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Food Agression.....PLEASE HELP
  • Ok so most of you know that I have Yoshi (male shiba) who is a year and 8 mos old and a few weeks ago we brought home Emi (female shiba) who is now 3 mos old. For the most part they get along great. They wrestle and they cuddle together and clean each other lol. There were a few incidents when Yoshi went for Emi to like attack her. He never hurt her and i'm not sure if he would actually bite her or anything but I wouldnt let it get that far, but he goes at her with his mean face and growling and teeth showing and lunging at her. Shes so little and hasnt learned to fight back yet so she gets really scared and just screams the worst shiba scream ever. He went at her twice yesterday but only after my boyfriend or I had to correct him over something. First time he took her chew toy from her and I had to get it out of his mouth because he destroys her chew toys in 5 seconds. I took it out of his mouth but she just happened to be over there so he went at her. They never fight over toys and she takes toys out of his mouth all the time so i'm pretty sure he did that because I told him he couldnt have the toy. Second time yesterday was when we were about to eat dinner and he was trying to get on the table and my bf told him no and pushed him off and then he went at Emi again. She wasnt even near the table!!!!! My guess is that he's pissed off that we are correcting him but he knows he cant go at us (my bf or I) like that so he goes after Emi, cause he can (or so he thinks). The other few times he went after her I just thought he was evil but after yesterday I think that was my conclusion.

    Fights arent that often at all (thank God) and its more love than fighting with them two. Yoshi is a very social, happy, friendly guy but I guess every now and then he gets all macho and wants to beat up his little sister. After the "attack" and we let him know what he did was VERY wrong, you can tell he feels really bad and will go up to Emi and give her an apology kiss and then 5 mins later they are back to wrestling.

    So I just want to know what everyone thinks and how can we put an end to this behavior before Emi gets bigger and there is an all out war????????

    [mod edit: re-categorized due to addition of new category]
    Post edited by sunyata at 2013-06-06 10:10:42
    Posts: 1507
    My situation is a bit similar to yours. My boy is 14 months old and my girl is 15 weeks.. Generally, its a fun fest between the two. No food aggression- they both eat peacefully from the same bowl. But, when it comes to toys or chews its another story. Penny I could decribe as a bit selfish whereas Inu does share. Last week, I bought them both a nylabone, Penny took hers and then when I gave Inu his- she dropped hers and pulled it from his mouth and then put it near hers.

    Inu though will sometimes sneer and make a low growl when she wants to take a toy from him- but a quick correction before the situation escalates (Sit- then Drop It followed by a treat) and the conflict is diffused.

    Learning what is appropiate behavior is important. Its possible that he might be displacing his anger (eg: punching the wall because your mad at your wife) but having a positive outcome from a behavior should be the goal in training.

    Have your Shibas ever play tug of war with each other?
    Post edited by INU RYUU at 2010-10-18 16:15:33
  • Hi Amanda :)
    Well, I know Yoshi and and know he's a good boy. I think the big bro gets pissed at being yelled at from mom and dad so he pushes his little sister just for being there. Then feels sorry and regrets it so he kisses her and cuddles
  • atlasatlas
    Posts: 360
    I haven't had to deal with one of my dogs taking his/her anger out on the other...BUT I have noticed that sometimes after I correct Kratos, he goes to one of his toys and shakes it like crazy, like he's trying to vent his frustrations. Maybe once you correct Yoshi, you can try giving him something to take his anger out on? Like if you take a puppy toy away, give him one of his toys right away so he can go to town on that instead of on Emi?
    Post edited by atlas at 2010-10-19 02:07:30
  • YoshiMitsu:

    I like Atlas's suggestion. Also it might help to prevent a problem before you feel you must correct. How are you correcting your dog(s)? Pushing and prodding (physical touch) often sets up tension in Shibas. Teaching your dogs to go to their mat or crate while you eat is very effective and it is a good hands off approach. Keep in mind correcting after an attack is not as effective as completely preventing one. After the fact,corrections may actually be keeping tension higher rather than reducing it.

