Is dog food aggression a problem with your canine companion? If your dog growls or snaps at anyone who gets too close while he’s eating, you need to stop this serious dog behavior problem before your dog attacks you or someone in your family.
Dog Food Aggression Is Instinctive Behavior For Canines
In the wild, a dog is protective of his food, his mate, and his territory. Aggression is necessary for their survival. The most aggressive dog is the pack leader, or alpha male, and he enforces his position by being the dominant dog in the pack.
But your dog shouldn’t be the leader of the pack in your household. If he is, you’re in for trouble, because he thinks he’s the alpha male, and, like he would in the wild, he’ll use canine aggression to enforce his position. This is a dominance issue that won’t go away on its own. You must take steps to deal with his aggressive behavior before it reaches a dangerous level.
Causes of Food Aggression In Dogs
Some dog owners think puppy aggression around the food dish is cute. Don’t encourage this behavior! This is a serious training mistake many dog owners make. Instead of being amused by this kind of canine food aggression, you need to nip this problem in the bud.
It’s not clear in your dog’s mind exactly who the pack leader is. Your dog thinks there’s a leadership vacuum if you don’t take the role of the alpha male (even if you’re female). If you don’t step into the role, he will. And he won’t be nice about enforcing his position in your household.
Because he thinks he’s the pack leader, he believes he can take whatever he wants from anyone in the pack who ranks lower than him. The reality is that the family dog should be at the bottom of the heap, not the top. Anyone in the household should be able to take anything away from him, even his food. Of course, you’re not really going to do this, but he needs to know where he stands in your household pack.
Dog Food Aggression Training
With a puppy, you’ll make it clear that having people or other animals around when he’s eating is OK. Do this right from the beginning, and you’ll probably never have a problem with this type of dog food aggression. Anyone in the family should be able to safely stand right next to him at any time while he’s eating. If this isn’t true, you need to be in control of his food.
It’s always a good idea to feed your dog after you and your family have finished eating. Your dog will instinctively understand that the alpha dog always eats first.This makes it very clear in your dog’s mind exactly where he ranks in the family hierarchy.
Require that your dog sit and stay quietly while you’re fixing his food. If the dog growls, and demands food, don’t give in. He needs to earn his food by behaving in a non-aggressive manner.
Don’t let an aggressive dog “win” his food by growling at you. This only rewards his bad dog behavior and reinforces the very behavior you want to stop.
If canine aggression is already a serious problem in your household, a dog behavior course should be your next step. You can find a course that includes a consultation with an experienced dog trainer by clicking on any link in this article.