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food aggression/guarding between dogs
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
    So here's a training question for you folks...

    Background: Bowdu's our shiba, he's about five years old, male, neutered, we've had him since he's a puppy, pretty familiar with his quirks and oddities, love him to pieces, etc. He's been the only dog in the house until about two months ago, when we added Bowpi the basenji. After some initial trials, they've learned to get along very nicely, mainly because her personality complements his on some of the things that he's sensitive about, such as *food*. She's not very interested in food, and doesn't even bother to come into the dining room during dinner or snack times, which is when Bowdu is accustomed to mooching from the humans.

    Yes, yes, we permit our dog to mooch from the dinner table. He's always been super "polite" about it, sitting beautifully and silently through the entire course of the meal until the very end, when we usually give him a tiny scrap or let him lick the plate. The fact that he's not a nuisance is why we've let him do it for so long.

    Bowdu turns into a bit of a demon when another dog is present though. He will lunge at the other dog and snarl and maybe bite if he perceives that the other dog is getting too close. Bowpi learned this very early on when she dared to enter the kitchen when I was preparing some food and Bowdu lunged at her (we did correct him to let him know that wasn't permissible, but he gave her a good scare and she has since stayed out of his way). Food is not currently a problem between them, especially since we feed them in totally different rooms.

    This week, however, I am dogsitting for a friend's Welsh Terrier, who is VERY, VERY, VERY food-oriented. The terrier's favorite room is the kitchen. He sometimes takes naps in front of the refrigerator or his bag of kibble, claiming it as his favorite spot. He's a notorious counter-surfer and crumb-inhaler. You can't so much as peel a banana without him wandering into the kitchen and checking out the grub.

    We've dogsat for this Welsh Terrier many times (Bowdu's been in his company about... three months total over the past few years?), but this is the first time that we've had three dogs in the house. In the past, Bowdu and the WT have circled the dinner table during mealtimes and stayed out of each other's way. Bowdu will sometimes show his teeth in a very scary-looking snarl. Early on, when the WT didn't heed that, Bowdu has snapped and lunged, the dogs were separated, and dinner moved on; nobody was hurt, and everything quickly went back to normal when the food was put away. Since those early days, I got accustomed to keeping Bowdu in check by telling him "No" or "Cut it out" -- which I guess redirects his attention back to me, and the food, and the fact that the food comes from me.

    This time however, Bowdu hasn't been so quick to "decompress", as it were, when I try to redirect his attention from snarling at the WT. I'm afraid he feels like the stakes are higher, knowing that there's a third dog lurking around the corner (even if she's not in the kitchen)... or whatever is making him act more anxious. It's making human eating times a little stressful.

    I don't expect this to be "fixed" by the time the WT goes home, which is in five days. The simplest solution is just to not allow any of the dogs to be in the room mooching when humans are eating, which is what I'm doing for the time being. But I'm wondering if you folks have any suggestions on how to work with Bowdu so that, over time, he might be less reactive around this combination of food and other dogs?

    Some other info -- the dogs are always fed separately. In the past, we've leashed up the WT and let Bowdu roam free during their mealtimes in the kitchen. Bowdu will finish his bowl and be done with it, leaving the other dog alone. The WT, whose bowl was always put down second, eats ravenously fast, often finishing before Bowdu; he'll move towards Bowdu's bowl when he's done and if he wasn't leashed back, he would probably get too close, which would have started a fight. However, I can feed the WT and my basenji together in the same room, unleashed. They have no issues with each other when it comes to food.

    Bowdu has absolutely no problem with humans interfering with his dinner. We can hand-feed him, we can stick our fingers into his bowl while he's eating, we can pick up his bowl and inspect it and he doesn't get upset. But another dog can't even move within 2 feet of his face (movement is key here -- if another dog is just sitting by, he's not upset, but if they're constantly pacing or get too close, he whines, bares his teeth, snaps or lunges). This is where I'm having difficulty understanding how to work with him, especially in terms of rewards and redirecting his behavior. If he's getting upset because another dog is perceived to be getting between him and food, wouldn't "Hey, lookit me," then giving him a reward (food) just reaffirm that he was "right" (in his mind) to be anxious about the food? I feel like the only ways I can think of to work with this issue are punishment-based (stopping him only when he lunges), or very unnatural (i.e., one behaviorist we've talked to in the past has said that he is actually communicating very clearly as a dog when he snarls, and you can't really teach him NOT to behave as a dog -- I just don't want him to lunge or try to bite).

