How To Deal With Food Aggression In Dogs
If we can understand why a dog has food aggression, we will be able to take steps to resolve this very dangerous issue. The way a dog thinks of its food is pretty much the same way that humans think of money, family gifts, memorial items, and other valuables. When a dog thinks that its food is being threatened, it will likely become offensive and aggressive. Sometimes in dire circumstances, the dog will risk its life to defend its life-source. Some people are under the impression that this type of behavior will pass in time – to put it simply, it won’t. It will take hard work from you and anyone else that is in control of feeding your dog. Getting your dog over this habit requires people that it trusts to be in charge of this issue.
We need to take advantage of this.
The Best Methods To Solve Food Aggression
If your dog is being aggressive towards people when food is introduced, the first thing to do is take the food away. You have to be careful about this, you can’t just reach for the bowl and tear it away from your dog. In your dog’s mind, the aggression is justified, he was right, you were there to take away his food. He will continue to feel aggressive when you’re in control of his food until we focus on a different method – hand feeding. A dog suffering from food aggression should only be allowed to eat its food from out of your hand. Also, make sure your hand is full of a new handful of food as your dog is chewing on the last bit. That will keep his gaze focused on your hand. Once your dog has demonstrated that it can be patient, now you can begin to drop a couple pieces of kibble in a bowl. The dog will associate this movement as your hand being a giver of food rather than a taker. Overall, this will teach your dog that it does not need to be aggressive to get its meal.
Food Aggression When You Have Multiple Dogs
Now, let’s say that you have a household with multiple dogs. For this instance, you need to keep the dog that is attempting to steal another dog’s food restrained while the others are eating. By making the aggressive dog eat last it will realize that he will be at the bottom of the ladder when it comes to taking turns eating. When it is this particular dog’s turn to eat make sure the other dogs are not allowed in the same room. This will only heighten your dog’s aggression. An important thing to remember is that if your dog makes a step away from his bowl, then to immediately remove the food from his area. It has to focus on its own meal and not that of others. It is also crucial to teach your other dogs are not to bother each other during meal time. The wandering dog is just as guilty as the dog that is trying to defend its meal. It’s hard to break dogs of things that come naturally to them but with hard work and dedication it can be done.
These techniques will only be effective if you have already established that you are the leader of the pack. Hopefully, your dogs are already familiar with the word “No” as you will be using it a lot when deterring food aggression. Remember to always try and remain calm because a threatening tone may just push the aggressive dog into overdrive and that’s where things can get hairy for you and your other pets. The good news is that this behavior can almost always be reversed with a scheduled feeding pattern. You should always be very careful when approaching an aggressive dog, no matter their size. If a dog every tries to attack you during a fit of food aggression, it is best to get a professional’s help. Most of the time they will recommend feeding the dog in a crate until they can cooperate enough to be trusted with their meals.
Dealing With Food Aggression Takes Time
Basically, like a lot of other dog training methods, this will take the utmost patience to get the results that you want. Remember to stay calm but firm when disciplining a dog for food aggression. It doesn’t take much to get an already stirred up dog even more frustrated. Once the dog has gained your trust and accepts that you’re not there to remove his food, things will start calming down and the training will become much more relaxed. Be sure to start these exercises without any distractions – i.e. other pets. Also, remember to let these exercises progress naturally. From starting with hand feeding to eventually moving to letting your pup eat out of its own bowl. You’ll know when the dog is comfortable enough to add these new methods to the exercises that you have been working on.