How To Train Your Dog To Not Growl Around The Food Dish

Posted: August 13, 2014 in Dog Behavior, Dog Training Methods and Ideas, My Phiosophy On Dog Training, Puppy Training
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

food aggression

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I want to tell you a story about a friend of mine who thought she
had raised the perfect puppy.

Until that day she was forced to call
me to come and help her because as she put it, “My dog has gone off
the edge!”

I listened intently while she remembered the first day she brought
that fuzzy little puppy dog home, the whole family was so happy.

Julie did everything right, obedience training, socialization
training, and the best care that money could by.

Or so she thought.

She was just beginning to think that she had done it, because her
puppy was now 10 months old, and completely house broken and had
never chewed anything that he shouldn’t, went to his crate when she
asked, and got along with the kids and the cat, even played well
with the old dog in the next yard.

And then “it” happened..

Julie was just walking by her beloved dog as he was eating when she
heard it for the first time..

Grrrrrrrrr,

Julie looked down and could not belive what she saw..her dog was
frozen stiff, with his face in his food, lips curled up, showing
teeth, and giving her the stink eye.

I told her to relax that I could fix this up right away, and that I
was glad she didn’t wait to call me as this behavior is much more
difficult to modify if time has passed and it becomes a way of
life.

So I explained that her dog was showing the first signs of resource
guarding, and that is can present in many forms, over toys, places
to rest, people, a hamburger wrapper that has fallen to the floor.

Basically anything that a dog thinks is important to them, and in
Julies case it was over food.

Once a dog has something he believes it is his, and will take
measures to keep it.

That’s why I always tell people to never, and I mean never let a
child under twelve, feed your dog.

As with Julie’s case, even the best trained and socialized dogs can
literally snap in second and strike.

Remember “Kids + Dog + Food = Bad Business”

Now to get back to how I was able to help Julie with her resource
guarding pup.

How to train your dog to not growl around the food dish.

I told her I was very happy that she called me because there are
still trainers out there today that would tell her the dog is being
dominant and needs to be shown who’s the boss, maybe get the belt
out.

Those people are wrong, and are only making matters worse.

Dogs are not trying to take over your house, dominance is a dog
thing, between two dogs and it is more an act of confidence than
anything else.

I asked Julie what she did when her dog growled at her and she said
I did nothing I just walked to the kitchen sat down and made my
self a coffee, thought about what had just happened and why, then I
called you.

I told her that was exactly what she should have done.

You see if you confront your dog in that moment of him growling to
protect his food, you will only convince him that growling was not
enough to get you to back off, and he may very well go to the next
level and bite you.

The old saying is true “violence only brings more violence”

This is what I told Julie to do the next time she fed her dog.

Feed him at the regular time, but this time instead of one bowl
have two and fix his food and have him sit and wait.

Then put down the empty bowl and watch what happens.

He will cock his head, and look at the bowl, and then look at you,
maybe push the dish with his nose or paw, and will be very confused
about what is the deal, where is my food.

I told her to ask him to sit again and this time take a few pieces
of food and toss them into his bowl from a distance of about three
feet, and be careful not to get your fingers close to the bowl in
case he lunges in.

Feed him his entire meal this way,,and teach him that in order for
him to eat you must be present around his bowl.

Over the next few days, slowly inch closer to his bowl until you
are standing right next to it.

Then you can begin to put about half of his food in the bowl before
you put it down, and then periodically drop a few of the remaining
pieces in the bowl.

Around day 5 you can give him the entire meal in one go and then
every once in a while throw in a piece of sausage, chicken, or
steak.

This will teach the dog that he has nothing to worry about when you
are around his food dish, he will understand that you are not going
to steal his food, in fact he will begin to like having you there
because he gets extra tasty treats along with his kibble.

Depending on the severity of the food guarding this process will
take the better part of a week, but in some cases could take
longer.

Julie said she had no idea why this was happening all of a sudden
and asked me what I though started this all.

I hesitated to ask but she wanted my opinion,

and I knew she had a boy friend that was there quite often,

so I asked her if he had ever tried to take the food dish away from
the pup just to prove that he could.

She gasped and said how did you know.

I told her that this is the most common reason a dog will become
aggressive around the food dish, a lot of well-meaning people think
it is necessary to muck around with the dogs food to prove they are
the Alpha.

I told her to explain to her friend that doing this will only make
the dog worried about his food, and to tell him to stop doing it.

There you have it, if you have a dog that is growling around the
food dish, be sure to not confront your dog as this will only make
things worse.

Try what I told Julie to do, it worked for her and it can work for
you too.

If you like this post let me know by liking my Face Book Page

River Valley Dog Training

All the best,

Harley

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