Feeding "training" behavior?

Posted By: Codmaster

Feeding "training" behavior? - 12/22/17 06:54 AM

So here is a question about treating our dogs when feeding them. Seems like there are to schools of thought about "training' them so they o not develop resoure guarding aggression if disturbed while they are eating.

One says give them their food (bowl?) and leave them alone and they won't feel like they have to protect their food and thus will not become possesive about it.

The other school says one must train them to accept the owner (at least the owner and maybe other folks as well). This approach says train the puppy from the beginning they must accept someone touching or even taking their food and they must not react with any bad behavior - i.e. growl or even a snap. Different details in this approach - trade with "higher" value, drop some goodies into bowl as one touches it, etc. or maybe just take bowl very briefly and give it right back with a lot of praise and happy talk.

I have known folks who have used either approach and got it to work.

What do you think and use?

I have never owned a dog who showed any aggression to me, family and even people whom the dog knew when interupted while eating. they even allowed our then small child to reach into their bowls and feed the kibble to them piece by piece while waiting patiently for our son. Other dogs were a different story with a couple, though.

One large male GSD would even let most anyone hold the end of a Bully stick while he chewed the other end!

I am curious as to what others have done. I realize maybe a different approach can be used with a dog acquired as a small puppy than one gotten as an adult (i.e. rescue, as we did recently)

Posted By: lhczth

Re: Feeding "training" behavior? - 12/22/17 03:26 PM

I tend to feed my dogs in their crates and leave them alone. If I have to reach in to add something to the dish or realized I put the wrong dish in with the wrong dog they are all fine.

I did have one female that was food aggressive (growl). She was still eating with her litter mates at 9.5 weeks when I got her so not sure if that created the issue. She started growling at me at 3 months. I tried different things to fix the issue, but found that just leaving her alone worked best. I could take anything from her at any time, but usually just left her alone to eat.
Posted By: Codmaster

Re: Feeding "training" behavior? - 12/22/17 04:43 PM

I was always concerned about our dogs being possesive of their food and/or toys around family and esp. our little son and his friends; so we worked on eliminating that behavior from the first day we got them - usually puppies who didn't know any better as babies. I figured if they never learned they had to protect their "stuff" they wouldn't.

Guess we had heard that old saying "Don't go near the dog, he is eating" from family who had dogs much too often.

Posted By: middleofnowhere

Re: Feeding "training" behavior? - 12/23/17 02:09 AM

I'm not sure that what I do is training in this department. My dogs do know "aus" which is not always executed correctly (ie they know it but don't always do it). Either dog will let me take anything. I generally do not mess with BTY2's food but I could. Ironically, BTE2 likes her food messed with. She likes company for dinner, too. Either can be hand fed with respect for the feeder. (ie they are gentle about it) BTY2 should have been named "Mikey" in that "Mikey eats anything". She's easy to pill with just a bit of peanut butter or cheese or or or. BTE2 on the other hand cannot be fooled. It is necessary to "say Ahhhh" and insert pill in back of throat. If fed in a dab of peanut butter, disguised in a bit of steak, hidden in cheese, the pill will be detected, the disguise eaten and the pill spit out.

On the other hand -- I have had picky eaters and chow hounds in pairs before. I learned the hard way to think about it and not offer the picky eater's food to the chow hound when both were right there and I was in the way. So I don't do that.
Posted By: lhczth

Re: Feeding "training" behavior? - 12/23/17 04:03 AM

With that one female, it wouldn't have mattered what you did. I had never had a puppy I couldn't fix that issue in before or after (even her kids, grandkids and great grand kids). That is always why I felt that it was a created behavior do to all of the pups still fighting in the group for their meals at 9.5 weeks.

I just prefer to feed the dogs in their crates. They are more relaxed, no one bothering them or another dog staring at them, no pressure.
Posted By: Wolfie

Re: Feeding "training" behavior? - 12/23/17 06:48 AM

My first two dogs (Golden Retriever then GSD) had no problem with me being around or touching their food.

Around 5 or 6 yrs old, Yukon decided to start lunging at me anytime I got within 2-3ft while he was eating. Not acceptable behaviour at all!
To nip that in the butt, I upped the NILIF, and started feeding him (would hold his bowl) where he usually enjoyed pets and cuddles. If he wanted to be pet or cuddle that would be done where I fed him. He stopped that behaviour about a week later.
(I was on an emotional roller coaster at the time. I think he found that too unpredictable so started setting his own rules.) He is perfectly fine now.

I typically don't mess with my dogs while they eat. (It's their food, I'm not going to eat it.) I don't have many guest over, and no small kids to think about.
All I expect is for them to allow me to place extra bits in their bowl, take it away if needed and allow me to take things out of their mouth that they shouldn't have. (cooked bones mostly)

I have never had a dog who was possessive of their toys.
Posted By: jlstudent1970

Re: Feeding "training" behavior? - 12/24/17 12:46 AM

I never gave it thought when I got my dog. I put the food down and if I need to add something I picked up the bowl even if he was not finished yet
and put it back down with something tasty in it. I don't have any aggressive behavior. One time with my other dog when he was a pup I took him to obedience school, they told me to feed his kibble to him a hand full at a time till it was gone for a couple of days. I thought it was a strange method. Thankfully he was not aggressive with his food either.
Posted By: DarkEyes

Re: Feeding "training" behavior? - 12/24/17 02:59 AM

In the beginning, we establish our place in the family by feeding them after we eat. When it is time to feed them, they both sit and wait for our release command to eat. If one tries to get up toward the bowl before we give the release, we take the bowl away. I haven't had a dog that showed aggression, but a growl can sometimes be a bad manner thing. It does have to do with how the dog was raised.

Every once in awhile, I would randomly take the food away in the middle of a feeding to ensure no protective attitude has developed. This is more because I have young children so if there are any sign of guarding or aggression over food, my husband and I can start feeding Abbey in the crate and figure out the next step. Fortunately, that has not happened. She's been really great to us the past 9 years smile
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