7 Steps to Prevent Dog Food Aggression

Like any other creature, dogs can be aggressively territorial, especially when it comes to food.Dogs who are food aggressive become too protective of their food. It could become a problem for a variety of reasons, including the possibility that people who live with the dog will be bitten and the possibility that your dog will start acting possessively in other areas of its life.

So, how may dog food aggressiveness be lessened? With, learn right away.

What Is Food Aggression? 

Food aggressiveness is a territorial response that a dog has while eating meals or treats, in which they utilize aggressive behavior to protect their food.

Food aggressiveness is a regular occurrence among dogs. According to one research, approximately 20% of all dogs exhibit evidence of food aggressiveness.

This hostility is a sort of resource guarding, a habit that dogs have inherited from their ancestors when they needed to secure every food or resource they possessed. Resource guarding, on the other hand, is a behavior that is protective of resources. Not simply their food, but any thing they see as valuable.

Dogs usually defend just what they think valuable. As a result, the resources they defend might vary, however one of the most prevalent is food. Food in their bowls, food spilled on the floor at mealtimes, scraps in the waste bin, or even food being prepared on the counter might all be examples.

If a food-aggressive dog lives with youngsters, this protective behavior might be a problem. Children, particularly younger ones, have a harder difficulty understanding guarding signs and may simply ignore them. A youngster might be snarled at or bitten as a result of this.

Adults aren’t the only ones who need be careful of this protective behavior, children aren’t the only ones who might get caught in the crossfire. It all comes down to the dog’s confidence in being able to eat without fear, as well as their comfort in their surroundings and among those with whom they share their home.


Food aggressiveness in dogs is caused by a variety of factors. However, the following are some of the most typical reasons:

  • It may be learnt as a puppy, either by unintentional training or by having to compete for limited resources in a shelter.
  • Food aggressiveness may also occur later in life in dogs. Trauma, such as the loss of a carer, physical abuse or neglect, natural catastrophes, or fighting with another dog, may all produce food aggression signs. They grow more guarded with their assets… Then there’s the matter of their meals.
  • Due to a pack mentality, certain breeds are genetically prone to dominant or aggressive characteristics, and may defend food. Hereditary guarding impulses are well-known in dogs like English Springer Spaniels, German Shepherds, and Rottweilers, albeit these instincts often apply to livestock or property.

Food aggressiveness in dogs may be caused by a variety of factors, but those who have spent time in a shelter are at an increased risk. May be at an increased risk due to competition for accessible resources like as beds, treats, possible mates, or food, to exhibit this resource guarding behavior.

Signs of Aggression

Food aggressiveness manifests itself in a variety of ways that are classified into three levels of severity: mild, moderate, and severe.

The mild The easiest way to assess the degree of food anger is to look for vocal indications. When you approach your dog’s meal, or while they are eating, they may growl. It may also show its fangs or raise its hackles as a kind of warning.

A moderate When a human or another dog approaches, a dog with a high level of food aggressiveness snaps or lunges.

Severe Food aggressiveness may be harmful to humans and other animals because the dog will bite or chase away the imagined threat.

How to Stop Your Dog’s Food Aggression 

If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, you may be certain that the protective behavior can be regulated or even avoided.

First and foremost, your dog should be spayed or neutered. Aggression may be caused by hormones, and spaying or neutering can assist to minimize these inclinations.

Another alternative for therapy is training: many dogs with food aggression may be placed through a training program. sequence of training , which is broken down into seven steps and focuses on desensitization and counterconditioning to help your dog become more comfortable eating around humans. To help stop your dog’s food aggressiveness, follow these seven steps:

1. Stage One: Get your dog used to your presence when eating

This stage focuses on acclimating your dog to the fact that you are there while they are eating meals or rewards.

While your dog eats food from a dish on the floor, stand back a few steps. Before going on to the next level of this training approach, you must have your dog eating in a calm way for 10 or more meals in a row.

2. Stage Two: Add a tasty treat, then step back

Build on the initial step by putting a sweet treat in their dish and stepping back to your original distance as soon as the treat is placed.

Consistency is essential here. Make it a mission to take one step forward each day. Your dog is ready to go on to the next phase if you can stand two feet away after laying a reward for 10 meals in a row.

3. Stage Three: Stand close, and talk to your dog

Close closeness and discussion are the emphasis of this level. Stand next to your dog and offer them a special gift while they’re eating from their dish. “What are you having to eat?” ask them in a casual tone or inquiring about their cuisine are also viable choices.

After giving your dog the reward, turn and walk away from them. This step should be repeated every few seconds. You may proceed to the next level of this training method if your dog can stay calm while eating for ten or more meals in a row.

4. Stage Four: Try hand feeding 

This period includes a lot of hand feeding. It’s critical for your dog to realize that while they eat, you’re not a danger to their meal.

Approach your dog and talk to them in a conversational tone, like you did in the previous level. Hold a hand out to your dog with a goodie as you stand next to their dish. Encourage your dog to accept the reward from your hand rather than putting it in their dish.

Turn and walk away after they’ve taken the goodie to let them know you’re not interested in their food.  Each day, attempt to bend down even further until your hand is very near to their bowl while they consume their reward. The following stage may be taken after 10 meals eaten in a calm way.

5. Stage Five: Touch their bowl, but do not take food from it

This step is identical to the last one, only this time, once your dog has taken the reward from you, remain close to them.

With one hand, present the goodie and speak to them in a casual tone. Touch their dish with the other hand, but do not take food from it. This will assist your dog become used to being in close proximity to you during mealtimes. Move on to the next level of training if your dog stays calm while eating for ten or more meals in a row.

6. Stage Six: Lift their bowl off the ground to give them their treat

This stage is crucial for gaining trust since you’ll be raising their bowl off the ground to offer them a reward.

As you take up your dog’s bowl, talk to them in a soothing tone. To begin, just raise it 6-12 inches off the ground, then add the reward and place the dish back down. You’ll set a goal for yourself each day to raise the bowl higher until you can put it on a table to prepare the dessert. Repeat this routine until you are able to go a short distance and return your dog’s bowl to the same location from where it was taken.

This will build trust between you and your dog, and by the conclusion of this phase, they should be completely comfortable eating around you.

7. Stage Seven: Repeat this feeding process with the other family members

Repeat steps 1-6 with each family member in your home as a final step. Food aggression should diminish or disappear as your dog gains confidence in the individuals in your family around their food.

Note : While your dog may be at ease eating in your presence, they may not be so in the presence of other family members or visitors. In this scenario, strive to create a safe dining environment for your dog. Separate bowls for each pet, separating them at mealtimes, or creating a gated space for your dog to eat are all examples of this.

Usually, when your dog is hungry, all he wants to do is unwind while eating. If your efforts are unsuccessful, you may always ask your veterinarian or a nearby trainer for advice on food aggression therapy.

Michael Hogan

San Gabriel Valley California Bird Seed Delivery. Huge selection of Pet and Wild Seed & Food. Free delivery. Pick up option also avaulable.

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