    So thanks for reading this long description and thanks in advance for any help.

    [mod edit: re-categorized due to addition of new category]image
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
    Post edited by sunyata at 2013-06-06 10:12:48
  • ShibatasticShibatastic
    Posts: 143
    Eek, it sounds like you have your hands full... I have two dogs now and ones an old german shep and a brand new shiba pup and so far no problems. I definitely keep and eye out when im feeding my shep and little keida comes strolling by to take a wiff. And visa versa. I don't let them take the other's food ever.

    When I used to have a black lab and my old german shep, i HAD to feed them in separate areas or with two food bowls at the same time next to each other. I watched them constantly and if one started sniffing i'd correct him. The important thing is to let them know that the one they're eating is the only one they can touch.

    The reason why he might not snarl at you is because you're the dominant one or that he's used to you handling the food. The problem arises when there are multiple dogs and they're trying to settle a hierarchy of who's the top dog underneath you.

    I would make sure to treat them both equally in all aspects outside of food as well. DONT feed one and let the others roam around. Feed together (next to each other) at the same time, feed apart at the same time, or feed one at a time with the others not around. Feeding them next to each other helps to show them that they're at the same level. And would probably make the dogs more comfortable around each other during eating times.

    Feeding a dog before another makes that dog more dominant. From what I've read about dog behavior, the alpha eats first, then it goes down the hierarchy.

    Remember, leash all the dogs before doing any of these things to prevent any fights and to do time proper corrections if you practice aversion. I only use leash tugs and touches if it's something I REALLY don't allow (fighting, growling, serious nipping)

    I wish you the best of luck!

  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
    It's great that your Basenji and Shiba get along! I love Basenjis too, but don't have one, but it can be hard to mix dogs.

    I'd view this as a management issue rather than a training issue, and would handle it that way, which I think would be easier and safer for the dogs. By that I mean I would do what you've been doing,which is to keep them separate at feeding time. I do believe your Shiba is feeling more anxious when their is a third dog there, and is showing it by guarding his resources (you and food) more vigilantly. You may be able to train him out of this with counter-conditioning training (and perhaps someone who has done that can speak to that) but I'd think it would be easier and safer to simply not let all the dogs be together during feeding time, because if there is a slip in the training, someone could get very badly hurt. I totally understand your desire for a non-aversive way of dealing with this, so I'll be interested in what others come up with.

    to the alpha stuff, well, the alpha theories of dominance have been pretty well disproved. I also think the idea of feeding them next to each other is a recipe for disaster if one dog is food aggressive. There are going to be fights unless one dog is willing to let a bolder dog take it's food (which is what used to happen when my male Shiba was fed with the other dogs--my GSD just let him take his food as he wanted to avoid conflict). I feed my male Shiba in his crate all the time now, and there are no more issues with food. But it sounds like you've already been feeding them separately.

    I also know what you mean about letting them be around the dinner table when you're eating (esp. the polite distance--we're watching for something to fall, but we're not going to be pushy about it! That's how both my Shibas are). I just take turns--one is out one day, one out another day. But then again, my Shibas are always separated anyway. But I had to kind of smile to see that I'm not the only one who doesn't mind having the dogs around the dinner table and giving them an occasional scrap if they are good....
    Post edited by shibamistress at 2010-05-17 17:36:23
  • StaticNfuzzStaticNfuzz
    Posts: 1814
    I am not sure I would buy into the dominance theory to address this. Possession can get a bit more complex in many cases. I think there are several things that underplay with animals that are food possessive, lack of self-control, possibly a lack of confidence, and opportunistic defense in relation to direct or perceived competition. It can be challenging and tricky and you are absolutely correct, not usually easily resolvable in one week. I would not get hung up on alpha theory or leash tugs. Often aggression begets aggression when handling especially with possession situations.

    Look to the following to address resource guarding and to avoid making matters worse:

    Jean Donaldson, “Mine”
    Patricia McConnell “Feisty Fido”
    Jean Donalson “Dogs are from Neptune”

    A good idea would be able to establish a solid “leave it” activity individually with your possessive dog before allowing another dog to be fed in the same space. I would feed at the same time but NOT in the same space. If you are able to block off with a gate or pen that is the best bet.

    The concept behind the leave it behavior is to teach your dog some self control. “Hey, leave that forbidden item alone and I have something better for you!" This is challenging as most forbidden items are things the dog really wants, like dropped food, others kibble, dropped Kleenex or even a grease splattered floor. First the goal is to focus on you, through a type of “watch me” exercise that overlaps that with “leave it”.

