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how to stop food aggression in dogs

Does your beloved pet suddenly change into Cujo whenever someone attempts to contaminate their food? Do they lash out at an animal close enough to their food bowl or growl whenever you try to reach their bowl? These behaviors are instances of food-related aggression, and it’s crucial to stop this behavior as soon as possible.

Dogs can be aggressive towards food at the time when dogs become aggressive with their food and feel a need to safeguard their resources. This can occur with scraps of food, treats, or bones, for example. Dogs will exhibit aggression towards any perceived danger to food. Food aggression ranges from mild to intense. It is important to introduce your dog to your presence at meals gradually, and feeding them by hand is a few ways to stop food-related aggression.

Understanding what triggers food aggression and how to address this is the initial step in getting rid of the behavior. If your dog becomes overly in love with its food, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not a good dog. It’s just important to know the causes behind your dog’s food-related aggression to be able to resolve the problem.


Food aggression is very prevalent among canines. A study found that almost 20% of all canines show signs of aggression.

This type of aggression results from resource guarding, the behavior handed down through evolution in the past, when dogs had to safeguard every meal or item they could find. The concept of resource guarding is different. It refers to a behavior that is protective of objects they consider valuable and not limited to food items.

In general, dogs will only protect what they believe is essential. Due to this, the items they protect vary, though a typical instance is that of food. This could include food items inside their bowls, meals thrown onto the floor at meal times, food scraps thrown into the garbage bin, or food preparation on the countertop.

This type of behavior could be a problem for the dog is aggressive with food and is in a household with children. Children, particularly the younger ones, may have difficulty recognizing the signs of guarding and may completely ignore the signals. This can result in a child being threatened or even bit.

How to Recognize Food Aggression

If a dog eats the food, his body stiffens, and he might put his head down. The dog’s physique is to “hover” over the meal and protect it.

Other indicators are that your pet’s white eyes could be apparent, their ears are pushed back, their tails are lower, or their claws might rise. The dog could show one or more of these symptoms. In addition, there are the previously identified signs of the seriousness of the issue: grunting or lunging.

How to Stop Food Aggression

If you determine that your dog is experiencing eating aggression, you can make some changes to tackle the problem. In the end, simply giving your dog “no,” physically stopping your dog, or employing any other method of correction isn’t going to work favorably for you and your most trusted pet.

“You don’t want to ever use corrections with food aggression,” Silverman states. “A professional may be able to make gentle corrections. However, they’ll know exactly what they should do. If you try to correct the dog that’s struggling with aggression towards food and you don’t want to cause it to get worse.”

However, Silverman suggests that pet parents utilize a mixture of redirection and preventive measures to prevent resource-guarding behavior. If dogs eat more quickly, stare at a dog, or engage in any aggressive behavior, it encourages them to repeat these behaviors at some point in the near future. Redirection and preventive training are valuable methods that enable you to train your dog by stopping undesirable behaviors at the source and then enforcing the new behavior.

Why Do Dogs Growl While Eating?

Afraid of food is one type that dogs use to guard their resources. It is any behavior dogs display to persuade others to keep away from something they think is essential. Resources guarding can include actions like grunting, tooth showing, stiffening up fast eating, glaring and snapping, barking, and biting. Dogs typically guard the food, treats, bones and rawhides.

When should you seek help from a professional?

We stated at the beginning that mild resource guarding is frequent and that over time, some of these techniques can help your dog learn that your nothing to be scared of. But, it’s essential to be aware that aggression over food could also become out of control which could be risky.

The most important thing you do not want is for your puppy to bite you, a stranger, or a child. It is essential to discuss the issue of food guarding with your vet team when you first notice any problem. They may refer you to a trained behaviorist if required.

What is the reason my dog does this???

Apart from the predisposition of evolution, the dog could have developed this behavior after one of these scenarios:

At the beginning of a puppy’s life, These behavior patterns can arise out of a desire to compete for resources and may also have been taught by handlers, littermates, or even their mom.

Trauma: If your dog has experienced a significant event, for example, an argument, the loss of someone dear to them, or being abused, they might develop these issues.

Breed Disposition: All dogs have an ancestral history of guarding resources; certain breeds are selectively bred to serve security or guarding purposes. The genetics of these breeds place them at greater risk of having to exhibit aggressive behavior.

Shelter / Rescue Dogs They are usually at the greatest likelihood of showing this behavior because there is a lot of need for resources such as water, food, and beds all over the world (as a lost dog), as well as in the system of shelters.


The most common cause of aggression is because of feeding errors. It’s a commonplace to see this happen during puppyhood. How you effectively stop the aggression toward food for dogs requires two essential qualities: love and patience. If you can master these, you’ll be able to modify your pet’s behavior within minutes.

Do it regularly with your dog and ensure they gain confidence in your presence. It is possible to show your dog that you’re not stealing food but instead offering them better food!

Additionally, you can apply these guidelines on how to prevent dog aggression toward food If your dog is adamantly defending its food and toys.

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