Author Topic: Food Aggression in dogs  (Read 5096 times)

Offline Pookie

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Food Aggression in dogs
« on: September 24, 2013, 03:54:26 PM »
Hi All,

I posted a few months ago that a co-worker and her family adopted a dog (puppy).  Well, the puppy is about 8 months old now and is going to training classes, but apparently she gets very aggressive when someone tries to take food away from her.

Does anyone have any experience with resolving this, or are there any good websites I can direct my friend to?  They want to nip this issue in the bud before it gets worse.  She's already bitten/attempted to bite several family members.

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Offline DeeDee

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Re: Food Aggression in dogs
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2013, 06:00:26 PM »
I've never actually dealt with it before b/c I've started out every puppy we've had for years and years with my owning the bowl. I sit right by them for at least 3 months, so that they understand I can do anything I want with that food and bowl. I play with their food. I pick the bowl up and bring it to my face. I feed them from my hand itself. I do a lot with it. It's mine, not theirs. I used to have the boys help too, because the dogs could never think they were above our sons. It also helps establish who's REALLY boss, since we like smart, hard-headed breeds. Daddy believed in doing this to keep the dogs from biting children over food. He had German Shepherds.

Yeah...the same thing that the big, bad Cesar does--except a lot younger so that I don't have to deal with it later. Force isn't required to do this. I've never rolled them on their backs or anything like that over the food bowl. I can take any object that the dogs have in their mouths and remove it without them becoming angry--like the terrapin that Vlad decided to pick up in the yard Sunday. It's necessary to be able to do since sometimes they pick up things they shouldn't--like terrapins.

http://www.cesarsway.com/training/dogtraining/Cesars-Dog-Training-Video-Aggression-During-Feeding And that's a method I can agree with simply because of the way I've trained dogs for years. Making everything that dog is given belong to you solves a lot of problems. The dog needs to understand the "drop it" and "leave it" commands as well.

Here's another one showing how to claim the food for yourself--the first 10 minutes of the video. Notice he never lays a hand on that dog. He just claims objects and space:

http://nzdogdude.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/food-and-toy-aggression-in-dogs-and-how-to-deal-with-it-by-cesar-millan/

If the puppy were my dog, he'd not be getting a bowl set down. He'd only be eating from my hand for a while.

"Positive training" is all fine and good, but the dog still has to understand who's boss, and whether they admit it or not, a lot of "positive trainers" also claim dogs' space and objects to get them to behave.

Here are a lot of other videos dealing with food aggression and Victoria Stillwell on it. There are plenty of times where she also claims space and objects:

https://www.google.com/#q=victoria+stillwell+dealing+with+food+aggression



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Offline Pookie

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Re: Food Aggression in dogs
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2013, 08:24:35 AM »
Thanks, Dee!  I really appreciate you finding these links.

If the puppy were my dog, he'd not be getting a bowl set down. He'd only be eating from my hand for a while.

My only concern with that is that I think the situation is at the point where if someone tries that, they might get bitten.  Then again, apparently everyone in the family is giving the dog food from the table (encouraging begging) except for my co-worker, and personally, I think that's encouraged the puppy's food aggression.  So your idea may be the way to go.

I'll send her the links and your comments, and hope that the rest of the family "gets it" that the puppy's behavior needs to be addressed NOW, or it could cost them the puppy later.  Where we are, 2 reported dog bites sends to the dog to the Bridge.  Her family knows this, but I think some of them are in denial.   :(

fingerscrossed

Thanks!
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Offline The Kittens

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Re: Food Aggression in dogs
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2013, 09:21:31 AM »
I was wondering, what happened, that the puppy started it, as with kitties and horses, the bad behavior, is usually man made. It appears, that is what happened in this case too.

First you have to impress, very strongly, to your co-worker, that "they" themselfs caused this bad behavior issue, by giving the puppy foodies from the table. Yes, that encourages the begging and biting.  And as you said, if the puppy continues to bite, and its reported, they will seize the puppy. Kitties are treated different.

