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So there seems to be a controversy in the dog world.

There are those who say that you shouldn’t bother a dog that’s eating at all (like me) and there are those that say you should practice taking a dog’s food away in order to prevent food agression. They also say this because it supposedly will assure your dog that you are the Alpha.

I say just dont bother a dog that’s eating at all. I mean I can’t name one animal or person that likes it when someone takes their food away or to be bothered while eating.

But I am one for hearing other points of views, what are y’alls thoughts on this?


EDIT: i just re read the title and it sounds completely wrong, can a Mod please change the Thread Title?
 

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I'd say you should leave any animal that's eating alone. After all, we don't like it when they bother us while we're eating!

That said, you should always be able to take something out of your dogs mouth when they aren't eating their meal. Mostly as a practical matter in the event they try to eat or chew on something they shouldn't. The vast majority of dogs can tell the difference.

I will not, however, tolerate growling in demand for food or growling before I've walked away after putting the food down. That is an instance where I will either refuse to put the food down until they're quiet, or stand there and wait for a few seconds of silence. I won't take the food away nor will I lean over, but I will stand there, unmoving.
 

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I thought for a second we had a controversy over eating dogs:laugh2:

I agree that dogs should not be bothered when they are eating.

BUT.. most dogs end up with kids around, a lot of people refuse to crate a dog for meals. Reason dictates that at some point crawling baby or wobbling toddler or excited preteen may bump pooch while eating. I was visiting a friend when my son was about 3 and as we proceeded through the kitchen his dog turned and lunged at my son. She was eating and her dish was near the door. Fortunately I was quick on the draw that day and pulled my child out of harms way, but he did nothing wrong. He was in no way touching or bothering the dog.
Puppies in my house get hand fed a lot. In fact I used to have my son feed them. It's not that I want to bother them eating, it's that I understand that in a busy household stuff happens.
Bud was really aggressive about food and rather then pick a fight I crated him for meals. Had he been available for adoption I would have worked on it.
Some people believe that you can make a dog food aggressive but honestly it has not happened in my house. The point is more to reassure that food is still there even with my fingers in the way then to taunt them and make them feel a need to fight.
 

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Ha, yes, I thought we were going to debate about whether or not to eat dogs, or what seasoning goes best. ;-)

So I am in your camp -
we leave our dog alone when he's eating and I told my kids never to touch/bother him when he's eating.
The few times when I've carelessly "reached in there" (i.e. forgot to add his glucosamine tablet, refill the water bowl, etc) he has had zero reaction. He also lets me take his Kong and thump it for him so the last bits fall out.

I do wonder if taking their food away/interrupting their eating generates feelings of anxiety and stress around eating, and can actually heighten food aggression?

And "feeding from your hand" is different from "taking away the food bowl", I think. I think it feels different to the dog - knowing owner controls food and can give it food, feels different than eating your food and having the owner arbitrarily take it away.

But there are people who say they NEED to have a dog who will never be aggressive around food no matter what, because they have small children and one never knows what will happen. But I think that even small kids (unless babies) should be taught not to bother dog when it's eating...that's good practice around any animal, for safety!
 

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Ha, yes, I thought we were going to debate about whether or not to eat dogs, or what seasoning goes best. ;-)

So I am in your camp -
we leave our dog alone when he's eating and I told my kids never to touch/bother him when he's eating.
The few times when I've carelessly "reached in there" (i.e. forgot to add his glucosamine tablet, refill the water bowl, etc) he has had zero reaction. He also lets me take his Kong and thump it for him so the last bits fall out.

I do wonder if taking their food away/interrupting their eating generates feelings of anxiety and stress around eating, and can actually heighten food aggression?

And "feeding from your hand" is different from "taking away the food bowl", I think. I think it feels different to the dog - knowing owner controls food and can give it food, feels different than eating your food and having the owner arbitrarily take it away.

But there are people who say they NEED to have a dog who will never be aggressive around food no matter what, because they have small children and one never knows what will happen. But I think that even small kids (unless babies) should be taught not to bother dog when it's eating...that's good practice around any animal, for safety!

So yes. I do not just randomly steal my dogs food. That is mean.

I sit on the floor, dish in my lap, hands in the dish, dog eating while I randomly feed bits or even extra yummies. They eat around my fingers and willingly take what I offer. There is zero interruption of feeding or threats of removal. When the kids were little I used to have them do the same. I would also have them pet the puppies and offer treats during meals.

No removing of dishes! I would bite you for that.
 

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So there seems to be a controversy in the dog world.

There are those who say that you shouldn’t bother a dog that’s eating at all (like me) and there are those that say you should practice taking a dog’s food away in order to prevent food agression. They also say this because it supposedly will assure your dog that you are the Alpha.

