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New Food Agression
  • Lately since he has been losing baby teeth, our 5 month old Romeo has been doing some food guarding. This has become an increasingly bad problem.

    He gets his dinner when he comes home, eats some of it, and then sits and watches his bowl after he has eaten a portion of it. If we try to get near him/even walk around him he gets very agressive and growls/will bite if we try to touch him. This happened this morning when i tried to coax him out of his cage when it was time to wake up and go outside, because I had left his Kong in his pen with peanut butter in it. I opened the door, and he looked away from me and ignored me and snapped when i tried to put my hand near him (palm up below the chin/top of head of course).

    When we take away his food bowl/kong bone he acts normally and isn't aggressive anymore. I just don't understand what to do to stop this behavior! I know he's maybe guarding the food so we don't take it away from him but we have never taken food away in the past, and when we do now his behavior IMPROVES. So is it okay to take away his food when he is staring at it and guarding? because when we take it away he stops being a big old grump. Is it best to entice him with a piece of cheese/treat to get him away from the bowl then take it while hes eating the treat?

    Also: is it okay to smack him on the nose when he bites during these outbursts? Or no?

    Owner at Foxtrot Creative Studio. Dog mom to Romeo.
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    Since you are new to the forum.

    PLEASE remember to look up the many threads we have and read THROUGH them before posting your own situation and/or thread.

    To get you started.
    1. Do not smack him on the nose
    2. Please read through the following thread.

  • I actually just read through about 5 of these posts...

    I am just confused why, if he is so fearful of us taking his food, (which we never have before this guarding behavior started..) does his behavior improve when the food is taken away?
    Owner at Foxtrot Creative Studio. Dog mom to Romeo.
  • jennjenn
    Posts: 856
    Because the resource that he was guarding is no longer there for him to guard? Rigby went through this at the same age (his food bowl, not really anything else) and we just practiced hand feeding, adding good things to his bowl, and making us coming near his food bowl a good experience (treats and high value food items like chicken). Also working on impulse control commands like "wait" and "leave it" are great.
    Jenn, Shiba Slave to Rigby /
  • Okay. Well we do a lot of hand feeding with treats and my husband gives him kibble during the day by hand feeding, and I have also added treats to his bowl while he was eating before. He doesn't really mind when we approach him WHILE he is eating, it's just after when he doesn't eat all of his food, that he will sit and guard his bowl and bite if we I don't know quite what to do about this. While he is guarding, should I try to hand feed him a treat? I fear he'll eat the treat and go right back to guarding when he is done.
    Owner at Foxtrot Creative Studio. Dog mom to Romeo.
  • jennjenn
    Posts: 856
    After he's done eating, the bowl should be removed so there's nothing left to guard. Rig eats all of his food rather quickly so we've never had this problem, but I would probably give a command like "go to bed", crate him, then give him a treat. At that time, remove the bowl since he is done eating, then let him out of his crate.
    Jenn, Shiba Slave to Rigby /
  • Thank you so much! I am going to try this tonight and we will see how it goes. He's pretty good at the "go to bed" command, and loves his crate, so hopefully it works. Thank you for the advice!
    Owner at Foxtrot Creative Studio. Dog mom to Romeo.
  • jennjenn
    Posts: 856
    @madisonmonster of course! good luck and let us know how it goes.
    Jenn, Shiba Slave to Rigby /
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1106
    Main thing to remember is to not justify any of his fear by taking his resources away in front of him. Remove them after you have coaxed him to a different room, or taken him outside. The anxiety only exists while the object is present, but once it is gone he can relax. You can also work on trades for value items - but this is a process you have to work up to, starting with low value items and lots of repetition.

    If he's teething, his mouth might hurt too much to eat, even though he wants to. Maybe stop giving hard chews, and soften his kibble with water for a little while. He may also be going through a developmental fear period, and is extra paranoid right now.

    Other threads list lots of resources to read, but it's also a good idea to work with a trainer who can help formulate a desensitization plan. It can be a lot of work, and the support is important.

    Good luck!
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8587
    @madisonmonster - We request that if there is an existing thread on a topic to post in the one that is most relevant to your issue instead of starting a new thread. This was explained in your intro post, but it is to help keep the forum neater and information easier to find for those who might have similar issues.

    Since there are multiple threads regarding resource guarding, I am going to close this one. Read through those threads, see if any of the advice already given may help your situation and try them. If you still have questions/concerns, post them in an existing thread that is most relevant to your issue.

    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
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