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Preventing food aggression

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Beth G, Feb 6, 2019.

  1. Beth G

    Beth G PetForums Newbie

    Jul 3, 2017
    Likes Received:
    Hi all,

    I have a 2 year old Romanian rescue dog, Ralph, who is a resource guarder. We've tried various training techniques without any avail, so we've just accepted that when he has a chew/bowl of food, he's just left alone (funnily enough, you can actually take what he has off of him, he just growls if you stroke him). On Sunday we are getting a foster dog (also from Romania) who is also two. I wanted to ask if there are any techniques we can use to prevent resource guarding between them. Ralph guards things from humans, but I have no idea what he'll be like around another dog, so want to try and prevent it from day one.

    Any recommendations would be appreciated.

  2. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

    Jan 22, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Just keep them separated until you can assess how they are getting on & even then it might still be best to continue this. Some dogs just don't like eating together, with some it might just be certain foods & some are fine. If you can't have them in different rooms then maybe invest in a crate so one could be crated, but still make sure that when one has finished it doesn't approach the other.

    I have always worked on the basis that there will be RG issues so have careful management until I see that they are more comfortable with each other.
  3. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

    Feb 1, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Yes, do just leave him to eat in peace - why would you not?
    This is a little bit concerning. If you were in a restaurant eating a lovely meal and someone took it from you, how do you think you might feel? I know I would be pretty cross. Taking away food (or other prized possessions) creates resource guarding because the dog feels the need to guard them even more as he thinks he might lose them. He may lack the confidence to complain at the food being removed but the stroking is a step too far.

    And, it is important to respect the growl, it is an important communication from your dog. Dogs give a series of signals that they are unhappy, but unfortunately most people don't recognise them because they can be quite subtle. To begin with there is often wide eyes, lip licking and yawning. There is also muscular tension in the body. Then the ones we sometimes do see - growl, snarl, nip then bite. If the early signals are not seen (or, in the dog's view, ignored) he won't bother with them because us stupid humans pay no attention anyway; so he may go straight to the bite. So it's important never to ignore a growl. As a friend says, she would rather be told verbally to sod off than be smacked in the face with no warning.
  4. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

    Jan 5, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Separate them for meals and treats and leave them in peace, completely.

    Avoid taking their food away or touching them while eating.

    Growling is communication that a dog wants to be left alone. Listen and do as they ask otherwise they might feel forced to escalate the behaviour.
    Torin. and JoanneF like this.
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