    In terms of leave it your must first get the behavior

    #1 Put a treat (I use 1/4 nutterbutters since they are big) under your foot. (wear closed toe shoe). Remember, for any behavior your dog displays (except for aggression) that ISN'T going for the forbidden item (in this case the treat) click it. This could be looking away, backing up, looking at you, stopping sniffing etc. As soon as the dog gives up trying to get the treat under the foot, click. After you click, treat the dog with another different treat (not the one under your foot). As soon as the dog catches on, add the verbal cue “leave it”. Remember to say the cue only once and say it in a kind way. The exercise will look like a strange sort of foot dance but each time the dog goes for the treat under the foot cover the treat “leave it’. When the dog calmly ignores reward with by hand feeding. Never let the dog ever get the forbidden item.

    FYI In the beginning you must condition a really strong “leave it” by using a high rate of reinforcement, don’t be stingy and make sure you manage the environment with this exercise.

    #2 Once step one is solid and down pat…..Drop the forbidden item behind you or next to you:

    When your dog isn’t going for the forbidden treat under your foot at all, begin to drop the treat behind you. Everything stays the same as step 1 except the forbidden treat is now behind you instead of under your foot. Once the dog is comfortable with you dropping the forbidden treat behind you, drop it next to you.

    At some point the dog should just be laying there waiting for you to hand over the goods and ignoring the other items scattered or under foot.

    #3. Later at some point there will be an opportunity to start tossing treats at the other dogs. Or accidentally dropping to where treats roll out or toward the other dogs. Use the leave it command and reward your possessive dog for staying put and looking at you. For this exercise to work the other dog(s) must also have a set of commands well established as well so you can keep them in their zone. This exercise may work best if you have a helper to lightly hold the other dog, but not apply any corrections.

    Attached is a link on p.2 in regard to the dominance issue. Hope it is informative to clarify things that get a but fuzzy. Also look at

    Dominance and Alpha are terms bounced around so much it can leave many with their head spinning.

    PS: if it becomes less manageable by using the exercises, I would seek some professional help to come in and guide you along. There is only so much a list can do vs. hands on help. Seeing and doing are worth a million from good professional.

    Good luck!
    Post edited by StaticNfuzz at 2010-05-17 20:12:42
  • ShibatasticShibatastic
    Posts: 143
    hmmm that does make sense. I never really saw it like that before. whew. it's always good to learn something new. That article helped me understand things a lot more clearly. Maybe my dogs were just more mild tempered. I realize it's cause i used to leave food out all day so they'd never really be hungry enough to want to defend resources since it was everywhere. Good to know. Thanks jessica and snf! I gotta save this article haha.

  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
    Thank you guys so much, and for your comments full of helpful detail. Now where was that other thread about how 'Leave it' is so difficult to teach?? ;)

    I've seen *Feisty Fido* and pretty sure I've seen the titles of some of the other ones you've recommended, Snf -- gotta read them in detail though. I also like the link you shared. It reaffirms shibamistress' point about management vs. training. I think it would be a long, long time before we could ever get our own two dogs to the point where they can be fed in the same room, as our basenji is all too willing to give in to Bowdu. She won't even start eating if he's looking her way. It's okay with snacks though -- they can eat on the same couch or futon and it's fine, just not with dinner or human food.

    Here's a pic of the trio in question. It's been overcast and drizzly today, so they're spending the day indoors. So sweet together when there's no food involved!

    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
    Post edited by curlytails at 2010-05-17 23:17:22
  • @curlytails Your post hits so close to home for me! Penny is a year and 4 months old. She's the only dog my husband and I have, but we've been socializing her since she was about 12 weeks old. She loves the dog park, and she's been around my parents' beagle Zoe (13 years) and my husband's parents' chihuahua Bella (6 years) frequently.

    Up until a few months ago, Penny never showed any food aggression. She never did anything if someone took her treat or anything, and we've been able to feed her in the same room as other dogs and she hasn't cared. Even if another dog went near her she didn't do anything.

    About a month or two ago, we were feeding her at my parents' house and Zoe (who is a bit of a pig when it comes to food) started wandering over and sniffing as Penny was eating. Penny lunged at her and was on the offense, growling and snarling and they got into a fight. We separated it quickly but were shocked since she never showed this behavior before. The other strange thing was that she seemed to STAY mad ... even after she finished eating, she would growl at Zoe for the next 10 minutes. It was as if she was holding a grudge. She got over it and they got along again later.

