If you?ve never seen a dog with serious food-guarding problems, it?s tough to appreciate the potential severity of the problem. Food-guarding issues don’t seem to be necessarily a reflection on the temperament or training level of the dog: it?s an instinctive issue, and though dogs with a general aggression downside are naturally additional liable to demonstrating the condition, it?s conjointly exhibited by otherwise-sweet, well-behaved, well-adjusted family dogs.

Like an evil djinn, the matter can rear its ugly head only when food (or the food bowl) is present: a real case of Jekyll and Hyde. A dog with serious food-guarding issues can be a real danger to anyone who should approach her during a meal: it?s not a state of affairs in which you’ll be able to expect to train your dog to ?play nice?. Instinct is what?s compelling her to act during this undesirable, and even dangerous, manner ? you need to require steps to turn the behavior around before your relationship along with your dog suffers or someone gets hurt.

There are totally different degrees of food guarding. In the mildest case, a dog can merely tense up a very little or freeze if somebody approaches her while she?s attempting to eat. She may even continue eating, however her posture can be rigid and stiff: she?ll clearly be uncomfortable. Signs that the problem is a lot of severe would include a marked increase in eating speed, a right away, arduous stare right at you (usually amid a still, tense, ?watching? posture), a lifted lip, a snarl, a snap, and eventually a true bite.

NOTE: A dog exhibiting any of those last three symptoms encompasses a pretty severe case of food-guarding aggression, and might be ready to inflict actual harm.

If this is the case along with your dog, hiring a hands-on trainer might be the best answer for you: it?ll guarantee your safety, and that they?ll be in a position to examine your overall relationship along with your dog and see if there are other areas contributing to the problem.

A food-guarding dog could be a pretty confused one. In her mind, she?s got your role mixed up. She fails to acknowledge that you’re the dispenser of food (that ought to accord you automatic alpha-dog status, guaranteeing your immunity from any quite aggression or dominance), and instead is viewing you as a threat: a blackguard who might be going to require away her precious food. Hence, the possessiveness. The degree of aggression that a food-guarding dog is capable of may be onerous to understand, till you think about the very fact that food is one amongst the greatest pleasures of your dog?s life.

Dogs are scavengers by nature: they?re programmed to eat just about something they can get their jaws around. Also because the instinctiveness of this gluttony, most dogs additionally merely fancy the tactile and gustatory sensations that include a smart meal (or an indifferent one .. and typically even a bad one). They solely ? wish to eat. And it?s this overwhelming importance that?s placed on food that gets some dogs a bit immersed: their grasp of true gets a small amount thrown off, and they begin to marvel, miser-like, who would possibly happen upon them and take away their cherished food.

The plain conclusion: you. Or anyone else who comes along at meal-time. To cure her of this frustrating and antisocial habit, you would like to remind her that you simply?re truly the purveyor of that which she holds therefore dear: to create it clear to her that you?re the one accountable for the kitchen, and of all the delightful morsels contained therein.

Dogs can develop food-guarding instincts at any point in their lives: some can have had the matter since puppyhood, but for others the tendency lies dormant until it?s awakened by an item of explicit juiciness.

For most dogs, the deciding issue is meat, in some form or form ? whether it?s a marrowbone, a mutton hock, or solid-off scraps from the dinner table. Meat to dogs is like cash to humans: it will change them, make them do things they otherwise wouldn?t do. Therefore it?s not entirely surprising that the intrinsic worth of meat-related foodstuffs will provide our dogs a replacement, unpleasantly skewed perspective on the sanctity of the food-bowl. Because of the chance of food-guarding becoming an issue in your dog?s behavior at any purpose in her life, prevention is clearly the perfect path to require: whether or not you get your dog from puppyhood or adopt her as an adult from a shelter, you must create a purpose of approaching her throughout mealtime.

Have you ever ever heard an exponent with dogs ask you to ?leave her alone when she?s eating?? This can be a short-term solution at most: it?ll forestall something untoward from happening, provided that every one the humans play by the principles and ensure that they don?t disturb the dog ? however the dog is still the one calling all the shots. And what will happen if the surprising occurs? What if a toddler charges full-tilt towards the dog and makes a playful grab for her bowl?

In a very wolf-pack, the alpha dog is never disturbed when he or she is eating. Not only will she get to eat 1st, and eat the lion?s share of everything; however she or he also eats undisturbed. This is often why a dog that?s permitted to eat in solitary splendor can truly become additional food-aggressive, not less; while not anyone to require her down a notch, she begins to assume a lot of authority than she really has. To forestall your dog from obtaining an overinflated sense of her own importance, create positive you disturb her plenty while she?s eating. Don?t make a purpose of tiptoeing around whenever the food bowl?s out; it?ll just accustom her to solitude and silence when she eats (that are things that only the alpha wolf or dog is entitled to).

At the other end of the spectrum, don?t build these disturbances a negative expertise for her either, or else you will really create a drawback where none previously existed. All you have got to try and do is approach her sometimes whereas she eats ? beginning from the very day you bring her into your home ? and add one thing tasty (and tiny!) to her dish whereas she?s eating, to make the association in her head that ?humans approaching food bowl = good news?. A spoonful of scrambled egg, a bit of liver treat, a few chunks of cheese ? anything that she?ll enjoy, and that has a larger ?food worth? than the kibble she?s eating, can work perfectly.

In fact, if it?s too late for preventatives and your dog already incorporates a downside, you?ll want to adopt a very totally different approach. Here?s what to do: ? The dog bowl goes to be put away for the next seven to ten days. Over this time, you?re visiting be feeding your dog by hand ? one tiny handful at a time. Yes, I know this can be visiting be time-consuming, but the alternative is even worse: a dangerous dog that can?t be trusted around food. Thus feed her by hand for the subsequent week or so. Be sure not to encourage any greedy snapping or grabbing for the food: solely permit her to take the food from your hand when she does therefore gently. Remind her that bite inhibition is important to induce what she wants!

Once a minimum of every week has passed and she?s eating politely from your hand, you’ll be able to reintroduce the food bowl, with one slight modification: it has to be empty. And it stays empty till you pass by and drop a little few kibble into it for her to eat. When that?s been polished off, wait a minimum of a full minute before adding another, tiny, handful of kibble.

Keep doing this till the whole meal?s been consumed ? this can be a terribly effective method of teaching your dog to actively long for your presence close to her food bowl!

When she?s graduated to a higher stage, you’ll start setting down a half-empty food bowl for her. Don?t let her lunge at the bowl and start gobbling: holding the bowl out of reach (or placing it on a handy counter), create her sit and wait before you allow her to eat. Don?t place the bowl down till she complies. Sit or crouch beside the bowl and continue to add small handfuls of kibble, just as you did in step two, until a full meal?s been eaten.

The fourth, and final, step is to permit her access to a full food bowl. Again, it?s very necessary that you do not enable her to call the shots: she must sit and wait till you unleash her with an ?OK!? before she?s permitted to eat. To stay the message clear in your head that you’re answerable for the food in this house, follow calling her removed from her food some times a week and rewarding her with a brilliant-tasty treat for her exemplary obedience whereas she?s trying to eat.

If at any time your dog?s behavior gets shaky on any of these four steps, backslide until you?ve reached the stage at that she is a hundred% reliable. Wait at this stage for at least 2 or 3 additional days before attempting to progress once more. Like any training, it?s essential that a solid foundation is constructed before moving on to the next level ? she must be fully comfy with each step before attempting a brand new one.

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