What’s up with the dog that eyes people who approach his food bowl or stiffens and even growls, snaps or bites if others interrupt his meal? Don’t they understand that you’re the provider of the things they want and not a threat to them?
Like many dogs that are otherwise easygoing, this type of Fido has a food fetish, and he feels it’s his duty to guard each bowl as if it holds his last meal. While this behavior may seem odd for owners who provide plentiful amounts of food for their pooches, anyone who’s watched free-roaming and stray dogs in developing countries such as Bali or Costa Rica knows that this type of behavior is common. These street or village dogs have to search for their food and never know if they’ll have enough. As a result they may defend food with the vigor of a dog whose life depends on it. This food defense behavior may then just become a habit whether the dog’s hungry or not. Pet dogs can develop the same behavior starting in puppyhood, especially if they experienced strong competition for food.
Often in cases of food bowl aggression, our instinct is to show Fido who’s the boss. For instance some trainers recommend that you force the dog into submission by holding the dog down on its side. After all, they say, that’s what a higher ranked dog would do. What they neglect to point out is that in many cases where a higher ranked dog tries to take food away from a lower ranked one, a fight can and often does occur. The fight may only involve loud growling, spit, and drool, or it may include an actual bite.
Similarly, the problem with humans trying to force dogs into submission in an attempt to show the dog who’s boss is that the boss may turn out to be Fido. If so, the showdown could be ugly, and dangerous as well. Even if it ends quickly and you’re injury-free, the situation may not be resolved. Rather, you may be in for multiple rematches because, now, your dog knows each mealtime means a fight.
What’s even trickier is that sometimes after one all-out battle, everything looks okay on the outside, but, get into Fido’s head, and you might see trouble waiting for your guard to drop. Instead of learning goodwill around the food bowl, Fido has just learned to hide his inner anxiety. He smiles on the outside but he simmers and seethes on the inside when you’re in his feeding space. Then, when he can’t take it anymore, rather than warn you with stiff posture or growls and nips as before, he breaks out in a full-blown bite.
For those who battle this bad behavior with brawn, a third scenario is that, while Fido may decide you are top dog when it comes to the food bowl, all other humans have to fend for themselves. Fido may even behave nicely around the bowl when you’re there to back guests and other family members up, but if you’re out of sight, he may tell them how it is.
So what can you do? Instead of teaching Fido that mealtimes will be a fight and that his fear of having food taken away will come true, train him to associate the presence of people around his food with even better things happening to him.
Read more by following this link here