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puppy food aggression; help please!

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Foluwa, May 26, 2020.


  1. Foluwa

    Foluwa PetForums Newbie

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    hi everyone, im new and was wondering if i could get some advice on my 15 week old bichon frise puppy.
    we got him about 5/6 weeks ago now and when he first came home he seemed to eat very quickly and often gave himself hiccups. in a bid to slow him down we got him a maze bowl, and hes been using that for about 3/4 weeks now, but as of late he seems to have become aggressive when it comes to food and quite frankly anything thats in his mouth that we try to get out. yesterday he was chewing a bit of plastic and when i went to take it from him he bite me so hard it scratched a little. i don't want this behavior to continue. what do i do?
     
  2. Boxer123

    Boxer123 PetForums VIP

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    When you say aggressive around food can you give more detail? With regards to taking things out of mouth you want to swap. My boys will do anything for cheese so I tend to swap cheese for said item rather than take it from their mouth. You also want to work on a solid leave command.
     
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  3. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums VIP

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    There’s a ‘sticky’ on here about resource guarding.

    In the meantime, don’t be confrontational about things as it can only escalate the reaction.

    Part of dealing with RG is about management; not leaving things around that are too precious to be stolen and chewed.

    As @Boxer123, if you can ‘swap’ things then that’s the way to go, and give him a place to eat his own food where he knows it’s safe and he won’t be disturbed. Make sure he’s finished his food and is well away from the bowl before you pick it up.
     
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  4. Foluwa

    Foluwa PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you so much! Yes we’ve started to swap things he’s chewing with a treat and are trying to work on leave it. In terms of more info, when reaching for his maze bowl he’d growl and snap at you. We also swapped back to his other bowl and he doesn’t seem to have an issue with that one in terms of if I reach to touch the bowl while he’s eating. Could it be possible he was just aggressive because he has to work for his food with a maze bowl?
     
  5. Boxer123

    Boxer123 PetForums VIP

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    I wouldn’t touch his bowl in front of him wait until he’s finished and off doing something else.
     
  6. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Leave his bowl alone as that will make him feel he needs to guard it.

    Just put his bowl down and leave him alone to eat in peace.
     
  7. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums VIP

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    WHY are you trying to touch his bowl while he’s eating? It won’t make him used to having his bowl touched, it’ll just confirm to him that he needs to guard it better because the hints he’s dropped so far haven’t worked.

    I think you’re probably right to change his bowl back from the maze bowl; in some dogs these ‘slow eating’ bowls just cause frustration and hence stress.

    Please read back here how many say leave him to eat in peace; if somebody consistently tried to take my food away they would end up with my fork skewering their hand to the table!
     
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  8. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

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    If you were in a lovely restaurant eating a favourite meal and someone tried to take it from you, how do you honestly think you would react? And if it happened repeatedly, you would be on your guard before it was taken, so if you had to regularly encounter this person who takes your food, how do you think you would feel about them?

    As @Linda Weasel says, the sure fire way to make a dog possessive about food is to make him feel it is under threat.

    And I'm sure that the relationship you want with your dog is not one of mistrust.

    Please, let him eat in peace.

    And, serious question, why is it you think you need to take away his food?
     
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  9. Boxer123

    Boxer123 PetForums VIP

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    You are clearly a fellow foodie :D
     
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  10. Nonnie

    Nonnie PetForums VIP

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    Personally, id do away with the bowl and simply use all his food for training.

    This way he cant bolt his food, he is learning, and you are building up a positive relationship.
     
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  11. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums VIP

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    It’s a weird thing is food guarding.

    I had a Lab who was particularly fond of her food (she was an absolute pig).

    She was the wimpiest of the four dogs I had at the time, backed off from everything, deferred to everybody and led a quiet, happy little life.

    But if one of the other dogs had approached her bowl while it still had two biscuits in it she would have totally seen them off.
     
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  12. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums VIP

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    Don’t think I would. It risks putting even more pressure into the food situation .
     
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  13. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    I’d do away with the bowl and feed on a plate to remove the association and just leave him be to eat.
     
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  14. Nonnie

    Nonnie PetForums VIP

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    How so?

    My dog was exactly like this as a pup. So i hand fed him. I didnt ask him to spin on a sixpence, but just simple things like eye contact, a sit etc. There was nothing for him to guard, and he soon grew out of the behaviour.
     
  15. Foluwa

    Foluwa PetForums Newbie

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    its not that I want to take away his food however a lot of dog training things talk about how you should have them comfortable with you being around their food including if you pick it up etc. Clearly there’s just too many different methods and I am just trying to figure it out so do be gentle .
     
  16. Foluwa

    Foluwa PetForums Newbie

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    The only reason we changed his bowl in the first place was to slow him down as he was literally just swallowing the food. Maybe it’s just a puppy thing and he’ll grow out of it though.
     
  17. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums VIP

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    Because you risk making basic food higher value.
    It may have worked with your dog, it might work with this dog; or it might not.
    And it hasn’t addressed the original problem.
     
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  18. Boxer123

    Boxer123 PetForums VIP

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    This is very old fashioned advice but still does the rounds like @Linda Weasel said if someone kept touching your food how would you feel. My boy used to gulp so had a maze bowl he doesn’t need it any more. I’d just leave him be.
     
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  19. Foluwa

    Foluwa PetForums Newbie

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    He’s just had lunch and I just put his food in his original bowl and left him to it. He seems to have slowed down a little, I just don’t want him to have any health problems due to fast eating; if that’s even a thing. Thank you for the advice, and if you have any other suggestions he’s also become quite interested in shoes and ankles :)
     
  20. Boxer123

    Boxer123 PetForums VIP

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    Typical puppy behaviour with feet and ankles my boy just to terrorise me. Try and distract with a toy or a kong if you have one these are life savers. If not just leave the room. If my experience is anything to go by do not wear floaty pjs.
     
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