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Food Aggressive

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Good morning everyone. Well, I have something weighing on my mind and I need some general insight.

 

My dog has always been somewhat food aggressive (why I don't know) it's not like we have EVER taken food from him, he free feeds from his bowl all day, and it is always full.

 

When it first started it was the whole stop and stare kinda thing, we could walk by he would just eat quicker, I was fine with that. It didn't pose a problem.

 

Now it has turned into him pushing his bowl around the entire kitchen/dining room area trying ti hide it from us. He even has started attacking MY feet, growling, chasing me out of the area his bowl is in.

 

I have just started this morning taking the bowl from him. He is only going to get feed 2 times a day for 1 hour at a time. if he doesn't eat all his food in that time frame sucks to be him, he doesn't eat until dinner now.

 

Am I handling this correctly? Or is there something else I can do.

Please help as I love my BC very much, and need some help with this.

 

 

P.S. I got my dog from a BC breeder and my dog is registered CBCA.

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My dog has always been somewhat food aggressive (why I don't know) it's not like we have EVER taken food from him, he free feeds from his bowl all day, and it is always full.

 

When it first started it was the whole stop and stare kinda thing, we could walk by he would just eat quicker, I was fine with that. It didn't pose a problem.

 

Now it has turned into him pushing his bowl around the entire kitchen/dining room area trying ti hide it from us. He even has started attacking MY feet, growling, chasing me out of the area his bowl is in.

 

I have just started this morning taking the bowl from him. He is only going to get feed 2 times a day for 1 hour at a time. if he doesn't eat all his food in that time frame sucks to be him, he doesn't eat until dinner now.

 

Am I handling this correctly? Or is there something else I can do.

 

When it first started, the whole stop and stare thing and him eating faster was not fine. That was a red flag, it was a problem, and should have been addressed then so it wouldn't escalate to this stage where he's chasing you out of the area while he's eating. You don't mention how old he is. Not criticizing here--just my opinion. So easy to miss or dismiss a behavior that becomes a problem later on. They're so cute, we think they're just playing, they'll outgrow it, etc.

 

Stopping the free feeding is a step in the right direction. He needs to know that his food, and everything else, comes from you. I would take up the bowl after about twenty minutes though. You might also try feeding him by hand, a few pieces of kibble at a time. I know some people have had success with this.

 

Be patient but firm. "If he doesn't eat all his food in that time frame sucks to be him.." I sense some frustration in that sentence, kind of like "I'll show him." Don't punish him now for something he's always been allowed to do. You're right to be concerned and to want to fix it. Good luck! :rolleyes:

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I tend to agree with bc4ever, but I would start hand feeding him right away. Every meal comes from you. If he does not eat, you take the food away. He will eat. Then once he's been doing that for a few weeks I would switch back to his bowl once a day, but every time you have the food dish in your hand, he should sit and wait for the food. And if he does not eat after 15 - 20 minutes, just take it away. Everyone in your house should be hand feeding him (if it's applicable). You could also google NILIF, I like what they say about food. Which is pretty much what you just read, but a little more in depth.

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If you had addressed this problem earlier, when he was staring at you, my advice would be very different.

 

Feed him twice a day. Before putting the food down ask him to obey a command such as sit. If he anticipates the command and sits then ask for a down. If he lays down ask for a trick. The instant he obeys the food goes down and you leave the area. If he doesn't eat within 15 minutes take the food away. Healthy dogs don't starve themselves and will get the picture quickly that they eat it or lose it.

 

Have him on a long line (30+ feet) when he eats. That way when it is time for the food to be taken away you can call him to you from a safe distance. When he comes to you willingly give him praise and a treat. Use the long line if he does not come (stay neutral!). Do NOT enter the area and start a confrontation while he is eating. Confronting him near the dish will only raise his anxiety level and make him guard it more.

 

You must stick to a strict Nothing in Life is Free program. That means if he wants anything he must work for it. If he comes over and indicates he wants to be petted ask him to obey a command. If he doesn't obey you ignore him. If you are going outside he must obey a command to exit the door. If he brings you a ball he must obey a command before you throw it. He must earn everything.

 

Practice associating the food dish with good things. Find a neutral area like outside in the yard (do not try this in the kitchen or wherever you have been feeding him). Have the dog on a long line. Place the EMPTY dish on the ground. Drop a treat in it. Do not attempt to touch or move the dish or touch the dog. Place another treat in it once he eats the first. After a few sessions of dropping treats in one at a time ask that he obey commands to get the treats. When you are done with a session or if he doesn't eat a treat walk away from the dish and call the dog to you. Praise and give a treat if he comes willingly. Remove him with the long line if he doesn't. Only pick up the dish after he is inside the house.

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I have just started this morning taking the bowl from him. He is only going to get feed 2 times a day for 1 hour at a time. if he doesn't eat all his food in that time frame sucks to be him, he doesn't eat until dinner now.

