Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

Food Possession - How to Approach

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by 2Cats2Dogs, Nov 1, 2012.


  1. 2Cats2Dogs

    2Cats2Dogs PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,263
    Likes Received:
    239
    Hello,

    I have a Westie and Bichon and was just looking for some advice really.

    When we feed our dogs, the Bichon will take a mouthful of biscuits and then run to his bed to eat them. The Westie however will take some outside of her bowl and make like a 'boundary' dropping a few on the floor. When the Bichon comes back to his bowl, the Westie starts growling. Now with treats or when we feed them Tuna or Chicken they are fine. Eat together, no emotion. With dried complete food the Westie tends to get a bit aggressive. We think it is a case of 'food possession' and I was just wondering what the first steps would be into tackling the problem and whether anyone has had a similar experience and been able to address and correct the problem?

    Thanks in advance :smile:
     
  2. Strawberryearth

    Strawberryearth PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2012
    Messages:
    1,022
    Likes Received:
    26
    I don't have experience, so perhaps take my response with a pinch of salt.

    Do they eat from separate bowls? Unclear, just checking. If their bowls are next to, or near to, each other perhaps moving them to different sides of the same room might help. That way when Westie makes the biscuit barrier it will be no where near Bichon's food bowl so Bichon won't have to approach the barrier in order to get to the rest of the food.

    Otherwise, perhaps separate rooms for feeding would be the better option.

    I can understand not wanting to have to separate them at all, and wanting them to be able to eat in the same vicinity as they do when they have chicken or tuna (which to me sounds odd, as normally the possession over food occurs when the food is higher value- like fresh meat, rather than dry complete biscuit kibble..). My only other thought if you would prefer to keep them together would be to try and establish WHY Westie is doing this. Has Bichon nicked food in the past? Has Westie been around other dogs who pinch food or perhaps take something off him?

    This is probably completely wrong but if it were me I would be putting the biscuits back into the bowl when Westie removed them- my house my rules kind of thing- eat out of your bowl, not off the floor (not a criticism on what you are doing, by the way, just my own neuroticisms). If Betty has a raw bone and she takes it somewhere I don't want her to eat it, I will move her (or the bone and she will follow) back to where I want her (a towel usually!), I would apply the same idea to the biscuit issue. It may be that Westie isn't actually food possessive (especially if it doesn't happen all the time, with every meal + treats and high value foods) but thinks that Bichon is going to pinch some of his biscuts that are out on the floor. It might be a case of "no biscuit barrier, no problem".
     
  3. 2Cats2Dogs

    2Cats2Dogs PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,263
    Likes Received:
    239
    Hello,

    Thanks for the response. They eat from separate bowls. They used to eat near each other and because the Westie was showing aggression we moved the Bichon's bowl to the other side of the room so they wouldn't cross paths when eating.

    We do pick the kibbles off the floor and put them back into the bowl.

    It is just strange when it is around the biscuit feeding time.
     
  4. smokeybear

    smokeybear PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Messages:
    15,187
    Likes Received:
    8,996
  5. 2Cats2Dogs

    2Cats2Dogs PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,263
    Likes Received:
    239
    Roaming? I think that is a big exaggeration on your part.

    They eat at a specific time and place. The Bichon's first mouthful he takes to his bed. After that he is back and eating. Just at times he looks behind him and the Westie looks across and the growling begins.
     
  6. smokeybear

    smokeybear PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Messages:
    15,187
    Likes Received:
    8,996
    I am afraid your original post did not mention that he ONLY takes his FIRST mouthful to his bed.


    When we feed our dogs, the Bichon will take a mouthful of biscuits and then run to his bed to eat them. The Westie however will take some outside of her bowl and make like a 'boundary' dropping a few on the floor


    Your other dogs drops food along a boundary.

    If that is not roaming I am not sure what is.

    Just separate the dogs, problem solved.
     
  7. 2Cats2Dogs

    2Cats2Dogs PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,263
    Likes Received:
    239
    Roaming is actually getting up and walking around. The Westie drops food outside her bowl. Where did I say she walked/roamed?

    Come on if your going to offer advice, be a bit less presumptious.
     
  8. Sled dog hotel

    Sled dog hotel PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    Messages:
    39,822
    Likes Received:
    10,365
    If the bichon is grabbing mouthfuls of biscuits and running to his bed to eat them, presumeably out of her way, then I would say its likely because he is uncomfortable eating around her, you often see it with rescue dogs, or pups that have been pushed out by more up front siblings who muscle in and push the others out, often more common when they have been fed in a communal puppy feeding pan. they literally grab what they can and take it to a place to eat in peace and safety.

    The fact that the westie takes some out of the bowl and drops them on the floor and then guards them sounds like shes almost baiting him, as when he comes back to get more food she growls at him, warning him off. I dont like to humanise dogs, but if they were kids you would really refer to it as bullying or setting the other up for failure, In dogs its called displacement which is a type of threatening behaviour really.

    You say it only happens with dried food, personally if they were mine, I would be separating them when you feed them dried. That way he can eat his in peace without threat and you will likely find if not immediately eventually he will not feel the need to grab and run, and she will stop the behaviour with dropping the food outside the bowl and guarding it.
     
  9. 2Cats2Dogs

    2Cats2Dogs PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,263
    Likes Received:
    239
    Thanks for the tip.

    I stood out there with them last night and watched them eat the dried food and it was calm as anything. Both ate, both drunk, went to bed and bless them snuggled up. I shall make sure there is human presence when they eat dried food just so it goes without drama for the time being.
     
  10. Sled dog hotel

    Sled dog hotel PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    Messages:
    39,822
    Likes Received:
    10,365
    He may be looking at her as he is unsure and not relaxed, she could be warning him when he looks because she thinks he is eyeing up her food.

    Seems that the supervision you are doing keeps it all calm and relaxed, so just keep on doing that as its working.
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice