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  #1  
Old 10-03-2006, 05:44 PM
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dignity dignity is offline
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Default Food Aggression?

I have a food aggressive Great Pyrenees. He is my rescue dog that I've had for 6 months. We thought we were making progress but he seems to have taken a few steps back (or maybe not).

The good:

He now allows the other Pyr to eat in a crate next to him with no problem (he did NOT allow this before).

He allows me to take food from him. I can't say the same for anybody else. He and I have a stronger bond.

The bad and ugly:
He growls at company when they have food around them where I have to put him somewhere else.

I was getting their food ready and shut the door like I always do when I getting their food together. My boyfriend went to pet him and he got growled at.


I know some dogs are just food aggressive and people just work around it, but what can be done about this behavior? He also does show some male-male dog aggression, but it's not all male dogs... it APPEARS to be dogs that show aggression toward him first... but then he holds a grudge and hates the other dog for life. Any suggestions??
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  #2  
Old 10-03-2006, 07:49 PM
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Doberluv Doberluv is offline
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Quote:
I know some dogs are just food aggressive and people just work around it
I would never ever in a million years work "around" it. This dog needs some serious counter-conditioning. What do you do when he growls at you?

There's no need for the dogs to eat next to eachother. That is stressful and it is an instinct to protect the food from the other dog. Seperate them into different rooms when they eat. Eliviate some of that stress so you will be able to work on him where humans are concerned.

Dog to dog aggression is not abnormal. Dog to human aggression is abnormal. There are some desensatizing things you can do to help with the dog to dog problem, but if he didn't have enough socialization to dogs as a very young pup, it will be very difficult. Plus, some breeds tend to be more that way than others.

Personally, I'd get busy on the dog-human problem and then worry about the dog to dog. That you can manage by seperating your two dogs if they have a problem and keep him away from other dogs for now. The dog- human aggression needs addressing asap.

You and this dog need professional help IMO. You need to be careful who you get. I recommend a certified behaviorist who uses humane methods who you get recommendations and referrences for. Don't let anyone treat your dog aggressively as a lot of trainers will use that angle and it can make things much, much worse.

Sometimes I will give exercises which can be done to help young dogs who are just beginning to show a little possession/food guarding behaviors. Its relatively easy to head off with good conditioning. But in your case, this sounds more serious. The fact that he's growling at guests when THEY have their own food is over the top. He's not just growling at someone coming near his food bowl.

Please get help asap.

Just my .02 cents.
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  #3  
Old 10-03-2006, 09:55 PM
Borntoleadk9.com Borntoleadk9.com is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dignity View Post
He allows me to take food from him. I can't say the same for anybody else. He and I have a stronger bond.

The bad and ugly:
He growls at company when they have food around them where I have to put him somewhere else.

IMO.....

taking food from a dog is a bad idea and only teaches them that, in fact, they should guard their food because we will take it away!

once you give food to a dog thats it. it is now the dogs food. some things that have helped me in the past...

1) use your hands to scoop the food in the bowl and get your scent all over the food.
2) make the dog wait before approaching to eat. make him exercise patience. there are a few different ways to do this, and you must exercise with caution with a food aggression dog. seek professional help for this.
3) spit in the food. your saliva is another major scent and tip to the dog that you (the alpha) was here first and now the left overs are his.

all 3 of these have produced great results for me personally. some here will not agree with these ideas but its important to do further research on any tips you get here.

these are basic begining steps and with this kind of issue, you will need a well credentialed trainer to assist you. never put yourself in harms way. and NEVER take food from a dog.....it only reconfirms his beleif that you will.
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Old 10-03-2006, 10:14 PM
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britishbandit britishbandit is offline
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I had the same problem with PJ when I got him at 7 months of age. It took months and months of working on it to get him over it. I worked with him myself, but I'd never suggest anyone else to do that. It can put you in a risky situation.

I'd get a behaviorist in to work with him. It isn't something to be taken lightly, anything could happen.
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Old 10-03-2006, 11:04 PM
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Alex Alex is offline
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Not trying to step on any toes here...but again, I disagree. What happens if you drop something dangerous on the floor (medication maybe?) and the dog decides that it belongs to him? I firmly believe you should be able to take ANYTHING from your dog. Anything, Anytime. This is for their own safety.

