PDA

View Full Version : Food aggression



sarahso
9th December 2010, 07:43 PM
Baxter is being a horror with the other dogs at feeding time..

they are all fed seperately.. Kitas in kitchen, Poppy & Baxter in the living room.
Baxter has his at one end and Poppy used to be next to him, we have had to move her to the other end of the room as he eye balls her and barks at her and will even attack her, leaving his own dish with food still in it to have a go at her.
i always watch them and correct his behaviour straight away, but the last two weeks he has got worse. he even sits looking at his dish when all the others have finished and woe betide anydoggy that walks past.. he will have a grumble or bark even at Thor who did tell him off the other day.

Yesterday morning, i put them in the kitchen Poppy & baxter and gave them their dentastix while i popped out, i forgot something and had to come in and heard Baxter really growling and yapping at poppy who was sat in a corner!

I have removed treats when he behaves like this, seperated and not allowed him to approach the others food and firmly told him no.. but it is actually getting worse not better..

any suggestions?

Desrae
9th December 2010, 08:39 PM
Oh gosh, that sounds very stressful for you and the other dogs! How old is Baxter? Is he sick? Is he neutered? These might be some things to consider that are affecting his behaviour.
I've read that hand feeding is good for this, but I think that is food aggression towards humans. What you are doing is good, maybe you just have to keep reinforcing it and keep a close eye on him.

Kizzys Mum
9th December 2010, 09:25 PM
Bella has the potential to behave like this, and she is always the first to finish because she doesn't seem to chew! She is fed in a crate alone and all of the other dog bowls are removed before she is let out of the crate. She also has chewy treats in her crate and is quite happy with the arrangement :) Bella seems to feel that she (and her food!) are safe in the crate, so she doesn't need to guard. May be worth a try with Baxter? But also worth checking if there is a medical reason as Desrae suggested.

sarahso
9th December 2010, 10:39 PM
i dont think its medical.. he has always been a little horror with food but it has got worse over the last couple of weeks.

he is neutered and has just turned 1 - he was neutered at about 7 months.

I know this sounds ridiculous, but its like he is frightened of his dish.. we have had to remove his collar for eating and he has had so many different bowls! he now has a saucer type.. we put this down to his overbite and knocking the dish but i dont think it is as if he got the chance would quite happily eat out of all the others bowls! he will sit staring at his dish for ages! and then decide to eyeball poppy.. or just try to push her out of the way when he is told no and removed he then sits on the sofa watching her.. not go to his own dish and continue eating! none of the others dogs touch his food at all they all know they are not allowed in each others bowls, but Baxter seems to think he is above the rules!

Zumie05
9th December 2010, 11:07 PM
Some dogs will bark at their own rear ends and attack themselves due to such high desire to protect their own food. I would feed him two or three pieces in his bowl, wait until he looks up at you wondering where the rest is, and continue that. He will hopefully realize more and more that this is YOUR food that you decide to share with him. If other dogs come near and bother you guys, YOU tell them off so he does not have to.

Hope this helps.

Soushiruiuma
10th December 2010, 12:20 AM
I'd crate him for dinner, give him extra time because of his overbite (if that slows him down). Maybe a quiet place where he can't see anyone else eating?

sarahso
10th December 2010, 08:57 AM
thanks guys..

the other dogs know they are not allowed to go near each other food bowls so Baxter should feel "safe" eating!

i will try putting him a room on his own to see if he eats any better, il also try the bit at a time..

with two akitas and two cavs.. i never thought it would be the little ones with thses problems!:badgrin:

Fifer
10th December 2010, 12:40 PM
Try hand feeding everything for 3/4 days see if that makes a difference. I do that with food aggressive fosters and they usually realise after 3/4 days that it is your food which you are giving them. Good luck :grin:

sarahso
10th December 2010, 03:27 PM
the little horror has done it again.. gave them both dentastix he wolfed his down and then attempted to get poppys off her i went to get it off him & he took a pop at me i removed from his mouth with him growling at me and then lifted his food bowl up with his breakfast in and again he was growling with intent!

i just dont understand why he has suddenly got so much worse and is doing this, he started getting a bit iffy with Poppy and food, but this last two weeks he has been terrible.

il certainly be seperating and trying the hand feed from tonight.

it has been sugested to feed him last after all the other dogs - do you think this is a good idea?

