Stopping Your Dogs Possessiveness Over Food 08/08/09
Dog or puppy growling at you when you go near its food? Stop this behaviour through training and modification.
In this article we will guide you through dealing with possessiveness around the food bowl but please note that if your dog is or shows signs of active aggression you must get a professional trainer to visually assess your individual dog.
First things first you need to change how your dog feels about you being around food. You need to teach your dog to leave it. It is good to understand your dogs behaviour by reading their body language. As soon as you are more familiar with your dog’s body language, you can move on to feeding. When dogs freeze this is an indication they are about to nip or bite. You need to be completely ready for this and pre-empt your dog getting to this level. Learning how to feed your dog properly is useful knowledge to have at this stage.
Feeding in small quantities
When feeding your puppy or dog put the food into three different portions and three different bowls. Ask your dog to sit before you give the food. Then put one bowl down, wait for your dog to finish then the next and so on until the dog has eaten all three bowls. This teaches the dog that you control their food intake. Repeat this for a few days.
Adding more food to the bowl
Next you can begin putting a quarter of the dog’s food in the bowl, once the dog has finished it you can then add another quarter and so on until you have fed the dog. Do not touch the dog when you are doing this, it will teach your dog their space will not be invaded yet you will giving them more food, allowing them to make a positive association between you being near them and food being constantly put in the bowl. Feeding the dogs treats whilst praising your dog is good to build up a sense of trust between you both. Once you notice your dog is becoming more relaxed around their food you can teach them to lift their head up whilst eating to give them an extra tasty treat. This will help break the cycle of obsession of the food in their bowl.
Things to avoid when feeding your dog
Try to avoid feeding your dog in noisy busy environments, put aside an area where they will not be pestered. Feeding in a crate can be a good option, especially if you have children running about. Do not take the dogs food away from them whilst they are eating, this can cause the dog to be protective over their food.