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Food guarding

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Hi everyone,


I am just after some advice regarding funny behaviour around food in my 1 year old pup, Mac. From day one, whenever I fed Mac, i made sure to put my hand in his bowl, touch his head etc, so I was confident he wasn't going to snap at me or anyone else if I needed to take food off him etc for any reason. He was great with this and we never had a problem. About 4 months ago, Mac spent a few days at a kennel when we were out of town and not able to take him too. This was his first time at a kennel. He came home and we noticed that if we tried to touch him while he was eating he would growl and stop eating, tail would go between legs and he would shake! The kennel owners said dogs are always separated for feeding so I am just assuming he was upset just by even having dogs in the kennel next door! He was very timid at that time and I was anxious about how he would cope with all the other dogs. Since then he growls every time we touch him around his bowl, I can take bones and other things off him no problem but his biscuits are a no deal! I have tried the approach I used when he was a pup, touching or patting for a minute then leaving him to it, sitting beside him while he eats etc but it doesn't seem to be working! I don't feel its an aggressive growl and I don't feel nervous putting my hand in his bowl, I think its more to indicate that he's worried about the situation and I don't want him to be stressed around his food! Does anyone have any techniques they have used to combat this kind of behaviour?


Thanks in advance, Nat and Mac.

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Yep ^^^. Try tossing an extra yummy treat while you casually walk by and keep walking.


I had to leave my Gibbs alone over night because of a medical emergency. After I got back and got him home from the kennel, he had 'nightmares' for a couple days. He trembled and whined a lot several times each night while asleep for a 2 or 3 nights. Gradually went back to normal sleepy wuffs at a normal amount/intensity. I think dogs, perhaps particularly more 'people attuned' dogs like border collies, can have emotional responses to what is traumatic for them.


Hope he comes around soon,


Ruth & Gibbs

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Things like this are the reasons I prefer to have a dog sitter come in and take care of my dogs at home. They don't even need to sty overnight, as long as the dogs are let out first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and once or twice during the day. I think they're much less stressed being at home than they are going to a kennel. Maybe you and a trusted friend could even swap dog sitting.


I think this applies to most dogs, but especially these super sensitive breeds like our border collies.


I think the tip about adding some yummy tidbits to his food while he's eating is excellent advice. Good luck helping him regain his confidence and getting back to normal.

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We had resource guarding issues with our pup too. We tried several things with her food bowl guarding. The thing that worked for us was to pick up her bowl, put her kibble in it, then ask her to sit before putting the food down. If she breaks the sit, we bring the food back up until she holds the sit. Once the food is down, we give her a release word and she can eat. We still do this now even though she no longer guards her bowl, mainly because it's easy and hopefully might prevent her from resuming her old guarding behavior.


I also dropped high value treats in her bowl like others mentioned, but did this outside of her regular meal times.

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