Desrae
10th December 2010, 09:17 PM
I don't know, but he needs to be put in his place! Do you get stern with him? My dogs are very good (except the odd bit of mischief) but if I put on my stern voice they know I mean business. Make sure he knows you're the boss, don't back down on him!

Maybe feeding him last would be a good idea, but let's see what the other more seasoned dog owners have to say...

Karen and Ruby
10th December 2010, 09:58 PM
Feeding him last is part of a pack mentality way of thinking. The lowest pack member eats last and gets what left.

he will get worse if he gets away with it. I would try teaching him a 'trade' command where he swaps something nice with something else nice. He obviously feels he has something to worry about it.
Ruby guards her chews with INTENT! Any rawhide, pigs ears or bones whe will fight me for and she really growls and gets angry BUT she has never ever bothered about her food. Its clearly not as high value to her to have to bother.

Even if he is agressive with the other dogs he cant be with you. I would maybe try also having his food bowl in your hands and feeding him it bit by bit which gives you control over the bowl and doesnt let him take over it. If you then lower it down and he lunges for it then you have hold to be able to take it away.

The nice way to do it is by teaching him to trade with you. Thats what is known as positive training and the other is more along the other way of thinking. If your not nice with it you wont have it.

sarahso
11th December 2010, 12:59 AM
Baxter has never been bothered with me and food before this morning.. im really shocked at why and how this has happened and escalated so quickly..

positive & negative results at tonights feed..

I seperated them both first but they were scratching & barking to get to each other so tried seperate ends of the room.. still no joy, when Thor had finished eating i allowed him into the room with baxter (under my supervision) and put poppy in the kitchen on her own, she wouldnt eat but Baxter did.. Baxter behaved perfectly, allowed me to hand feed & remove food from his bowl & put in not a murmur... Poppy on the other hand would not go near her bowl.. i seperated them and she wouldnt eat, i put them back together & she wouldnt eat.. i ended up with her bowl between my feet hand feeding her all of her tea! and not allowing Baxter to go near it.. which he did take notice of so whilst im pleased that Baxter will learn and this is positive... obviously a long way to go and he wont be getting high reward treats or food whilst with any of the others on his own.

im worried at the effects this has had on poppy, she even wet herself when i went to pick her up and move her away from Baxter

egoebelbecker
11th December 2010, 01:15 AM
the little horror has done it again.. gave them both dentastix he wolfed his down and then attempted to get poppys off her i went to get it off him & he took a pop at me i removed from his mouth with him growling at me and then lifted his food bowl up with his breakfast in and again he was growling with intent!

i just dont understand why he has suddenly got so much worse and is doing this, he started getting a bit iffy with Poppy and food, but this last two weeks he has been terrible.

il certainly be seperating and trying the hand feed from tonight.

it has been sugested to feed him last after all the other dogs - do you think this is a good idea?

Feeding first or last is unlikely to help with this. This is resource guarding. Very severe resource guarding.

Trying to play games with rank, like feeding last or "putting him in his place" is more likely to make it worse, either by escalating the immediate problem or suppressing the behavior until he finally explodes and seriously injures someone.

A few people asked about health issues. Have you been to the vet since this got worse? I can't tell you how many times I have seen aggression issues increase or manifest because of an underlying issue with pain. Dogs mask pain, and then oftentimes get cranky.

In the meantime, instead of feeding before after the other dog(s), think about "elsewhere."

Resource guarding is a pretty serious type of aggression, and it is the #1 reason why children get bit (http://www.dogstardaily.com/blogs/why-do-dogs-bite-children). I can't cite a study but I believe that getting into between aggression between 2 dogs would be in the top 5 for how adults get bit. You tried to get in the middle and he redirected on to you - very common.

