Food guarding is an issue that concerns almost every dog owner, as we all want to know our dog is trustworthy and non-aggressive even when he is eating. These desires are especially important when there are small children in the home who may not know that it’s best to let their dog eat without pestering them. Here are some tips on what (and what not) to do to insure everyone is safe and happy around mealtimes.

Do:

  • Walk close to your puppy while he’s eating. Stand next to him and let him get used to having people in close proximity to his food bowl.
  • Place small pieces of high value treats (chicken, cheese, hotdog, etc) into his food bowl while he’s munching. He will soon come to have a positive association with a hand coming close to his food dish.
  • Pet your pup gently while he is eating to get him comfortable with the feeling of being touched while he is consuming his food.
  • Seek help from a qualified Canine Behaviorist if your dog is exhibiting aggressive guarding signs around the food bowl. This can turn into a very serious issue, so it’s much better to seek professional help right ASAP!

Don’t:

  • Take his dish away from him while he’s eating. All this does is compound his belief that you are there to take his food. He’s more likely to scarf it all down quickly or react negatively the next time.
  • Allow children (or anyone else) to annoy your puppy while he is eating. While we want your dog to be trustworthy, he does have a right to eat in peace.
  • Let your pup make a mad dash for the bowl as soon as you set it down. Teach him the “sit” and “wait” commands and give him an “OK” signal before he gets to eat.