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Thread: Tips on food aggression with another dog.

  1. #1

    Default Tips on food aggression with another dog.

    Hi everyone,

    A few times lately, 3 in total, Jasper (4.5-5 months) has shown aggression towards other dogs when it comes to food - But not with me, he lets me take it from his mouth. And when I say food, it's food that was never originally designated to him (not that I'd think he'd know this). The first two instances was when he was at a friend's place where they have 2 fourteen week old brothers who have been sharing their food since they were brought home at 6 weeks old. Well Jasper saw the food sitting there and helped himself, in fact scoffed the whole lot. My immediate reaction was to stop him as it was the puppies food, not his, but my friend said it was fine - I guess because he thought it'd teach Jasper and the puppies that they could share food. Well, when one of the pups came over to investigate Jasper chomping on his food (calmly, not aggressively), Jasper lifted his lips and growled at the pup. This happened twice throughout the period that Jasper was there. He shows no aggression to the pups otherwise, just with food. He even took a bone off of one of them from their mouth. They didn't react, but I took it from him straight away as it wasn't his and the fact he took it from the pup's mouth. The third time he's shown food aggression is with my landlord's 12 year old female staffy. We were outside while the staffy, Rosie, was inside and Jasper found an old bone laying around that he thought he'd chew on. Rosie was let outside by my landlords and I'd thrown Jasper's toy over to him previous to Rosie being let out to get him to play with that instead. Rosie trotted over to the toy, noticed Jasper was chewing on a bone (that I later found out was actually hers) and he lifted his lips again and growled. Rosie reacted and growled, barked and jumped at him. It all happened pretty quick, but it was frightening. It was something my landlord was terrified would happen, Rosie has strong jaws and is very large and strong. Jasper remained aggressive but backed up instead of throwing himself at her.
    I'd like to be able to get Jasper to listen to me when I tell him to leave something, so these things don't happen. Any other suggestions?
    P.S. We're going to his first obedience class tonight, so hopefully can get some advice there too.

  2. #2
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    I think dogs don't really get the "He had it first" concept. It's finders, keepers in their minds. The best thing to do is to remove food (or ask your friends to) when there's more than one dog to avoid issues. And if you make a habit of doing this, you prevent your dog from getting fixated on defending their food bowl or bones when dogs visit too. I speak from experience because I never thought of doing this with my previous dog and she got worse with this issue as she grew older. When dogs visited she just hung around her food bowl in the end. Silly of me...

    My Banjo is pretty good with 'leave' but I can't clearly remember how I taught it! Do a Google or check out Kikopup's youtube channel. I think I watched her video on teaching leave and it was fantastic as always.

    Another thing, make sure that when you see your dog back away from another dog having a go at him, you praise him liberally for that. It may seem counter-intuitive if you think he provoked the reaction, but it is exactly what you want him to do. Also avoid telling him of for growling. It is just dog language and is harmless in itself and the alternative is that he'll attack without warning.

    And don't worry too much about the altercation with the staffy. Lots of older dogs show little patience with pups and put them in their place quickly in no-nonsense manner. Someone recently described growling as asking someone firmly but politely to back off and lunging at another dog as telling them to "effing back off now!".

  3. #3
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    Both of my dogs have food aggression when it comes to other dogs. I can take food out of both of my dogs mouths without any problems, but if another dog approaches them when they have food, both of my dogs will get aggressive. Koda is worse than Dodge is. Dodge used to be very bad with it because she was so confident. But when we got Koda she passed the habit onto him and now she is submissive to him. I say the best thing to do at the moment is to just not feed your dog around any other dogs. Dodge and Koda are fed separately, they get bones in different areas and there is even one particular toy that i have to give them one at a time because they fight over it. As long as there is no food, my dogs are the best of friends, but add food and you have a fight on your hands. Having a good recall and stay with your dog is good too. I've found lately that i can give Dodge food when Koda is around and i can ask him to stay and he won't bother Dodge while she is eating, or if i catch Koda heading towards Dodge while she has food, i can call him and he will not disturb Dodge.

  4. #4
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    My sister has three dogs and avoids aggression by feeding in a very strict order and no one is to touch another dogs bowl or get in their space. they get it well with each other but when my dog was added to the mix all hell broke out. My solution was to feed her elsewhere and they continued their own routine. OK for a temporary situation but not long term, I guess she would learn if she had to.

  5. #5
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    Agree with mdd about the recall. It's great to hear that you're going to training classes but recall needs to be trained constantly and consistently over a long period to make it effective. It's rather useless if you only do it during designated training sessions. You need to do it all the time when you're with your dog. I used to call Banjo probably 20 times a day at first. If not more, I never counted. And it has got us out of trouble many times. I can go on and on about this, but won't. Unless you want me to. Haha!

  6. #6

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    I taught Brock to "leave it" by simply puting a high value treat on the floor and then blocking him each time he tried to get at it and saying "LEAVE IT". Didn't take many goes at all and I can now leave a treat infront of his nose and leave the room and it will still be there when I get back(as long as I'm back in a short time lol). I really need to continue working on this to get him to "leave" things other than his own treats, but I guess I've laid the foundations so when I get to it, it shouldn't be too hard.

    I think it's a pretty natural instinct for dogs to protect their food from others, the fact that yours has no problems with humans taking food from him is the most important thing and I would absolutely continue to work on that, including as many people as possible in controlled situations. Having said that, I'm sure some of the experts here can explain how to train your dog to not protect their food from other dogs?

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