I strongly recommend talking to a local trainer or behaviorist after the vet checkup.

sarahso
11th December 2010, 01:21 AM
thank you, im at the vets with one of the others tomorrow and had thought of taking him with me, i will definately do that to rule anything out medically.

thank you

sarahso
11th December 2010, 08:36 PM
Baxter had a check up today at the vets and nothing untoward was found.. he appears healthy happy and twice as lively!

we have been advised to continue the way we are feeding him.. ie putting things in his bowl & taking out at each meal time, which is what i had been doing - no issues at all.

it seems to be with high reward treats, and at his walk today he was fine waiting for him & poppy to have a treat etc.. im going to continue this way and monitor carefuly hopefuly we will over come this by watching and feeding carefuly at meal times, we have been told if there is no improvement in a month or so to go back with him and they will refer to a behaviourist.

sarahso
18th December 2010, 04:24 PM
just a quick update..

we have been working with Baxter.. and poppy with the feeding and things much better!

he is fine now around her food and around his own, he doesnt go near her dish - obviously im in the room so wouldnt trust him if i wasnt! Poppy is now eating her own food, because Baxter was having a go she stopped eating unless i gave it to her, if she doesnt eat it now im removing it and trying her again later - she has soon realised that no one is going to bully her for it!

Dentastix seem to be the cause mainly of setting him off, so they are getting half and then when baxter has eaten his im keeping his attention with little bits of his food which he has to work for ie. sit stay wait etc so positive progress

Desrae
20th December 2010, 09:52 PM
That's good news. Keeping them working for their food is a good idea.

Karlin
21st December 2010, 02:42 AM
It isn't advisable to punish, scold etc for this kind of behaviour -- or ever to take away whatever is valued. All this does is tend to make the problem considerably worse -- it reinforces that he has every right to be protective because things get taken if he doesn't protect them.

Dogs that do this are NOT trying to be 'the top dog'. They tend -- as in Dunbar notes -- to be anxious middle dogs. That is why the 'put the dog in it place' techniques are often catastrophic and accelerate this behaviour.

It is common behaviour but it can quickly grow into a very serious problem (and may require a trainer's help if it keeps getting worse or if you are feeling overwhelmed about how to address it). In general, owners of a puppy should start training to swap items to prevent resource guarding from day one -- but that's obviously hard to do with older new arrivals and rescue dogs!b but you can start right away now, too. :thmbsup:

Here is Ian Dunbar on the issue and how to swap for another item:
http://www.dogstardaily.com/training/guarding-valued-objects

I'd recommend feeding Baxter inside a crate -- it isn't fair on Poppy to have to defend her food or be cornered and leaving him out risks a serious fight. Also a lot of dogs simply cannot be given treats while loose together -- trainers often recommend giving high value treats like chews in crates or only with you right there and the dogs well apart and out of eyesight of each other. I could never ever leave Jaspar and Leo together with any kind of a chew and have to watch them all the time. The girls are all fine and don't bicker at all.

Zumie05
21st December 2010, 03:28 AM
the little horror has done it again.. gave them both dentastix he wolfed his down and then attempted to get poppys off her i went to get it off him & he took a pop at me i removed from his mouth with him growling at me and then lifted his food bowl up with his breakfast in and again he was growling with intent!

i just dont understand why he has suddenly got so much worse and is doing this, he started getting a bit iffy with Poppy and food, but this last two weeks he has been terrible.

il certainly be seperating and trying the hand feed from tonight.

it has been sugested to feed him last after all the other dogs - do you think this is a good idea?

Never take their food or things away! That will only make him think he has to try harder next time to protect his food so it won't get taken away. Instead he needs his desire to protect his food to diminish, so making him feel safe and comfortable around his food is the idea.

Feeding him in a different room and not giving high value treats in the same room as the other dogs are both definite good ideas. Also, while he is eating, practice dropping high value treat tidbits into his dish (like a piece of chicken) until he starts to anticipate and look forward to you coming near his food dish. You can also do this while he chews on high value treats. This may take days of practice, but the idea is that when you come close good thngs happen. I would just not let him have high value stuff around the other dogs...maybe unless they are all on leash or something, but I don't know how fair that would be :\