Advice for Owners of Food Aggressive Dogs
Although this behavior is not unusual for dogs that have been allowed to become dominant over their owners, it needs to be remedied quickly.
Failure to establish yourself as the pack leader, or “alpha dog”, and showing your dog that you are in charge, can lead to other behavior problems and more serious forms of aggression.
Establish A Feeding Schedule
Decide on the best time to feed your dog each day and stick to it. To help your dog relax, he should be fed when the house is quiet. An ideal feeding time would be after the family has eaten.
This also helps reinforce the fact that your dog is not number one in the pack and must wait for his human pack leaders to finish eating first.
Provide a Relaxed Atmosphere
You want your dog to feel relaxed at meal times, so choose a quiet place where he can eat in peace and feed him there every day. Any confusion about where his food bowl is going to be placed could make him feel anxious.
Make Him Work For His Meals
Make your dog sit before you feed him. Then, rather than putting down all his food, stand nearby with a handful of kibble and drop pieces into the bowl.
If your dog growls or shows any sign of food aggression at any stage, stop feeding him immediately and walk away or remove the bowl for a few minutes.
Repeat this several times at least before giving your dog the rest of his meal. If you have the time to do this with the whole meal even better as he will learn much quicker.
Establish An End To The Meal
Whether your dog has finished eating or not, remove his dog food bowl after 15 to 20 minutes. By doing so, you will establish that your dog is no longer in control of his food – rather, you are.
However, be very careful with food aggressive dogs. Avoid being bitten by calmly and assertively moving the food bowl away. Your dog will sense it if you feel at all nervous about doing this.
Any fear you feel is something you are going to need to address! Until you do it would be better to get someone who is not nervous to remove your dog’s food, or if alone, use a long stick.
Be The Alpha Dog At All Times
While patience, persistence and the right training will stop your dog’s food aggression, it’s not enough to show him that you are in charge only at meal times.
Food aggression is just one sign that your dog does not see you as the “alpha dog” in the pack. Other behavioral problems could develop, if they haven’t already, so establish your authority and be consistent in your leadership, at all times.