Some dogs will show aggression over their food. This can begin when a dog is a puppy and remain through his senior years unless it’s corrected. Dogs show aggression over their food because it’s their way of keeping it safe from other animals and from anyone who might take it away.
This behavior is done because it’s rooted in fear of the dog losing his food. Some dogs become anxious over the thought of not getting food. They’re fearful that they won’t be able to eat.
This can be both an instinctual and a learned behavior. Dogs will often growl, snap or even resort to biting an animal or a human who comes near him while he’s eating. This behavior must be corrected or the dog can become too dangerous to yourself, family members and visitors to keep in your home.
Puppies who show aggression over food are easy to correct, but you must swiftly correct it so that it doesn’t grow into a worse problem. If your puppy growls at you when you come near his bowl, don’t leave him alone right away.
If you do that, he’s established himself as alpha over your actions. Get his attention, say a firm no and then stay near while he starts to eat. Talk to him in a soothing tone, then walk away.
When an adult dog knows that the food is always going to be given to him on a regular time table, that alleviates his anxiety over food. Do whatever you can to make sure that your dog is always fed on time.
Just like humans get snappy sometimes when they’re hungry, hunger can cause a dog to become snappy. Stay in control of your puppy, adult and senior dog at all times even during meal times.
Never let your dog run at you while you’re getting his food ready. Don’t let him jump on you, nip at you or try to force the food out of your hand. This behavior can quickly turn aggressive.
Instead, regardless of his age, teach your dog to be still while you’re fixing the food. Command him to sit and order him to stay until you put the food in his bowl and placed the bowl in his regular eating spot.
Don’t leave the bowl, even after you give the command to come. Once your dog starts eating his food, then you walk off. It teaches your dog that it’s okay for you to be near his food.
With puppies, adult dogs and senior dogs, you always need to be the alpha member. If you’re not in control during meal times, then your dog will take the lead. You can stop food aggression behavior by training your dog to eat what you hand him and take it directly from his food bowl.
He’ll see that you’re giving it to him and not taking it and he’ll learn that it’s okay for his human to touch and be around his food. If you have an adult or senior dog with food aggression, you can still retrain them.
One of the ways that you can do this is by adding some food to his bowl before he’s done eating. He’ll quickly learn that you’re adding delicious stuff to his bowl, not taking it away.
With puppies, when they start eating, you need to break his concentration by giving him something that he really likes such as a bite of meat. He’ll learn that leaving his food is a good thing and that when you interrupt him, he might get a treat. If you train your puppy this way, then when he’s older, he won’t show signs of food aggression.