Food Aggression - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 73 (permalink) Old 02-05-2012, 11:35 PM Thread Starter
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Food Aggression

I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice on tips for a food/treat aggressive GSD. Has anyone had this problem and what training method has actually stopped the problem?
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post #2 of 73 (permalink) Old 02-05-2012, 11:46 PM
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Could you please describe a few specific situations so we can have a idea of what you are dealing with.

Are you talking around the food bowl, when using treats for training, chewing on bones? What exactly are you doing and what is your dog doing?
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post #3 of 73 (permalink) Old 02-05-2012, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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It's over his normal meals and treats that he doesn't get a lot. If I come too close he will show his teeth and growl. If he feels like I might grab the food he will lunge at me like he's telling me to back off by barking and trying to intimidate me.
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post #4 of 73 (permalink) Old 02-05-2012, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
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That's the only time he does it, but it needs to stop.
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post #5 of 73 (permalink) Old 02-06-2012, 12:10 AM
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Use "trade up"


While he's eating (boring old kibble), walk by and toss a piece of cheese or other super-yummy treat in the dish.
Your goal is to make him look forward to you approaching his dish
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post #6 of 73 (permalink) Old 02-06-2012, 12:19 AM
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I liked this vid alot too. I'd expect she started by simply tossing a piece of "better" food (better than kibble) near the dish and worked up to having the dog leave the bowl, etc., for the better food.
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post #7 of 73 (permalink) Old 02-06-2012, 12:27 AM
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Your dog is resource guarding which is basically due to the fear of loosing whatever the particular resource is in this case food. Most of the time this issue is do to insecurity so I like to deal with it by making the dog understand there is no need to feel threatened by me coming near the food. I do this by adding things to my dogs dish or giving him a treat while chewing on a bone. You want your dog to think that when you are around good things will happen not bad.

The video does not show how to rehabilitate but it shows what can be accomplished with this method. At around 2:19 they start to show the progress they have made. The earlier part of the video is quite hard to watch but I assume they do this to show how bad the dog was. Once you know your dog has resource guarding issues you do not want to push them passed their comfort zone. Desensitization is all about working just outside the dogs thresholds. This is why I recommend you follow a desensitization program under the guidance of a trainer.

I do not agree with showing the dog that you are in control and can always take things away or can play with there food. I think once food or treats are given a dog should be left in peace. You most certainly want to be able to take something away from your dog if needed in an emergency but this can be accomplished by making your dog feel comfortable in your presence instead of feeling threatened.
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post #8 of 73 (permalink) Old 02-06-2012, 12:28 AM
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Nice you beat me to it
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post #9 of 73 (permalink) Old 02-06-2012, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the wonderful videos. This will give me a good start on trying to correct Kaiser's mental association with me and his food. I want it to be a good association and not bad. Just want to prevent any future accidents with strangers or myself. Thanks again!
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post #10 of 73 (permalink) Old 02-06-2012, 02:05 AM
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How old is the dog?

To me that would make a great deal of difference in how you would go about instilling in the dog that he/she cannot and doesn't have any need to guard/protect their food or any other object. With a younger dog just take it from him, and then hold it a second or two and give it right back to him with much praise (as long as he didn't react negatively.

BTW, a lot of the times, with many dogs (don't know about yours, of course) the WAY that you take it and your body language can make a HUGE difference in the dog's reaction. Just walk right over to many dogs like you KNEW that you could and you expect no nonsense, and the dog will just stand there and let you. However, go to him like you expect a problem i.e. hesitantly or the like and the dog is MUCH more apt to think that he can get away with "protecting" his stuff! Of course you also have to have Plan B if he does react to you taking it.

Obviously, if you are afraid of your dog or just are reluctant to have any type of confrontation - then don't. Get a trainer/behaviorist to be right there to assist you.

We saw a similar thing with my dog (now a 4+yo male bossy GSD), only it was to do with getting a collar and leash on him in his run. I was laid up with a knee replacement and we hired a dog walker - first few times went fine and then one day he just decided he didn't have to get his collar on, so he reacted when the walker tried to put it on him. I think that the walker was always a little bit afraid/cautious with our guy and she finally admitted one day that she couldn't get his collar on for one day. A second person had no problem with him at all - we think it was due to the approach of the two different walkers - one was a little hesitant and it showed while the other wasn't at all. Our dog never gave the second one any problem at all. Now our dog was an adult about 2yo when this happened and had been called "very dominant and a bully" by his breeder, and he just tried to get away with his own way. BTW, When he was younger, he tried a couple times with me not to do something i told him but hasn't tried anything for a long time now.

He has to learn that you, or any other family member, can take anything he has away from him for any reason or for no reason. Not that you will do it a lot, but he has to learn that you can w/o ANY negative reaction from him, much less growling or snapping.

Good luck with your pup.
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