A lot of people have dogs who display signs of aggression when it comes to their food. This behavior is better classified as resource guarding. It can actually take many forms such as competing with other pets for attention from the owner. However, for the purposes of this article we will be focusing on food guarding in particular.
Dogs are just like people in the sense that their emotional quirks can come as a result of different triggers. For some dogs, it may start when they are puppies, competing with their littermates for food from one large bowl. For others, they may have been abandoned or neglected without food for long periods. Still, some dogs may begin to act this way due to a recent trauma or loss of a family member.
Handling this situation requires early and consistent effort. If it is a young puppy, proper mealtime training can begin the same time as potty training. If there is more than one puppy, this may be necessary as they tend to compete for food instinctually. The idea is that the one who eats more grows bigger and stronger.
If you are dealing with a rescue or adopted adult, resource guarding is much more common. Although you need to address the issue as quickly as possible, it needs to be done tactfully. This is due to the fact that the dog is probably already experiencing anxiety from its new environment.
For simpler cases, a few at-home techniques may be helpful. For example, simply getting your dog used to your presence when eating is step one. Stand a few feet back of him or her during mealtime. Speaking gently and soothingly may also help. As time passes you should be able to move closer and closer. If you experience any concerning resistance, it is probably time to work with a professional.
If you are dealing with food aggression issues with your dog, as well as any other type of behavioral problem and you need the help of an expert, simply give the team here at Dog Training Now a call as soon as you can. We’d be glad to discuss you and your pups’ options further.
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