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Sudden Food Aggression

863 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  MeadowCat
Our 7 month old is raw fed and we accidentally stumbled across this issue the other day.

Typically when we feed Alex he is fed outside with a chunk of meat. It is handed to him at the patio door, he takes it with him to the middle of the yard and chows down for the next few minutes. Recently he snuck one of the bones inside the house. While watching TV Alex was looking at me with a face stranger than usual and I noticed a pigs foot between his front two paws and walked to him with the intention of taking him outside to finish his meal. What I received was an unexpected warning growl and a curled up nose defending his food. So over the next few days we discovered that if we feed Alex in his dish he has no problems with us petting him while he eats or walking past him, but if he has a bone he curls his nose and gives us a pretty serious warning growl.

I don't blame him really because quite frankly if I have a steak on my plate and someone sticks their nose into my business I'm going to be a little irritated as well, but the fact is he is not a human and under no circumstances should he be giving me or my wife the stank eye.

Our first attempt at corrective action was to walk up to him while he is eating and give him a treat. The problem with this is that there is no higher value treat or piece of food that outranks anything in his normal diet. Any suggestions to get Mr. Grumpy to change his attitude while eating or is it just something that we need to live with?
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If it were me, I'd work on trading with low value items and teach a command for it (drop it, etc.). Make sure he really knows the behavior. At that point, I'd slowly start upping the ante. Also trade a high value bone for a high value bone.

If it isn't something you've done before, I might bring in a trainer just for a snort bit. It's relatively easy to train but also easy to make worse at the same time.

A trainer friend of mine who does evals for a BC rescue group pulled BC slated for euthansia because her food aggresion was so serious. ONLY if food was in the bowl. Within a month, she's terrific with food and bones. She stayed for a bit at my house and was with another foster (not the trainer). We all used positve methods and desensitization and took teeny tiny steps in the process. Always working under her threshold.
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He has the "drop-it" command down 75% of the time. Good suggestion to start upping the ante to an equal trade. We'll get the "drop-it" to 100% and then interrupt him during his meals for a quick trade.
I'd suggest picking up a copy of Jean Donaldson's book, "Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs." It's a great book, with easy to understand, step-by-step instructions.
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