Tips to Curb Food Aggression in Dogs


Scarlett eats; Roory drinks

A dog who displays food aggression can be embarrassing, annoying and dangerous, especially if little ones or smaller pets are around. Here are my tips to stop food aggression in dogs, so everyone can live safely and peacefully.

1. Don’t leave food out all day long, especially in a household with multiple dogs. This can cause food aggression because dogs will become protective of the leftover food. To avoid this, leave the food down for a set period of time (no longer than 20 minutes; smaller dogs may need up to 40 minutes). Dogs who are used to having food out all day may not eat it all at first and that’s ok-they will learn quickly and soon clean their plates.

2. Do not feed multiple dogs/pets in close spaces. Place one bowl in the kitchen and the other around the corner or at least on opposite sides of the room. This will reduce chances of confrontation between dogs. If you have cats, they should always be fed at an elevated space where the dogs can not access.

3. Always give the dominant dog his food first.

4. Before putting the food down, make the dog sit and stay. Don’t allow them to rush the bowl when you place it down; if they do, pick it up again and turn your back to them for at least one minute. Once you put it down and are out of the way and they are still staying, allow them to eat. This can take lots of repeating.

5. Once they have been eating for three minutes, pick the bowl up and turn your back to them. Be very careful to not get bitten; if they start to snap, give them a firm “no”. Keep your back (and the food) turned away for one minute, or until they calm down. Turn back around, put down and allow them to eat again, provided they sit and stay. Never allow them to rush the bowl. Repeat this every five-seven minutes until your dog is finished with his meal.

6. Repeat as necessary, until your dog no longer snarls, snaps, growls, or otherwise tries to “protect” his food.

Harley used to be very food aggressive, snapping at people, dogs, the cat- sometimes even at my boyfriend and me. We did this with Harley for about three days until he completely stopped because he just wanted to eat without being interrupted. If your dog(s) display food aggression, I hope these tips help you! If your dog does not improve, consult your veterinarian. It can be very dangerous when small pets or children are around.

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11 responses to “Tips to Curb Food Aggression in Dogs

  1. Your picture of Roory drinking next to Scarlett reminded me of what my cat Scratchy does. He sits and waits patiently for Bongo to finish drinking and then he drinks. He has his own water but he likes Bongo’s better – I think because it’s fresher since Bongo empties his more often.

  2. Hello, šŸ™‚
    Any more small tips or tricks on how to train dogs ?

  3. Hello artandallthat, thanks for stopping by our page! We have lots of tips and training advice and add new stuff every week. Check out our Tips and Training page https://deannamelanie.wordpress.com/canine-tips/ for posts about the best collars, how to properly introduce dogs and Christmas Tree Safety for the holiday season, among many more! We hope you enjoy. If there is a specific training issue you’d like to learn more about, let me know and I’d be happy to write a post about it.
    -DeannaMelanie, Harley, Scarlett, Chelsea and Roory šŸ™‚

    • Oh, well, my dog is now 6month old. Initially he used to litter only on the paper we have kept for him in the room and when we took him for rounds. But now he litters all around the house, on the floor, on the sofas, the beds, everywhere. I’m astonished by this behavior of his. Anything you can say on it ?

  4. I recommend being very consistent and taking the puppy out a lot: first thing in the a.m., right after eating, right after coming out of his crate/confinement, after he wakes up from a nap, before bedtime or if he’s acting out-of-character (barking, whimpering, scratching, etc.) As he ages, he won’t need to go out so much, but he’s got to be trained to do the right thing first. That starts with taking him out all the time because puppies have a tiny bladder.
    When potty training with paper on the floor, they get confused. Sometimes to a dog, a paper is the same as a rug, a sofa, a comforter, etc. That could be the reason your dog is acting up. That, or he may not go out enough.
    Have you tried crate-training? It’s the easiest way to potty-train! After a few accidents, they learn they don’t want to go where they sleep and will try their hardest to wait until you let them out. Of course, a puppy should not be crated for more than 8 hours (overnight). It is not fair to crate 8 hours overnight and 8 during the day because the puppy is unable to hold his bladder and gets no interaction.
    The number one best thing you can do to train your pup is to be consistent with taking him out.
    Hope this helps you! Good luck to you and your sweet puppy šŸ™‚

  5. Check out this method by the Humane Society. It’s pretty spot-on and according them is one of the best ways to potty-train.
    http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/crate_training.html

  6. Your Tips to Curb Food Aggression in Dogs is great. I basically did all of what you said with our dog and we have no problems with aggresion. Even when she is chewing on her bone you can take it away from her and she won’t do anything. She is actually really good with other dogs. I will pass this article along to some other people I know that have dogs.

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