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Friday, April 6, 2012

Weekly Wag #15:
Just Say No to Food Aggression!

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
© All Things Dog Blog
Three Dogs Can
Wait Permission to Eat

Well I sure did open a can of worms last week. You guys nailed me. Not in the comments, but in my email. Apparently there are a few of you out there that have concerns over food aggression with your Fidos. Say no more. This is a great topic for our Weekly Wag feature that focuses on bonding with your dog.

When I spoke about shared food last week, I neglected to do my duty with a disclaimer. Obviously, if your dog has displayed any amount of food aggression, sharing is not a good idea. Let's talk about the steps involved in assuring that your dog gets the message about food aggression, and learns that this is not acceptable nor necessary in your home.

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  • Start with rule #1: never leave food out all day, even if you only have one dog. 
  • In the case of multiple dogs in your home, please separate them during feeding time.
  • Teach your dog that you are in control of the food and that he earns it from you with his behavior. Don't ask for it; require it. Sit. Stay. Leave it, until you give permission.
  • Offer your release command and then allow your dog to eat. Praise him when he successfully waits for permission.
  • When handing out treats, use the same strategy. Allow your dog to earn it from you, the owner of the treat. Ask for any behavior your choose. When you get it, offer the treat as a reward.
  • With practice this will become routine and the message will be clear. You own the food and you share it because you have a bond with this pet that gives you the same respect in exchange.
  • Need more help? Check out this article: Who Owns the Dog Food at Your House?
© All Things Dog Blog
Proof Positive: No Food Aggression


Anonymous said...

Hey Xena, Jet here. We look a bit related!

Miss Carrie. Want to report that JJ and I share a 3 dish raised feeding area. JJ is on the left, I'm on the right, water in the middle. We must sit on either side of Mom before she will put our food down. We behave quite nicely according to Mom.

melf said...

Great advice. Jasper can be a bit food aggressive (mostly with high value food and treats), so I feed him separately. I also make sure he works for all his treats. I had no idea food aggression was such a huge issue! Glad you blogged about it.

Happy hopping!

Carrie, with Tanner and Oliver said...

@Jet: Good for you and JJ. Tell Mom I'm proud of her for teaching you well and keep up the good work. :)

jen said...

Great advice! I had an issue with my dogs a few years ago with my dogs fighting before feeding time. I immediately sought out some help and the trainer that I spoke to advised me to introduce the NILF approach. I used the same techniques that you mentioned here. They must earn their food now sitting and waiting for me to say it is ok to eat. They picked up on this so quick and I saw almost an instant change and no more fighting in over 2 years!

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