Food aggression around other dogs with subtle warnings

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Moe Jr.

Barked: Mon Dec 31, '12 1:43pm PST 
Moe is a one year old bully/basset.

He has had food aggression from a young age with the other dogs. When we first brought him home he was fed around the other dogs from the time he was 6 weeks old.

Food aggression issues started popping up around 5 months old. We noticed him starting to get defensive around his food when the other dogs would simply walk by. He would try to block them from his dish and occasionally nip.

Around 7 months I was feeding him outside and training with his food he left and went on the lawn. My brother let Snoopy out not realizing we were out. Snoop started eating Moe's food and Moe came over and tried to push Snoopy out of the bowl. When Snoopy growled Moe went after him and scuffle started. It happened really fast, but I separated them quickly.

A couple weeks later he had another scuffle with Snoopy and was getting more defensive around his food so we started feeding him alone.

There were no other incidents until he was almost ten months old. We had gates to keep him separated from the dogs. I went over the gate with Moe and Snoopy jumped over it. I didn't think he could, but he did.

I picked up the bowl quickly and then Moe started trying to go after Snoopy. He kept trying to bite his face and bump him with His body. I grabbed his collar and he stopped and when I tried letting him go he went after Snoop again. Snoopy did everything he could to avoid him until he eventually snapped back. They got into like a 10 second scuffle and I literally had to grab Moe by the collar and lift him of the ground so Snoopy could get away. As soon as Moe was off him he jumped back over the gate. That wasn't a smart move, and I kinda panicked.

When feeding time comes around Moe is very respectful of the other dogs. He will wait in the kitchen while I give the other dogs their food. Then I'll put him in the other living room with his dish. He can be out while the other dogs eat and he won't bother them.

Issues have only come up with HIS food but have been managed.

BUT NOW he's been showing signs of aggression when WE are eating OUR own food on the couch. This started a little over 2weeks ago.

The dogs Chewy Snoopy and Moe aren't big on begging, but baby IS. 90% of the time the boys will lay down but when they do get into begging Moe goes on the defense.

He will body block Chewy away from us when we eat and kinda show his teeth and try to nip his face. Chewy just ignores him or then Moe tries to play with him.

He did chest bump Snoopy off the couch one time and snapped at him out of nowhere.

In two weeks we've had three potential scuffles between him and Baby. 2/3 times Moe has tried to start a fight, 1 time Baby started it.

The first time my sister was eating on the couch. Baby jumped on the couch when Moe was already up there and he went after her. He didn't really bite but showed teeth and kinda air snapped. His teeth didn't touch her.

Baby snarled and they both started barking and almost went at it. I had to grab Moe and My sister picked up Baby.

Second time Brother was sittin on the floor in my sisters room watching a movie with her. Baby was sitting with him and when Moe walked in she growled. He started barking, I heard them and called them and they came downstairs and were fine.

The 3rd incident happened last night. I was eating a sandwich on the couch, on a television tray. Moe was laying down on the couch next to me half asleep. Until Baby jumped on the couch on my other side.

Moe sat up and had a very intense stare. I told him no and just tapped his nose with my finger and he calmed down and I started petting him. He was fine.

Then baby got in my space looking for crumbs and I pushed her away from me. As soon as I touched her Moe got up and tried going after her. I pushed Baby off the couch and had to hold Moe back until he calmed down then got up and finished my food in the kitchen.

Moe's warnings are also very subtle he gets quiet and gives a hard stare. No growling, no teeth showing. Just a hard stare then it's on.

Now no one eats food in the living room when Moe is out and if he is we eat our snacks in the kitchen.

Other than the food issues. He's an amazing dog. He will let us take his food pet him while he eats and even let us put our hands in the bowl without any issues.

Does anyone have advice on training or managing?

When feeding time comes he is fed in another room and when we've started eating ONLY in the kitchen because we don't want him trying to start a fight.

A fight between him and Baby would be a very intense probably difficult to break up fight. Even though he is 50 pounds and she is 20 pounds. They're both intense dogs, we also fear of Baby getting hurt.

Edited by author Mon Dec 31, '12 1:45pm PST

Moe Jr.

Barked: Tue Jan 1, '13 7:44pm PST 
Addie CL1- CL2 CL3 CL4- OAJ

if it moves,- I'll chase it!
Barked: Tue Jan 1, '13 8:34pm PST 
I'd be curious to know what somenoe tells you as well. My own dog is food agressive with other dogs ( luckily not us) and shes an only dog in our house.

I've been reading the book Fight! And it does have osme hlepful hints that seem to be helping a little bit at least. I would also work on a leave it and trade or give command. And perhaps a ' go to your place' command with increasing distractions. reward heavily for any compliance and start slow.. dotn expect full complience food in few and other dogs rushing that dog..

Hope it helps a bit


Barked: Tue Jan 1, '13 8:50pm PST 
I'd work this two ways, the first being to hunker down on meal times. Don't rely on the gate, literally stand there. Give them each a tangible spot in the form of a towel their bowl is on or a placemat. Feed them in the exact same spot every time and stand there until they are done. If one finishes before the other work some basic obedience commands, sit and down would be best. When the other finishes remove the bowls and don't let them go over and investigate each others spots.

As for the getting snippy around you/your food/the couch business I'd be banning my guys off the couch entirely for at least awhile if my boys were pulling that bologna. Again you can give each dog their own spot, a tangible one like a blanket if necessary. Ask that each go "on the rug," to their OWN rug, until you are done eating.

Make sure they are getting plenty of exercise in the meantime so they are more inclined to be pooped out as opposed to amped up and looking for less desirable outlets for any pent up energy.
Scooter,- PAWS

Power of the Paw- for those who- need it
Barked: Wed Jan 2, '13 7:10am PST 
I'm not sure if working basic commands would work in this case because you are dealing with more than 2 animals. So, working with one, while the others are eating and watching them too, may make it more difficult.

I think I would remove any situation that creates the aggression first. Meaning feed the dog alone. I have one food aggressive dog as well. My situation is a little different but I put two of my dogs outside while one eats in peace. There has been no food aggression in months because I remove anything that would cause it.

I am not sure this is the best way to go about it, as my solution is avoiding and not really addressing, but it works.

As for the growling/nipping while YOU are eating, I agree....all dogs should either not be allowed on the sofa while eating or if they still do it while they are sitting, they should all be removed. Got to show them who is boss. no growling/nipping, pushing period. You could also remove the one who is being aggressive. Every time it happens...out....crate....something, but absolutely no tolerance for it. Just a firm "no" and remove them. My concern is seeing it escalate and if it's one NO and remove, that tells them, no breaks, no chances.

Mine can all sit there calmly while I eat. My one beagle tried it and she got put in her crate every time and finally after several tries, she realized she better sit quietly, or she wasn't getting anything.

Good luck to you hug

Edited by author Wed Jan 2, '13 7:12am PST


Let's play tug!!
Barked: Wed Jan 2, '13 9:47am PST 
this might be helpful