On The Colum McGrath Breakfast Show this week. Dogs which guard items and food can be a nightmare to live with, it is easy to become emotional and potentially use aggression to get the dog to stop growling, which can worsen the issue.
Here are Dee’s Top 5 Tips to help prevent this from occurring with a new pup, but please do seek professional if you have this problem with an older dog, especially if there are children in the home.
1. Food guarding usually starts in the litter and stems from insecurity. To help a new puppy
understand that your approach to the food bowl is a good thing, walk past and toss a much
tastier bit of food into or near the bowl. He will quickly learn that having people around his
food bowl is a wonderful thing.
2. Manage the environment. Make sure you don’t leave anything around that the puppy can
get, which he shouldn’t have! Tidy away shoes and socks so you avoid a conflict over stolen
3. Use an exchange system. If your pup gets something he shouldn’t have or is dangerous,
swop it for something more valuable, such as a piece of food. Retrieve the article once he
has lost interest in it.
4. Don’t leave food or chews freely around for the pup to guard. Leave the food down for 20 minutes and then remove it. Better still, ditch the bowl and use the food to reward good
behaviour and to train.
5. Teach a reliable ‘leave it’ command. Avoid a conflict in the future by teaching your pup he will be rewarded for leaving items when he is asked to.
Remember punishing the growl is like taking the batteries out of a smoke alarm- the danger is still very much there. Seek professional help if your dog is showing signs of aggression.
The earlier the intervention, the better the outcome!