    Since then, we've tried feeding them at the same time when we are at my parents house, and Penny's food aggression has gotten worse. A few nights ago, she seemed paranoid. While she was eating, she kept looking up between bites to see where Zoe was. She seemed anxious that Zoe was even within seeing distance. Then, she left her food bowl to cross the room and lunge at Zoe! I can understand that it's dog behavior to defend food if another dog gets too close, but to seek the other dog out and attack? That seems strange to us.

    She also held the "grudge" this time for about 30 minutes. Any time Zoe got too close (even after the food was put away) Penny growled, lunged, snapped.

    Any advice, or are my husband and I just dealing with a diva?
  • I'm going to note that I have never actually dealt with this issue, so take my words with a grain of salt here, but I suspect that some of the issue here is the other dog. Honestly, I don't expect any dog to be okay with another dog sniffing food they're actually eating right then. The only time I've ever seen even a little growl from Zim over food was when another dog was sniffing at a biscuit that was IN HIS MOUTH and it was managed by the trainer from his puppy class by gently maneuvering the other dog to give Zim his space, which made everything 100% fine (the dog only needed to be moved away, very little space was needed). So, I do think that expecting Penny to be okay with a dog invading her space that much with her food is probably a bit much. Indeed, if that kind of thing is normal, it may very well explained why this developed in the first place. It could make the threat of food being taken seem very real.

    My own instinct would be to simply stop feeding her with other dogs around. Since you don't have another dog, it doesn't really seem necessary and your attempts to keep trying when she is so uncomfortable seem to be making the problem worse.

    If you're stuck on fixing it, though, then, first and most important, I would get a good positive reinforcement trainer or behaviorist. I suspect you would then be looking at desensitization. Find out how close another dog can be and then treat her for letting the dog that close to her food. Then keep shortening the distance until she's fine with having the other dog eat with her.
    Post edited by notoriousscrat at 2012-11-06 18:44:05
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    You didn't know Shiba bitches held grudges? ;)
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • Awww, memories... I posted this so long ago! And sadly, that Welsh Terrier has since passed away.

    Bowdu's food aggression issues have also changed -- and improved -- over the years, so I can share a little of what works. First, we've stuck by separate feedings for every single meal, every day now. Bowdu gets his dinner in the kitchen, Bowpi gets her dinner in my study room, behind a closed door. If you have to separate feeding areas with crates, baby gates, whatever, just do it. It's easy and allows the dogs to enjoy each of their meals in peace and averts any trouble.

    I sometimes think we have this notion that since humans can all sit around a dinner table eating together, then dogs can learn to be similarly "polite." We might even want them to eat out of the same bowl, which is dawwww cute. But this is not natural for a dog, let alone humans. How would you feel if a friend leaned into your space to get a whiff of your dinner while you were eating? You probably wouldn't bite their ear, but you'd think it's weird, right? And the whole romanticized image of lovers sipping out of the same ice cream soda thing -- I personally find it ridiculous. I don't think dogs should have to put up with that either.

    So we stick with separate feedings for ease, and out of respect to each of them. This includes any longer-lasting chews where one dog would finish much faster than the other. And we don't do chews that last for days anymore (like elk antlers, etc.).

    I think Penny probably is acting "paranoid" because she learned she has reason to be. Zoe is lurking in the area, watching her eat. And in the past, Zoe has gotten too close while she was eating. It may not have annoyed her so much in the past, but now she's fed up with it -- and she's at just the age where a lot of things that were "okay" before are less so now.

    Penny may learn to be less defensive over time, when she has many, many, many undisturbed and unthreatening meals in Zoe's house. If this means keeping Zoe totally out of sight and mind until Penny is done, so be it. Even after polishing off the bowl, I do find that several minutes after dinner (5 to 15 minutes) is still part of the "dinner zone." Bowpi usually signals that's she's "done" with dinner after she's burped, climbed up onto the futon, and started grooming herself. After which, I'll open the door, let Bowdu sniff and lick her empty food bowl. Then, satisfied that there are no more crumbs to be had, he'll find a spot to perch and digest, too -- sometimes right next to Bowpi, where they'll each sit around and groom themselves like cats.

    Only THEN is dinner done. =)
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    They are such a pair. There is a time window here also, where although the food is gone and bowls are up, there is some tension until the smells have disipated.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • Exactly... it's the smells and the foodthoughts coursing through their mind.

