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Food aggression toward other animals, but not people.

862 Views 3 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Wicket
A little about Otto: I found him running the streets about a year ago, and I know nothing about his past before I found him. I believe that he is about 2 years old or so, and he looks like a miniature pincher dachshund mix. He's not neutered yet, please don't yell at me about that. He has no known health issues, but he does have some other aggression issues that we are working on, and he is much improving.

The issue I don't know how to deal with: Otto is food aggressive toward other animals. If we're eating dinner (I do *not* feed him table scraps, though I suspect my fiance does when I'm not around. I know he used to, I've yelled at him several times, I doubt he's stopped... *sigh*). Anyways. If we're eating dinner, and the cat comes over to the table, Otto will start growling at the cat, and chase him out of the room. Hes growls at the cat if he comes anywhere near his food bowl. He is not free fed, he gets two meals a day, cleans his bowl on command, and the bowl gets picked up when he's done. He's only ever shown food aggression to me once, about a week after I found him, he stole a steak bone out of the trash, and snapped at me when I tried to take it away, but I worked with him, and although he *still* doesn't drop things on command, he doesn't growl or try to bite me if I need to take away his food. He's never shown a problem with me picking up his kibble, if was just high value things, like the steak bone, or the pork necks or hotdogs he gets as treats, but like I said, I've worked with him, and now he's fine with me taking anything. But, he can't stand any other animals around food, his or not, high value, kibble, or even water sometimes. And I have no idea how to train this out of him.

Sorry if that was a bit long, rambling, etc... I've had a long day and I'm very tired, lol.
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Is Otto okay with animals just being present when there is no food? How does he behave towards them? He has learned to respect you when it comes to food, now he just needs to learn to respect other animals with food present. How severe is the food aggression? Can food be on the table and him not react aggressively? You can build up his tolerance to the other animals but rewarding him for not being aggressive. Start with no food present, but the cat in the same room. Point to the cat Otto to look at the cat, "Cat" and reward Otto "Good boy" for not reacting. Keep doing this so that looking at the cat, and the cat being around means Otto gets praise and reward. He will build a positive association with the cat. Bring them closer together, and reward Otto for being good.

Now here's the tricky part, Otto, the cat, and food. Don’t have food out, but the treats your hand/bag/container. Feed Otto the treat, and at same time feed the cat a treat. You might have to have the two apart arms’ length away from each other at first, but if not, great! This way Otto gets rewarded when the cat is rewarded. Mix it up, feed the treat to Otto first, then the cat, the can then Otto. Next step bring out a bowl, not the food bowls they use, but a different bowl and feed them both with the bowl present. When that’s good, use their food bowls. When that’s good, put one very low value food in the bowl and reward Otto for ignoring the cat. You get the drift, lol. You want Otto to learn to love having the cat around, and food is given to both and all. You can do the same with other animals as well.

This is a gradual process, and if he ever becomes aggressive, take a step back to when he was doing good and try again. It just means the pace was going too fast for him. I hope this helps, good luck!
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In all of that rambling, I forgot to mention that the main reason this really came up is because we got another dog, and feeding them together has been a total pain, lol. Again, sorry, tired, long day. In reply, Otto already has the first part of that down with the cat. He loves the cat if there's not food around, and the cat loves him, lol. But we will have to start from square one with the new dog. We just got him this morning, a 1yr old Great Pyrenees, male, fixed, we named him Cthullu. Otto shows the same issues with food, as well as the basic "I'm not sure what I think about this huge new dog in my house" (We did the meet me in the middle introduction, and it worked really well, but he's still a bit uncertain, lol) Anyways, thanks for the advice! I'll start working with all three of them tomorrow. They're all fed and chilled out for the night now, lol.
Oh gosh, no need to apologize, it's all good, lol. That's awesome that the introduction went well :D It always seems like getting a new dog or puppy is like having a second child. The first one can be unsure and even jealous or threaten of the new addition. I'm sure your training will be successful. Food can be a source of problems, but it also can be a great motivator for change. I hope things go well, good luck!
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