Some dogs may suffer from this, baring their teeth or growling at you at mealtime, or if other animals approach their treat.
Dogs that react like this are more likely to do so with a chew bone than with a bowl of dry kibble.
The question is why do dogs react like this, around food, and not in other cases?
It should first be noted that food aggression is a subtype of possessive aggression, which occurs when approaching a place or an item that the dog considers valuable (a toy, his bed, a bone), he then wants to protect it.
Food aggression is divided into 3 severities:
- Mild: Dog will bare teeth and/or growl when approaching food/treat
- Moderate: The dog will snap and/or jump if you approach
- Severe: the dog will bite if you touch or approach its food
The causes are varied and often under a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Genetics can cause them to react in a certain way (aggressiveness, fear, kindness). The environment will determine their reaction, if they don't want to share, if there is a negative history around the item in question, or if they have lived in an environment in the past where food was not abundant and where aggressiveness allowed them to survive.
In any case, food aggression can appear in all dog breeds.
How can you limit or even stop this behavior?
Some will tell you to just not approach your dog when eating, that's not really a solution because you're just avoiding the problem.
You will need patience and practice, the dog must first approach you easily when you offer him a treat. He must understand that you are the person who will provide food and that he must trust you.
Get him used to you being close to his bowl at mealtime, your dog must accept your presence, not to take away his meal, but to accompany him. We accustom our dogs from an early age to accept that we put our hands in the bowl when they eat.
Respect is key, make sure your dog eats comfortably in a quiet place.
Make him work to be rewarded afterwards. Sitting, waiting and eating on your orders will serve as a reward for his work.
Establish a routine, with fixed meal times, your dog will eventually understand that the food is coming and there is nothing to worry about.
Hand feed your dog. In addition to limiting aggression, this will allow you to form a special bond with your dog.
In case of too severe aggression, do not hesitate to contact a dog trainer.
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