Food agressive - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-05-2011, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
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Food agressive

I think I've seen it on here as guarding?

There was a small discussion about this in my intro thread... my 5 yr old female golden retriever has been WONDERFUL with our new GSD puppy (6 1/2 wks - had him since he was 5 wks). She is sharing her toys with Knuckles and even sharing her "favorite" toy, a stuffed pheasant. (we didn't expect her to, but she lets him chew on it while she's chewing on it!) She lets him chew on her lips, her ears, her legs, her tail. She play bites with him and is so gentle it's actually comical considering how big she doesn't know he's going to get.

But then we get to the food bowl. I have gotten Knuckles his own bowl, but she still gives, what we call, the "Elvis look" when he gets near her when she's eating. And for those of you who remember my intro thread, I have since stopped free feeding because of this, but what ends up happening is Saki just eats when Knuckles is sleeping.

I know the simple solution is to feed them separately, but I am hoping there is something I can do to get Saki to knock it off. I've even tried feeding her out of my hand, in the bowl, while Knuckles is eating and praising the heck out of her for eating nice... but as soon as my hand is out of the bowl the lip comes up. And yes, she will snap at him if I don't stop her.

I feel like I'm telling her to NOT EAT instead of not doing the lip thing. She backs off of the food bowl all together when I tell her no.

I have NEVER had a dog do this before and I've had quite a few dogs in the past. They have always just eaten, free fed, out of the same bowl with no issues whatsoever. Whats even more puzzling is that Saki came to us as a puppy and we had an adult Pomeranian which we got rid of a year ago and she had no problem sharing food with him. She doesn't like to share her toys (guarding?) with other dogs, either, which is why we were surprised with her sharing toys with Knuckles.

Any ideas how to get her to stop this behavior? I just don't want her snapping at him during feedings if he gets too close to her.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-05-2011, 08:47 PM
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Manage the situation. No free feeding, which you've already done. Separate bowls, which you've already done. Feed the puppy in his crate so she doesn't have to worry about him getting in her face while she eats and feel the need to guard her food from him. Or, if they will each stay in their own bowls with you right there, you can put the bowls on the floor 5 or 10 feet apart and then stand between them so there's no leaving of bowls to go check out what the other dog is getting. Stay there until both dogs are done and then pick the bowls up.

We feed in the garage and I've got a chain link pen in there - if I close the gate with one in the pen and one outside the pen everyone gets to eat in peace and I can control how much food each dog gets.

-Debbie-
Cava 1/6/18
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
Cassidy 6/8/00-10/4/04
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-05-2011, 08:54 PM
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She knows if she does not keep on top of it now, he'll be bigger than her (quite possibly) and won't stop later and she'll lose. She's doing what comes naturally.
Please intervene, and DO NOT Let him close to her bowl so she stops stressing.
Food and feeding time should not be a constant source of stress, especially as she approaches her "golden years" (no pun intended).

It's your job to keep him away, she's enforcing it because you're apparently still letting him close to her.

I might add, we have a rescue and between all the dogs, we feed over 15 per day, AM and PM. In all that time, we never ever feed anyone alongside others, we take it for granted there will be resource guarding. It's quite instinctive because if they didn't guard what they have, they will lose it, and (in their minds) starve to death.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-05-2011, 08:58 PM
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I agree, I wouldn't really bother with trying to get them to eat together. Just feed them seperate and don't deal with that stress.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-05-2011, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
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So you all think there is no way to break this?

- Berleen -

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Knuckles - born 8/21/11 - my big knucklehead
and can't forget Saki; the Golden Retriever, Born 11/07/07
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-05-2011, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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And as I typed that out, Saki was drinking water, Knuckles walked up and stuck his nose in the bowl and they both were drinking water at the same time.

It makes no sense to me. The water bowl is ok but the food bowl is not?

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Knuckles - born 8/21/11 - my big knucklehead
and can't forget Saki; the Golden Retriever, Born 11/07/07
The felines that rule the house - Oliver, Serena, Sakura & Bastian.

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-05-2011, 09:41 PM
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Um...food's "good" and tastes good!
Our dogs all share a water bowl.

Although some very pissy dogs will indeed guard water. Be glad she isn't!

I would simply keep them separate. I know it's different, but again, the dynamics change every time you add a dog, and to try to change it will only stress everyone, including you and the poor dog out!
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-05-2011, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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I guess I should have added that the food bowl was right next to the water bowl

- Berleen -

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Knuckles - born 8/21/11 - my big knucklehead
and can't forget Saki; the Golden Retriever, Born 11/07/07
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-05-2011, 10:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kittilicious View Post
So you all think there is no way to break this?
Yes, by doing all the things that people have suggested. You won't necessarily have to do them forever, but I would definitely do them for now. As long as he's free to bother her while she's eating she's going to feel insecure around her food bowl which can lead to guarding issues. At some point he may respect her boundaries, she may relax knowing that even if he's nearby he's not going to dive headfirst into her food bowl, and that you are there to make sure that everyone follows the rules so she doesn't need to take things into her own paws, so to speak.

-Debbie-
Cava 1/6/18
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
Cassidy 6/8/00-10/4/04
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-05-2011, 11:01 PM
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Some will guard water, but the food has a much higher value and is worth defending.

I have seven dogs here tonight. There is not a single one of them that would be okay about one of the others head in their bowl of food! Free feeding can make food less valuable and might result in less competition among some dogs. My dogs have high drive for food, so free feeding is not an option. Laid back, free fed dogs do happen but it is certainly not always the case. One has to work with the type of dog they have rather than try to make them be like dogs of a different make up.
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