Often, I see posts about taking food away from dogs’, ‘so they know who the boss is’ and ‘when I take food away from my dog it gets aggressive’, plus many more. The answer is NO!
By doing this you are creating Resource guarding not stopping it. There is no Alpha, there is no boss, there is no pack leader. Dogs are family. When they are taken away from their mum to be in a new household, you become their new mum. They look to you now to teach them the ways of the world like their birth mother started. When you have a child, you don’t start doing things like taking away their food to prove you are the leader of the pack, you nurture, teach, you lead by example. You affectively become the one that they look up to.
Voila! This is the same for dogs.
So, when you take food away from dogs’ they then feel the need to guard it, hence the growling and aggression. Without sounding funny, if you were to take my food away from me, I would look at you weird to start with but if you kept doing it I would more than likely stab your hand with a fork. Get the picture from a dog view?
So, how do we stop dogs guarding food or not start guarding food? Also why do we want to? Well households are pretty busy and some spaces are quite tight. I like to be able to move around my dog while they are eating safely. Generally as a rule I leave them alone but sometimes I have to move them or move around them. Sometimes I give them long lasting treats and the last bit looks a bit sharp the way they have bitten it and do not want them to have it, so how do I take it away?
I teach my dogs that me and my hands around their food bowl is a positive thing. I add more food to their bowl with my hands, I will pass them while eating and drop in more food, I will take away the half eaten bowl and replace with a bowl with more food in even tastier than the first.
With treats and bones I merely swap, I give a kong stuffed with a bit of cheese (their favourite) and take away what I don’t want them to have anymore.
So, if you took my tasty half eaten dinner away and replaced it with a bowl of melt in the middle chocolate pudding and custard I would certainly not object, if fact no hand stab but more than likely a big smile. If you took away my half eaten Dairy milk and swapped it for some Lindor then I would be happy as that’s my favourite.
I hope this helps you think before you act, there is a lot of advice on social media by people who do not study dogs or work with dogs, that could actually have an adverse effect on your dogs’ behaviour.
Get advice from experts and professionals and make sure the professional uses methods you are happy with, after all you wouldn’t send your child to a teacher that pulled their hair or choked them so don’t use a dog professional that does the same. A positive fun teacher are always the best.
Your dog is family, they look to you for guidance. Be the best teacher you can be, have fun, give love. I love teaching my dogs new things whether it be a command or a game or changing a behaviour, it doesn’t always go to plan but one thing that is always a constant is we are family, no alphas, no pack leaders and no boss, I am just a fun loving mama.