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help with puppy food aggression?

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by katiefranke, Jul 26, 2009.


  1. katiefranke

    katiefranke PetForums VIP

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    hi all, can anyone help?

    we have a 16 week old border collie pup who has a lovely nature with people, dogs, cats etc in every way...except over her food bowl!

    we noticed from when we first got her that she was a bit possessive over her food bowl and would give a little growl if people touched her neck and near the bowl, but nothing too bad.

    then one day she snarled a bit too much at my sister as we were testing her with someone other than us (her owners), so i told her off as i dont want her to continue this behaviour...but then my trainer from puppy classes told me i shouldnt do this and that i should make it fun for people to be around her food, so instead i have been feeding her in stages - so put a bit in her bowl, let her finish and look to me for more, then put some more in and stroke her etc...

    she seemed to be coming on very well, but then this last week, she seems to be really growly. she hasnt gone for any of us or snapped at all, but she gives little growls if i touch her neck or face...but she lets me put my hand in her bowl and move the bowl and stuff without doing anything??

    she is also a little bit like this over a couple of her chew toys, but only occaisionally...

    what should i do???

    any advice for things i could try??

    also, how long will it take to change her behaviour? i have been trying the above method for about 3 weeks now.

    thanks !
     
  2. sallyanne

    sallyanne Guest

  3. katiefranke

    katiefranke PetForums VIP

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    thank you! will take a look at those.

    The vet has checked her and she is fine in every way from a health point of view. We mentioned the guarding and she said it was quite normal for young pups and we told her what we were doing and she said that she would hopefully grow out of it...

    She is a lovely little thing except for this, so hopefully with a bit of patience we can encourage her not to be like this!
     
  4. Bobbie

    Bobbie PetForums VIP

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    Do you make her sit while you put the food down and wait till you say o.k so she gets to know you are in charge of the food. She may also have had to fight for her food when she was with her siblings.
     
  5. Colliepoodle

    Colliepoodle PetForums VIP

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    The trainer is right - NEVER tell them off for growling. You are doing the right things, ie making hands near a food bowl a GOOD thing but it sounds as if maybe you're trying to progress too fast...

    There is a section on food/resource guarding in "The Culture Clash" by Jean Donaldson - I highly recommend the book.

    She is also the author of a book which concerns itself solely with guarding - it's called "Mine!" and I haven't read it but hear good things about it. If it's anything like The Culture Clash it'll be well worth a read :)
     
  6. katiefranke

    katiefranke PetForums VIP

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    thanks bobbie, yep I do that too, but like you said I think that although they all had separate bowls she probably did have to fight to get the food when she was with the litter as she was the quietest of the bunch...

    colliepoodle, I think you are right, I think we went to fast for her :eek: we will have to be more patient and go back a step and just keep doing what we are doing.

    thanks for the tip about the books, I will go and google them now! :)
     
  7. Dingle

    Dingle PetForums VIP

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    This is just my opinion here... :)

    I would be inclined to remove the food several times from the pup, keep reassuring the pup all the time... give it back & take it away.

    This method worked for me & my Akita's... now if any one walks near the food bowls the dogs will walk away until the person has moved away & then return :)
     
  8. Purplejellyfish

    Purplejellyfish PetForums Member

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    With my staffie pup was really tiny, I held my hands loosely in his food bowl, sometimes hand feeding some of his food during his meal and sometimes gently stroking him telling him he was a good boy for eating nicely. He is 12 weeks old now and I always ask him to sit before his meal and continue to stay next to him when he eats with my hands near or on his bowl. You could try offering tasty treats, something more tasty than the puppy food, during a meal so that she associates hands near her food bowl with something more exciting than her dinner.

    Best of luck
     
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