Yesterday I bought Riley a new, stinky, edible nylabone, brought it home, made him sit for it, and then let him have it . Riley thought it was the greatest thing ever. He has a basket full of toys that he plays with regularly, but nothing he loves this much. Because the bone has such a strong beef odor, our cats came walking over to sniff it. When Abby got within 2 feet of Riley, he growled and air snapped at her. I scolded him, too the bone away, and ignored him for about 15 minutes. Then I called him back over, made him sit for it, gave it back, and sat down BESIDE him to watch and wait. When Booger headed toward him, and was 6 feet from Riley, I saw the aggression coming in Riley's eyes and Riley again growled and air snapped at Booger, who was still 5 feet away, with me right beside him! So I scolded him again, took the bone away for the rest of the day, put him in his crate for about 15 minutes, and then let him out without any attention, etc., then went on with our day.
Riley has been food aggressive to the cats during feedings, but not to this extent. I have been working with him, and now he barely and rarely grumbles if they walk by CLOSE to him. I watch him closely and correct him with a harsh no and a touch. Sometimes I will take the bowl away, make him sit, and put it back in front of him to make him wait for it again. He has never growled at me or been food or possession aggressive to me at all. I can pet him, stick my hands in his bowl while he is eating, take his foot, toy, or treats away, etc. So can my DH. He is fine with his other toys, chewies, etc. And he is good with the cats. They can rub on him, walk by him, etc with no problems or even hints of aggression from him. He occasionally tries to chase a few of them that tend to run when he is really frisky, but never in an aggressive way.
I am at a loss. I have never had a food or possession aggressive dog. I haven't found much on possession aggression toward cats. But this has to stop. I don't want to do the wrong thing to make the aggression worse, don't want him to bite one of our cats, and want to be able to give him yummy things like this bone occasionally with no worries and no such behavior. If anyone can help, I would greatly appreciate it. We are attending training classes with the SDA and I will ask the trainer tonight as well.