Not sure if your co-worker is a man or woman, or who is the head person in the family, but unless they want to lose the puppy, your co will have to assert his/her authority, in the family, and become the head of the pack, and stop the human bad behavior. You need to stress this very very strongly.

I can tell him/her how to handle that too, if needed.

You need to impress on them, they cannot send mixed signals to the puppy, teaching him/her not to be aggressive with food, then the next time, continue to feed him/her from the table.

You (a general you) approach this like you do with kitties. With kitties, there is a head of the pride, which is the human person. Just like in a pride, the head of the pride, always wins, and can always take any food (kill) from any other member of the pride.  I tell mine, mommy always wins. I can take anything, food or toys, away from them, they know, I am the head of the pride.  I teach them to always yield to me.

I do this for their own safety. So they don't bite, so they are not aggressive, and should they get into something, I can take it away from them, and in a dangerous situation, they yield to their training, and it saved the kittens lifes, at a show hotel fire.

With kitties, you approach it like their mommy kitty would, in disaplining them, per say, and teaching them kitty manners. You would do the same with puppies. How would their doggy mommy teach them? Dee? With dogs, they are are a "pack". There would be one dog, that is the "head of the pack". He would be able to take any food (kill) from any other member of the pack, and they would always yield to him.

Kitties I know, doggies I don't know, maybe Dee can explain how the head of the pack handles other members, and how doggie mommies teach the puppies.

Its the same principle, only the human, is the head of the pack, and there can be only one.

With kitties, when the momma kitty, pickes up the kitten in her mouth, the kitten instantly yeilds, its like scruffing the kitten. Now, this is a tool, and used correctly, like any tool, does its job.

Kittens are schedule feed. They are not fed anything by hand, that encourages them to bite, if you give treaties, they are placed in their bowl, or placed on the floor. Remember, we do not play with kittens with our hands or fingers, that encourages them to bite. Kittens are not fed any people food, they are not fed from the table, they are not fed scraps when you are preparing foods. They eat, only, what is put in their bowl, or placed on the floor. That teaches them routine and patience.

Mine learn as 8 week old kittens, when they can't get away with anything, so as they get bigger, they think they can't get away with anything.

Scruffing is used as a tool, and it must be used correctly, just as a momma kitty would, with her kittens.

Scruffing is used in a dangerous situation, when you must gain instant control, for your safety or for the kitties safety.

You scruff the kitten, and only pick up the front end, leaving the back end on the ground. Say the words, and remove the object, and put the kitten right back down.

This is not how you teach them, but rather, how you remedy a bad situation or direction, they are going in.

You teach them by words and sentences, with each word or sentence being applied to each phase of the training. Mine know a plethera of words and sentences and know what they mean and what they are supposed to do or not do.

I only had to scruff one kitten. He decided, he didn't want to share his mousey toy. Not sharing is fine, but he started to growl, when his brother approached.   

He was reacting, as a member of the pride would, not sharing the kill, trying to be head of the pride.

Growling is not allowed, that only leads to more aggressive and dangerous behavior, and must be nipped in the bud. He is not the head of the pride, I am.

When he started to growl, with the mousey toy in his mouth, I scruffed him, picked up his front end, and took the mousey toy out of his mouth, and said "no growling, that is baddy boy stuff". I took the mousey toy and put it away.

He already knew what baddy boy stuff meant, he just learned what no growling means.

It didn't take him long to learn, when he growled, mousey toy went bye bye.

He miss behaved, he growled, he was punished, mousey toy went bye bye, he learned new words, no growling.

Couple of lessons, he never growled again. Still won't share his mousey toy, but he doesn't growl either.

The head of the pride.....me, just took his kill away from him, and he yeilded to me.

You approach it the same way with puppies, how the head of the pack would handle it, Dee can explain how that works.

Glad your co worker recognizes this is an issue and it needs to be corrected. Just hope the rest of the family is being trained too.

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Offline DeeDee

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Re: Food Aggression in dogs
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2013, 01:12:46 PM »
Then again, apparently everyone in the family is giving the dog food from the table (encouraging begging) except for my co-worker, and personally, I think that's encouraged the puppy's food aggression.  So your idea may be the way to go.

