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So, Cullen used to be very possessive with bones only... so he stopped getting recreational bones...

Now, he has suddenly become food aggressive..... I have always tried the " when I put my hand near your food, I will drop in a piece of something good" association, and I have tried the eating from my hand.... But all I did was walk in the room and he huddled in the corner with his chicken quarter... then he seemed to come back out, and I walked away. I came in to give him another ( they were thawing) and put it in the bowl. He was about 3 feet from me, so I did as I ALWAYS do, and I reached over just to stroke him down his back, and he let out a very low, deep growl. I told him to " drop it" and he did immediately, and I don't know what to do now... I have an 8 year old, and he is most def. higher up on the importance list (sorry, we love Cullen, but Trenton's safety is MUCH more important) and he KNOWS not to come in when he is eating, but what can I do to correct this? I don't EVER want there to be an accident ( such as, needing to come into the office to get something, or just walking past the office), so I don't want to let it possibly escalate. Any help?
 

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from the time my pup came home i would put my hand
in his food. sometimes i would pet him all over, stand over him,
lay down beside him or what ever. my dog is 3 yrs old and every now and then i'll put my hand in his food, pet him or what ever. i've had people
tell me you shouldn't play with his food. like anything else how's he going
to get use to it if you don't do it?
 

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Last week Karlo stole Onyx or Kacies pork neck bone...I had to take it away because he already ate his and I didn't want him eating more bone. I took it from his mouth with not a peep or debate. I've taken food from all my dogs if they inappropriately take from another, and so far not a growl. I've never played the "stroke them while they eat" game or any type of counter conditioning on food. And food drive is very high.
I guess in Cullen's situation, I would feed all meals by hand for awhile, and make him work for each handful. May work?
Of course a leg 1/4 is hard to do that, but Cullen did defer to you when you made him out it. I don't see a growl as a reason to worry right now. He was just warning to leave him alone so he could eat in peace.
 

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from the time my pup came home i would put my hand
in his food. sometimes i would pet him all over, stand over him,
lay down beside him or what ever. my dog is 3 yrs old and every now and then i'll put my hand in his food, pet him or what ever. i've had people
tell me you shouldn't play with his food. like anything else how's he going
to get use to it if you don't do it?
A little late to do any of this now. I personally also believe that doing this can sometimes create a problem. I never did any of this with Raven and I can reach in a pull a raw piece of chicken out of her mouth if I need to and she just gives me kisses for doing it.

Can you feed Cullen in a crate to prevent him or anyone else from gettng too close when he is eating? I think that would be the quickest way to prevent accidents while working on the problem.

You already know the most tried methods of working with resorce guarding. I would back way up and start from scratch. Start by tossing treats from a distance when you walk by and he is eating and gradually decrease that distance (over weeks or months and always keeping him under threshold) and work up to being able to place a treat down in front of him or even hand it to him. I would not touch him or try to take food away from him for a long time if ever. If you feed him kibble sometimes, feed that by hand

He needs to learn that you aren't just going to take things away for no reason. Always trade up if you have the opportunity. It sounds like he has a good "drop" so use that if you need to take food away from him. Doe he have a good leave it to? I think those would be good to use so he is making the choice to give it to you vs feeling like it is unfairly being taken from him.
 

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I had a problem with that with my first dog Marshall and my 7 month old pup Riley used to do it. Honestly what I did was pet them on their head while they were eating and when they growled I would say "No" and push them away and then rubbed my hand all in the food as they were watching. I only use dry kibble so it's not messy. I would then sit indian style and hold the bowl in my lap and say "Come" here and have my hand in the bowl as they started eating around my hand. I would then start moving my hand as they were eating away and then move my hand up to their head and say "good boy" and such and they both came out of it. It worked for me. My first dog Marshall started doing it as he got older and especially when he had a bone. I would do the same thing and nipped it in the butt quickly.
 

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When Chrono first started being fed bones, he would growl if I got near his food. I figured if he wasn't letting me take his food away, I'd take him away from his food. So I'd grab him by his leash and haul him away from the food. He learned pretty quickly that being protective of his food meant that the food would go away, not that I would take the food from him.