    Yes I agree, as you mention your pup is young and yes at some point when your little Shiba matures it will argue back and the fights will become worse.

    I would say it is important to avoid anthropomorphizing the situation and look realistically at what is occurring before and after. It sounds like your boy is stressing out at the corrections, so again it probably would be best to take a proactive stance with some learned commands for distance work for both dogs so this type of thing does not escalate. Also make sure valuable resources (bones toys food whatever they squabble over) are put away, only given when each in is in their own space. If they can not share so be it, you will have to rotate play and training time for each individual dog. This is way better than corrections after the fact.

    If you have not done so take both dogs to training via one of these on the list (if you live in the U.S). Get some professional hands on training assistance input now, it will really pay off in the long run.

    Post edited by StaticNfuzz at 2010-10-19 14:28:46
  • We correct him by telling him NO very firmly sometimes a little push to get away. I usually prefer to avoid the situation by making sure they are not near each other if we are eating or whatever and my bf prefers to fix things. Everything has been going good. Weird thing is lately seems like fights only happen on a Sunday so I guess we will see what happens this Sunday.

    Inu - yes they play tug of war together. They have this little rope toy and they looooove to play tug of war. All the grunts and groans they make are so funny. Yoshi will grab one end of the rop and follow Emi around with it until she plays tug of war with him.
  • Ok now i have a new issue. This past weekend we went to a few Halloween parties. On Sat one at Petsmart and on Sun one that our vet had, this is pretty much the first time they were both out together. Yoshi is EXTREMELY overprotective of Emi. If any dog should come anywhere near us he would attack, the dog didnt have to do anything but stop near us and he would go at the dog. Has anyone else had this issue and please any advice is very much appreciated.

    Thanks :)
  • shibaserfshibaserf
    Posts: 247
    Good one. I haven't got a clue how to make Yoshi less protective. I would suggest making sure Emi has some alone time with other dogs so she gets socialized without Yoshi's protectiveness interfering with her social development. Yoshi probably needs some alone time with other dogs, too, so he remembers how much fun it is to play. The situation might change on its own when she becomes an adult and he starts to see her as an adult. I don't know if some version of 'leave it' with Emi as the 'it' would help. It sounds like he's resource guarding with Emi as the resource.

    It's so sweet that he loves her so much but I can definitely see how the situation will lead to difficulties that you'd rather not have.
  • Well she has been socialized with other dogs. His friends (who are now hers too) come over and play all the time and they all play together and are all happy. No problems there. I do still take him to the park but when I do he doesnt really play, he just wants to go home and if I mention Emi he gets all excited and just wants to go home to her. I'm not sure how he is going to react when they both go to the park together. These incidents happened this weekend when everyone was on a leash so that might have had something to do with it too. I guess we will find out in the middle of November...........
  • shibaserfshibaserf
    Posts: 247
    I think you have two amazing Shibas that are just great together! One way or another things will work out, especially since you care so much and notice all the details of their behavior. Hopefully, we'll find ourselves and our dogs at the same meetup soon!
  • Awwww thank you shibaserf :) I think I stress waaaaaay too much but I just want everything to be perfect and I dont want Yoshi attacking any strange dog that goes near Emi. I dont want to not be able to bring them to the park together. I also think he is a bit leash reactive too.

    Also sometimes, not all the time, he goes after her after she finishes eating. Idk if it's because he thinks she's hiding some food in her pockets???? How do I teach him that she has no pockets??? There is no problem when they are eating, they can eat with their bowls near each other but it's after everyone is done eating he gets this look in his eye and he looks like he's going hunting and then goes after her!!!!! I usually just immediately put her in her crate after shes done eating so she can relax and digest and so Yoshi cant go after her but I cant do this forever, not when shes big.
  • Ok so the "attacks" are becoming much less frequent and are mostly about food. So last night I was going in the cabinet to give them both treats. They have no issues eating treats at the same time. So I was in the cabinet looking for the treats I wanted to give them and Emi came over and stuck her head in the cabinet, so I had my hand on her head about to push her out when Yoshi came over and stuck his head over and then went for her. Luckily my hand was on her head so he didnt get to her but he ended up biting me. I know he didnt mean to bite me because when he realized it was me he immediately let go. Emi still won't fight back and she just screams. I was all alone so all I could do was grab Emi and try to get her to stop screaming and all I felt was a terrible pain in my hand and there was blood. Yoshi felt bad because he kept trying to come over to me to see if I was ok. He bit my hand pretty bad but I will live...I just can't really use my right hand at the moment.

