I have a 5 1/2 month old chocolate Lab who showing signs of food aggression. Its seems to be getting progressively worse with time. It started out with just the food in his bowl and now he growls and lunges with food in his bowl and any treat he really seems to enjoy. Example: Flavored bones and rawhides.
He has actually bit my boyfriend and punctured his skin. Other dog owners have told us this behavior needs to stop right now which my boyfriend and I both agree with. My question is what is the best method to use. I was thinking the E-collar.
I'm sure others will have more to say, but the very first thing to do is to start practicing NILIF RELIGIOUSLY! Everyone in the house has to do this. You can do a search on this board and find references to it. It will establish you as the "top dog."
And what do you expect to achieve with an e-collar?
Not to be disparaging, but really. You're going to take a food-aggressive dog and ZAP him from afar? To achieve.... what?
NILIF is a good start. Hand-feeding is also an option. Do not take this lightly. Is he in obed training? If not, I'd get there ASAP and tell you instructor what your issue is. Is he dog-aggressive in general? You might want a couple of 1:1 sessions w/a behaviorist.
i had a foster dog with food aggression. there is no quick fix for resolving this kind of behavioral problem, but it can be resolved. it took us over 6 months to get to the point where the dog could relax near his food bowl with me nearby. we eventually got to the point where he welcomed me being near his food bowl.
i would start a training regiment where i teach/train my dog that my presence and my hands are not a threat and pose no danger to their hunger. teach your dog that human hands brings tasty treats, more food, or other goodies. human presence near the food bowl is wonderful! dog learns to welcome humans near the food bowl, not fear and guard against it.
first, relocate your dog's feeding area and get a brand new, different looking bowl. get a fresh start. don't do training for at least a week. let your dog eat in peace without being distrubed. when you are ready for training, begin with hand feeding kibble for at least a week.
when you feel like you might be ready, give food in the new bowl, and while dog is eating, casually walk by and toss hot dogs into the food bowl. repeat a few times for several days. once the dog is comfortable with the walk bys, walk directly towards the dog while eating and offer hot dog treats. the goal is to get to the point where your dog becomes comfortable and enjoy you being near the food bowl.
when the dog is comfortable with you being close, you can pick up the half finished food bowl, and put a spoonful of canned dog food, cottage cheese, or other tasty treat on top of the kibble, and put it back down. dog learns that it's great when humans take food bowl away!
with training, the dog can become conditioned to stop guarding their food bowl, even when you have no hot dogs or other tasty treats to offer, because by that point, the dog has learned that food guarding is unnecessary.
punishing the dog for food/object guarding can sometime have the effect of validating the anxiety that caused them to guard the food in the first place, and results in the aggressive behavior getting worse and harder to resolve.
also, please read this booklet by jean donaldson:
"Properly trained, a man can be dog's best friend." ~ Corey Ford
It would be horribly counter productive to use an e-collar for this purpose... or any "aggression" issue in my mind. I'd use the NILIF also. No question. Perhaps a vet check is in order also as I find that very unusual behavior for a pup that age. Also, get him to an obedience class!!!!!
You need to be able to set a bowl, bone, etc, down and be able to take it away. Think baby child in the house..... -Anne
WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014
You absolutely DO NOT need an e-collar for this or anything else for that matter IMO. You will make the problem far worse. :-\
You have been given fantastic advice from luke from georgia. I hope you put it into practice with your girl. Good luck.
I hope whomever suggested an ecollar was kidding.
Please use Luke from Georgia's advise and train through this.
Dani, Rider & Rookie
SHR Watson's Safari Rider, JH, WC, CL1-R, RA, CGC, TDI
SHR Endeavor Put Me In Coach, RN, WC, CGC
Member Since 6/2003
If you're dealing with any real issues with a 5 month old puppy, you really should consult a behaviorist asap...especially aggression!
TOTALLY!!!Originally Posted by JacksAndLabs
But make sure they are legit, around here pretty much anybody could call themselves a "behaviourist" - ask for references!!
You are right in that this totally needs to be addressed NOW!!
(p.s. can someone tell me what NILIF is?)
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
I have actually pondered an e collar for training off leash at the park. You see, Payton knows the come command, but when he's playing with the other dogs and sees a dog in the distance being walked by their owner, he will bolt after the other dog to say hi! Many people don't like this and I don't blame them, but I thought it might be a way to correct him if he starts running off! Anyone try that for this matter?