It comes from the mindset that in wolf packs the alpha eats first and can interrupt a subordinates meal whenever it feel like.
I am totally confused, i thought we were talking of domestic dogs that live with other domesticated dogs and/or people. Not wild wolves.
I ask myself now, why do i train my dogs at all and not let them just do as a wild wolf?
Yesterday my puppy was trying her best to get the food that sticks around the side of her bow, i (like a gangster) stuck my hand in her bowl, scraped the food from the side and i left with my hand and a wag of a tail.
Yep. If i want wolf behavior I'll adopt a wolf.
In case you were wondering, one of the I-mess-with-my-dog's-food folks brought up the wolves, and we on the other side were only giving our opinion on that matter. These conversations sometimes veer toward what dogs do naturally in the wild, because some behavior is instinctive, and if we are going to train that behavior it makes sense to know where it comes from.
I think a lot of the folks that ascribe to messing with their dogs food, want to ensure that their dogs are safe if a child comes near them when they are eating. And that is what a responsible dog owner should
do, that is, ensure that they are safe. But the question is whether what they are doing by fussing with the food dish while the dog is eating is making children more safe or endangering them.
My feeling about this is that the dog is either pre-disposed to be food aggressive, or not. If we build food drive in such a dog by making them work for it, using it as a reward to the extreme, or play this give/take away/give game with them, then we are much more likely to create an issue, that may have never reared its ugly head. And thus children are more endangered.
A dog that is not pre-disposed to food aggression will not be bothered by the games and will not be a danger to children around their food dish.
Another point is that, you can extinguish guarding behaviors with such training, but only for you. Unless you are doing with your child right there and with its hand in the food dish too. The dog who is truly food aggressive and knows that YOU will take it if you want to, if that dog has chosen to trust and follow you, You get a pass around the food dish. But you dallying with it, makes him even more sensitive about it, and any that he hasn't chosen to follow may be more at risk because of the heightened anxiety we would be creating.
A responsible dog owner who has guests over and does not know how the dog will act about his food dish, should put the food dish up, or feed the dog where people will not be. Eliminate the possibility of food-related-injury. If you are sharing a meal with your guests, put the dog up. That isn't a problem, and guests (many of them) will appreciate that. [Note to self and other dog-crazy individuals: Not everyone loves your dog the way you do.]
I have kennel dogs and many of them live in a kennel with another dog or dogs. Feeding time is the highlight of their day for the most part, and they jump up and down and bark and get really, really excited.
When my sister's small children, who come over 2-3 times a year, were out there feeding the dogs, they had no problems putting their hand right into the food dish while the dog was eating. Not sure why she did that, I think to move the dish over for some reason. But because my dogs were not conditioned to think that someone was going to get their food if they did not guard it, there was no issue. Maybe they are just not pre-disposed to food aggression.