To the OP, in your situation, without seeing what's actually happening, and with such a large dog, I would contact a behaviorist or a reputable trainer in your area and seek professional help. Please be careful.
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  #6  
Old 10-03-2006, 11:14 PM
Herschel Herschel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex View Post
Not trying to step on any toes here...but again, I disagree. What happens if you drop something dangerous on the floor (medication maybe?) and the dog decides that it belongs to him? I firmly believe you should be able to take ANYTHING from your dog. Anything, Anytime. This is for their own safety.
I agree completely and I practice that with my dogs. If he gets something to chew on, I take it away 5 minutes later for a couple of minutes and then return it. He knows I will give it back if its good for him--if not, he knows I will replace it with something better.
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Old 10-03-2006, 11:19 PM
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Doberluv Doberluv is offline
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I agree. I can take my dogs' food from them anytime and they are conditioned to know that they'll get it right back. I would pick up their bowl sometimes and move it to another place because maybe I need to wash the floor right there or maybe I decide to feed them in another room. I conditioned them from very young pups though. I handled their food, took things, (toys, other objects) gave them right back, give a treat as a trade, added extra yummy things to the food bowl, sat and petted them while they ate, picked up some kibbles and hand fed. I didn't harass them the whole time they were eating, but one or two times during the meal I would do something so the pups were accustomed to me getting around their food.

Once a situation like the OP's has escalated to where the dog is acting aggressive even to people who already have something in THEIR possession, its time to get professional help. IMO. Its gone beyond a little mild food guarding in say, a younger dog who is starting to show signs. This dog (IMO) is showing signs of another kind of aggression, not just food guarding.
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  #8  
Old 10-04-2006, 12:13 AM
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Chul3l3ies1126 Chul3l3ies1126 is offline
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And a little fact, Great Pryeneese are known to bond to one person and be wary of others... it is very dangerous having him like that if there are kids and others around. I hope you found a solution. Good Luck
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  #9  
Old 10-04-2006, 09:26 AM
Borntoleadk9.com Borntoleadk9.com is offline
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taking a food bowl away that we give them and taking a pill or bug or anything that they took is way different. besides, thats why we train the leave it command.
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  #10  
Old 10-04-2006, 09:53 AM
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dr2little dr2little is offline
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Resource guarding is no joke and certainly isn't something that I would let continue. The notion that we should allow a dog to guard any item be it food, toys, space or anything else is asking for trouble.

The old sayings "let sleeping dogs lie", or "don touch the dog while he's eating", absolutely make me cringe. Unfortunately, some people still thing that this is an exceptable behavior for family dogs....IT IS NOT!!

I agree with Dober and the others who wisely recommended that you get qualified help with this problem. Make sure that it's someone who understands and has experience with resource guarding issues and will give you a step by step behavior modification based (not punishment based) program to help you to change the way your dog percieves his resources. If you need help, I can find someone for you who IS going to understand the importance and process of correcting this issue.

Correcting a food aggression problem is not only imparative, its done without "stealing" so as to teach him the value in giving items up.
I would first stop using a bowl at all for feeding and give food only for behaviors and by hand. The food bowl should only be reintroduced with total control, (pick up bowl, drop kibble in and offer while bowl is still in your hand) and only after you've seen a drastic change in his associations to your pressence with his food bowl.
When progress is such that you can set the bowl down, you will be picking it up, dropping kibble in, setting back down...working towards eventually putting your hand in to add kibble and treats and picking it up during feeding at any time...with his tail wagging and his total acceptance.

This is a slow, step by step process but it MUST be done. Please don't just leave your dog alone when he's eating.
I go to so many bite cases where the parents have told the kids not to touch the dog when he has a bone, or food or even objects. The dog slowly gets worse because his guarding behavior has become so effective...
Someone WILL inevedibly get hurt if this is not dealt with properly and ASAP.

It also sounds to me like there are other issues with him that a behaviorist will be able to address as well.

No high value items should be given at this time as you need to work on the food first and change the way he thinks about what he's given.
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