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Stop Dog Food Aggression

This behaviour is displayed by dog when they are feeding. It is just a means to protect their food especially if the dog is unsure if he will get more.

This behaviour is targeted toward people or other animals that the dog sees as a threat to his food. The dog will growl and try to snap if you try to pet him or go near him while he is feeding.

In most cases, the dog is just trying to assert his dominance.

Food aggression is dangerous for dog owners and other animals in the home since this kind of aggression may cause the dog to bite or engage in fights with other dogs while trying to protect his food. In trying to bring food aggression under control, you must first study your dog to get an idea where this insecurity comes from.

For example, if there are many dogs in the house feeding from the same bowl, one or all of the dogs may show food aggression in a bid to get a fair share of the food. In such a case, the first thing you ought to do is get separate feeding bowls for the dogs. When feeding, these bowls should be placed some distance apart. Do not allow one dog to move from one bowl to another. Each dog should stick to his bowl.

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If the dog tends to become aggressive when you go near his bowl, then place the feeding bowl close to you when feeding the dog. Feed the dog from your hand, that way the dog learns to recognise you as the provider of food. Later you can place your hand inside the bowl and let the dog feed off your hand. As the dog progresses, you can then put food in the bowl minus your hand and let the dog feed.

Dominant dogs should be tamed early; food aggression will only be the first of many behaviour problems for such dogs. This may be achieved through behaviour training and positive reinforcement where the dog is awarded for showing desired behaviour.

If the food aggression is due to the dog being insecure about food availability and frequency of meals, you can make a feeding schedule for your dog. Here, the dog will be fed during specific times of the day. The amount of food should be proportional to the dog’s size; a large dog will require a larger quantity of food while smaller dogs can be given less.

If you cannot be there in time to feed the dog, then buy an automatic feeder that will dispense the food at specific times.

If you want dog food aggression to stop, do not add to the dog’s insecurity by snatching the feeding bowl away from him while he is eating. Feeding time should not be coupled with play time, and more importantly, don’t play tug with the dog while he is feeding as this only reinforces the behaviour.

Give the dog some space while he is eating. If necessary, you can stick around so that the dog is not disturbed during eating. 

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