Author Topic: First sign of food aggression, any advice?  (Read 2900 times)

Offline Ravyn

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First sign of food aggression, any advice?
« on: December 10, 2004, 01:29:26 PM »
I've had Sadie since September. She's now 17 months old. She and my border collie are on raw and eat in their seperate crates. Today was the first time she showed any sign of food aggression.

I got a new blanket for each dog to go in their crates. When I opened Sadie's crate to let her in to eat, I went to take the blanket out but she scooted in so fast (excited cuz she knew breakfast was coming!) that she bunched most of the blanket up in the back. Instead of pulling her out again to get the blanket out, I just shrugged and put her bowl with her chicken back down, closed the crate, and went to put Red in her own crate for her breakfast. As soon as Red was in and eating, I noticed that Sadie had pulled her chicken out of the bowl and had set it on the edge of the blanket and was licking the now empty bowl clean. Not wanting the raw chicken on the blanket, I opened the crate and reached in to move the chicken off the blanket.

Now mind, I've messed with her chicken before (but not for a few weeks) and she's never turned an eyelash. This time, as soon as she saw me reaching for it, she snatched it up and wrinkled her snout at me, growling.

Immediately I verbally corrected her, then as she was chewing up the chicken, I started petting her head and shoulders. She stiffened once or twice, then relaxed again when she realized I wasn't going to take her food out of her mouth. When she was almost done I began to pet her nose and the side of her mouth, and again she stiffened, and started to wrinkle her nose. I again verbally corrected her and continued to pet her nose and mouth, making no move to take her food, and again she relaxed and finished.

I went into the kitchen and got another chicken back and brought it back into the room. I opened her crate and sat down outside it and held the back in my hand. She immediately snatched for it and tried to yank it out of my hand, but I held it firmly and verbally corrected her, letting her chew on the side of it but not take it out of my hand. When she got overenthusiastic or tried to yank it again, I removed it and corrected her, then made her sit before letting her chew on it again. I kept it up until the chicken was too slippery to hold (and her eager teeth were getting to close to my fingers  ), then I pulled it away again, made her sit, and gave her the whole chicken. I then continued to pet her ears and her face as she ate it, but she gulped it down quickly as if afraid I would take it from her again (and she's always been a really good and thorough chewer). As soon as she swallowed, she was her normal, wriggly self.

So, did I handle this correctly? Her sudden behavior startled me and I want to be sure to nip this in the bud before it progresses at all, but I want to be sure I'm doing it right. Her next several meals will be handfed, but is petting her while she's chewing showing her that I'm not after her food, or is it rewarding her tense behavior? When I take the chicken back out of her mouth, should I give her a treat to show she gets really good things when I take things away, or should I just immediately give her the chicken back and praise her? If treating, what treats would you recommend that would be better in a dog's eyes than raw chicken?

Thanks for any help! You guys are the best!
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**Hazel, Piglet, Willow, Aslan, Minerva, Oliver, Tsali, Jasper and Athena. Dogs Red and Sadie Rose.

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Offline kim

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Re: First sign of food aggression, any advice?
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2004, 10:55:56 AM »
just getting to this, sorry.

i would NOT continue to invade her space and pet her while she is eating - if she wants to bite, youre just putting yourself in a better position to be bit, as well as pushing her closer and closer to the edge.

what i would do, is diffuse the situation. work on obedience, get her trained and reliably responding to you. she has to work to eat. and if sh egrowls or snaps at you, you take her away from the food and do some ob work  - not much just a bit here and there. then you can go back to the meal and hand feed her.

this avoids you getting bit, she CHOOSES to leave the food and obey you, and obedience will reinforce your workign relationship (while enforcing that you are in charge, not her).
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