How to Stop Dog Food Aggression
Food aggression is potentially dangerous behavior that occurs when your dog becomes territorial regarding its food dish or any other source of food. Aggressive behavior can be shown in growling, snapping, or even biting another dog or human who attempts to go near the food bowl. Since any form of aggression in a dog is inappropriate, this behavior should be immediately addressed and modified to allow your dog to be a healthy and happy member of your household. Furthermore, aggressive dogs are more likely to become violent dogs, so you should take steps to curb this behavior in order to avoid painful injuries.
First of all, if your dog if showing signs of food aggression, you should move the dog's feeding area. If you have more that one dog in your home, completely separate the two animals during feeding time. Many dog owners choose to leave food available to their dogs throughout the day. This is an excellent idea, especially if you are away during the day but still want to allow your dog a source of food. However, if your dog is experiencing food aggression, this practice should be stopped and your dog should be fed on a schedule. If you are unsure of a proper feeding schedule, contact your veterinarian.
Second, work to establish yourself as the "alpha male" of your group. Your dog needs to recognize you as the one who provides food and sees you above him on the pecking order of your home. Once this order is recognized, your dog will be less likely to display aggression towards you when you approach his food dish. To establish this order, let your dog know immediately that you can provide him with food if he acts properly, and you can take the food away when improper behavior is shown. This also goes with treats, as dogs often show aggression over food items that are given as treats.
This method will allow to dog to make the connection between proper behavior and his ability to eat. Keep in mind that you may need to maintain the feeding schedule or even keep your dogs separated while eating so your dog does not revert back to his aggressive behavior. Also, if you see your dog transferring his aggression to other triggers, such as toys, bedding, or territory, be sure to immediately begin working to curb this behavior.
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