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johnny0313x's avatar

How can I fix a problem my dog has with food aggression?

Asked by johnny0313x (1837 points ) July 11th, 2010

My dog is a big goof ball and thinks he is a lap dog even though he is 40LBS. He LOVES everyone and everything. He plays fine with other dogs, does not mind sharing toys or sleeping space. I bring him to the dog park often and he has never shown even the slightest hint of aggression towards another living thing. Lately though when I bring him to the dog park if another dog tries to drink his water (or I’m assuming food would be the same if he ate there) (he is the only dog in my house) he will growl and I’m afraid he might bite another dog if they really went face first into his bowl while he was drinking. This is recent and started about 6 months ago and I have had him for almost 2 years now.

What should I do to stop this before it gets worse or have I done something to promote this kind of behavior?

Also the only other time I have ever seen him get mad at another dog is if the dogs tries to hump him repeatedly and doesn’t get the hint to back off. Not sure if that plays any relevance to the rest of this but thought I’d mention it.

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14 Answers

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josie's avatar

When he does that, squirt him with a vinegar and water mix. He won’t like it, but he won’t know it is you so he won’t fear you. Or, if he is on a leash, give it a little jerk when he does it. Again, he won’t like it, but he won’t know it is you

ipso's avatar

I don’t see it as a problem to be fixed.

My opinion is that dogs benefit greatly from heavy socialization early. They basically need their asses kicked by other dogs so that they know what’s cool and what’s not in dog land, and how and when to acquiesce.

I say, take him to the dog park (off chain) as often as possible and let him figure out the water bowl thing for himself – if he wants to be big dog or not. Figuring that communication out, and where he is in the pack, is possibly half the excitement of living. Don’t deprive him of that. (IMHO)

He’s also noting your reactions, so don’t make a big deal of it. Dogs growling can actually be communications with their owners as much or more than other dogs. He’s probably testing you as much as the other dog. Pulling him away from another dog just instinctively makes him want to pull and protect you. Call him away authoritatively.

All personal opinion.

Pandora's avatar

I say when you are going to give him water, take him to a place other dogs are not and then give him water. Don’t do it with other dogs around. Some dogs just don’t like sharing their bowls. My dog won’t sleep in his bed (even if I wash it) if another dog curled up in it. He also won’t touch his bowls if another dog drank or ate from it unless I wash it.

Your_Majesty's avatar

That is the natural behaviour of a dog to protect its belongings. My opinion is that the dog he’s growled at is a strange dog that he never met before. Most dogs won’t share their private belongings with other strange dogs.

zophu's avatar

DOG QUESTION! This is where I post this link: Ian Dunbar and Dog-friendly Dog Training

Training a dog seems like it’s a holistic process more than a “fix this, fix that” sort of thing. I’ve been wanting a dog for years, but haven’t had the setting (or finances) for it, and have done a little bit of research. I love this guy’s point of view. His lecture should interest you, at least.

ipso's avatar

@zophu great link. Thanks!

johnny0313x's avatar

Oh okay, well if this doesn’t seem like a problem then I am okay with it. I just didn’t want to be the neglectful owner who didn’t take care of a problem that should have been taken care of. I can be more careful about where and when water/ food is given to him, normally he is alone when he eats or drinks but on hot days at the dog park its unavoidable but can be done.

zophu's avatar

@johnny0313x I would try to help the problem as much as possible. Would feel shitty if someone got hurt. Or if a smaller dog got fucked up because of it.

SmoothEmeraldOasis's avatar

Consistentsy and persistence and deligency in your method of training with love and calibrated firmness. Also use a method of your choice that warrents your living situation enviroments for the dog to know when to stop whatever action it is doing that is not safe, or to your liking. I used to use a special tone along a few chosen words in another language that no other person around us would understand. I say these suggestions to you because I used them successfully and have had many dogs as pets in my lifetime. Good luck! Let us know how it goes for you and your pet.

daytonamisticrip's avatar

when your going to feed him or her you eat first make it obvious that your eating. dont give him or her any than give him or her their food

dkrluvmydogs's avatar

CESAR MILAN, ‘The Dog Whisperer’ is your absolute best reference on ANYTHING with dogs. I’m sorry I don’t have time to answer you more completely. But, his advice online, on TV, or from his books, etc. is the best you can follow. Notice I said follow not just get it.

snowberry's avatar

http://www.suite101.com/content/eliminating-food-aggression-in-dogs-a85599
This is an excellent way to combat food agression. Don’t miss the part where you need to work with a dog trainer.

lab123's avatar

hey dog lover I had a Chessy who had that behavior I put a tennis ball in the dish with enuf food in the bottom of the dish so it just covered the bottom. GL

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