I have a 9 week old puppy and I just noticed he is food aggressive. He growls and snaps at me when I try to take his food away or even a chew toy. What can I do to eliminate this behavior?? Please help!
Do you free feed? Or have set food times? How many times a day are you feeding? Does he have fur siblings that make him think he'll need to fight for his food?
You need to show him that good things happen when you mess with his food. Try putting a couple tiny bits of cooked chicken or beef, or some cheese, whatever you'd like, in his food while he's eating - he'll probably growl, but if you take the food away, he'll learn that he has reason to be nervous that you'll take his food and he may get more resource aggressive. I'd keep doing this at each and every feeding, and he'll soon learn that yummy things appear in his food when you touch it.
Same thing with toys - if you take a toy from him, have him sit for a second and then give the toy back. He'll learn that its not a bad thing to have something taken away - and it will help when you need to take something from him that you don't want him to have.
He's just a baby, so it will take some time for him to learn to trust you.
As long as you don't make a big deal out of your leaving and coming home, he'll grow out of that. Make sure that you ignore him until he settles down. When I get home from work, I change my clothes before I greet my dogs. They know this, and they wait for me to come into the living room and sit in my chair before they approach me. They do follow me around with their tails wagging, but they don't try to jump on me or bark at me.
I wouldn't give my dog a treat if they were barking at me to give it to them. Both of mine have to sit quietly to get their treat. At that young age, you can teach him many things. If he barks when you get the treat out - try making him sit before he gets the treat. If he's looking at the treat, you can slowly move it so that his head has to go back to look at it - as his head goes back, the butt will go down and viola! he sits. He probably won't be barking if he's concentrating on watching the treat.
Have you thought about feeding the puppy in a crate? We do this and it is done to avoid confrontations between other dogs in the family, however, this is avoiding the issue-kinda. It will give him the feeling of comfort, that no one is threatening his food.
My pups are almost 9 weeks old, and I give them chewy bones, and lay with them petting around their mouths and stuff while they chew. A growl gets a stern NO!
Of course I deal with APBTs so it's alittle more aggressive.
I strongly recommend letting feeding time be private. Also, setting times for feeding is appropriate no matter what age, I dont believe in leaving food sit so they can help themselves when they want to.They have to feel as if they have earned their food, for you to stay the ALPHA in the "pack" so I also like the suggestion of making him do a trick or obey a command before being fed.
The toy thing, he needs to learn to share. Slowly challenge him to take the bone in a calm and diplomatic way while he is playing, repetitiveness works. If you have children keep an eye on him.