    So I need some suggestions for help with this food aggression because I cant have him bite Emi or anyone else like this.

  • I'm sorry you got bit. I think the real thing is that you need to manage this behavior. SnF had good suggestions. Corrections aren't going to help after the fact. Make sure they are separate when food is involved. always. If either of them likes toys, you probably need to be vigilant about them when they have toys, too. Feed them in their crates (not putting them into the crates afterwards) or feed one in the crate and one out.

    I don't know that you'll be able to stop the food aggression. There are suggestions for working on it (try Patricia McConnell's books for example), but food aggression is a tough one when it manifesting with other dogs, and I think most of us manage the behavior.
  • I'm googling Patricia McConnell right now...thanks
  • I would bring in a behaviorist as soon as you can. A professional who specializes in reading their behavior is exactly what you need. They are going to see things that you will miss. There job is to see the forest for the trees.
  • Just wanted to let everyone know that everything has been great!!!! Yoshi has been on his best behavior. He doesnt go after Emi anymore after they eat and they can even eat their Flossies in the living room together!!!! It has been one month with no incidents :) It seems that the older/bigger Emi gets the nicer Yoshi gets towards her.
  • Serkle kSerkle k
    Posts: 974
    LOL But he still comes after me, looking for treats! LOL j/k.

    Great to hear they are getting better and everything is working out.
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    Yeah I'm glad things are going well. =)
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • :D
  • Hello everyone, my husband and I have been having some trouble managing some food aggression between our two shibas and was hoping to get some insight.

    We have two shibas a male and female whose names are Hurley and Dakota. We first bought Hurley a couple of years ago from a breeder up north from us and he is almost 4 years old now. For the first 3 years living with us he was the only dog, however he was socialized and brought around other dogs everyday. However a few months ago we brought Dakota home and it took Hurley some time to adjust to not being the only dog in the house anymore. There was never any physical altercations between the two but it was obvious Hurley was not comfortable with the change at first. But as Dakota started growing older we noticed that she started taking on the dominant role between the two. Hurley is very mellow, laid back and quite where as Dakota's personality is the complete opposite, grated she is still a puppy but her personality is completely different, shes always on the go, and constantly getting into thing... your typical shiba you might say lol. As Dakota is growing we have noticed that she is becoming more aggressive when it comes to food, however not with their everyday dog food but more so with treats and bones ect. Whenever we would give them treats Dakota would finish hers very quickly and then go after Hurleys. In addition whenever Dakota attacks Hurley she is the one mostly doing all the fighting where he tries to escape from the attack and wont fight back. Sometimes she would even attack him 5 - 10 min after they have both finished their treats. We have done some research on shibas and their food aggression and have began giving them their treats in separate rooms, and we also give Dakota hers first to acknowledge her dominant role. However another problem that we have been faced with is that Hurley tends to hide his treats more so then eat them and will sit and "protect" his treat until hes ready to eat it. He started this as a puppy and we never really addressed it because he was always alone but now with Dakota in the house she pursues his hidden stash which turns into a fight. We have noticed some difference in Dakota behavior now that we have started giving them treats in different room, but we were hoping to get some insights from other owners who may have faced similar behaviors with their shibas.

  • bobc33bobc33
    Posts: 287
    I had tons of trouble with my two, and for almost a year they had to be fed in seperate rooms. When I added my second it also was a bummer for the first because no longer could I leave out marrow bones, bully sticks or any kind of treats because they would fight. With the help of a trainer gradually I've been able to feed them in the same room, though I always keep a close eye on them. I can also treat them next to each other.

