How to Stop Food Aggression in Dogs

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"When I got her, she was extremely food aggressive. Now she does this." submitted 1 day ago by Clyken.

AverageSteven: "Any tips on how to change that disposition in a dog? I have a jack russel that is insane when he eats. At first I thought it was just an irrational fear of his that if he doesn't eat fast enough my lab will try to eat his food, so I separated them during meal times, but nothing changed so now I have to stand there while he eats & place just enough food in his bowl so that he can't choke himself by inhaling as much food as he can all at once. I don't know what else to do for him."

Clyken: "If he just eats too fast, look into a slow feed bowl. They look like normal bowls except they have pillars that come up in the middle that serve as obstacles. They'll force him to slow down amd eat around the obstacles. If he is a [jerk] about food, well, this takes some time. I actually did away with the bowl entirely. I feed her out of my hand now in hopes that she sees I give her food, I don't take it. I make her work her food by doing little tricks and such (hence the food on her head). When she gets to growling or something too much, I chill her out by making her catch a few pieces in the air. The idea is to interrupt and change the feeding routine, so that the dog isn't so focused on protecting what's his. It takes time and patience and if your dog is like mine, you're probably going to be bit a few times ha. Just try to keep feeding time light, fun, and happy. Don't get stressed and don't get mad. Good luck!!"

rstevens94: "If you want to give it a shot before buying a slow feed bowl, put a ball in the bowl. He'll need to move it around to get at the kibble. Now, if it's aggression of the sort that he'll bite your hand if you reach your hand near him (try with a broom and a glove on the end), that's a real problem. If he doesn't bite, notice whether he freezes up or growls, because those are precursor behaviors. Any of this stuff, and you should consult an animal behaviorist. I'd recommend asking at your local SPCA or Humane Society, because they are very used to dealing with food aggressive dogs. The hand-near-the-bowl test is one that gets done with all surrendered or stray dogs, and it can be a deal-breaker in terms of whether the dog goes up for adoption or gets euthanized. They should know behaviorists who are used to working with people whose dogs have food aggression problems."

Cromium_kate: "I have a dog (otherwise very sweet) with a terrible food aggression problem. I adopted him from a very reputable rescue several months ago and was shocked that they had not tested him prior to adopting him out. I do not know what to do with him because I'm scared if I take him back they will put him down. On the other hand, I have been bitten twice already and have children in the house. Advice?"

mau_bala: ">My dog (a now 4-1/2 y/o black lab/bulldog mix and a rescue) was very food aggressive when we got him, but today it's more food "annoyed"--as in, he just sort of grunts quietly to indicate if he wants to be left alone when he's eating. I agree with Clyken's suggestion to keep feeding time light, fun, and happy. In fact, we did away with bowls entirely (except for water) for the first couple of years we had him. Instead, we kept a bunch of his toys stuffed with food. This way, he always had food available whenever he was hungry, he could eat on his own terms (and in a fun & satisfying way) and at his own pace, and he was occupied consistently. He's a completely different dog today! Good luck!

dietcokeandwater: "I work at my local SPCA and for fast eaters we use either slow feeder bowls, or place the food in a larger bowl, with a smaller bowl upside down in the centre. Puppies who eat too quick we hand feed. Usually we sit with them, and make them sit before they get a piece. Food aggression can be tough, but keep working on it! We will change the location of the dog, so they don't feel they have to become aggressive and protective over their food. As well, we start with using a few bowls (with a bit of food in each) but the other comments of no bowls all together sounds like a great idea! Time consuming but so worth it! Good luck :)" 

Have you ever had a food-aggressive dog? How did you help him or her? 

This entry was posted by Mary.
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