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Discussion Starter #1
Tonight I added baby food to the puppy's kibble to get her to eat it. Had dewormer powder on it which appeared to make her not want to eat it, that's why I added baby food (chicken & gravy). She started growling as soon as she dived into the food bowl and went after the Chihuahua when Chocolate came near while she was eating. Not typical behaviour for her at this point though when she first came home she did this a couple meals (I've been handfeeding her and petting her and having daughter pet during at least one of her meals a day since bringing her home). Baby food apparently is a high prize for her. I took the food from her immediately. Got the Chihuahua and held her in my lap with the food bowl next to her while handfed Kessel. Kessel went for her a couple more times (I prevented her from getting Chocolate of course), made her sit, and went back to handfeeding her one piece at a time before letting her put her head back in the bowl. By the time the food was gone, she was ignoring the Chi. Did I do the right thing? I WOULD NOT have done this with an older puppy or dog where there was risk of harm to the Chihuahua. Kessel is only 11 weeks old so controlling her and the Chi was easy enough. Would have been easier without the one year old constantly having to also be pushed back. On hindsight I should have put the one year old in her playpen while dealing with the dogs. So, did I approach this correctly (except for having not put the one year old child in a safe place while I dealt with the dogs)? What would be a better way as poor Chocolate was not happy in the least?
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thank you for the link. Most of her meals she does eat in peace. I handfed her/pet her/rest my hand on her bowl/sit by her during one meal, she gets fed three to four times a day. I make her sit before I give her any food, whether I put the bowl down or handfeed. Sometimes I take the bowl from her once in a meal, make her sit, then give it back, but that's just every so often so that I know she'll let me take the bowl. I actually have to separate out all seven of my animals because the one cat has to have a special diet but he wants to eat any other dry food that's down. So I have to separate everybody and pick the food up after 15 minutes, whether or not everybody's done eating, or the cat will eat it and get it sick. I am hoping to find the cat a new home but doubt it will happen as I'm not just going to dump him or give him to whoever. I will start trading for a particularly good treat whenever I take the bowl from now on though (same with toys and whatnot) which I will limit doing. I'll finish reading through that thread also.

My old dog Barley guarded his food and high-prized treats and his kennel. I did NOT do this kind of handling when he was a puppy, just had him sit before giving him his bowl of food in his kennel, though I did handfeed him since I've always handfed my dogs some. For clarity he didn't guard his food from me, it was from the other animals (the same cat that needs the special food is also a bully to the other cats and small dogs, he really should be an only cat) and later the children when they came into the family.
 

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. Sometimes I take the bowl from her once in a meal, make her sit, then give it back, but that's just every so often so that I know she'll let me take the bowl.
That causes food aggression (properly known as "resource guarding"). The dog doesn't learn "human has the right to take my food", the dog learns that "people bother me while I eat, I better make them stop."

I would just feed the dogs separately, for one thing. Actually treating resource guarding is fairly simple. Kabota displayed no RG until I gave him a marrow bone. He growled at me when I walked by him. So I grabbed some ham from the fridge and walked back and forth throwing bits of ham to him. I did this every day and by the third day, he was looking up excitedly when I walked by to see what delicious treat he was getting this time. I maintain this by randomly throwing him a treat every so often while he has a bone, and I always trade the bone for a treat when I want it back. (I don't let him chew on it when I can't supervise.)

Mind you, I still don't give him a bone when children are around, nor would I give him a bone with another animal present.
 

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Here's what Dunbar says:

Many old-time dog training books advise not going near a dog when it is eating. Whereas it may be sound advice to let a trustworthy adult dog eat in peace, this does not mean letting untrained puppies eat alone. If a pup grows up eating alone, she may not want her mealtimes disturbed as an adult. Eventually, someone is bound to bother the dog when she is eating, whereupon she may respond in a characteristically canine, food-protective fashion and growl, snarl, snap, lunge, and maybe bite.

By all means, tell people not to bother your dog when she is eating, but first be certain your puppy is totally trustworthy around her food bowl. Teach your puppy not simply to tolerate people around her food bowl, but to thoroughly look forward to dinner-time guests.

Hold your pup's bowl while she eats kibble. Offer tasty treats and handle the puppy, and she will learn her dinners are more enjoyable when people are present with petting and treats. Let the puppy eat kibble from her bowl, offer a tasty treat, and then temporarily remove the bowl as the puppy enjoys the treat. Then try removing the bowl prior to offering a treat. Your pup will soon look forward to your removing the bowl and the kibble, since it signals a tasty treat is imminent.

As your puppy is eating dry kibble from her bowl, quickly put your hand in the bowl and offer a tasty treat. Give your puppy time to reinvestigate the dry kibble, to check for more treats, and to recommence eating. Then plunge your hand in the bowl and offer another treat. Repeat the procedure several times. Your pup will soon become accustomed and look forward to sudden hand movements around her food bowl. This exercise impresses puppies to no end — it's like the magician who pulls a flower, an egg, or a dove from behind someone's ear.

Sit with your puppy while she is eating and have family members and friends walk by. Each time someone approaches, spoon a small dollop of canned food on top of the kibble. Your puppy will quickly make the association between approaching people and juicy canned food being added to her kibble. Later, have family and friends approach and toss a treat into the puppy's bowl. Soon your puppy will welcome the dinnertime presence and presents of people.
The key here, though, is to never just take the food bowl away -- always give a better treat if you take the bowl, and put the bowl back down as soon as the treat is gone. The puppy should not be learning that you can just come on over and steal food whenever you want. The puppy should be learning that when people are near the food bowl, good things happen. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That causes food aggression (properly known as "resource guarding"). The dog doesn't learn "human has the right to take my food", the dog learns that "people bother me while I eat, I better make them stop."

I would just feed the dogs separately, for one thing. Actually treating resource guarding is fairly simple. Kabota displayed no RG until I gave him a marrow bone. He growled at me when I walked by him. So I grabbed some ham from the fridge and walked back and forth throwing bits of ham to him. I did this every day and by the third day, he was looking up excitedly when I walked by to see what delicious treat he was getting this time. I maintain this by randomly throwing him a treat every so often while he has a bone, and I always trade the bone for a treat when I want it back. (I don't let him chew on it when I can't supervise.)

Mind you, I still don't give him a bone when children are around, nor would I give him a bone with another animal present.
They each have their own food bowl. They either eat in their kennels separately or I sit on the floor with just the puppy or I sit on the floor with all three of them while they eat/I handfeed. I do want them to be able to eat within each others vicinity. Not necessarily rubbing against each but I would like to have their food bowls within a few feet of each other without there being issues.

Here's what Dunbar says:



The key here, though, is to never just take the food bowl away -- always give a better treat if you take the bowl, and put the bowl back down as soon as the treat is gone. The puppy should not be learning that you can just come on over and steal food whenever you want. The puppy should be learning that when people are near the food bowl, good things happen. :)
Thank you! That makes sense. I'll read it a few times to get it ingrained and be sure to ALWAYS give a better treat if I'm taking the food bowl away.
 
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