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So, Nuhkia is just around 5.5. months now, all is going good, no big isssues, thankfully she listens really well. However I have noticed a little something as of late.

When I place her food in her bowl, she will sit there until I say it's ok to eat. She has no issue doing that and keeps her eyes on me at all times until I give the ok to take it. However after I have given the ok to take it, if I make any movements towards her while eating, she will start inhaling the food as much as possible. So much so that she has food coming out of her mouth! I've started in the past few days to teach her the "leave it" cmd. It goes good with the toys however no so much on the food.

She's fed a high quality kibble twice a day. 2 1/2 cups in the morning and 2 cups in the evening for a total of 4.5 cups. So it's not like she is starving. She is however still loosing some teeth, but I don't believe that has anything to do with it.

I'm wondering if that isn't an early sign for food agression? I could be wrong though. I have no issues touching her head or any other part of her body. I can even lift her rear end up with no issue. I can also stick my entire hand in the bowl and she'll eat around it with no nudging.

It's just this inhaling as I walk towards her thats got me stumped.
 

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Actually our trainer instructed us to do all of the things the OP does. Mac had a little issue with growling when someone approached him when he was eating a bone. We kept at him and now we have no problems. Disclaimer - I'm not a dog trainer. This is simply what I was told by one and it worked for me. :)
 

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"Leave it" is a wonderful command for a dog to know and I like to make sure my dogs are fine with me putting my hand in their bowl; but it sounds like you are over doing it. You need to make food time a more relaxed affair, she is becoming anxious that you are going to take her food away and you could cause her to become food aggressive.
I have never taught my dogs "leave it" by using their food or toys; these the things they are supposed to have. Rather I have used everyday situations like when they picked up one of the kid's toys or we are on a walk and they go to pick up something off the ground or when they focus on another dog.
 

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I think that doing "leave it" for their dinner is not an ok place to teach/reinforce the command. If I were the dog, I would also inhale my food as you got closer because you getting closer equals not fun things (leaving dinner and waiting again).

However, that being said - I would expect my dogs to allow me to come close, pet them, touch them, put yummy extras in their bowl. Make eating a happy place and you near it even happier. My dogs will let me put my hands in their bowls, their mouths and pick up their dishes mid meal if need be (just in case there ever is an occurrence where I NEED to take something from them) but when I give it back, it's always "better" than when I took it (aka added some wet dog food or something). Since she allows you to touch and everything with no issues - I would reinforce that behavior rather than worry about what "might" happen later. AKA, praise while you do it, toss in treats or more delicious food etc.
 

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I agree with FG167 and I'd actively approach the dog while it's eating and add high value treats to the bowl so that my approach to the bowl is positive.
 

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Quickly eating when you approach is a sign your puppy is not comfortable. It could led to resource guarding in some cases, usually when the owner insists on repeatedly removing the food bowl, giving it back and removing it again. You can always use a resource guarding behavior modification program to make her more comfortable with you near her food: Resource Guarding | Ahimsa Dog Training, Seattle | Dog and Puppy Tips from Seattle |
 

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As you see and will see there are many 'expert' opinions ...... so I will add mine. For one thing, I wouldn't overly test my puppy while eating. For another I want my dog to allow me to do ANYTHING AT ANYTIME. So, don't be a pest but don't allow food guarding. Good suggestions above for behavior modification. I believe that there should be no tense interactions and no 'respecting the dog's privacy'. The dog knows I am her friend and benefactor and she respects my role of authority.
 

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Have you tried to take the bowl away in the past?

"Scarfing" is normally a feeling of being uncomfortable or weary that the food will be taken away.

My opinion is to take a step back and re-evaluate. Then re-build the relationship from the beginning. We always start off with hand-feeding for the first few meals. Then slowly adding food back into the bowl until you can sit comfortably next to the pup while eating the complete meal from the bowl.

Lots of people have different feelings on feeding, some are of the opinion that a dog should be left alone when feeding and some think that they should be able to reach into the bowl at any time. I am of the later and for many reasons, one being if one of my dogs gets into another's bowl I don't have to worry about getting bit while removing it.
 

