Food Aggression in Dogs: Causes and Cure

What Is Food Aggression?

Food aggression is a behavior in which your dog bites or otherwise attacks another animal when it is presented with a treat. Some examples are:

Biting the hand that feeds him (food)

Picking up a toy that belongs to someone else (toy) or even eating something from their hands (chicken bones) – this may happen if the person gives the dog some treats while he’s playing with them.

The reason behind this behavior is not known. However, there are several theories about its cause.

One theory suggests that food aggression is caused by a lack of socialization with humans and other animals. Another theory suggests that food aggression is due to an underlying medical condition such as pancreatitis or liver disease. A third theory suggests that food aggression may be a result of psychological issues such as fear, anxiety, boredom or loneliness.

How Do You Know If Your Dog Has Food Aggression?

If your dog starts attacking another dog, it means that he is probably displaying food aggression. There are many ways to tell whether your dog exhibits food aggression or not. You can try these methods:

Watch out for sudden changes in your dog’s behavior. For example, if he becomes very aggressive towards a small cat, then he might have food aggression problems.

Also watch out for signs of depression and lethargy in your pet. If a certain animal is always left alone and isolated from the rest of the pack, there are high chances that they will become food-aggressive.

Always make sure that your dog has not eaten before you take him to the park. If he has just eaten, there are high chances that your dog’s behavior will be more aggressive than usual.

If you have multiple pets, then it is possible that one or more of them may display food aggression towards others. If this is the case, then it is best to separate them until they are all hungry at the same time.

What Is The Best Way To Train My Dog?

It is possible that your dog may not be ready to attend training classes. Alternatively, you can hire a private trainer or seek out assistance from a veterinary behaviorist. The most important thing is that your dog is comfortable with the entire process. It is not uncommon for dogs to be fearful of new situations. If this seems to be the case with your pet, then it may be best to try another method of training. Your dog should be able to interact with humans and other animals without getting scared or nervous.

How To Stop Food Aggression In Dogs?

It is important to solve any underlying medical problems before you start trying to treat the behavior. Dogs can become food aggressive for a number of reasons such as an unpleasant experience with another dog or even a person. A dog that has experienced an unpleasant experience may react aggressively when it is faced with a similar situation in the future. For example, if a person tries to take away his bone and he fights back, the person may get hurt. The dog may learn to associate people with danger and act aggressively whenever a person approaches him and takes something. It is important that you find the root of this problem before trying to solve it.

You need to start working on this issue immediately. When your dog displays food aggression it can be dangerous for your pet as well as other animals in the house.

You need to find out why your pet is behaving aggressively over food. This behavior can be corrected if you take some time and effort.

There are many ways in which you can solve this problem. You could try using an aversive technique or you could try positive reinforcement.

Both types of training have proven to be effective in stopping this problem, however the use of aversive techniques is becoming outdated and is not as widely used anymore.

Using Aversives To Stop Food Aggression

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There are many different types of aversive techniques that you can use to solve this problem. You could try making the food taste bad, you could make the bowl move around or you could give an electric shock.

The first two techniques are more common since they are safer for the pet and there is less risk that you will do any lasting damage.

One of the most common aversive techniques used is called “hiding” the food. What you need to do is take the dog’s bowl and put it somewhere inconvenient.

This might be a cupboard, the refrigerator or even the neighbor’s house. You then need to leave it there for a couple of hours. After a few hours, you should bring the food back and give it to the dog. After a few days of this treatment, most dogs will start leaving the food alone when it is uneaten for a few hours.

Another common technique is adding an ingredient to the dog’s food that makes it taste really bad. You can get these additives from most pet stores and they come in liquid or powder form.

Most of these products have a foul taste that is difficult to wash away. After the dog has eaten some food with this additive on it, it will no longer be interested in eating its food. This method is basically harmless and causes no physical side effects to the dog at all.

Using Positive Reinforcement To Stop Food Aggression

The other popular technique used is positive reinforcement. This is where a stimulus is applied to the animal that causes it to behave in a certain way.

In this case, we want the dog to stop behaving aggressively around food. The way in which this can be achieved is by using what is called a “collar”. A collar can be made out of many different materials but the most common are nylon or leather. The collar has metal studs on it called “darts”. These are positioned behind the dog’s ears and around its throat. The collar is fastened tightly so that the darts press into the animal’s neck.

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When the dog begins to show signs of aggression, the owner gives a command such as “down”. The dog will then lie down, at which point the owner praises it and gives it a treat.

This procedure needs to be carried out every time the pet acts aggressively towards its food. Over a long period of time the dog will associate its owner with being fed. As soon as it acts aggressively, the owner gives the command and shows dominance. Eventually, the pet should stop displaying this behavior altogether.

Sources & references used in this article:

Behavioral assessment of child-directed canine aggression by IR Reisner, FS Shofer, ML Nance – Injury Prevention, 2007 – injuryprevention.bmj.com

Chronic stress in dogs subjected to social and spatial restriction. I. Behavioral responses by B Beerda, MBH Schilder, JANA Van Hooff… – Physiology & …, 1999 – Elsevier

Differential diagnosis and management of human-directed aggression in dogs by IR Reisner – Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice, 2003 – vetsmall.theclinics.com

Dog Aggression Elimination at Rutgers (DAggER) by E Conway, S Lipari, C Macalush, N Rivas, JM Fagan – 2010 – rucore.libraries.rutgers.edu

Clinical classification of canine aggression by BV Beaver – Applied animal ethology, 1983 – Elsevier