Dog's showing aggression while defending their food bowl is a very common occurrence within households, especially a household with multiple dogs. It's important to understand what it is, what causes it, when it happens and how you can stop it. Below, we explain everything in the hopes to help you combat your dog's aggression while defending their food bowl.
What is it?
The dog defends their food bowl by using dominant posture, growling, snapping or biting.
What causes it?
A tendency to dominate or a fear you will steal or remove their food.
Who does it?
Dogs who have not been properly taught that the food belongs to the owner.
When does it happen?
Where the dog is fed. In addition, the dog may guard the empty bowl or bag of food.
How to stop it:
For puppies and non-dominant adult dogs:
- Handle the dog while they're eating
- Pick up and put down the food bowl while they're eating
- Made your dog sit to earn food
For adult and dominant dogs:
- Use dominance/leadership exercises to show that you are the dog's leader in other situations
- Use "Learn to Earn" tactics. Make the dog perform commands to earn his food.
- Hand feed first 10 kibbles. Drop a few kibbles, or a special treat, in an empty bowl
- If your dog exhibits dominant gestures, growling, snapping or biting, don't give any food. Put your dog in their "time out" outside or use a tether.
You want your dog to learn that your hand near their food bowl means that food is coming. As the saying goes, Don't bite the hand that feeds you.