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View Full Version : How to stop Food Aggression?



Cybil
04-03-2010, 01:46 AM
Hello all,
So I've been reading up and talking to different people but I'm wondering what everyone here has found useful in stopping food aggression. I've been told different things (sort of poke/touch them in the flank/side to divert their attention, remove the food, etc.) and I'd like to know what has actually worked for people that have Great Pyrenees...? Just curious.

Autumn & Jax
04-03-2010, 10:19 AM
I have never had a food aggressive dog, so I have no personal experience with this problem. When Jax was a pup the whole family took turns hand feeding and working with him so he would not be aggressive. Not preaching at you at all, just want you to know where I am coming from. Go to the National Geographic Channel website and look up episode of Hyde, Vada & Nacho. They have a section of full episodes you can watch for free. It is about people who have two wolf hybrids. One wolf is dog aggressive, the other is food aggressive. It shows how to work with food aggression. It's a liitle funny because sitting down the white wolf is almost as tall as Cesar.

Jewel
04-03-2010, 11:15 AM
Thankfully have never had to deal with this issue. Understand that the book titled Mine! by Jean Donaldson is very highly recommended for dealing with resource guarding. It is supposed to have step by step lessons to countercondition the dog. How old is your boy now? He is but a few months old, no?

Milu
04-03-2010, 11:50 AM
Instead of removing the food, which only made food aggression worse with Kuma, I removed the bowl altogether. It completely eliminated how antsy he got when I scatter fed him. He used growl and snap at the cat when the feline walked near the bowl, even if it was empty, but now he doesn't care if there kitty is there with him, foraging around for food together. Another you might want to try is to convince him to trade up. For instance, when Kuma has a bully stick, I'll offer him a bit of banana or cheese (two things he goes absolutely bonkers for) with the idea that if he gives the stick up, he gets the morsel. After a while he must have decided it wasn't all that bad to relinquish something he had to anyone who wanted it (even the cat) in the hopes that he'd be rewarded.

TexasKat
04-03-2010, 03:20 PM
Interesting ideas, Milu!

I've never had food aggression with my 2 Pyrs, but I started really early having them sit down and take turns getting treats. They don't have issues with anyone of us taking anything away (food or toys), but I try to make sure if I'm taking away something they're NOT supposed to have (a shoe for instance) that I give them a toy instead.

Back to food... Mine also get 'scheduled' meals but have a small 'common' bowl of dry food available all the time, so some might term it 'free snacking". But neither one ever seems to want it (they rarely eat any of it). In fact, they're the least food interested dogs I've ever owned -- unless it happens to be what we're having for dinner.

Though mine sometimes swap food bowls while eating meals (the exact same meal may look better in the "other" blue bowl), they never 'argue' over it. Either they both eat out of the same bowl, or one may switch places.

Snack time at bedtime is funny to watch. I generally create a couple of piles of treats --chicken or duck jerky, duck with yam, other crunchies and/or chewies -- one pile for each. Each pup will finish their 'favorite' first and look over at the other's pile to see if any of that particular treat is still there, but not do anything except look. At some point, some sort of (invisible to me) communication must happen 'cos they will both get up and trade places. It's impossible to tell which snack will be the favorite of which pup on any given night -- it changes -- so each gets the same number and kinds of snacks.

I've read that dogs can't tell judge "equity" -- a smaller treat for one vs a larger treat for the other -- but I don't know if that's true. They certainly understand "equality"-- if one gets something, the other should also be offered something as well. Mine seem to know both 'equity' and "equality".

Milu
04-03-2010, 03:46 PM
I'm not sure if it's quite equity, but I do know that Kuma thinks that what ever I have in my hands is more interesting than what he's got! Sometimes he'll pick up something in his mouth, like say a sock or flower pot and rather than chase him down to get it back (which aggravates me and amuses him) I just turn my back on him and pretend that I have something wholly engrossing in my hand. It always works, he drops what he has and trots over for a closer look. So I think the trade up method works for him because he assumes that what I have is always better (plus a sense of curiosity that has no end) - not sure it'll work for a pyr who's clever enough to know that he has his favorite bone and there's nothing in the world worth giving it up for.

pyr haven
04-03-2010, 11:13 PM
I'm not sure if it's quite equity, but I do know that Kuma thinks that what ever I have in my hands is more interesting than what he's got!

hee hee this reverse psychology really works! my female pyr can be stubborn and mulls after i issued command to go inside car and go home. i left in the car. she sat there looking at my departing car, she looked stunned. i drove back opened the car door, she jumped in a flash. she never "mulls" after tat.

cybil, for me i encountered food agression when they were 4mths old. scared me to high heaven. i just tot like a big bear, and stood between my 2 pyrs or other dog/cat, and stop any form of agression. u must nip in the bud. it was the best advice.

Cybil
04-04-2010, 02:36 PM
My guy is 14wks. I've never had a dog that was food aggressive but I thought it would be good to look into it in advance in case it ever became an issue. He's fed separately anyways. My only concern would be if he were to become food aggressive with people. Once, about a week ago, he snarled at me when I suprised him (petted him) while he was eating. A firm "no" and taking a large step towards him seemed to stop it. I've been consistently touching and petting him while he eats. I've started to exchange treats too (I'll bring up another treat while he's eating one and trade just to test how he reacts to me picking up the treat he had first). Seems to be going well. He's a sweet boy, but he's definitely got that independent, strong willed, Pyr nature I've read about. Luckily I've got lots of time for training and play! ;)

Jewel
04-04-2010, 08:38 PM
Goodness Cybil, you had all of us thinking your little guy has food agression! :eek: Well, it's good to hear that he's doing well :) Bijou growled at me EXACTLY ONCE, I think I was trying to pet her while she was eating. She was 9 weeks old. I gave her a firm "no" and put my hand into her bowl so she had to eat around my hand. I didn't take anything away. My dogs have always been fed apart, in separate rooms, in fact. But the two of them can eat in very close proxmity of each other, as they did at the boarding kennel, without problems.

grtpyrlvr
04-06-2010, 07:29 AM
Hello all,
So I've been reading up and talking to different people but I'm wondering what everyone here has found useful in stopping food aggression. I've been told different things (sort of poke/touch them in the flank/side to divert their attention, remove the food, etc.) and I'd like to know what has actually worked for people that have Great Pyrenees...? Just curious.

First off let me say that I know that this approach will not work for everyone but this is what has worked for us.

We do a lot of Foster work as well as relatives who visit with their dogs a lot. Therefor we could not have food aggression issues. We have always had 2-3 bowls located in different locations that are always filled with food. The cats eat out of the dog food bowls (they have their own bowls with cat food but prefer the dogs??!), guest relative dogs eat out of the same bowls etc. To my dogs it's no big deal to share food because they know that their are other bowls that are always full.

The only thing we do not allow is high value treats laying around when company comes. Put a pigs ear into the mix and even the cat gets a little growl when it approaches. This is okay if it's just my 2 or my dad's (they all grew up together) but not when we have the "occasional" visitor.

grtpyrlvr
04-06-2010, 07:32 AM
Interesting ideas, Milu!

Each pup will finish their 'favorite' first and look over at the other's pile to see if any of that particular treat is still there, but not do anything except look. At some point, some sort of (invisible to me) communication must happen 'cos they will both get up and trade places. It's impossible to tell which snack will be the favorite of which pup on any given night -- it changes -- so each gets the same number and kinds of snacks.


I thought mine were the only guys who did this...They get the exact same treats each time and yet they both can't wait for the other one to walk away so they can try it! Half the time they spend more time trying to get the other ones treats then they actually do eating them!