What's Your View on Feeding? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-31-2013, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
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What's Your View on Feeding?

I've seen a couple of posts recently about food aggression, and honestly, some of the responses surprised me.

I will not tolerate resource guarding of any kind.
When Ozzy was a puppy, I'd but his food down, and pet him, working my way up to his head. I'd put my hand in his food bowl. Sometimes I would take it away for just a few seconds, have him focus on me, and return his food.
I didn't pester him the entire time he was eating, but I'd do quick, small exercises with him when he was a pup.

Even if we're somewhere like the dog park and another dog takes his ball, he'll try to get to it faster, but if another dog gets it, he won't respond aggressively or defensively. He may follow the dog for a little bit, but won't actively try to get it back.

I can call Ozzy away from the highest valued resources (from his ball to a piece of steak). If I throw his ball and he's halfway across the field, if I yell "Wait," he will stop until I release him. I can recall him from a mid-fetch as well.

I see that some people will put their dogs in crates so they're left alone while they're eating. Until I know my dog would be fine with someone coming up and petting him or even taking his food away, I wouldn't do this, personally.

I don't pester him all the time when he's eating. For the most part, he's given his food and left alone. But sometimes I give him a quick pet while he's eating.

What are your views? How do you feed?

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-31-2013, 04:19 PM
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I am on the opposite side. I too used to believe that was the way to go. After some research I believe that can actually cause food aggression.

I fully expect to be able to take anything away from my dogs bowl/mouth at any time also. I don't tolerate resource guarding etc. but I go about it differently.

I believe in feeding the dog and letting them eat in peace. My dog must sit and wait for me to release her before she can eat. And then I close the crate and she is left to eat in peace. She came to me highly possessive with the start of food aggression. I was able to fix it and she's great now. But had I done the old school methods of messing with her or her food while she was eating I am positive I would have created a food aggressive adult dog.

In my eyes its simple- giving a dog their food and then start messing with them or the food gives the dog reason to think "these people keep coming for my food! I need to protect myself" vs. a dog who has rules and boundaries and training and is made to sit and all that before eating but left alone to eat develops no reason to believe he needs to guard anything from me. Responsible and legitimate dog trainers and behaviorists all agree that trying to prevent food aggression by taking away and giving back food, rubbing hands in it while they are eating etc. is a quick way to make a dog FA not prevent it.


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Last edited by Capone22; 08-31-2013 at 04:22 PM.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-31-2013, 04:24 PM
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I like this link and quote
"If a dog is constantly bothered while eating but never displays food bowl aggression, it shows that he’s a great dog, not that harassing him was a good idea."

http://thebark.com/content/preventin...sion-over-food



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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-31-2013, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capone22 View Post
I like this link and quote
"If a dog is constantly bothered while eating but never displays food bowl aggression, it shows that he’s a great dog, not that harassing him was a good idea."

http://thebark.com/content/preventin...sion-over-food



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I think this was just a neat way to prove a point but not necessarily true. I can make the same point and say that if you have a dog that food guards and you constantly messed with his food it just means that he's not wired right, not that messing with his food is wrong))))))



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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-31-2013, 04:39 PM
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I also believe messing with their food actually causes the aggression or at least aggravates it but not with all dogs of course. But I did this with my Golden thinking what you thought and he eventually ended up snapping at me once and getting stiff anytime I came near his food dish... And I did pretty much exactly what you did.

Now I've never messed with my other 3 dogs while they were eating and none of them have any issue with me being near their food and can eat with the other dogs around which my Golden cannot do either, he has to eat in his crate now.

So my view is just leave them be, let them eat and they won't have any reason to guard from you... If you have to mess with them then just ADD high value stuff into the bowl instead of grabbing it away from them. I also practice NILIF so they have to work for their food before they get it but I don't mess with them once they have earned it.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-31-2013, 05:33 PM
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I agree with the OP. I also do exercises with the dogs with food and toys. No growling or teeth showing allowed. Something about it has to work because I have 5 dogs that eat, drink water, and share toys with no problems. The key to the exercises are to make sure the dogs are praised for allowing it and that they know they are getting whatever it is back...they have to be able to share.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-31-2013, 05:54 PM
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A couple weeks after we got our pup, he growled at me as I approached his food dish.

After doing some research (lots of good advice from this board specifically), I did hand feeding for a couple weeks and then implemented NILIF as well. I don't bother him while he's eating, and also only approach his dish when offering high value treats. He actually gets excited when he sees me walk over to his dish now.


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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-31-2013, 06:12 PM
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My puppy growled at me the first week I had her after I gave her a bone.

I dont bother her when she eats, have never stuck my hands in her bowl, but after that instance for high value things I did teach her it was something that was shared between us and not a "it's mine I'll growl at you". For example, I eat a bite of steak, I handed her one, then hand her a few more, etc. I hand fed high value things for a little while. She understood if she was nice to me i'd give her more. Never had an issue ever again. I can pull anything out of her mouth or make her drop it.


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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-31-2013, 06:43 PM
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I don't bug my dogs when they're eating but I also don't feed them away from things, they eat in the kitchen near the sink unless it's raw food, then usually outside. The only time my hand might go near the bowl after I've set I down is to add something tasty in to the bowl, so my dogs associate me approaching their bowl with them getting someone yummy.


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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-31-2013, 06:50 PM
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Dogs are fed and left alone. Would you like someone messing on and around your head when you were eating?


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