    Shadow developed food aggression (about this time I discovered his thyroid was way off) and I could not go within a few feet of his food bowl or he would growl and snap at me. The trainer suggested hand feeding only for a few weeks and gradually re-introducing the bowl. I did and now his food guarding is gone for the most part.

    I will always be careful with food or treats with the two of them, but overall significant progress has been made and we now are all in a much better and relaxed place.
  • atlasatlas
    Posts: 360
    Kratos isn't food aggressive, but he is a competitive eater and will guzzle his food for no reason at all (even when he was the only dog). This is a result of his home life prior to being rescued. We therefore have always fed our two in separate rooms. We generally train separately for attention purposes, and therefore treat separately as well, and for the most part high value chews are given separately as well - bully sticks, antlers, etc. They have had these together in the same room before, and it sometimes does work, but it sometimes makes them bicker also. They have never fought, though, probably because at the sound of the first warning bark we have separated them. My uneducated opinion is that they are comfortable knowing they can take their treat/stick/etc. somewhere to be alone for a bit. They share all other toys and chews without problems.

    I touch and pet Mitsu all the time while she is eating. Now that she eats prey model raw, I occasionally have to take food from her in order to redirect her back to her feeding mat. These activities have kept her from being aggressive/guarding from me or my husband. I'm honestly not sure how she'd act if Kratos snatched up her food/came near her while she was eating, because it has never happened.

    So really, I don't have much insight in terms of aggression, but separate feedings/treatings are our norm. I was talking to my husband the other day and I told him that it's weird to me that some people feed their dogs together. Of course, there's nothing wrong with this and it definitely works for some people, but separate feedings have always be our normal. I can't imagine not feeding separately, not only because of Kratos' guzzling habits, but also because it's a lot less for me to handle to get one dog to sit, stay, and focus on me for food at a time than it is to try and get both dogs to sit, stay and focus (pre-feeding is my favorite training time). After we move, we are going to add a third and will continue separate feedings then as well.
    Post edited by atlas at 2011-01-08 23:50:14
  • Resurrecting this thread since I have a question about my puppy, Kaya. Today I brought Kaya home some bully sticks from the pet store. This is the first time she has been given one, and she LOVED it. Anyways, when she chewed it down a lot, I was worried it was getting too small and she could swallow it, so I started petting her around the head, getting ready to take it from her. Before I even reached for it, she started growling a little bit. She didn't try to snap at me at all, but she definitely didn't seem happy that I was so close to her new favorite thing. I went a got a few treats for her, and traded her a treat for the stick. I didn't take it away until she was busy with her treats. Is this the right thing to do? I want to do everything I can to keep her from being possessive or food-aggressive. I think I've read that you want them to see your hard in their face (even when they're eating or chewing something) as a GOOD thing, and you can do that by bringing them a treat or a toy.
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    The trading thing is fine. I would recommend you teach Kaya how to "leave it" as well.
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    Trading is best option I think petting the dog especially on neck or close to head makes the dog nervous and scared your going to take their yummy food or treat away.

    Might want to check this book out it can be helpful with resource guarding and how to work with it.

    I'd work with trading for the chew toys and leave it command.

    There are few other videos on the command. I worked with Saya on it in puppy class too. Bella worked on it in home as she didn't go to puppy class and when we took her to obedience she worked on it more with mom.

    I'd do trades and work on leave it maybe work on it once in while when the bully stick is still long so you can give it back so sometimes she gets it back and plus treat you used to trade.

    I do this with Bella's raw meals though at first she was tense and growled and tried eat fast, but eventually she got less tense and was able to listen and drop things when told and leave it.

    It takes time.

    saya was a pup I hand fed some of her kibble before putting the rest in her bowl and as she got older I used some of her kibble for training before feeding the rest.

    When she was on raw she was bit unsure so I had hold the chicken drumstick and eventually she got hang of it.

    I think hand feeding is good way to show you provide meals not take it away.
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)

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