Jun. 09.2021 | Updated: September 16, 2021

Are You Dealing with Food Aggression in Dogs: Causes and Training Techniques

dog food aggression

The desire for possession of something valuable and its retention is a common phenomenon not only in an animal world but in ours too. Imagine for a minute that someone is trying to take away something very dear to you, for example, a phone during a conversation. Each of us will react depending on what kind of temperament and culture of behavior he/she has. The motivation for the retention of food ownership is one of the main rules of the canine world. Canine food aggression does not determine many of the behaviors of our dogs and is not related to the “dominant status”, size and physical strength of the animal. For example, a small Chihuahua can furiously and quite successfully guard its bone from a strong, self-confident Doberman. In many dogs, the desire to protect is associated with fear of loss and is developed to varying degrees, which often depends on the breed. Today we will look in more detail at the reasons and how to stop food aggression in a puppy. Enjoy the reading!

What Does Dog Food Aggression mean?

Dogs with food aggression are manifested during feeding when a bone or treat is taken from it. Or they pick up a dog that has fallen to the floor in the immediate vicinity. This behavior is not limited to biting attacks. But also growls, bared teeth, menacing angry barking. That is, warning signs immediately preceding the attack. Or the dog closes the food with itself, greedily devours it, and growls at the same time. Puppy aggression with food can be in the first days of its life. Such a puppy will actively push its fellows away from the milkiest, rear nipples of its mother. It is very persistent. Since it is based on very ancient instincts for the protection of obtained food. And it is often difficult to correct. It is found in adult dogs. Consideration should be given to the aggression tendency of different breeds of dogs. Especially when choosing a pet for a family with small children, people with disabilities, or the elderly. And also in cases when this is your first dog.

What Causes Food Aggression in Dogs?

dogs with food aggression
  • Genetic predisposition or the influence of hormones. A pronounced tendency to protect their food from competitors leads to the spread of this behavior to the owners. At the same time, the likelihood of an aggressive reaction, its severity, and duration, increase with the level of testosterone in the blood.
  • Low authority of the owner or other family members. The authority of a person in a dog depends on its personal qualities and behavior in relation to it and others. When the owner or family members do not inspire respect in the dog, it will not take into account their interests. Including, admitting to your food or giving it away.
  • If a dog is given privileges, then, over time, its self-esteem increases, and this can be one of the causes of dog aggression over food. Indeed, it is based on competition, including for food resources, that hierarchical relationships are formed in dogs.
  • Anxiety and fear of losing food. Anxiety can be the result of both general self-doubt and food deprivation in the past. The probability of aggression is higher, the stronger the feeling of hunger and the higher the attractiveness of food. Food aggression toward other dogs can appear if it was a stray or from an animal shelter where the puppies were fed from the same bowl and they were used to protecting their piece.

Dealing with Food Aggression in Dogs

Behavior correction can help you cope with this problem. Therefore, we suggest that you familiarize yourself with dog food aggression training techniques.

  • When your dog eats food from a bowl on the floor, stand a few feet away from the dog.
  • Add yummy food to its bowl and immediately return to the original distance after placing the food.
  • When your dog is eating from a bowl, stand next to it and treat it to a special tasty treat. Maintain a conversation while eating.
  • Your dog needs to understand that when it eats, you are not a threat to its food.
  • Touch the dog’s bowl but don’t take food out of it. This will help your dog get used to your presence during the meal.
  • When picking up the bowl, speak to your dog in a calm tone. First, lift it only 6-12 inches off the ground, add snacks, and set the bowl back. Every day, your goal is to lift the bowl higher until you can place it on the table to prepare food. Repeat this sequence until you can walk a short distance and put the dog’s bowl back in the same position you lifted it.

Remember that you should go to each of the stages of food aggression training after 10 successful repetitions.

How to Treat Food Aggression in Dogs?

how to stop food aggression in a puppy

The reason for the aggression can also be a mental disorder. In this case, such a problem can only be diagnosed by a specialist, and appropriate treatment prescribed. Also, many veterinarians believe that the cause of aggression can be stopped by sterilization.

Before taking any action, be sure to consult with a dog handler and veterinarian who will tell you the correct behavior model.

Stopping food aggression in dogs is not an easy but possible task. Be patient and you will achieve a great result. By the way, we have some advice about healthy dog treats. Thank you for reading the article to the end. See you soon on the pages of our blog!

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