There's their problem in a nutshell!!!!

Dogs should never be allowed in the same room when people are eating. They ESPECIALLY should not be handed human food while the humans are eating!!! That dog thinks it's got equal-status with the humans. It thinks it can demand and get. It's thinking it's at least Beta with some of the humans in the family--if it's not thinking it's Alpha of all.

If they have a crate, start crating that dog while they're eating. And I mean ANY time they're eating--breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks included. Being in the same room with dining-humans isn't okay. EVER!

If they don't have a crate, then put a leash on the dog, and leash it to a door-handle in another room. Do either of these things until the dog understands it's not going to be with the human food. Eventually the alpha should be able to give the down command to the dog in another room (or even the doorway), and have the dog stay away from the eating humans and table.

Whether crating or leashing somewhere else, absolutely do NOT give the dog any kind of treat during this time. This dog is to NEVER eat while humans are eating!!! It gives off a bad signal.

None of our dogs have ever been allowed anywhere near us when we eat. If you want guests, it's not cute. It's annoying. It's a BIG problem. I DO allow them to walk through the kitchen and stay in the utility room doorway to watch me cook (Daddy's yelled at me about allowing even that this summer when their AC went out), but I don't see any harm in that as long as they stay away from me and the food.

The hardest thing I've had with training Airedales and now Vlad (encourages bad Corgi behavior too) is when the grands are here and they're eating lunch, but we're not eating with them. Airedales and obviously BRTs think that it's necessary to guard young children at all times--including when they eat. They're not trying to get the food, just guard the girls the way my Airedales used to guard the boys. But if I break the rules at all, it will start the same kind of bad behavior your CW is experiencing. They'll just have to feel uncomfortable from not being able to guard the girls when they're eating.

1. The dog's bowl shouldn't be anywhere near the kitchen/dining table when they're re-training it.

2. Go buy a new bowl that the dog hasn't been guarding, but never under any circumstances use human dishes. Make sure the new bowl looks NOTHING like the old one. COMPLETELY different shape, different material, different color/s.

3. Move to another room like the utility room.

4. Then sit on the floor holding/guarding the bowl out of the dog's reach. Feed a bite from your palm, holding the hand flat. This dog has been taking food from the table, it can take food from somewhere else too.

5. Don't let that dog eat anything anymore except the new feeding place and from the person that's going to be the alpha of the dog's life while this retraining is going on.

If my ADD children and grandchildren can understand that they're never to give our dogs food of any kind, anyone can. That's the surest way to assert who's alpha--food control. I've always been alpha because I'm in charge of the majority of their care, and I'm alone with them every day.

The girls ARE allowed to control training treats when they're working on training, but that's it--and the dogs were much older before the girls started working on training basic commands. I've only allowed family-children to start training work once a dog is at least one year old. I know a lot of trainers seem to want to train the whole family at once, but myself and several others think that's confusing for the dog in the beginning of training--especially at a young age. The dog doesn't understand exactly who's alpha in those cases. There can be only one alpha, and a lot of people don't understand that concept.

If they still have dominance issues going on after they fix this part---and it will take a couple of months to completely straighten it out and be sure of proper demeanor--then we'll address the issues.

« Last Edit: September 25, 2013, 01:14:36 PM by DeeDee »
"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." Edward Hoagland
"Thorns may hurt you, men desert you, sunlight turn to fog; but you're never friendless ever, if you have a dog."

Offline Pookie

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Re: Food Aggression in dogs
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2013, 01:41:33 PM »
Thank you both!  Yes, the rest of the family definitely needs to be "trained" to stop feeding from the table.  I did suggest that the dog be crated during meals, and my CW said the dog then barks the entire time.  So I suggested the dog be crated during meals in the same room with the family so she could see them (thinking the dog was upset because she couldn't see them) and she said she barks then, too.  Other than ignoring the barking (which is what I would have recommended), I'm not sure what else to suggest.