    Oh, one more piece of the puzzle, at least in our circumstances -- even though we were feeding separately, there were some aspects of the food prep process that would get Bowdu really amped up. A couple months after I started this thread, a particularly frightening incident happened after breakfast. I was just mixing new kibble into the container of old kibble, and both dogs came over to see what was going on. Bowdu immediately lashed out at Bowpi and then redirected on me when I intervened.

    Then a month later, he was diagnosed as hypothyroid. So this is one incident that is very clearly on my mind when I think about how erratic and downright *volatile* Bowdu was before his diagnosis. Nothing like that has happened since we identified that medical issue, but Bowdu will still do a little lip curl or whatever during dinner prep time when Bowpi's in the area -- but he's actually restrained now. (I didn't allow them in the same room during dinner prep for MONTHS after that happened, but my partner convinced me to let them try again.)

    I don't think thyroid aberrations are necessarily the case with Penny, given her age, but if her food guarding issues ever get markedly worse, it's something to keep in mind. In our case, Bowdu's food guarding around unfamiliar dogs (those that he doesn't live with long term) never completely went away, but I think I've learned to manage them using some good distraction/look at me/leave it tricks when we're out in public.
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
    Post edited by curlytails at 2012-11-06 19:24:42
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    Beebe was and still is like that. She will get so excited she mounts the other dogs and then shouts at them total Fun Police style. She tried that with Farrah. Once.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
    Post edited by lindsayt at 2012-11-06 21:12:03
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    I'd get this book and read up on it helps with resource guarding issues.

    I feed Saya full raw and she never is fed when Bella is fed I change times of each meals so not always fed at same time each day.

    Conker Losech's shiba would seek out her mother's dogs and get mad when meal was being preped or he was eating or whatever.

    Some dogs feel best defense is offense..

    Why was Zoe allowed close enough to sniff or get too close to Penny?

    Like I said Saya is fed raw sometimes she eats on a towel in my room and sometimes outside on grass on nice weather or messy meal.

    My cat once walked up to her not for her food he is too darn picky about raw when I given it to him. He just wanted to rub on Saya, but Saya wasn't into it so she growled at Whiskers.

    I was nearby so I picked him up and put him into the garage and he got the hint to stay away after I moved him. He's pretty clueless with dog back off messages. Luckily Saya was good and warned the cat by growling. I think she'd give shiba scream then if scream didn't work she probably did a correction nip..

    My parent's were into the whole deal of feeding dogs in same room it sucked for me..

    Our last three dogs Pearly a female boxer, Dink a female catahoula dog, and a male boxer or boxer mix if he was pure he was not well bred.

    Pearly and Dink ate in same room fine, but when dad got Junior with not care in training or socializing the dog etc.. Junior was rude dog and would speed eat then force his way into the girls food and eat it.

    Despite the dog fights they still fed them in same room. He also had resource guarding issue of space or my mom not sure which probably both.. When he broke into a fight it reminded me of those pitbull fights he went for the neck.. :(

    I'd feed them separately separated by a door or one outside one inside if they're in crate either both fed in a crate or one in crate and one in different room or outside.

    Resource guarding is normal and seeking the dog out and chasing off is normal too probably.

    Female shiba do seem to hold grudges..

    When Saya was young and I went to Louisiana for a week when I came back Saya was speed eating I could tell either Dink or Bella went for her food. I was coarse mad because I told dad to feed her separate not together.

    Took her while, but she went back to eating slow and crunching each kibble.

    I no longer leave Saya with him if I go on vacation she goes with me or I don't go at all.. I can't trust boarding her either due to bad experience there.. :\

    I prefer bringing her with me she loves to travel.

    I've fed her and Bella raw meals in same yard, but I had them at a very far distance plus they were busy working on their own raw meal. I usually have Bella on a leash and nearby so I call her and we relax while we wait.

    Saya usually finish first because she gets smaller meals compared to Bella and Bella takes her sweet time. I just call who ever is done first and they get fish fudge for coming and I have them sit.

    Saya would be pissed if Bella tried sniff her food and same for Bella so I don't risk it by feeding them in same room.

    During dinner time for Bella she eats in the mudroom and Saya she won't mess with her sometimes she'll check to smell while I'm prepping Bella's food I sometimes add some fresh meat, egg or caned fish to Bella's kibble so it takes some time.

    Not every dog is OK with another dog coming by to sniff the area the food is in.

    So if your dog seeks out the offending dog for being rude in the past I'd feed them separate it's not worth feeding in same room because it might escalate to where she feels defensive when zero food is around.

