The Truth About Food Aggression In Dogs

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Are you just plain fed up?  Does feeding your dog turn into a nightmare of aggressive dog behavior if anyone in the household comes near him while he’s eating?  If your pooch is displaying food aggression in dogs, this serious dog behavior problem needs to be stopped before your dog attacks you or someone in your family.

Dog Food Aggression Is Instinctive Behavior For Canines

In the wild, a dog is protective of his food, his mate, and his territory.  Aggressive behavior in dogs is necessary for his survival.  The most aggressive dog is the pack leader, or alpha male, and he enforces his position by being the dominant dog in the pack. 

However, your dog shouldn’t be the pack leader in your home.  If he is, you’re in for trouble, because he thinks he’s the alpha male, and like he would in the wild, he’ll enforce his position by using aggressive dog behavior.  This is a dominance issue that won’t go away on its own.  You must take steps to deal with his aggressive behavior before it reaches a dangerous level.

Causes of Food Aggression In Dogs

Most of us have laughed at a “cute” little puppy who’s aggressively guarding his food.  Don’t do it!  This is a serious training mistake many dog owners make.  Instead of encouraging this kind of canine possession aggression, you need to nip this problem in the bud.

In your dog’s mind, he’s confused about who the pack leader is.  If you don’t take the role of the alpha male (even if you’re female), there’s a leadership vacuum, to your dog’s way of thinking.  If you don’t step into the role, he will.  And he won’t be nice about enforcing his position in your household.

Since he considers himself the top dog, he thinks he can take whatever he wants from whoever is lower in rank than he is.  The reality is that the family dog should be at the bottom of the heap, not the top.  Anyone in the household should be able to take anything away from him, even his food.  Of course, you’re not really going to do this, but he needs to know where he stands in your household pack. 

Dog Food Aggression Training

With a puppy, you’ll make it clear that having people or other animals around when he’s eating is OK.  Do this right from the beginning, and you’ll probably never have a problem with this type of aggressive dog behavior.  Anyone in the family should be able to safely stand right next to him at any time while he’s eating.  If this isn’t the case, you need to take control of his food.

It’s always a good idea to feed your dog after you and your family have finished eating.  Your dog will instinctively understand that the alpha dog always eats first.  This reinforces your position and your family members’ positions in the pack in relationship to him.

Require that your dog sit and stay quietly while you’re fixing his food.  If he whines and jumps around and demands food, don’t give in.  He needs to earn his food by behaving in a non-aggressive manner. 

Never let your dog “win” his food by growling at you.  This only rewards his bad dog behavior.


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