:'( Well Bauer has been really good lately and after seeing the dog trainer for other issues, she told us to get off Purina Puppy Chow and onto a large breed puppy food good for growing large breed puppies.
We are slowly mixing it into his puppy chow and this morning was his first meal of the new food mix....well Bauer eats in his crate and I went to adjust his bowl and he growled at me...I was very surprised as he's never been food aggressive before...When we first got Bauer we put our hands in his bowl as he was eating to make sure he didn't get aggressive and got used to people handling his food.
Could it be the introduction of the new food? Maybe he feels he shouldn't have it as it's a new taste?
We still do this with Milly who is just over 5 months old, I personally think it's something that you should do on a regular basis when you have the time. We usually bug Milly at least one meal a day; it's also really good (IMO) if you have friends/family over, for them to pat your dog as well while they eat for a bit. How long did you do it for and why did you stop?When we first got Bauer we put our hands in his bowl as he was eating to make sure he didn't get aggressive and got used to people handling his food.
Milly is not protective over ANYTHING and would even give up her food for you if you asked her. You can take anything off her and she'll just sit there smiling waiting to get it back when you're ready.
Anyway, I'm no expert. This is just what works for us with our puppy.
How old is this puppy?Originally Posted by lilbritgirl78
I would take him out of the crate for meals - he may be less protective when he is in your space (as opposed to his space in the crate).
If after that change he is still guarding and warning you - then you should institue Nothing In Life Is Free (do a search on here for details on that process). Also called NILIF. He will basically have to earn his meals, his play with you, any thing he wants he has to earn. Keep him on the floor (not on the couch or in your bed) and generally demote him a bit.
You should be able to take anything away from your dog without fear. Even high value items like bones. This is essential to his safety as he grows (you need to be able to take away things that might hurt him) but also for the safety of other people.
Ditto. And start hand feeding his meals from now. You can quite easily nip this in the bud before it becomes a habit. Some people are tempted to ignore this kind of behaviour because it is "just a cute puppy". Of course, it is not "just a cute puppy" when the growling puppy turns into an 80lb growling adult dog with food aggression. So, kudos for picking up on this now. Bauer needs to learn that hands provide food and not take it away. As mentioned, you can achieve this through hand feeding and having him earn his meals.I would take him out of the crate for meals - he may be less protective when he is in your space (as opposed to his space in the crate).
I have two dogs now, and have tried to deal with food aggression in the same way you do. I put my hands in their mouth, in their bowl, take food away (but be sure to give it back so they know they can still have it). But, I did foster an adult lab for a couple months and when I first brought him home he was food and bone/treat aggressive. He snapped at my little beagle and I sternly yelled NO! and bopped him on the nose. He didn't get the point until maybe two more incidents and he was absolutely great after that.
I'm not saying you should "bop" your dog, as I am not a fan of hitting, but it came out as instinct when he was attacking my poor baby!
One suggestion I have is to move his food out of his kennel, he could be also gaurding the dish in his territory. For some reason it doesn't seem like the food switch would have anything to do with this behavior. How old is he? If he is a growing puppy, then it could be a phase he is at. My new addition is 8 months now and has just started charging the fence and seems aggressive towards strangers...maybe it is a getting comfortable in their own skin thing?
I work for a veterinary hospital and have been to many seminars on pet behavior, and still have questions of my own. So don't give up!!! The answer is out there!!
I agree with hand feeding.
For the first year or so of his life, Potter was on Iams LBP food and wasn't ever terribly interested in it. He'd eat it most of the time but would easily leave a full bowl of food if something more interesting was going on, so he certainly never cared when we played with his food or even him while he was eating. Then we switched his food around a year and all of a sudden he LOVED to eat. Because we were so shocked by the change, we were sure to continue with NILIF and play with his food. We'll interrupt his meals with commands and whatnot, so he never did become protective over the new food, but I could see how that would happen.
I guess this isn't terribly helpful as the outcome is the opposite of your situation, but I wanted to let you know that I can completely see how this would happen. As for advice, I'll only second what others have already said: feed outside of the crate, institute NILIF and/or hand-feeding, and good luck.