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Phoenix_Moms

Food Aggression Help

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My Phoenix is almost 6 months old, and has suddenly started resource guarding and becoming food aggressive, to the point of snapping at me. I used to be able to put my hand in his bowl while he was eating. I don’t understand the sudden change, and I certainly don’t want to be fearful of my own dog. Has anyone else had this issue and what did you do about it?

 

 

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Marley used to be like that when he was younger.    I got him out of it eventually  -  but I have another dog as well - who is so laid back  he would stop eating and stand back if one of my cats went to investigate his food - which I think helped. 

I got a tablespoon with a little food on and offered the spoon to  Lunar and then put more food on and offered it to Marley so he got used to food being on a spoon close to his face  (this was never done at feeding time  -  usually just before).  I did this for about 2 weeks.

If ever I have to go near their food once it was down (usually some meds I had forgotten) -  I always have some extra food to put into the bowl  -   Marley used to see me adding food to Lunar's bowl (I used the same spoon - not my fingers)  -  so I did the same with him, but not putting the food into his bowl - but offering the spoon to him  keeping it about a foot away from his bowl  - to start with he was very suspicious, keeping his head almost pushed into his food and making half growls. He never actually snapped at me.  I usually positioned myself so that he had his bowl to one side and I was at the other - so he was in-between me and his bowl.   He got to taking the food off the spoon and then going back to his bowl. 

I always made sure he saw me with the extra food before I went to Lunar and gave him a bit extra into his bowl whilst he was eating  -  then I went to him and did the same.   It took around a month to 6 weeks before I was actually able to put the food into his bowl as I very gradually shortened the distance between the spoon and his bowl.   As soon as the guarding lessened I went to every other day, then once a week.    I still keep this up.   He knows that if I approach him whilst he is eating it is only ever to give him something extra.  The extra food I offered was always of a 'higher value' than what was in his bowl.   For Marley that meant fresh pork (his favourite) when he had say beef mince and a chicken carcase in his bowl.   

He no longer guards his food bowl around me (I am always the one to feed them)  -  but I am only now getting to the stage of being able to take a bone away from him  -  I always give it back to him quite quickly.    I have had to do this as he is in the habit of taking his bones outside, burying them in the dirtiest, wettest part of the garden - then going back the next day and bringing all the dirt/mud etc back into the house.    Now if he wants to go outside to pee or anything and wants to keep the bone to stop Lunar pinching it, I take the bone away at the back door and he sees me putting it out of Lunar's reach  - and he gets it back when he comes back in (he is always extremely quick in coming back) and goes immediately to where he saw me put his bone.

This has taken me around a year to achieve.   

 

 

 

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Maybe instead of just putting his food bowl down put his food in the bowl sit next to him and hand feed him it. Do this until he allows you near the bowl when he eats. I did this with my dog to stop any potential food aggression. 

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I probably did the "wrong" thing but every time Taylor growled or made me think I was about to get bitten i would wrestle whatever it was off of her. A couple of weeks later, not even a hint of fuss. She is still resource guarding, but limited issues when i go near.

 

Of course, you may get bitten this way, but worked for me.

 

Good luck

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I’d leave him to eat his food, I think dogs should eat their food in peace but you could train during the day, not at food times, if he’s food aggressive by using tiny pieces of fruit or whatever you wish, by hand feeding to begin with. Food aggression is partly down to a lack of trust, bonding with your pup coupled with consistent training and you will see the difference. Cai was food aggressive with Luka blue, feeding time was a nightmare when they were younger, and when Cai had a bone he was a different animal altogether
We worked on his food aggression for the best part of 18 months, it took this long because he’d try to take Luka blue’s food, but thankfully now there are no issues.


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My male was very nasty when I had to take something that he shouldn't have away from him. I put his basket muzzle on him and would take it and then give it back until he realized it wasn't worth working for it and I would give him a treat. Now I have no issues with me taking something away. 

I also feed mine in their crates. Easier to give meds and they have slowed their eating down. Other then that I don't mess with them while they eat.

He has snapped a few times at me recently. He has been chewing on himself really bad lately. I tried to get him to stop and he growled and snapped. Probably because he was in pain from itching so much...Then my daughter was setting on the couch eating and he got in her face. She pushed him away and he snapped at her. 

I am hoping this is just a phase... 

Other then leashing him and place training, not sure what else would work.

Kinda glad I am not the only one having issues. I thought it was just mine and I was doing something wrong. 

 

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Cai was like that when he was younger, snapping if I touched his paws, growling when taking something away from he that he shouldn’t have had etc. I worked really hard with him, I think it’s partly a trust issue, I’d randomly sit by him on the floor and stroke him all over telling him he’s a good boy and then get a sneaky feel of his paws, he got used to it eventually and now he’s fine with it, we need to be able to check paws for injuries. He was a nightmare if we ate in front of him so I started by letting them come in the dining room while we were eating and I’d bring tiny treats and when they sat nicely I’d give a treat, everyone moaned about it because Cai would be jumping up and my food was always cold by the time I’d eat it, Luka blue always sat nicely didn’t jump up, Cai was the opposite it’s taken a while but now when we eat they sit nicely and I give a treat when we’ve finished eating. I wanted to be able to do anything in the house, without having to put them outside all of the time it’s only with lots of training and more training, never ending training.......


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Two of ours had serious food and resource guarding when they came in, one of whom had obviously been abused over food issues (and was said to have bitten a kid - though both had been generally mistreated). Hand fed each (they came in seperately, so didn't have to hand feed at the same time!), so bowl not put down but handfuls given (lovely and messy/smelly with it being raw!). Did this for a few weeks and now each is absolutely fine with food, sharing toys, etc (though we repeat every now and then to ensure we're still 'on the same page'! 😉

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