 

You're way nicer than me (especially to such an ingrate -- just kidding :rolleyes: ). When I had a dog who didn't inhale his meals (5 dogs ago), the food was down for 20 minutest max twice a day. In the scenario, you are describing I agree with the idea of feeding him by hand for now. I'd incorporate meal time into training sessions. Recalls. Sits and Downs. Stays. Tricks. Waiting to be released to food. Whatever you want really. Keeping it fun but food is no longer something that is just there and the dog is in charge of. On the subject of training, even if you don't incorporate it into meal times, I really think it would be a big benefit to do some obedience together. I find training a great way to build and maintain a solid relationship with your dog.

 

Good luck and let us know how you do.

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Agree with the advice here

 

Also I would try

Sitting with the empty bowl infront of you and dog infront of that

ask for a trick of some kind and when you get it drop some food in the bowl (just a small amount)

 

do this at meal times for a couple of days so he gets the hang of eating while you are there and it is no big deal and you are not going to take his food away

 

Then after he is fine with that progress to doing the same but putting a wee bit more food in the bowl and then when he is eating just casually dropping something even nicer in there with what he is eating

 

How about training him tricks with the bowl, Like putting it away? leaving treats in it? bowing to it?? anything really (possibly not tipping it over tricks - you might regret that)

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Thanks for all the advice. I have been letting Phoenix eat for 20 min the last few days since my post. If he doesnt eat his food in that timeframe he doesnt eat until dinner time. He still is being aggressive though. I just don't understand why he is being aggressive. Up to this point we have always had him free feeding. Hiw bowl has always been overflowing with food (not a big eater). We have NEVER taken his bowl from him, nor have we ever put our hands in his bowl. So to me, he has no reason to be like this. We don't even have another dog around, so he knows no one is going to take food from him. He get's treats from us all the time and we make him do tricks for them. I just don't know what to do.

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Thanks for all the advice. I have been letting Phoenix eat for 20 min the last few days since my post. If he doesnt eat his food in that timeframe he doesnt eat until dinner time. He still is being aggressive though. I just don't understand why he is being aggressive. Up to this point we have always had him free feeding. Hiw bowl has always been overflowing with food (not a big eater). We have NEVER taken his bowl from him, nor have we ever put our hands in his bowl. So to me, he has no reason to be like this. We don't even have another dog around, so he knows no one is going to take food from him. He get's treats from us all the time and we make him do tricks for them. I just don't know what to do.

 

Dave,

I looked back over your previous postings and thought this might be of good use to you.

http://www.pets.ca/articles/article-alphadog.htm

 

It's an article on how to deal with a dog that has assumed an 'alpha' position in the household -- I believe that this is what has happened with your Phoenix. Do heed the advice about free-feeding and keep up what you are now doing by scheduling it AND by having him sit and wait before you put the dish down.

 

If he's not eating when you put the bowl down then for the next few times I would:

(1) tell him sit,

(2) take a piece of kibble and feed it to him like a treat,

(3) put his bowl down and tell him to stay/wait

(4) Release him -- tell him he can eat (I say 'okay!').

 

He will quickly begin to look forward to his feeding time and sit and wait automatically. By free-feeding in the past, Phoenix has not associated you with his food -- it is there all the time and he never has to worry about where its coming from. He needs to know where his place is in your pack and will feel much more comfortable with your leadership. If you can follow these leads in the article, you can make sure that IN EVERY WAY Phoenix knows that he has to do something for you before he gets what he wants in return.

Ailsa

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Thanks Alisa.

 

I was thinking it could be something to do with extablishing Alpha with Phoenix. That article is very good. I have the Synergy book from Brad Pattision, and it is all about establishing Alpha. I will try a combination of these tecnhiques and the ones you posted above and see what that gets me.

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Thanks Alisa.

 

I was thinking it could be something to do with extablishing Alpha with Phoenix. That article is very good. I have the Synergy book from Brad Pattision, and it is all about establishing Alpha. I will try a combination of these tecnhiques and the ones you posted above and see what that gets me.

 

Dave,

Although I have not read Brad Pattison's books, I have watched him on television. If I were you, I would put his book in the fireplace and burn it. I find him extremely aggressive, reactionary and a show-off. Please replace his book with anything by Ian Dunbar, Patricia McConnell, or Karen Pryor http://www.amazon.ca/Dont-Shoot-Dog-Teachi...g/dp/0553380397

 

All books available through Amazon.ca

 

The whole notion of 'alpha' has been mis-interpreted and misrepresented by so many trainers; even the Monks of New Skete have regretted their 'alpha roll' direction to dog owners. I only mean it in as far as establishing hierarchy in a non-physically threatening way. As the article says, with your brain instead and as a pleasant dynamic not a threatening one.

