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Food Aggression..


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We've been battling this new behavior for a while now. Layla has been with us since 8 weeks old and all seemed well. We fed her by hand early on and now she's down right freightning at feeding time. Snarles, growls, teeth, etc. It has gotten a little worse since Gus our rescue came home in October. Layla is isolated from him at feeding. She eats in the kitchen and Gussy eats in his crate. We have zero problems with him. He's happy, happy, happy.. Before spending $$ with a behaviorist I want to get some input from the boards.

 

Thanks,

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Guest echoica
We've been battling this new behavior for a while now. Layla has been with us since 8 weeks old and all seemed well. We fed her by hand early on and now she's down right freightning at feeding time. Snarles, growls, teeth, etc. It has gotten a little worse since Gus our rescue came home in October. Layla is isolated from him at feeding. She eats in the kitchen and Gussy eats in his crate. We have zero problems with him. He's happy, happy, happy.. Before spending $$ with a behaviorist I want to get some input from the boards.

 

Thanks,

 

1. Practice NILIF all the time: http://k9deb.com/nilif.htm

 

2. Trade out the kibble for a higher value item (eg. really smelly and soft human food). Would look something like this: Dog receives regular kibble food. You hold out really enticing higher value food and happily - not heistantly - call your dog over for it (start at a distance the dog can accept without guarding and then move closer through repetitions). Wave the high value food around to let the aroma get to the dog. Require sit/stay. Do not feed out of your hand (to avoid potential bite) -- put on the floor (only when the sit/stay is accomplished with NO growling or unacceptable behaviour. Release with OK. Under no circumstances is the dog allowed to take the food without your permission (you might have to work on your sit/stay independently if it is not solid). When dog eats higher value item remove regular food. Make sure the dog sees you doing this. Again, no hesitation...dog picks up on that and it is not helpful. Require sit/stay. Return kibble. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. It changes the association the dog has with feeding time by making the relinquishment of the regular food/kibble something awesome rather than something negative. Dog thinks "OHHHH here take it...I don't care...I might get something better!". Do NOT correct punitively when a dog is guarding...this can backfire and make the situation a whole heckuva lot worse.

 

I hope this helps :rolleyes:

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I second that book!!!!

 

You say you used to hand feed, can you go back to that? Or does she get ornery when you try to hand feed? You also say she's gotten a little worse since your new dog arrived. Can she see him from where she's eating? Even though he's crated, the sight of him could possibly be making it worse. I've personally noticed that when I have 3 dogs in my house, they all tend to eat faster. They are all kept in different areas, but can usually see at least one other dog and that food goes down their gullets like you wouldn't believe.

 

I think if you read Mine! and read up on NILIF you should be able to get the problem under control. If she's ok with taking food from you in general and I might even suggest skipping formal diner time and break up her meals into training sessions so that she has to work for her kibble. That is a lot of work, I know. If you can't manage that time commitment every day, maybe every couple of days between working on the resource guarding.

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