they may stop eating, lean forwards over their bowl, lift their front lip, become very stiff and then as you walk away, relax and carry on eating again.

In the past, people were told to take the food bowl away whilst the dog was eating as a way of proving dominance over the dog. DO NOT DO THIS. It does not prove dominance but it will create food aggression. Just think of it from a human point of view: if you were sitting down tucking into a nice Sunday lunch and someone kept taking it away, how many times would you allow this before you were ready with the fork to stab anyone who came close?

What you can do to create a situation where your puppy/dog is happy around its food, is to spend a few seconds at each meal time sitting down with it and hand feeding it from the bowl, hold the bowl whilst your puppy eats, place the bowl down, walk away, and whilst the puppy is still eating pop back, call the puppies name as you get close, and deliver a nice juicy treat into the bowl. Have the whole family do the same. There should be lots of repetitions done with adults, before supervising children to do the same.

The same can be done with bones – hold the bone whilst your dog/puppy chews it, walk away and return with a nice juicy treat, call the puppy’s/dog’s name as you approach and drop the treat next to the bone. Repeat this a couple of time whilst your puppy is enjoying the bone. After a while you should find that as you approach and call your puppy’s/dog’s name it will look up to see what treat you have.

Repeat this process lots of times and you will end up with a dog that will learn to trust people near its food bowl and be “safe” around food.

Is your dog aggressive around food?

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