Possessiveness is not limited to human beings alone. Even animals, especially our pet dogs, sometimes exhibit possessive nature. It is usually harmless and sometimes fun but one has to watch out if one’s pet becomes too possessive of its food bordering on aggression.
Though aggression in dogs stems from the desire of dominance to protect what it values the most, it displays hostile behavior and bites not only the owners but also the children who are unaware and who can’t identify the risks involved in dealing with the food aggressive behavior of the pet.
When the pet loses its caretaker or has suffered immensely through physical abuse or undergoing trauma due to natural calamities, it could trigger food aggression, especially in dogs. So if your dog exhibits signs of food aggression, try the following steps.
Don’t panic. Just take your dog to your vet to neuter your dog because hormones play a significant role in food aggression in dogs.
- Multistage training
Ensure you stay near your dog when your pet is eating from its bowl. Your aim should be that it gets used to you being around it while eating. It should be comfortable while eating at least for a week continuously in your presence to move to the next step.
- Tempting treats
Try to add a treat that your dog loves into its bowl and step back immediately to a safer distance. With every meal, your distance from the dog should be gradually reduced. Continue this process for a few days till you and your dog are at ease.
Keep talking to the dog like you are talking to your child about the foods he is eating, the delicious goodies he is relishing, and then walk away after giving a goodie to your pup. This training has to be followed until your dog is relaxed.
While your dog has learnt the art of listening to you while taking its meals, it has to learn to take food from your hand. Place a goodie in your hand instead of in the bowl and encourage it to eat from your hand. As it takes from you, you just move on so that the dog realizes that you’re not interested in its food. When the pup is relaxed, you can proceed to the next step.
- Building trust
This calls for immense patience. Here you lift the bowl only a few inches from the ground at the start while speaking to the pup conversationally. Once it gets accustomed, it should allow you to walk for a few yards with its bowl and goodie.
The last step is to ensure that the above steps are to be followed by every member of the family.
As the above steps get implemented, the dog feels secure, relaxed and can trust people around it. Most importantly, its food aggression instinct wanes or completely disappears. In case it persists, contact a vet or a professional trainer.