    Saya won't seek Bella or cats out when eating only if they come close then she growls. Saya does seem have some restraint in she warns before doing things. Growling and lip curling. Bella during play if she gets to rough Saya warns that way and Bella backs off a bit then plays more nicely.

    Hope things get better soon. I'd get the book Mine!,but not sure if it covers resource guarding issues with other dogs I know it helps with resource guarding with people. Other dogs it's harder because the other dog won't come by and add more kibble to the bowl or hand feed her some food.. lol

    I can have chews like antlers they seem to be more low value chew unless I put peanut butter or cheese on it to keep them busy when guests are around, but They're on leash when that happens and they don't try to play musical chews.. lol

    Even eating a bullystick together they're fine, but they're both three years old and I didn't do that till they were three before I had one on floor and other on couch with me or on the ground by the couch etc..

    I'd never leave my dogs alone with a bully stick and not together if I didn't know their personalities..

    Things can change as a dog grows they might not tolerate other dogs near their chews or food so close like they did before.

    If you know a good behaviorist who works with positive type training then that might help give you pointers on things in person.
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    Bootz and Jackie were raised together. They ate out of the bowl in the beginning, then out of nowhere Bootz showed food aggression. She would show her teeth then lunge at Jackie. Once this happened we corrected Bootz but proceeded with seperate bowls. I would be in between them when they ate their meals.

    I always corrected Bootz when she looked over and showed her teeth at Jackie. At the same time I always re-direct jackie to her bowl when she tried to go over to Bootz' bowl. Once Bootz stop showing her teeth, I let Jackie roam over to Bootz bowl. They're 1 year and 5 months now. They both can eat out of the same bowl, even with raw meals. Bully sticks work fine too. But once Bootz finishes hers, she always pounce on Jackie and try to steal hers, if not she'll bark up a storm.
  • CrystalWolfCrystalWolf
    Posts: 235
    So i recently bought a food puzzle toy in hope RIku would be more interested in eating. He does eat more of his food with the toy but just recently he started to get upset if i touched it, even if he wasnt eating or paying any attention to it and even after I took this video I took if I were to pick the food up off thr ground and try to hand feed him he would get upset about that too. Should I be concerned this could develop into food aggression? I am putting the toy away and no longer using it as a fun game to play for feedings. Any thoughts?

  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    This book might be helpful it's on resource guarding.

    Sadly my shiba doesn't resource guard anything from me.. :\ so can't help in this area. My boxer used to resource guard caned food and raw food due to those items being super yummy, but she got better with some work.

    Only time Saya ever resource guarded was with my cat whiskers.

    I'm not sure though on what to do with Riku sorry. :(

    I hope someone here can help soon.
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
    Post edited by Saya at 2013-07-13 00:59:59
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1106
    @CrystalWolf, we had a similar experience with Kouda and a treat puzzle. You can see the details and watch a video

    As for advice, we don't use the toy anymore. Kouda was guarding the thing when it was already empty! How does Riku act when the food is gone? One thing to test if you want, would be to only have one kibble in a cubby at a time, then refill it in front of him once he empties it. This would show that the food comes from you and you aren't taking it away but giving more.

    Other advice I've heard is to work on trades - give him something higher value as a reward for him letting you touch his food/resource.

    However, from my experience with Kouda's food issues, the more you try to be proactive about desensitizing and what-not, the worse it gets. Kouda just likes to eat his food/treats in peace. Interruptions, even with high value rewards, make him uncomfortable. The bigger a deal we make of it, the bigger it becomes.

    The general advice is to seek a behaviorist if you feel the situation is beyond your control. But they are expensive and relatively rare, and in our case totally useless (that reminds me that I need to update my own thread...)

    As for getting him to eat more, have you tried toppers on his kibble? Wet foot? Or a filled kong in his crate/pen (if you use one)?
  • CrystalWolfCrystalWolf
    Posts: 235
    well he has a treat ball that I put his food in and he uses that too. I try to feed him 1/2 cup 3 times a day but maybe he just isnt hungry?

    We start our intermediate training classes the 27 so I am going to mention this to the trainer but yes, puzzle toy will stay put up for now, well maybe I will try your test of one at a time and see how that goes. He doesnt care when its empty. I only go over to it and open it up when there is still food there, to try and get him to eat it all. Maybe he is a hoarder and just always has to have somethign there. I did use to wet it down but after a while he would stop eating it all together so I suppose he grew out of that, sometimes when I use a raw egg and mix it in that works but not always. So maybe I'm just expecting him to eat more than he is hungry for who knows.

    I will check out that thread but for now im off to bed.

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