Ailsa

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You know, reading this article. Everything they say really hits home. My dog thinks hes Alpha. I try so hard to establish alpha with my dog, i do the sit before anything stuff, food, treats, bathroom, and have been forever. But my wife doesnt.. She let's the dog sleep on the couch, gives him her yogurt container when she is done. And just let him be her boss. I think thats the hardest part about all of this, is as much as I try to establish this position with my dog my wife let's it revert back. And I let her do it.

 

This will be more like family bootcamp. Train the wife to train the dog. I think I may need more than a book in this case.

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You know, reading this article. Everything they say really hits home. My dog thinks hes Alpha. I try so hard to establish alpha with my dog, i do the sit before anything stuff, food, treats, bathroom, and have been forever. But my wife doesnt.. She let's the dog sleep on the couch, gives him her yogurt container when she is done. And just let him be her boss. I think thats the hardest part about all of this, is as much as I try to establish this position with my dog my wife let's it revert back. And I let her do it.

 

This will be more like family bootcamp. Train the wife to train the dog. I think I may need more than a book in this case.

 

I think when the dominance has become a problem, which it clearly has in your household, then it is time to get everyone on the same page. When you mentioned the yoghurt container, etc, I can say this is something both me and my DH do as well. But Skye is not a dominant dog and I have worked very consistently from day one to let her know what she can get away with and what she can't (not saying you haven't -- you clearly have -- but some dogs are more stubborn/maniacal than others :D ). In my house, DH is the softie and lets her get away with murder. Its just the way he is and its been a long battle getting him to follow the program -- but you can only do what you can do :rolleyes: . So that means I have to really work that much harder to ensure Skye knows the boundaries. Now if DH offers her something, she looks at me first to see if its ok. I think if you can effect a change with your wife, that would be great -- after all, training your dog is really all about training you. Maybe you can pick up some of these books and read them together. The Pryor book is really great for training spouses as well :D

Good luck and keep us informed,

Ailsa

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Great! Atleast I know that I am not the only person who has been in this situation my dog. It's nice to see people reaching out to help others. I have just purchased the "Don't shoot the dog" book. I wait its arrival so I can teach both dog and spouse the new way of the house.

 

I may be sleeping in the spare bedroom for the next few weeks lol.

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another concern of mine is my spouse wants to get a second dog. I keep telling her no, not until Phoenix is out of the puppy stage, and we have him under control. I just couldnt handle 2 dogs acting up lol.

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another concern of mine is my spouse wants to get a second dog. I keep telling her no, not until Phoenix is out of the puppy stage, and we have him under control. I just couldnt handle 2 dogs acting up lol.

 

You are a very wise man.

Ailsa

 

P.S. And don't let her tell you that a mini dog wouldn't be any trouble. As many here can tell you, its often the little guys that rule the entire household :rolleyes:

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I am glad Ailsa already told you about Brad Pattison....here's a link to a thread about him...

http://www.bordercollie.org/boards/index.p...l=Brad+Pattison

 

I agree with all the other info she's given you as well, and I don't mean to flood you with data, but I still think that hand feeding him would be the place to start. By controlling when and how much food he gets, you as the leader teach your dog it is your food and their survival depends on you. You become his lifeline. Everyone in your family should do this!

A few other really good leadership "games" to play are follow the leader, attach your dog to your waist with his leash and ignore him for 20 minutes everyday. Go about your regular routine. When time is up, ask for a behaviour he knows, like sit and then release him to do whatever. It will help him understand you are in charge and he will learn to pay attention to where you are all the time. And "shuffle through", not really a game, but it's good practice. If your dog gets in your way, do not go around him. Just shuffle through him until he moves out of your way, adding a command, we use "toot-toot". It's also a handy command when guests are around or you want him to get off the couch.

 

The funny thing is, my boyfriend used to play the same roll as your wife and Daisy snapped at him while he was trying to take a bone away from her. I've always warned him that he needed to be more assertive with her. He was always mr. fun time and she walked all over him. Don't get me wrong, I let her lick out my ice cream bowl, but only when I tell her it's ok. He let her do whatever she wanted. He got snapped at, I yelled at him like you wouldn't believe and told him he really needed to take this seriously. He started hand feeding her and the other things I mentioned for a few weeks and then he followed suit with the NILIF stuff I was doing. Now we have a much happier family!

 

You should really wait until you've got Pheonix under control and a little more grown up to get another dog...It would be a lot easier to bring a new dog into a structured family that has clear boundries set instead of a somewhat structured family trying to figure out what boundries to set....you know what I mean?

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I know exactly what you mean, and thats what I keep trying to tell my wife. Its not fair for Phoenix a puppy, (1 1/2) years old to try and train a puppy, nor is it fair to us to have that happen. I told her I don't want 2 screwed up dogs in the house. Her mentailty is that another dog will keep him busy and not bugging her. I said the only reason he bugs you is because he wants you to pet him, and stop playing with your laptop. lol.

