Food Aggression in Dogs: What Is It and How to Deal with It?

Dod food aggression is not uncommon. It is rather normal, and somewhat expected from our canine friends. It is in their blood and some dogs simply overreact to people’s presence around their food.

The thing we, as owners, should worry about is not the experience itself, but how to deal with it. We need to understand our dog’s behavior and successfully manage it.

In this article, we look at food aggression in dogs and offer 5 tips on how to deal with it.

What Is Dog Food Aggression?

Dog food aggression refers to the aggressive behavior of dogs as an act of protecting their food. It’s a form of resource guarding that can range from running away with their food to biting people. While mild food aggression is normal and nothing to worry about, the more aggressive form needs to be managed. That’s why it’s important to manage it.

What Are the Most Symptoms of Dog Food Aggression?

The most common symptoms of dog food aggression are: growling, snipping, freezing, stiffening, teeth showing, lunging, and gulping.

What Causes Food Aggression in Dogs?

There are several reasons that cause food aggression in dogs. The main reason is competition.

If they had to compete for their food while at the dog breeder’s place since all pups are fed from the same bowl, they become anxious, afraid, and over-protective of their food.

This feeling of constant competition continues even after they are adopted. However, in their new home, they can become aggressive if there are other dogs and the owner places food in one bowl for all of them. Alternatively, it could develop aggression if they feel threatened by other people’s presence around their bowl.

5 Tips on How to Deal with Dog Food Aggression

  • Leave your dog alone while they are eating and make sure no person or animal comes close to them.
  • Put enough food or long-lasting dog chews in their bowl so they don’t feel like there’s not enough food for them.
  • Don’t feed your dog in crowded areas as there may be other dogs eager of tasting your dog’s food.
  • Don’t punish your dog for their behavior because it may make them even more aggressive. Moreover, their food aggression may also evolve into other forms of resource guarding.
  • If you notice your dog becomes anxious or aggressive when their next meal comes, make sure you always feed them at the same time.

How to Make Your Dog Get Used to Your and Other People’s Presence?

  1. Get your dog used to your presence while they’re eating by standing a few feet away from them.
  2. Add a treat or a safe long-lasting dog chew to their bowl and immediately step away. Repeat this with every meal.
  3. Stand close to your dog and talk to them about their food. Then, give them a treat and step away. Once your dog is comfortable with this, you can move on to the next step.
  4. Hand-feed your dog so that they can get used to your hands around their face and near their food bowl.
  5. Give your dog a treat and stay close to them. While giving them the treat, touch their bowl with the other hand but don’t take food from it. Once your dog is fine with this, go to the next step.
  6. Lift your dog’s bowl for a few inches and ad a treat to eat. Then, return the bowl to the ground. Lift the bowl higher each day so that your dog gets accustomed to having their food bowl removed after they’re done eating.

Once you’re done with these steps, repeat them with the other family members. This will allow your dog to get accustomed to other people’s presence while they’re eating and will soothe their aggression.

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