Do you have a dog who guards his toys and food; gowling, showing his/her teeth if anyone comes near it?  You may have caused this issue yourself.  Every time I work with a family with a dog that guards is food and toys and hear the same thing.  “We did all the right things, we put our hands in his food, took his food away and corrected the dog when he snapped at us.  Now it has really gotten out of hand. ”

Think about it.  How would you like it if somone put thier hands all over your food? How about the next time you are in the restaurant the server takes some food off of your plate and eats it.  Not cool right.  Its not okay to stick your hands in your dog’s bowl while he/she’s eating either.  The only way dogs know how to communicate is to stare, growl, and bite.  So they do and you reprimand them.  You are causing conflict and teaching the dog to guard his food.  DONT DO THAT!

This is what I do with my dogs and I have never owned a dog that guards their possessions.  I own mulitple dogs.  They are all fed at the same time and separately.  We do not put thier food right next to each other.  My dogs are fed in crates and kennels.   This way the quicker eaters don’t wander over to another dog’s food causing conflict.  Dog’s have no concept of sharing.  If you have passive dog’s there may not be a problem, but that is not always the case.

I do not mess with the dog’s food while they are eating.  Food is the number one reinforcer.  Dog’s need food to survive and you provide that food.  We giveth, we do not taketh away.  The best thing you can do is add food to the bowl while your dog is eating and not more kibble either.  Add some small pieces of cooked chicken or steak.

If you already messed up and have a food aggressive dog, its a dangerous thing to have especially if you have children.  Monitor children and the dog whenever they are near each other.  Do not leave small children unattended around dogs.  You must teach your children the proper way to intereact with dogs, just like you train dogs the proper way to behave around humans.

Teach your children never to take anything away from the dog.  Dogs have no concept of sharing and they always want what we have.  If you need to take something from the dog offer a trade.

Now if you have a dog guarding we want them to think of us as treat dispencers.  If the dog is possessive around his food, toss treats, high value treats while they eat.  Cooked chicken, liver, and beef usually does the trick.  When anyone ever approaches while they eat, toss them treats.   If you have a food aggressive dog they ought to be eating in their crate so no one gets bit.  The crate is a safe place for the dog and you can toss treats in through the door.

The key to avoid possessive aggression is to leave the dog alone when they eat, feed mulitple dogs separately and add food to the bowl, not take it away.

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