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I have a 2 year old Catahoula Leopard dog. We got him at 6 months old from a shelter. He has a ton of baggage, hates children, fears males, protective... but the issue I want to focus on is he has developed slight food aggression.

First more about Dublin. We know he was found on the streets of the ghetto. He had pneumonia when we first got him, and when we took him to the vet they told us he may not make it. But a few enormous vet bills later and 3 months, we had a clean bill of health. We take him for walks several times a day. He goes to doggy day care once a week as well as the dog beach (he loves water) or dog park once a week. It is my honest opinion that he gets PLENTY of exercise.

Ever since we got him he showed food aggression towards bones or raw hides. Somewhere I had read that if the dog shows aggression toward you for a bone, take away the bone so that you show him you "own it." So, that is what we did for 1.5 years. Then, recently I read I am basically teaching Dublin that he has every right to be growling at me because his greatest fear actually comes true. He gets protective of his bone, and when he shows his protection, I used to take it away. SO that has stopped.

Dublin gets 1 cup of California Natural Lamb food twice a day. We leave his food bowl down at all times and he gets fed in a slow feeder bowl. This is what we do. We tell Dublin to "go to his place." And he will. Then I go to the pantry and get a cup of his food. I take his food and put it in his bowl. Dublin still must be sitting or laying at his place. We then go through all of his tricks (in different orders) so that he has to "earn his food." When we are done I will say. "Ok, Go ahead." And he knows he is allowed to eat.

The past couple of days he has started growling when someone walks "too closely" to his food bowl.

Right now, when he growls at us when he has food or a bone we poke him roughly in the ribs. But I want to fix the habit all together.

What can I do to fix this? Should we not have his empty bowl on the floor? Should we switch him to unlimited feeding?


PLEASE help!
 

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Ever since we got him he showed food aggression towards bones or raw hides. Somewhere I had read that if the dog shows aggression toward you for a bone, take away the bone so that you show him you "own it." So, that is what we did for 1.5 years. Then, recently I read I am basically teaching Dublin that he has every right to be growling at me because his greatest fear actually comes true. He gets protective of his bone, and when he shows his protection, I used to take it away. SO that has stopped.

!
Yes, dogs usually resource guard because they are worried about someone taking their stuff. It's a normal fear, and if the dog was on his own, it would be s survival skill. In the dog world, posession is 99% of the law. So, when he warns and you take the stuff anyway, it's likely the behavior will continue and also likely to escalate. You may try taking the bowl out of the picture by hand feeding, and asking him to "trade" a behavior for each bite. Also, walk by his bowl, drop in a tastier morsel and keep walking. A really good book on the subject is "Mine!" by Jean Donaldson.
 
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