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Old 12-14-2012, 09:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default food aggressive and aggressive towards men

I have a 17 week old GSD who is food aggressive... I have been correcting the problem by making him step away from his food when I ask him to. It requires his leash and me pulling him back a bit but he is learning.. I just wanted to know if this is a common occurrence in GSD? Also, he barks at men and the hair is up on his back... I also wanted to know if this is aggression, fear, protection, or just what male GSD do? I invite him to meet them and on most men he becomes friends but there are a few he just will not accept as friendly, even after I try to tell him they are ok and they try to befriend him. I am very strict on him and do give him boundaries. I pretty sure he knows I am the pack leader, I just want to know if this is a common occurrence with GSDs and if I continue training him, will it get better or does he need professional help?
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Old 12-15-2012, 09:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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where did you get the pup from? normally pups with this behavior have had food either withheld or had to fight the other littermates for food. its also possible his temperment is weaker if he is afraid of men or he was abused by a man or not properly socialized. also the more you mess with their food bowl the more you can bring out this behavior.
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Old 12-15-2012, 09:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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At sixteen weeks, he should not be food aggressive. Another member will probably have advice, but i would not use a leash to make him leave it. That could make it worse.
Also, at that age, he is NOT protecting you. He is being fearful, and he has not yet been shown that when he is scared, you will handle it for him. He needs to build confidence, both in himself and in you.
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Old 12-15-2012, 10:37 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Professional help may be your best option. He is very young to be exhibiting this type of behavior. If you'll post where you are located then people on here can try to recommend a trainer or behaviorist.
Just keep in mind that you need to not react with what the dog will perceive as aggression for his behavior. It doesn't sound like you are, I'm just putting that out there. Some people try to punish a dog for this type of reaction, which is somewhat understandable but can absolutely backfire and escalate the problem.
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Old 12-15-2012, 10:41 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by mebully21 View Post
where did you get the pup from? normally pups with this behavior have had food either withheld or had to fight the other littermates for food. its also possible his temperment is weaker if he is afraid of men or he was abused by a man or not properly socialized. also the more you mess with their food bowl the more you can bring out this behavior.
I've heard/read the opposite of what I put in bold. From what I've researched being able to take things from your dog is a matter of trust, and if you can take things from your dog without them showing aggression it's a sign that they trust that you are going to give it back/their not supposed to have it or something like that.

I take things from Barack all the time, his food bowl, his munchies, his toys, just to see if he shows any signs of aggression, not a hint of it yet. I do give whatever I take back to him, given it's something he is supposed to have. If it's something he shouldn't have I give him something else. The vet tech at our last visit actually asked me if "I could take the cookie" she had giving him, so they could do the oral exam... I was like yea, no problem. She seemed surprised for some reason. Barack knows I'm going to give it back and will wait patiently for me to do so. Maybe I just lucked out with my pup, as I know not all dogs will be the same.
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Old 12-15-2012, 11:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Ageizm View Post
I've heard/read the opposite of what I put in bold. From what I've researched being able to take things from your dog is a matter of trust, and if you can take things from your dog without them showing aggression it's a sign that they trust that you are going to give it back/their not supposed to have it or something like that.

I take things from Barack all the time, his food bowl, his munchies, his toys, just to see if he shows any signs of aggression, not a hint of it yet. I do give whatever I take back to him, given it's something he is supposed to have. If it's something he shouldn't have I give him something else. The vet tech at our last visit actually asked me if "I could take the cookie" she had giving him, so they could do the oral exam... I was like yea, no problem. She seemed surprised for some reason. Barack knows I'm going to give it back and will wait patiently for me to do so. Maybe I just lucked out with my pup, as I know not all dogs will be the same.
The difference in the situation that makes the statement plausible is that OP has a pup who is already food aggressive. It's like dragging a reactive dog away from another dog... just gets them more fired up.
OP- look up NILIF ( Nothing in Life is Free) training. It may help. And i recommend the book " Control Unleashed"
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Last edited by GsdLoverr729; 12-15-2012 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 12-15-2012, 11:17 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Ahhh, I see what you mean now.
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Old 12-15-2012, 11:28 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Yup (:
But give Barack a good rub for me for being such a good boy!
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Old 12-15-2012, 12:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Try this - it will work and you'll be amazed.

Right now, sticking your hands in the bowl induces fear and stress.
You want it to be positive!!

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Old 12-15-2012, 02:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ageizm View Post
I've heard/read the opposite of what I put in bold. From what I've researched being able to take things from your dog is a matter of trust, and if you can take things from your dog without them showing aggression it's a sign that they trust that you are going to give it back/their not supposed to have it or something like that.
Yes. But you don't get that kind of trust by continually messing with a puppy's food while they're eating, which can have the opposite effect. Giving him a meal and then pulling him away from it while he's eating isn't showing him that you should be trusted around valued resources like food.

Once I put down the food bowls and release my dogs to eat, it's their food. I may give them a pat on the side as I walk by, but I NEVER take their food away while they're eating, or mess with them. There are many ways you can build trust - dropping good things into the bowl while he's eating and then walking away, hand feeding a portion of his meals, either as training treats or just because, and playing trading games with his toys and bones so he learns that giving something up voluntarily means that he gets something equal or better in return. When I do this with a food reward I give back the original item too at first, so if we're tugging with a toy they get a treat for dropping the tug, and then we play tug some more. Or with a ball, they bring it back for a treat and then I throw the ball again. I fade the food reward out after awhile, and continued play becomes the only reward.

Halo liked the trading games we played when she was a puppy so much that she loves to bring me things to take away from her, lol! She'll bring me a bone to hold while she chews it, and we have a little game we play called "can I have that?", where I ask for it and give it back a few times:


Because my dogs trust me to be fair, I have no trouble taking anything away from them if I need to. If it's something super high value, like food stolen from the kitchen counter, I may have to pry jaws open and forcibly remove it, but I can, with no fuss. They don't have a problem with me being near them while they eat because they know I'm not suddenly going to decide to take their food away from them for no reason.
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