After he stopped growling, I could teach him that I wasn't a threat to his food. First I would poke at his food, or hold it while he was eating it. Then I would take his food from him, and then immediately give it back. Then I'd teach him that it's OKAY if someone takes his food away. I'd take the bone away completely and give him a high value treat in exchange, or a different bone. Now I can take anything from him, including high value bones out of his mouth, and he's totally fine about it. Despite being very dominant over other dogs, he will even allow other dogs to take his bones from him.

It helps to eliminate this problem as quickly as you can. Even if you have no intentions of taking the dog's food away, when a dog growls at you and you go away it believes that growling has worked to deter you from its food. It doesn't know that you weren't going to take its food away in the first place, all it knows is that growling works.
 

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I would say go back to having him eat out of your hand. Messy as that would be with RAW!
 

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I have found raw food to be such a valued and desired item that it can inspire guarding. I feed the dogs their raw meals in their crates. I don't go near their bowls or bother them in any way while they are eating it. This is because we don't want them to begin to worry that there will be someone messing with them during eating.


I can remember almost 40 years ago my mother's admonition even with our poodle.. "don't bother the dog, he is eating". She gets wiser the older I get.:)

I have seen people feed those meals while sitting down on a chair or something and having the dish between their feet so that the dog becomes accustomed to their presence. They don't really mess with the food or anything, just keep that proximity until the dog is very comfortable with "company" at meal time.
 

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What's wrong with providing a safe calm place for the dog to eat, un-interrupted?

I had the same concerns with Kelly when I watched her eat for the first time. Ears flat, feet splay and hunkered over her food, gobbling like no tomorrow. I thought, food possessive for sure.

And, I would be too. If I was fed with a dominant older brother who gobbled all his food and went for hers for seconds.

I decided to tackle it a different way than all the mind game things with food I'd read about.

She now eats from an elevated bowl for one, and two, get ready.....I make her sit, watch me, touch my palm with her nose and mark with a yes to let her know it's okay to eat.

Once, she's done her work, I don't mess with her. No games. Just let the big dog eat.

After 3 weeks, she now WON'T eat unless I am there in the kitchen with her, and now there is no more splayed feet or fear, she can eat in peace without competition anything or anyone. She's calm and eats at a leisurely pace.

With bones, I only give them to her crated and it's the same thing. Highly valued food item so I don't mess with her once she's done the work by laying down in the crate.

It's simple, and it worked for both my dogs.
 

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I only feed raw in their crates. It prevents my girl from stealing my boys food and keeps everyone safe especially my raw fed cat that will snoop for scraps. When they are eating I do not bother them for any reason. I can, if need be, take food out of their mouths, even if it is raw, without any problems.

I do not tolerate my dogs growling over food. Last night I was putting a new batch of venison in the freezer(in the shed outside) and had some meaty leg bones in a bag on the floor. As they were investigating the odors of the game, one of them growled at the other. I gave them a simple 'eh' and they scattered. While it is an instinct for wolves in the wild to growl over food, my pack (of 2) has to behave in a civil manner.
 

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Wow, I waited too long to check for responses... so many of them!

I did the " puppy conditioning" when he was younger, and even more until recently, and never had a problem except with bone, which we just stopped giving ( he gets his RMB, but no recreationals).

He always has to come, sit, watch, and wait for food. He understand Leave It, only I use the word " mine" just because I figured with a kid, it was a great word, since if he messes with a kids toy, the first thing that normally comes out of their mouth is " that's mine". Now, no matter what it is, if I say " that's mine" he will ignore it, even when I put food out on the coffee table, he won't even go back to it. He also does drop extremely well. I just worry about it escalating from a simple growl when you touch him, to lunging or being more aggressive when people so much as walk near him. I will take all advice and see where it leads me!
 

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my GSD is slightly food aggressive only with my other dog around. but honestly i found it much easier to feed them separate. i dont bother them, and i tell people who are over not to bother them.
 

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I would say go back to having him eat out of your hand. Messy as that would be with RAW!
Couldn't agree more. Not only that, make him sit and wait for it.
And take it away then give it back frequently.

After all, who's the boss here?
 
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