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Dealing With A Food Aggressive Dog

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Food aggression is one of the most serious dog behavioral issues. It often escalates into something more serious and can become violent. Unfortunately, many people ignore food aggression in their dogs because they don’t understand the behavior.

With food aggression your dog is asserting ownership of his/her food as well as the home you share. This happens because you’re not asserting your own alpha position as the leader in the home, so your dog will do so.

Dealing With Food Aggression

Your dog could begin to show aggressive tendencies, including food aggression, for lots of different reasons. Here are some suggestions to help stop the aggression.

  • Backing Down: When your dog shows aggression you have to know when to react to it and when to step away. Allowing your dog to show aggression and not handling it properly, tells your dog that it’s all right to show aggression.
  • Dog-Dog Aggression: If your dog is directing aggression toward another dog at meal time, separate the two dogs. Feed the dogs in different rooms or in crates.
  • Get Your Family Involved: Get all of your family members involved so they know what’s happening. Everyone in the family needs to be consistent in their actions to correct your dog when he shows aggression.
  • Control the Feeding: Take charge when you feed your dog. Teach your dog to sit and stay before you give them their food. Doing this teaches the dog that they have to earn the food and that you are in charge.  Your dog must understand that the food comes from you. You control the food, not the dog.
  • Feeding Time: Feed your dog after you eat. This shows your dog that you eat first and you have the position of alpha leader.
  • No Rewards:  Don’t give your dog his food if he growls. Withhold the reward of the food. If you show aggression, such as yelling or punishing, in response to your dog’s aggression, the situation can escalate and become dangerous.
  • Attention and Hand Feeding: You can stop your dog’s aggressive behavior by hand feeding him and showing him special attention while you are feeding. This is particularly effective when trying to calm a dog during meal times. Hand feeding your dog and showing him special attention while feeding him will get him used to you being near him while he’s eating.

Your dog’s meals are a very important part of the day, especially for your dog. Show your dog that you are the alpha leader and you “own” the food bowl.  Provide your dog with reassuring attention while he eats to reduce all forms of aggression.

If your dog shows aggression toward family members, your neighbors, or toward other people when he’s near the food bowl, or toward your friends, children, or toward other dogs, find the best trainer possible to help you deal with this problem.



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