We recently got a really great question this week from our #healthygang about food aggression. We know how scary it can be when your dog starts to show teeth, whether they're interacting with another pup or if it's mealtime and they get into territorial mode! It's important for your dog to understand that you are NOT posing a threat to their food when they eat.
Here are some tips to treat food aggression (or prevent it entirely!)
Be Present When They're Eating
Get your dog comfy with your presence while they are eating meals or treats.
Stand a few feet away while they eat their food. Try to have your dog eating in a relaxed manner for 10 or more meals in a row before moving to the next step.
Add A Treat, Step Back
Build off step 1 by adding a treat to their bowl, and step back after placing the treat. Consistency is 🔑. Each day, move forward 1 step. If you're able to stand 2 feet away after placing a treat for ten meals in a row, your dog is ready to move on to step 3!
Approach your pup, speaking in a conversational tone. Stand next to their bowl, holding a hand out with a treat. After they take the treat, turn and walk away so they understand you're not interested in their food. Each day, bend down further, until your hand is right next to their bowl as they take the treat. After 10 meals in a relaxed manner, go to step 4!
Touch Bowl (But Don't Take Food!)🥣
Repeat the last step, but instead of walking away after your pup takes the treat, stay near them.
Speak to them casually, and offer the treat with one hand. With the other, touch their bowl, but don't take food from it. This will help your dog become accustomed to your close presence during mealtimes.
Repeat Steps With Family Members
Your pup will hopefully be comfortable eating around you, but you want to ensure they're the same with family members or guests.
*Create a safe environment for your pup to eat (have separate bowls for each pet, separate them at mealtimes, or provide a gated area for your pup to enjoy their food)
**If your efforts are not working, consult your vet or a local trainer for advice on food aggression treatment. 👩🏽⚕️