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LOL.. Yes, so I have heard. And she wants a Jack Russell so it can keep up with Phoenix around the yard.

 

YIKES! No terriers! They are MORE stubborn than almost anything IMO. Esp. JRTs.

And he bugs her because he can -- i.e. she's never told him to 'go lie down' and actually meant it!

Ailsa

P.S. Thanks DaisyDuke for the back-up. I agree with you. Hand-feeding is probably the way to go for now. And the tethered-to-the-waist routine is also a really visceral way of getting Phoenix to the place where the OP and his wife call the shots, not him :D

 

ETA - I'm having lunch now -- don't any of you guys have any work to do??!! :rolleyes::D

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We have NEVER taken his bowl from him, nor have we ever put our hands in his bowl. So to me, he has no reason to be like this.

 

Many times dogs who become "guardy", don't have a reason that is perceptible to us. Sometimes it's just the way they are "wired".

 

With a dog like this, I would also hand feed and ask for behaviors for each piece for a while.

 

I would also start clicker training and once the dog is clicker savvy, I would start very actively desensitizing him to the bowl. I would use it as a target (with no food in it), teach him to walk arould it in a circle, teach him to touch it with his paw, etc. Once he understands that the bowl does not always mean food, you can start to doing exercises where you approach the bowl, and take it away from him when there is nothing in it and then gradually add the food back in.

 

Trading is another important skill for a food guardy dog to know. You just never know when you are going to need to get something of high value away and you need to be able to do so safely.

 

I have been very grateful that I taught our one dog who is somewhat food guardy (Sammie) to trade before I needed him to. He will actually trade me a groundhog he has killed for a piece of raw chicken. That has been handy on the occasions when he has decided that he wants to bring his freshly killed treasure into the house! I trade him at the door, he gets the chicken, I dispose of the critter (bletch!).

 

Emma Parson's book, "Click to Calm" has some good suggestions for dealing with resource guarding. You might want to check it out if you can.

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AAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! Where do I start?! :D

 

NO! NO! NO! No new dog yet. The "this will keep him company" thing is usually a huge mistake. That's like asking a two year old to babysit an infant. And what if they don't get along? More problems. NO JRT! :D Cute but frenetic! :D

 

As for DW, wow. I've been there. Actually, still am. Scooter has been a whole lot easier to train than DH! We still have arguments about things he lets him do, how much food he gives him, what kind of treats, how much exercise, etc. It's like if I say something, he does exactly the opposite. Somehow Scooter has managed to figure this all out and, amazingly, is quite well adjusted. It certainly makes raising a good citizen a whole lot harder when your significant other is hell bent on sabotaging everything you try to do, but it can be done. Scooter does things with DH he wouldn't dream of doing with me. Then DH complains because he doesn't like a certain behavior, or wonders why he behaves for me and not him! :rolleyes::D

 

Hang in there. Follow the good advice you've been given here. This issue didn't just start overnight and it may take a while before it's resolved. I sympathize with your situation with DW. Patience is the key to training both of them! :D

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ETA - I'm having lunch now -- don't any of you guys have any work to do??!! :rolleyes::D

 

HAHA! It's family day here....long week-end!

 

Trading is another important skill for a food guardy dog to know. You just never know when you are going to need to get something of high value away and you need to be able to do so safely.

 

Emma Parson's book, "Click to Calm" has some good suggestions for dealing with resource guarding. You might want to check it out if you can.

 

Yes, I forgot about trading! It's been a life saver! Of course, I mostly use it to get socks back, but once in a while I need it to get some "treasure" Daisy's found on the street or my chapstick. She can be testy when I give her raw meat, so I always sit down with her and play the trading game. She really has no issues trading me anything, she automatically thinks whatever is in my hand is better than what she's eating. She'll trade a pig foot for a piece of kibble....

 

I will second "Click to Calm" as well!

 

I don't really think that getting a terrier to keep Pheonix occupied is a good idea. JRT's can be a NIGHTMARE if poorly trained and getting another dog to occupy the current dog really is a disaster waiting to happen. Have you ever looked into puzzle toys for some mental stimulation while Pheonix is pestering your wife? He's bored, I'm sure, so why not invest in a couple of toys that will enrich him and keep him out of trouble? I find, and I am sure others will back me up on this one, that mental stimulation is way more effective than physical. Not that I'm saying stop walking your dog, but add in some trick training or a puzzle toy and you're laughing!

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Also I would try

Sitting with the empty bowl infront of you and dog infront of that

ask for a trick of some kind and when you get it drop some food in the bowl (just a small amount)

 

If you think your dog may nip you on accident when going for the food you may want to start with this.

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