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Preventing Food Related Behavior Issues

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dog and food dish

Is your dog very territorial when it comes to food, or even his food dish?  As an article in the Winter 2012/13 issue of Modern Dog magazine points out, dogs are quite obsessed with food and this can cause behavior problems.

To keep mealtime happy and aggression-free, Modern Dog offers these suggestions:

  1. Keep it calm.  Feed your dog in a quiet, traffic-free zone of your home.  If you have more than one dog, place their food dishes in separate areas to prevent fights over food.
  2. Stay on a regular schedule.  Keeping to a schedule helps your dog stick to his housetraining habits.  Feeding him too early or too late will mean he’ll be waking you up at odd hours for a potty break.
  3. Avoid free-feeding.  Free-feeding can often lead to obesity in dogs.  Dogs that free-feed also learn to take food for granted, so it loses its power as a training aid.
  4. Teach your dog to welcome people touching his bowl.  Be sure to pick up your dog’s bowl once he’s eaten all of his meal.  Make sure your dog sees you pick up the bowl, then put a treat in it and put it back down for him.  Once he’s eaten the treat, repeat this process several times.  Also do it when there’s food in his dish.  Pick up the dish, put a piece of turkey or other prized treat on top of the food and put the dish down.  Do this several more times and repeat the process for several days.  It won’t take your dog long to learn that allowing you to pick up his dish will reap yummy dividends!


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