I say just dont bother a dog that’s eating at all. I mean I can’t name one animal or person that likes it when someone takes their food away or to be bothered while eating.

But I am one for hearing other points of views, what are y’alls thoughts on this?


EDIT: i just re read the title and it sounds completely wrong, can a Mod please change the Thread Title?
I was so happy this thread was not about what the original title implied, lol. I changed it for you. ;)
 

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Feed all new dogs / puppies by hand (in SOME capacity, for SOME period of time) - build that trust and rapport.

If resource guarding is observed - manage it, leave dog alone while eating.

If resource guarding is not observed - go on about life as usual which may include the rare instance when you have to pick up the food dish mid meal, etc, but more commonly I would take it to mean that most often you’d - leave dogs alone while eating.

I have not known a resource guarder to be “fixed” by constantly bothering them...

I have known them (in a rescue context) to be “fixed” with time, patience and relationship.

That said - I’m on the fence about “creating” a resource guarder by constantly bothering them... although I’ve seen them become worse.

There is a genetic component.

I can confidently walk in my house right now and stick my hand in my dogs bowls while eating - but why the heck would I!?
 

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I think genetics have a LOT to do with it.

I have a Pyrenees/Bernese that from day one, was VERY much resource guarder. Sweetest animal/breed(s) on the planet. Unless you got near him when he was eating. Best thing I ever did is just to leave him alone when eating. Now on the other hand, giving treats, he is amazingly gentle taking them from me. I don't think his teeth have ever touched my hands after puppyhood. He takes them from my fingers with his lips.

Then I got the 9.5 week old GSD. I was fully prepared to have the same issues, if not worse. No way. I fed her by hand at the beginning because she needed antibiotics. I had to make sure she was getting them down. Never had an issue with it. I brush her daily while eating. She pays no attention to me. I can take her bowl at any time. She looks at me like, but why?

My take is that they are who they are, and you have to treat them based on how they react. If you have a reactive dog, don't let kids near them while they are eating. I'm not sure you can completely train it out of them or ever trust them completely with a toddler while eating.
 

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I agree that it has a lot to do with genetics. You can make it worse if you constantly keep taking their food away from them but I don't think you can create it by taking their food away.

I've always made my dogs sit, I put the food down, they must wait until I give them the command to eat... Once they start eating I give them two pats on their side and walk away... the kids do the same. I know I can touch Kaiser whilst eating and it won't bother him, I know the kids can play games around him whilst he is lying eating a bone and he won't be bothered about it, and I also know I can take a big juicy bone out his mouth without an issue.... and I've done it a few times.... I give him a bone outside, he brings it inside, I take it away and throw it back outside, and he goes and lies outside. He seems to try test this rule almost every time. Normally when I tell him "outside" he will go, but if he has a bone he won't listen, he brings it in and lies on my new carpet, so I take the bone away and throw it outside and off he goes... its a game or its cheekiness but I've never had an issue.
 

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I have always taught dogs 2 things about their food. First, if I'm messing with their food ever after I've given it to them, it's to add more or something really good! And second, I really don't care whether it's food or a toy or any other reason, I will react immediately with extreme prejudice IF THEY EVER FOR ANY REASON SNAP AT A CHILD!

This has been perfectly understood by any dog I or my family has ever owned, and we have never had a small child or toddler hurt. It falls to the dog to understand, not the child when they're small. This is something I feel strongly enough about that it is the one thing a dog can do that I'm willing to fight them over...

But you can crate them also if that works for you >:)
 

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To be honest I had heard that it's good to get a dog used to being hassled when eating so that they don't develop issues with guarding food or snapping, but I don't know if this works well in all cases or not. I like a lot of people shudder at the thought of a young child being snapped at because of the food bowl, so that was my reasoning.

My girl was not a big eater when she was a young pup, so I hand-fed her a lot to encourage her to eat. I also frequently stuck my hand in her bowl and touched her when she was eating. I also often take her bowl away from her when she is eating (and often I return it to her with fresh cuts of meat having appeared the bowl! - thus hopefully making her realise that good things may come out of someone touching her food). In my case, I have never had *any* issues with food aggression, literally not a hint, but I couldn't say for sure if that's coincidence or because of my efforts ?
 

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I don’t mess with my dogs when they are eating. I cringe when people say they put their hands in their dog’s bowl while they’re eating, “so the dog knows who the alpha is”. I don’t understand how this ever became a thing. It in no way makes sense. I DO think you can create a resource guarding issue if you are constantly messing with their food. Not for every dog, of course, and I’m sure genetics could play a role, as well. But why chance it?

As for the kids thing... I don’t think it falls to the dog to not react OR the kid to know better. It falls to the parent or the other adults around said kid to keep the child away from a dog while they are eating. I mean, really, it’s not that hard to provide a safe space (a crate, a room with a closed door, etc) for a dog to eat where a child will not bother them while they’re eating.
 