I'm definitely going to send her your comments.  If you have more comments/suggestions, please feel free to share them here.

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Offline Pookie

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Re: Food Aggression in dogs
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2013, 02:04:13 PM »
Oh, I just remembered!  Some members of the family like to "rough house" with the dog, where she snaps at their hands, etc.  I'm sure that's not helping, either.   :o

I wonder if, every time someone does that or tries to feed her from the table, saying "you're killing her" would make a difference? 
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Offline DeeDee

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Re: Food Aggression in dogs
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2013, 02:28:26 PM »
You're right. Dogs should NEVER be roughhoused with. If it bites someone enough to make them stop, the dog has won. Actually if you stop before the dog, in the dog's mind, the dog won.

Winner of fights in packs becomes Alpha of the whole group. Roughhousing is just wrong. Barking would be irritating, but it doesn't matter. What matters is making that dog understand it's not equal with the family. I don't even like seeing people play tug-of-war with puppies. First off, it can change their bite if pulling too hard occurs. Second, it's another alpha thing.

Take the crate to another room as far away as you can, crate the dog, close the door, and go eat. Ignore the barking. It will eventually get the idea.

If you have to for your own peace of mind, go buy one of these things or something similar. Several Bloggers I know say this one works, but the person has to control it. It's not automatic from what I can see:

http://www.pepperpom.com/2013/09/bark-genie-pet-product-review-barkworld.html

However, they also make these things and they ARE automatic: http://www.amazon.com/Bark-Off-Ultrasonic-Training-Aid/dp/B003O4R336/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1380136795&sr=8-5&keywords=dog+bark+silencer

Irritation over barking isn't anything as to the pain that will be experienced if the dog bites someone and is euthanized. At least it isn't in my book. That dog deserves to be taught how to act properly for its own sake. Despite calling mine my furbabies, they learned I was Alpha before they ever started thinking I was also a buddy that does things with them.
"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." Edward Hoagland
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Offline DeeDee

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Re: Food Aggression in dogs
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2013, 02:31:37 PM »
Well there's also always the solution of the Alpha not getting to eat a hot meal until the dog acts properly.

You have to block the door, make the dog go down, and get up and down until the dog gets the idea to not cross the doorway until released from the down once the meal is over.

It works, but I rarely suggest it to people that seem to want dogs to know how to act properly by osmosis.
"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." Edward Hoagland
"Thorns may hurt you, men desert you, sunlight turn to fog; but you're never friendless ever, if you have a dog."

Offline Lola

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Re: Food Aggression in dogs
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2013, 09:55:06 PM »
You all would be SICK, if you came to my house.  NONE of our furkids have any manners.  Yes, I know it is because of US.  Not only do our dogs beg... so do some of the cats! 
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Offline The Kittens

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Re: Food Aggression in dogs
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2013, 11:23:16 PM »
The puppy barks, because he/she.... NOT IT, Dee..... LOL, because he/she knows, if he/she barks enuff, the family will let him/her out. Its rewarding bad behavior. 

With kitties and horses, we teach them patience. Where they are put, is where they are going to stay, until the head of the pride, or the head of the heard.....me, lets them out. So they can meow or whinny or thrash around, they soon learn, they will eventually be let loose, that nothing bad happened to them, and they soon learn patience. 

Mine travel to shows, 6-7 hrs, one way, and they sleep the whole way, why? because they went to "go for a ride school", and were taught, they stay in the carrier, until the head of the pride, lets them out.

The issue here, seems to be the family. They are causing the bad behavior issues, not the puppy.

Is your co worker, the head person? If not, who is?

You can impress upon your co worker, that if the puppy is not properly trained, and the family is not properly trained, as Dee gave you very good information, then the puppy is going to be put down, because he/she bit someone, god forbid its a child, then your talking like MAJOR law suit, and the judge will order the dog put down, or the puppy will be so wild and uncontrollable, they will end up rehoming the puppy, if they are not going to listen to you, to me, to Dee, they might as well rehome the puppy now.

