Food Guarding – How to train an aggressive dog to share its food

May 14, 2016

Food guarding is a natural response in dogs and may also generalise to toys, objects, people or a particular space. It’s instinctive and may be present in puppies but usually only obvious later in life. If preventative measures aren’t taken, suddenly out of the blue your dog is growling at you while eating its dinner. It is however possible to fix this undesirable behaviour by changing the way your dog reacts through changing his thought process. Imagine you were a dog for a second and a person approached you to take your food away that you were enjoying.  You would begin to growl as this is your only form of communication that you are not happy. If that person reacted to your growls and left you alone, it would appear that your communications had been heard thus teaching you to growl every time you wanted people to leave. NB: It is important that he never gets in trouble for growling as this can teach your dog to hide his feelings (i.e. the warning signs that he is uncomfortable) prompting him to go straight to biting. I will preface the advice below by saying there are many ways to solve resource guarding, and providing advice online about aggression is difficult, so the method I am advising below is SAFE and the most recommended method in well qualified experienced dog trainers backed up by science. Let’s take a situation where your dog growls and he becomes aggressive when you try to interfere with him and something he believes to be his - food for example. In this situation, two natural responses of yours will escalate problematic resource guarding. Firstly, if you have left him alone as his barking scared you, leaving him to continue eating. Secondly and most importantly, if you attempt to take the food away without offering him anything better. Let’s change his way of thinking. From now on we want him to think every time someone approaches him while he is eating, more delicious food is going to appear (whatever his favourite food is; roast chicken, mince, slab of steak. Make him think Christmas has arrived). Continue to feed him each night as usual but as he is eating his dinner, approach the bowl and throw the higher value treats to him. NO MATTER HOW HE REACTS STILL THROW THE FOOD, even if he growls, stiffens up or changes his behaviour at all. This is known as classical conditioning and over time this will teach him that if he is eating, and a human approaches him, something much better is about to happen. Set up a few training sessions throughout the day as well. Give him other boring pieces of food (like dry dog food) that you ‘accidently dropped’ and as he goes towards it to eat it, throw in something better. His reactions will ideally change over a few weeks from aggressive behaviour to inviting you closer to join him so you can bring him the good food! NB: Do not let your kids take part in this training process or while he is eating and take care while training this behaviour. If possible I would seek a professional trainer to come to your home and help you, especially if this problem persists.

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cindy
cindy
November 16, 2015 4:30 pm

cute photos you have posted but some of them are not teddy bear puppies

Gerardo
Gerardo
March 1, 2016 12:29 am

How much for each dog

Julie
Julie
May 25, 2016 10:41 pm

Love teacups…I am a first time owner. Thinking mix of maltese and shitzu…but not sure what to look for to make sure it is in good health. A breeder contacted me and had what I am looking for…but she said it was the runt…and will be tiny.

Your website impressed me…please contact me. How much too…curious on price.

Susan Murray
Susan Murray
June 30, 2016 10:57 am

So adorable! Do you have any available?

Rochelle jordan
August 30, 2016 5:09 am

Hello want buy look teddy bears picture send email xxxxxxxxxxx thank u

Connie Carrigg
November 23, 2015 12:18 am

I am interested in a teddy bear dog, I live in Barrie,Ont. Where can I find one in Ontario? How much do these dogs cost?I want a pup from a good breeder! i want a happy pup with no health issues,de-wormed,first shots and at least eight weeks with Mom. I read this is the right time to adopt!

Serious,
Connie RN,

Shamika
Shamika
December 1, 2015 2:28 am

I’m looking to bye a Teddy bear puppy for Christmas

Mariana Darida
Mariana Darida
December 23, 2015 11:58 am

Can you please let us know where are you located I am very interested to have one of your puppies .I prefer a female. Please let us know .
We live in Chicago .

Mary Battle
Mary Battle
December 29, 2015 5:25 am

I am interested in a teddy bear puppy, I’d like some information and prices.

Dolores
Dolores
January 11, 2016 6:54 pm

I live in Englewood fl where can I get one