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Play the trade game with her. This can be a sign that she will develope food aggression from what I've seen in shelter dogs. Split her feedings every night into two bowls- add a little yogurt to them both and maybe some leftovers to make them more appetizing. Place one on the ground, release her to eat. As she's eating, kneel down next to her/across from her and "offer" the other bowl as a trade. Take the bowl she's eating out of away and let her feast on the new bowl. Do this back and forth 2-4 times every night.

The dog will learn that when you approach while she's eating she doesn't have to stop, she just gets more food, or BETTER food. I like playing it with better food as the trade, but then that will only work one way. If you could cut up some steak tips it'd work great, and trade a piece of steak for the bowl over and over.

Good luck!
 

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Lots of people have different feelings on feeding, some are of the opinion that a dog should be left alone when feeding and some think that they should be able to reach into the bowl at any time.
I don't think that the two feelings you described are exclusive from one another. I think my dogs deserve to be left alone while eating AND that I should be able to reach into the bowl at any time. I also think that constantly pestering the dog while eating is a good way to create the frustration that can lead to guarding the food bowl.

There are better ways to train a dog to be ok with you around their food that don't include putting my hand in their dish at every meal. The trading game already mentioned is a good example or throwing in yummy treats occasionally.

I never messed with Raven (or Kaiser but he's still fairly new) while eating and I can take anything I want out of their mouths (no matter how valuable) without worry because it isn't a habit and they aren't annoyed at me doing it all the time.
 

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I don't think that the two feelings you described are exclusive from one another. I think my dogs deserve to be left alone while eating AND that I should be able to reach into the bowl at any time. I also think that constantly pestering the dog while eating is a good way to create the frustration that can lead to guarding the food bowl.

There are better ways to train a dog to be ok with you around their food that don't include putting my hand in their dish at every meal. The trading game already mentioned is a good example or throwing in yummy treats occasionally.

I never messed with Raven (or Kaiser but he's still fairly new) while eating and I can take anything I want out of their mouths (no matter how valuable) without worry because it isn't a habit and they aren't annoyed at me doing it all the time.
What SHE ^^^^ said. :D
 

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I think the above is true, and "constantly" putting your hand into the bowl can possibly lead to guarding issues.
But when a new dog comes in I feel that manipulation of the bowl is necessary and requires reinforcement every once in a while.

In my household I have two young children who don't always make the best decisions. They may reach for something around the dogs when they are eating or even bump into them accidentally. I cannot have any worry whatsoever that one of the dogs could possibly be "annoyed".
 

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Well, I don't believe anywhere within my first post did I state I "constantly pester" the dog while eating. Nor stick my hand in the bowl during each feeding. As a matter of fact, I believe I only placed my hand in the bowl once this week. Nor do I make it a point to stand beside her constantly while eating. And, not once have I removed her food bowl. However I have called her off the food, and this is usually done to give her pills or medicine.

I also have a lot of young ones within my family, and therefore do not want it to be an issue of resource guarding. Unlike my family, I don't believe in letting my dog run wild through my house as it see's fit. Not getting on the furniture unless I say ok, no in or out of the house unless I say ok, no upstairs or down stairs unless I say ok, no jumping on people, no in or out of the car unless I say ok. No affection unless I initiate. As for her toys in the house, she can play until her heart is content, now if she wants me to throw one of them, then she must drop it at my feet and sit before anything happens.

Perhaps some would view this as being harsh, each to their own. However the last thing I want to worry about is trying to do something down the road and having to deal with an outburst because I let the dog do as it wanted.
 

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Play the trade game with her. This can be a sign that she will develope food aggression from what I've seen in shelter dogs. Split her feedings every night into two bowls- add a little yogurt to them both and maybe some leftovers to make them more appetizing. Place one on the ground, release her to eat. As she's eating, kneel down next to her/across from her and "offer" the other bowl as a trade. Take the bowl she's eating out of away and let her feast on the new bowl. Do this back and forth 2-4 times every night.
This is a fantastic idea I absolutely love it!!
 

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Well, I don't believe anywhere within my first post did I state I "constantly pester" the dog while eating. Nor stick my hand in the bowl during each feeding. As a matter of fact, I believe I only placed my hand in the bowl once this week. Nor do I make it a point to stand beside her constantly while eating. And, not once have I removed her food bowl. However I have called her off the food, and this is usually done to give her pills or medicine.