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Offline DeeDee

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Re: Food Aggression in dogs
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2013, 11:51:03 PM »
The puppy barks, because he/she.... NOT IT, Dee..... LOL, because he/she knows, if he/she barks enuff, the family will let him/her out. Its rewarding bad behavior.   

We learned long ago to just tune it out until they get the idea that we don't pay attention to useless barking. Bark at the door, I'll get up and come look to see what's wrong. Bark at any other time, we'll turn our backs on you. Barking just isn't the way to get attention around here unless it's deemed useful barking in warning.

Yes, it's irritating at times when they're learning, but that's what dogs do. They just have to learn when it's appropriate, and when it's not.
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Offline The Kittens

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Re: Food Aggression in dogs
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2013, 05:37:29 AM »
When we crate train kittens, and teach them to go for a ride, at first they meow, meow, meow, like Dee said. But, they are not going any where and they are not going to get hurt.  You just ignor them. 

Granted, you start with confining them for short periods of time, and gradually increase the time. Mine were up to 1 hr of going for a ride, when they went to their first show. It was 5 hrs one way. They slept the whole way.


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Re: Food Aggression in dogs
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2013, 08:32:17 AM »
The issue here, seems to be the family. They are causing the bad behavior issues, not the puppy.

Is your co worker, the head person? If not, who is?

You can impress upon your co worker, that if the puppy is not properly trained, and the family is not properly trained, as Dee gave you very good information, then the puppy is going to be put down, because he/she bit someone, god forbid its a child, then your talking like MAJOR law suit, and the judge will order the dog put down, or the puppy will be so wild and uncontrollable, they will end up rehoming the puppy, if they are not going to listen to you, to me, to Dee, they might as well rehome the puppy now.

My co-worker is pretty much the one feeding/walking the dog and taking it to training classes, so I suspect the dog (it's a she, btw) thinks of her as the Alpha, though she is not technically the head of the household.  They are aware that if the dog bites someone, and it gets reported, she goes into quarantine and the 2nd time it happens, the dog gets euthanized.  The dog really snapped/growled at the Head of the Household recently, and that may have made him realize just how serious the situation is.

Believe me, I've been emphasizing the importance of correcting the behavior (starting with the family) quite a bit.  The dog is the one who pays the ultimate price in the end, if things don't change.   :(

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Offline The Kittens

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Re: Food Aggression in dogs
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2013, 08:58:55 AM »
First, the puppy is she or her, not IT, she is a living breathing entity, LOL, and not yelling at you, LOL, just very frustrated, as I am sure Dee is.

On boards, I haunt the behavior division. So many behavioral issues, are man made, and very easily corrected, but for most, its just too much trouble, and the kitty is rehomed or turned in. At work I am the person people come to for questions. Same thing, very easily corrected, but just too much bother, next thing I know, the kitty has a new home, very very frustrating. Its like people expect kittens and puppies to come pre trained, like they are a in-at-a-ment object, like a car. They trained their kids, so why is an animal any different?

I used to train horses, I specialized in what was considered "problem horses". In actual, the issue was man made. Stories I hear, too many end up at the meat man, horse is deemed dangerous, so very very sad.

I took one horse, that used to throw himself on the ground, when you put your foot in the stirrup, injured many a people, including myself. I took him back to when he was a weanling, and knew nothing, and started him from start.  Took me a year, took him very very slowly, but when I got done, I took him back on the Quarter Horse circuit, and he turned into a western pleasure champion, and halter champion, people were just amazed, they remembered him from before. I have no idea what happened to him, that made him do this, but he was this close to calling the truck. I said let me try, I begged for him. He was one of the lucky ones, most don't get a second chance.  His first show back, people gave him a real wide berth, in his class, they remembered what he was like, what he used to do. I said, he ain't gonna to do nothing. I could do anything with him, take him anywhere, I really miss him, he turned into one of the sweetest horses.   

If the person in the household, who lets the kids, feed the puppy from the table, is unwilling to change, put them on here, I will tell them. They can't even train a puppy, what are their kids like? Most likely untrained too.

Send the puppy to Dee, or send her to Dallas, I already know what is going to happen.

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