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    Thread: Food aggression

    1. #1
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      Food aggression

      Hi to all .Nellie is now 6 months old and is turning into a brilliant companion. Her recall is good ,she pulls a little on the lead .This is probably because she is not on the lead very often. I have fields within a couple of minutes walk and because her recall is good I only tend to have her on the lead when unknown people or dogs are too near. Mostly to prevent her jumping all over them. The concern I have now though is that when she is eating occasionally she will growl while eating. It does sound aggressive too.I have never encountered this before and it worries me.Especially when you see on rescue programmes it is used to measure a Dogs aggressiveness. Should I be concerned? This morning I really told her off when it happened

    2. #2
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      Btw her jumping is slowly improving and I am training her myself in her sits,downs and heel work .So is only her food issue that concerns me She is quite obedient and like most labs she will do anything for food

    3. #3
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      Growling how? Is she growling at someone standing near or just seemingly growling at her food bowl? If at her food bowl, do you feed in stainless? She could be growling at her reflection.

      Regardless of what kind of bowl you use, try another one of different material (I recommend avoiding plastic). If she's growling at a person...let us know. Food aggression has been discussed here before.

      (There used to be a TV show with funny home videos. I still remember seeing one dog sitting on a sofa, chewing on a bone, and growling/snapping on its own hind leg as the leg drew near to the bone.)

      Here ya go: Dog Fights Off His Own Paw | Dog | AFV - YouTube
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    4. #4
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      How about just feeding the dog in its crate?

    5. #5
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      it's pretty normal if you mean she growls if you get close or touch her while she eats. many dogs don't like being bothered when they are eating. Curious if you ever put your hands in the bowl while they eat (something some people are told to do).

      There is a straight forward protocol to desensitize them to this. Though just having htem in a crate when they eat is an option, desensitizing can be good for safety reasons..

      this is a great and cheap book with the steps. But you also want to watch closely at body language (stiff body, freezing, etc.) and not move thru the steps until the dog is comfortable at the current one. Generally it involves hand feeding for awhile, then putting food in a bowl and putting it down. tossing high valu food into the bowl from a distance an dthen closer. (I don't know all the steps by heart!).'
      https://www.amazon.ca/Mine-Practical.../dp/0970562942


      The goal is to make you presence while they eat an indicator of better food or more food. Positive things. Generally humans tend to stop dogs from eating, take away or just be annoying so they become associated to negative things. some of these steps are actually recommended by some old school trainers creating issues. but some dogs just go thru a phase even if we do everythign right.

    6. #6
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      Ditto all above and just to add. It's not a good idea to really tell a dog off when it growls. A growl is a warning. Prevent the warning and you may give the dog no choice but to go right to a bite. Better to find out WHY the dog is growling and work to fix that. For you food timing it could be any of the reasons above. I too know of a dog who was frightened of his reflection in a stainless steel bowl

    7. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Snowshoe For This Useful Post:

      SunDance (01-05-2018), Tanya (01-05-2018)

    8. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by Snowshoe View Post
      Ditto all above and just to add. It's not a good idea to really tell a dog off when it growls. A growl is a warning. Prevent the warning and you may give the dog no choice but to go right to a bite. Better to find out WHY the dog is growling and work to fix that. For you food timing it could be any of the reasons above. I too know of a dog who was frightened of his reflection in a stainless steel bowl
      I missed this. HUGELY important! a growl is a very important method of communication and should never ever be corrected. A dog that doesn't growl looses an innocent method of communication and will need to move on to the next. It also makes the thing you want to fix worse. If he is growling as he is uncomfortable with you near the food, and you come down on him, well you really just REINFORCED that your presence near the food is bad. It can make the situation MUCH worse very quickly AND you have possibly extinguished the safe communication method.

      https://www.facebook.com/4pawsuniver...226310787070:0

      Getting Rid of the Growl | Paws Abilities

    9. #8
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      Is this what you are thinking of Tanya? I send this home with all of my puppies.

      Since we aren't there, and don't know what the dog is growing at, I would recommend a session with an animal behaviorist before trying the method laid out below. This method is designed to prevent food aggression, although it has "rehab" exercises, I would not mess around with an aggressive dog, it can easily become worse if you don't know what you are doing.

      Food Bowl Exercises
      Standard Prevention Exercises for All Non-Guarding Dogs and Puppies
      Resource guarding is a natural behavior in dogs. Dogs in the wild go to a lot of trouble to find food, and it is no wonder that guarding is built into them. This behavior is hard wired into your dog, and we must do a few exercises to teach him that it’s OK for us to touch his dinner or possessions.
      A dog that guards his food or toys is not a dominant dog. One of the rules of dogdom is that possession is 9/10ths of the law. Any dog, regardless of rank, is entitled to an object until he is done with it…then it is up for grabs. This is the principle your dog will work on unless you teach him otherwise.
      Prevention:
      Approach your dog while he is eating, and add a bonus, (something that is better than his food), to the dish. Approach from all angles and at different points during the meal, and get others to do likewise. Hide the bonus and add from pocket, pouch or from behind your back, so it is not “previewed” if your dog is okay, lift his bowl to add the bonus, and then give the bowl back.


      Here is a simple program for teaching your dog that sharing is cool! This exercise is also a maintenance spot check for former guarders.


      Signs of Guarding
      • Accelerated eating
      • Cessation of eating/”freezing up”
      • Glassy or hard eyes
      • Growling
      • Lip lifting
      • Snapping
      • Biting




      Rehab Exercise 1
      1) At mealtime, put down empty food dish
      2) Approach dog and empty dish and add a few pieces of kibble
      3) Withdraw and repeat until entire meal fed in this manner
      4) If dog guards, end mealtime: “too bad”
      5) Feed 2-3 meals this way
      6) On 4th meal, gradually begin to reduce the time between approaches and increase the amount of kibble per installment so that overlap develops: dog is eating while you re-fill
      7) When you have reached the point that you are giving meal in 2-3 installments without any guarding, switch to bonus-addition, as per prevention instructions above (adding bonus while eating and removing bowl to add bonus)




      Rehab Exercise 2
      1) Approach dog while eating to “safety distance” (pre-guarding distance) and flip bonus at bowl (don’t worry about accuracy), repeating several times in a row
      2) Do this for 2-3 meals
      3) On 4th meal, decrease distance slightly after first flip
      4) If successful (no guarding), continue gradually decreasing distance until you can approach bowl and drop bonus in
      5) Switch to prevention exercises

    10. #9
      Senior Dog
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      Close but a but the dog wouldn't ever lose their meal. you stay at a stage they won't guard long enough before moving to the next step.
      You would feed and start tossing the food in the bowl and get closer (adding to the portion already in there). It's in the Jean Donaldson book (the one linked above and her "oh behave" book i think too

    11. #10
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      Great tips. I usually feed her near the sink and it’s when I am standing close. She is very focused on her food and doesn’t look up from her bowl. It is a stainless steel bowl but it seems to happen when I move near her so my instinct tells me it’s guarding against me rather than a reflection. Especially as it makes sense as I am always having to take stuff out of her mouth. Interestingly she is never aggressive in that context. I can prise her mouth open and take stuff out without any aggression. But because I do that maybe she is worried I will do same with her food. I will check it out by changing her bowl though. I m grateful for the advice I can always see the reason and the logic so I do value the advice

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