How To Stop Food Aggression In Dogs Ultimate Guide
Why do dogs guard resources? Well, it’s not because they’re mean, guarding things is very natural to almost all species, even humans.
Just think about small children, for example, who get protective of a new toy. Depending on how strong their protective nature is, they could easily bite, scratch, or hit another child, adult, or pet.
Not all children are born aggressive nor dogs, which means we need to address the issue before it becomes a habit.
In most cases, resource guarding in dogs involves food but can occur with a multitude of things.
Most people try to break food aggression by focusing on monitoring and yelling at their dogs while they are eating. This is one of the worst things you can do.
Today’s guide will show you the proper steps to take to solve your dog’s behavior problems as a whole and ultimately cure their food aggression forever.
These steps will also work on dogs that haven’t yet developed guarding issues.
Step 1. Planned Training Sessions
Your training sessions should be scheduled outside of mealtime. Basically, you never want to train while your dog is starving; this will lead to unnecessary complications.
- Start your training by giving them a bone then walking away for a few minutes, upon returning, see if you can take the bone away.
Since your dog is food aggressive, you are not going to be able to do this safely.
The idea is to keep your dog from ever getting to this point. I’ll show you how to get the bone away from your dog. And how to teach them not to be so protective of things like that.
Step 2. Get Their Attention
The million-dollar question is always “how on earth are we going to get them not to protect the bone and give it up willingly?” Lucky for you I’m going to share a little secret I learned from a world-renowned dog trainer!
- First, you have to get their attention off of the bone with something better than the bone.
- Slowly lure them away from the bone with delicious dog treats. Once you 100% have their attention, you can remove the bone they were guarding.
- If your dog is being stubborn and refusing to move away from the bone, then toss a few treats on the floor a few feet away from the bone to get them away from it.
Always use caution and NEVER RUSH this process.
Step 3. Reintroduction
Once you have successfully extracted the bone from them, you can then safely reintroduce the bone and teach them some proper manners.
Most dogs aren’t going to snap at you if you are already holding the object they want in your hand, “some will so be sure to remain vigilant.”
Aggression tends to be triggered once a dog is in full possession of something or when an outside force tries to take away the object. The aggression is released in the form of a growl, bark, or bite.
Step 4. Teach Commands
After reintroducing the bone, you NEED to teach your dog the command, “leave it.” This simple command is an essential part of the guide; without it, you will be at a higher risk of being bit.
- Give them the bone
- Tell them to leave it
- Repeat steps 1 – 4
Below is a list of 8 essential dog commands that every dog owner needs to Stop Food Aggression In Dogs
- “Sit” Command
- “Down” Command
- “Stay” Command
- “Wait” Command
- “Come” Command
- “Take It” & “Drop It” Command
- “Leave It” Command
- “Settle Down” Command
Step 5. Reinforce Good Behavior
Be sure to reward for compliance, every time your dog obeys the “leave it command” reward them with a dog treat and praise.
For those of you that are wondering
Aren’t you just rewarding them for protecting the bone? No, we’re rewarding them for taking their attention off of the bone and maybe going into a sit.
Adding additional commands for your dog to follow during training is powerful.
Because you’re showing them by not protecting the bone, they get something delicious.
So instead of your dog thinking, Oh, no, he’s about to take the bone away. He thinks Oh, he’s about to take the bone away and I get a treat.
Step 6. Take a Step Back
When your dog becomes aggravated and starts to lash out, take a break and resume at another time.
You want to aim for as many consecutive instances of success in a row as possible.
The moment your dog becomes un corruptive take a break and resume at a later time. Your dog won’t learn to not be aggressive overnight. It takes time and dedication to stop dog aggression.
Step 7. Consistency
Be consistent with your training, and this will assure your dog that they no longer need to guard their dog food or possessions.
The more established the behavior is with your dog, the more patient you’ll probably need to be. Although some dog’s kind of get over this pretty quickly once you communicate to them that you’re not interested in stealing their bone forever.
It is up to us, a dog owner, to teach them how we want them to act just like we would our children. Sometimes dogs don’t know any better, so don’t hold it against them for having bad dog behavior.
I firmly believe that most of us would not yell or hit our child if they got a little aggressive over a toy or something they felt really attached to.
Treat your dog how you would treat your child, teach them how to behave, and they will learn.
Dogs are still wild animals at heart, and we can’t deny that, so ALWAYS stay cautious while training and never put yourself in danger.
Never disturb a dog while they are eating unless it’s necessary. If you have young children, be sure to teach them the same. We need to respect a dog’s space just like we expect them to respect ours, remember emotion drives behavior
“let sleeping dogs lie, and eating dogs eat.”
If your dog’s resource guarding is so bad that they’re biting people then you need to put them in dog obedience training before they severely injure someone or get put down. Trust me that is the last thing I want to happen to anyone or the dog.
If you have any questions regarding how to stop food aggression in dogs or how to stop resource guarding, please leave me a comment.