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Dealing with Food Aggression in Dogs

Food aggression is one of the most serious dog behaviour problems and it has the greatest chance to elevate to something more, including potential violence.

But, for many people, the behaviour gets ignored because they don't understand it and they thus avoid it.

After all, what sense does it make that your dog would get possessive of their food and start baring their teeth and growling at you when you're the one that fed them in the first place? How does that make any sense?

Unfortunately, this approach can lead directly to breakdowns in the order of your home. What happening is that your dog is claiming ownership of her food, as well as your home. Because you're not asserting your position as the alpha leader, the dog is doing so.

Especially if your dog is small and it seems cute that they would be possessive of their food, it's very easy to fall into the trap of poking fun and laughing at the behaviour. It's the last thing you want to do. And while you may not fear for yourself, imagine what can happen to a child or a friend.

Fixing Food Aggression

So, while there may be any number of reasons why your dog starts showing these aggressive tendencies, priority number one needs to be to stop it. Here are some dog training tips to help you do just that.

   * Backing Down - If you back down when your dog shows aggression, not wanting to deal with it, you're only telling them it's okay to act like that. You need to know when to react and when to be wary.

   * Dog-Dog Aggression - If the aggression is being directed to another dog, the solution is simple enough. Separate the dogs and feed them in different rooms.

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   * Get Family Involved - Whatever you do, make sure you involve family members on all sides so that they know exactly what you're doing. Everyone needs to take the same actions to correct these behaviours, not just you.

   * Controlling the Feeding - You need to take alpha control of the food bowl. To do this, you'll need to be a bit more forceful and in control when feeding your dog. To start with, make them sit and stay before you feed them. This will show them they are earning it from you.

Additionally, make sure they pay close attention to you when being fed, not just the food bowl. They need to understand that you are their source of food and you control it, not them.

   * Feeding Time - It is good to feed your dog after you've already eaten to show your dog that you get to eat first and that you are the alpha leader.

   * No Rewards - Never reward your dog for growling by giving them their food. This does not mean you should punish or yell though. If you do that, you might stop your dog from growling and attack without warning. Just don't reward them either. If you show aggression in response to your dog's aggression, it can escalate to something more dangerous.

   * Attention and Hand Feeding - To stop the aggressive behaviour, you can hand feed your dog and show special attention while feeding them. This is especially effective when trying to calm them during feeding time.

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