Food Aggression  

Posted by — Kim in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Here's a great article that I thought I would pass on...hope it helps! –Kim

Managing Food Aggression
Dogs have four basic needs: food, safety, shelter and entertainment. Of these, food plays the most vital role in ensuring a dog's survival.
Understanding this helps us understand why there are so many reasons a dog may be food aggressive. Our understanding also helps us know what steps to take to manage that behavior.

Reasons for Food Aggression
Food aggression behaviors may have begun in puppyhood. If the dog is from a large litter, he may have had to "fight" with his littermates for a place to nurse. Likewise, breeders who feed their weaned puppies from one bowl can create or intensify the need for the pups to "fight" for food.
Strays or poorly kept dogs that end up in shelters or rescues may have experienced a period of living with limited food resources. Wandering on the streets for a long time, dogs often learn to scavenge for food and perhaps fight with other strays for a meal. He may see others in the pack – including humans – as competition for food, so he learns to guard the food available. While we humans know we will not take the dog's food, a hungry dog nonetheless may perceive your presence as a threat and act aggressively with regard to food.
Another reason for food aggression may be that the dog was once starved either intentionally or through neglect. In addition, a dog fed a poor diet will likely lack the necessary nutrients he needs and may become food aggressive. His malnourished body sends signals to his brain that he is not getting suitable nutrition, and thus, he becomes overly concerned with food. There are big differences in the nutritional content supplied by various canine foods, and not every diet satisfies every dog.

Managing Food Aggressive Behavior
Before you can resolve your dog's food aggression, you must understand why your dog feels the need to act aggressively to protect his food supply. Then you can put together a plan to teach him that his food supply is not in jeopardy and that there is plenty of nutritionally satisfying food to go around. Your plans for reeducation will only work, however, once you have established your dog's respect and trust and he sees you as the authority figure within the household.
  • Educate yourself about dog food and change your dog's diet, if necessary. Speak to your vet about the best nutrition for your dog.
  • Make mealtime as relaxed as possible. Do not interfere with your dog while he's eating, and do not try to take food or other items away from him.
  • As the household leader, you should be the one to set the schedule and location of your dog's meals. Ignore your dog if he starts "asking" for his supper.
  • Don't feed your dog at the end of a dead-end room or in a corner. Make sure he is fed in an area that is open enough to prevent him from feeling threatened or trapped.
  • Consider scatter-feeding for your dog. Scattered food appeals to a dog's natural instinct to forage. Dogs enjoy looking for food on the ground and can literally spend hours doing so. Scatter a variety of foods – bits of raw vegetables, dog kibble, and other foods that won't attract wasps – around the yard. Try hiding a few treats, so your dog spends extra time looking for them.
  • Teaching your dog basic obedience skills is a great way to gain control of your dog's food aggression. Use simple commands such as "leave it," starting with items that he may like but doesn't consider that important, and gain better control of him around food by teaching him to "sit" and "wait" for a treat or his supper. Basic educational skills will also enhance your relationship with your dog, as it will further establish you as the household leader and help you earn your dog's respect.
  • If you need your dog to move away from food or another item, call him away from the item rather than approaching him, especially if he looks like he is guarding the food or item.
  • If you have more than one dog and they are fighting over food, the best solution is to feed them separately until both dogs have been re-trained.
Your trainer can provide you with specific exercises and instructions for your individual needs based on your dog's behavior and temperament.

Source: Shannon's Pet-Sitting

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This entry was posted on Friday, January 27, 2012 at Friday, January 27, 2012 and is filed under , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

1 comments

Great post The quantity of dog food you feed your dog depends on the age, weight and activity level. Check the instruction on the back of dog food pack or confirm from your veterinarian to know how much amount of dog food your dog should be eating.

February 29, 2012 at 6:50 AM

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