Hi all, George here. Today I would like to discuss food guarding. A dog that growls or becomes aggressive around its food is not a respectful dog. It has developed a sense of entitlement that must be broken if you are to maintain your status as leader of the pack.
In the wild, when a pack of dogs returns from a hunt with some food, the alpha dog always eats first. The alpha will only allow the others to eat once he/she is done. When your dog growls at you over their food, they are showing that they believe they are entitled to that food before anyone else, and that it is theirs to control.
The biggest mistake I see people make that leads to this behavior is to leave food out 24/7. This gives the dog the idea that it is theirs to use as they please. Instead, you should have scheduled feeding times. Every time you are preparing to give the food to your dog, make them sit before you place it in front of them, and do not allow them to eat until you give them the command to. If your dog will not comply, or is being aggressive with you, take the food away. I assure you, your dog will not starve. When the next scheduled meal time rolls around, your dog will have a very different attitude, and will behave like the perfect lady or gentleman.
Remember, he who owns and controls the food is in charge. Be sure to check out my previous blog entry about jumping and biting for more tips on how to assert yourself as the leader of your pack here. Always remember, you can control your dog’s behavior by controlling your own.
Be sure to check back often for more tips and tricks on giving your pet the happiest and healthiest life possible. George Domsic is the owner at Benchmark Pet Services, and has more than 40 years experience in the field of dog training and psychology.