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As for the kids thing... I don’t think it falls to the dog to not react OR the kid to know better. It falls to the parent or the other adults around said kid to keep the child away from a dog while they are eating. I mean, really, it’s not that hard to provide a safe space (a crate, a room with a closed door, etc) for a dog to eat where a child will not bother them while they’re eating.
I'm a bit surprised by this response, given what you said in another thread about giving a correction severe enough for single event learning for your dog trying to hump another dog...I guess our priorities differ a lot!

I have, and always will, prefered to teach the dog because accidents happen, but if the dog knows better it doesn't end in a child being hurt. Just sayin...

Some things are dangerous, others, undesirable. When It's dangerous, a severe correction is warranted IMO. When it's not...I prefer a more moderate approach...but to each their own...
 

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I dont mess with my dogs when they eat but I do make sure that I teach them that if I reach down to grab there bowl or even grab something out of it (to add something or if something dosnt belong in the bowl) to ignore my hand. I never take there food away but "dont bite the hand that feeds you" is kinda my idea.
I also set down the food and tell them wait, and untill I say okay they dont get food. I dont have little kids to worry about and everyone is fed away from each other (some in there own kennel) so they dont feel they need to race or fight for food. Most of my cats are outdoor cats but I also dont tolerate a dog snapping at a cat of they get close, I shoo the cats away when I notice one getting close if they do, but if I'm not right there I dont want a hurt or dead cat over a bowl of food.
And the main reason i do what i do is if i give one of my dogs a bone or i see they have food they shouldnt (floor surfing or whatever) I dont need them sniping or anything if I try to take it away, but I also train them to drop it and leave it.
 

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I guess I am with Tim on this one. I always teach my dogs that resource guarding, of food/food dishes in particular, is not acceptable. My ex's heeler and I went a few rounds before he understood this (quite stubborn was he). He and I got along great after that, although he still growled at my ex for a time, he learned not to growl or bite us or the other dog or cat that might be around.

I periodically took care of a co-worker's adolescent golden retriever (I had a GSD/Akita at the time). His resource guarding of any food was a problem at home as he would growl and snap at the adults as well as the children. I tried to get him to respond to me in that fashion so that I could correct him, but he never would (nor did he ever challenge my boy). This was true for his food dish, treats, or even a fresh meaty bone. The dish he would nicely step aside and wait while I did whatever I was going to do. The bone he would just give it to me if I asked for it or just reached for it (be it on the ground or in his mouth). I guess my usual long winded point is that we can make a resource guarding dog by catering to it, he knew I wouldn't tolerate it (and I was boss) so he submitted and life was good.

While I don't make a habit of messing with my dogs' food, I do expect them to behave appropriately when I do or if my Mom does as she no longer understands not to do this.
 

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I'm a bit surprised by this response, given what you said in another thread about giving a correction severe enough for single event learning for your dog trying to hump another dog...I guess our priorities differ a lot!

I have, and always will, prefered to teach the dog because accidents happen, but if the dog knows better it doesn't end in a child being hurt. Just sayin...

Some things are dangerous, others, undesirable. When It's dangerous, a severe correction is warranted IMO. When it's not...I prefer a more moderate approach...but to each their own...
I’m not willing to set my dogs up to fail in order to teach them that if a child accidentally touches them while they are eating or reaches for their food, they are to sit there and take it. Dogs take, what, less than five minutes to finish a meal? I think I can provide them a safe space for five minutes to eat in peace. I have multiple dogs, so mine eat in crates anyway. Takes all the worry away.

And I find it strange that you seem to equate a harsh correction for something that could cause a dog fight as not a matter of safety. And harsh doesn’t equal abuse. You don’t know my dogs or what type of corrections they respond to. But I guess we definitely do see things differently!
 

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Put me in the camp of "teach a dog early that you might have to take food away" especially since pups tend to pick up things they shouldn't be eating. Later, If I pick up food it is to replace it with something better or add something tasty. Other than that I leave my dogs alone. In fact I separate me dogs for meals. They actually separate themselves with long lasting treats. When I work / train them together I use their name to let each know which can expect the treat from my hand. I try to make their need to guard as small as possible.

someday if I have grand children toddling around, I'll keep the kiddos away from the dogs while they are eating. It is just good manners not to mess with someone, dog or human, while they are eating.
A toddler offering a treat, that is an entirely different story. I remember my boy Bandit, decades ago, gently taking a tidbit of bologna from my baby girl's hand. It was charming. With the two I have now, I wouldn't try that if they were together. Sometimes they almost take my hand off, if they get too excited about a treat!
 
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