I also have a lot of young ones within my family, and therefore do not want it to be an issue of resource guarding. Unlike my family, I don't believe in letting my dog run wild through my house as it see's fit. Not getting on the furniture unless I say ok, no in or out of the house unless I say ok, no upstairs or down stairs unless I say ok, no jumping on people, no in or out of the car unless I say ok. No affection unless I initiate. As for her toys in the house, she can play until her heart is content, now if she wants me to throw one of them, then she must drop it at my feet and sit before anything happens.

Perhaps some would view this as being harsh, each to their own. However the last thing I want to worry about is trying to do something down the road and having to deal with an outburst because I let the dog do as it wanted.
I didn't feel like anyone was really saying what YOU were doing was wrong or bad, just what some other people thought you should do.

You're enacting a perfect case of NILIF which IMO is GREAT. I did it from the start with my dog and I played the trade game a lot as a puppy too.

NOW, my 78lb intact male GSD that has eosinophilia and pano is an absolutely PLEASURE around his food bowl. I would feel 100% comfortable letting an infant crawl into it and lay there. The kitten shares yogurt from his meal with him some nights, and we have had houseguests back him out of his bowl. We still play the trade game to this day every once in a while, and I think it did wonders for his personality. :cool:
 

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Well, I don't believe anywhere within my first post did I state I "constantly pester" the dog while eating. Nor stick my hand in the bowl during each feeding. As a matter of fact, I believe I only placed my hand in the bowl once this week. Nor do I make it a point to stand beside her constantly while eating. And, not once have I removed her food bowl. However I have called her off the food, and this is usually done to give her pills or medicine.

I also have a lot of young ones within my family, and therefore do not want it to be an issue of resource guarding. Unlike my family, I don't believe in letting my dog run wild through my house as it see's fit. Not getting on the furniture unless I say ok, no in or out of the house unless I say ok, no upstairs or down stairs unless I say ok, no jumping on people, no in or out of the car unless I say ok. No affection unless I initiate. As for her toys in the house, she can play until her heart is content, now if she wants me to throw one of them, then she must drop it at my feet and sit before anything happens.

Perhaps some would view this as being harsh, each to their own. However the last thing I want to worry about is trying to do something down the road and having to deal with an outburst because I let the dog do as it wanted.
I don't think you are being harsh. I think this is the way you are supposed to do it. I think it is all part of NILIF. Your puppy earns priviledges. I too don't allow Jamie to run freely through the house. I want her to have manners and respect for others. I do the same with Jamie she sits before she gets a toy and if she wants the balls thrown she brings it to me,drops it and does a sit. I make her her sit,stay when we go out the door also. She doesn't move until I give her the "let's go" command.

I don't think you are being harsh. I think you are raising a well balanced,respectable member of your family.

As far as the feeding thing goes. I don't know if you do an "easy" command, but it really helped Jamie to stop snatching things and scarfing items(food,toys). She would snatch/scarf food or toys from the other dogs just so they could not have it. The "easy" command worked for her. It might help for the scarfing issue yours is having. I also think DJEtzel had a great suggestion with trading up.
 

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Sorry, I didn't intend to emphasize "constantly" pertaining to your post, I meant it as showing that "constantly" maneuvering in/around the bowl could cause food aggression.
 

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Sorry, I didn't intend to emphasize "constantly" pertaining to your post (or that you were doing this) , I meant it as showing that "constantly" maneuvering in/around the bowl could cause food aggression.
And also wanted to add that dogs do not generalize. They learn behaviors, even unintentionally. They don't "think" you will take their food away by scarfing unless they have learned that behavior, again could have been unintentionally.

Hand feeding meals teaches a dog that food comes from "you" and by "you" putting your hand in the bowl or even being close just means more food is coming.
 

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I think you need to break down the behavior. She could develop resource guarding but I think this is an easy fix for you. I would never tell a dog to Leave It when it came to his food. It's his food. You gave it to him and now you are telling him to leave it alone. That's not fair.

I would take her bowl of food, sit on the floor with her and hand feed her out of her bowl. She needs to see that her food is coming out of the bowl and you are allowing her to have it. I think she will associate that what is in the bowl is hers, you aren't taking any food but are giving it to her, and start to be more comfortable just having you around while she's eating once she understands that you are not going to take it away from her. She needs to learn that her food COMES from you, not that you will make it disappear.

But if the bowl is on the ground and you gave it to her, then leave it alone.
 
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