Dog Food Aggression

Rod wrote to me about dog food aggression and said, “Yesterday my one year-old dog took a sausage package from the garbage can and when I tried to take it out of her mouth, she acted very agressive. In fact, she bit me when I finally took it out of her mouth.

She never showed this type of behavior before and I have taken things out of her mouth before, even food, without her objecting much. It was like she was another dog yesterday.

I have been training her, and as you suggest she has to earn everything as described in your book “Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer” – Nothing In Life Is Free. She sits before getting her food, before going through doors. I am even teaching her “leave it” with some success so far.

It really amazes me this sudden change, how can I correct it, and is there a probable cause of this behavior?

What You Do In Response To
Dog Food Aggression Is What’s Important

I replied to his question about dog food aggression by asking:

Well, for one thing, at a year old she’s just at the age to start trying to raise her pack position, plus the sausage package was a very high value treat to her.

When she started acting aggressive and finally bit you, what did you do? How did you react to her challenge?

Rod responded with:

When she growled I shook her collar and kept trying to take it out of her mouth.

When I finally took it out, she bit me. Then I grabbed her by her collar and took her out.

I started working with her today on being calm around food.  I would like any advice you can give me.

To which my response was:

The dog was in a excited state and you in return showed an excited state. The leader of a pack is usually the one that is stronger
faster and controls either the game or possession.

It does not sound like you are using the techniques I describe in the book, to correct your dog?  Remember: Your dog needs to be wearing the training collar and tab– anytime you’re interacting with her, so that you have a way to communicate that replicates how the pack leader would communicate with the subordinate dogs.  There is no, “Grabbing the collar and shaking the dog.” That’s not a technique I advocate or have found to work.

I have a more detailed explanation as to how to correct your dog for this type of behavior in the chapter titled: “Food Aggression: Why Dogs Do It, And How To Fix It.”  If you need further help with the dog food aggression , please continue to post on our discussion forum.