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I have recently became a brand new dog owner to a 8 week old pit bull puppy, she has crazy food agression she growls whenever you go near her, she has not bitten yet but i dont want to risk it...what do i do?
 

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Wow, so young! You have to slowly desensitize her and help her know that nobody will steal her food. Start as close as you can get without her growling (her threshold). Right at the point where she's starting to look nervous. Toss a very yummy treat (like a small piece of hot dog or cheese) her way. Do it a few times while she's eating. If you do this every day she should start expecting the treat and will let you get closer and closer. When she lets you get very close to the dish, put the treat directly in. If the treats are yummy enough she should be pretty happy by then! Anyway, that's what I did with my Rottweiler and it worked for him.

Also, when you have to take a toy away from her, trade her for a yummy treat so she doesn't start to think that you're just trying to steal her stuff.
 

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I assume you mean she growls when you go near her while she's eating. This is resource guarding. To start desensitizing her to your presence while she's eating you can drop a treat for her when you walk by while she's eating.
 

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Well she doesnt mind me walking past her or by her, she growls when you touch her or her bowl, she devours her food, practically inhales it, when I place my hand on her back to pet her she lowers her belly to the ground and begins shaking if i move my hand near her tummy or bellow her ears she growls and snarls all the while still inhaling her food..i pet her every time i feed her and i even feed her out of my hand she does just fine with hand feeding she takes it wagging her tail and everything its only when her food is in the bowl...also she eats her food sooo fast that her tummy is engorged when she is done, i only feed her 1/3 of a cup 3 times a day cause she eats it too fast as well as her water if you fill her bowl she will drink the entire thing in one take...she came from a litter of 7 and is the biggest one could this be a cause for her behavior?
 

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Wow, so young! You have to slowly desensitize her and help her know that nobody will steal her food. Start as close as you can get without her growling (her threshold). Right at the point where she's starting to look nervous. Toss a very yummy treat (like a small piece of hot dog or cheese) her way. Do it a few times while she's eating. If you do this every day she should start expecting the treat and will let you get closer and closer. When she lets you get very close to the dish, put the treat directly in. If the treats are yummy enough she should be pretty happy by then! Anyway, that's what I did with my Rottweiler and it worked for him.

Also, when you have to take a toy away from her, trade her for a yummy treat so she doesn't start to think that you're just trying to steal her stuff.
I agree with this. Also, this is normal for most puppies. They're not usually born just accepting others touching their food, because they have to compete with their littermates for the first several weeks of their lives.
 

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Why do you need to touch her or her bowl while she's eating? Her food is a resource and she doesn't want you taking it away, overtime you can desensitize her to you being near as she eats and slowly build up to small amounts of touching if it is important to you that she tolerates this. If you drop treats as you approach she will start to associate good things with you being near her while she eats, after a few weeks of doing that you could sit down beside her and drop treats, then maybe proceed to a light touch and give her treats for accepting small amounts of touching and work your way up as she becomes more comfortable. Dogs will naturally guard their food and things in their mouth so we personally have no need to bug our dog while he eats. If she is resource guarding other things you can try the trading up game and asking her to drop the item she has in exchange for the better item that you have.

You can also continue to hand feed her, use it for training or put it her food in a puzzle toy.

Dogs gulp their food, it's just how they eat. If you want to slow her down a bit you can wet her food or put it in a puzzle toy.
 

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she doesn't behave this way with er toys just when i feed her...i thought that maybe i am not feeding her enough so that is why she gulps it but im unsure.....i have never tried to take her bowl away from her or discipline her for growling, i was given the advice to remove her bowl and sternly tell her no but wont that make it worse?? i don't put my hand in or on her bowl i do want to keep my fingers :) but i do make a point when i walk past her to pet her or scratch her ears and tell her she is a good girl..i feel by doing this it will ease her nervousness when i come near...i will most definitely start the treat idea i have been doing that with trying to get her to sleep in her crate at night but so far no luck :( my main concern with the aggression is her being that way with my kids i have 6 yr, 3 yr, and 7 month old son and i want to nip this in the butt before one of my kids gets bit i try my best to keep them away from her but i don't want to just leave her be and ignore the problem i want her to be comfortable with anyone walking past her or touching her near her food bowl....so should i have my 2 oldest do the treat trick also?
 

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For sure work on the crate training, and keep it up. She's a dog that might be misunderstood by strangers, there was a case not long ago where the family rotties got into the backyard where a worker was doing some things and attacked him when he went to go back to the house and of course the dogs 'lost' the fight in the end. Not pretty. Plus if you have kids around you will have running and screaming and it's better to have her used to being in a crate and safe from that!

I have the kids give the dogs treats and so on ALL the time. Usually I get them to drop the treat till they're comfortable with giving food from their hands, again not a bad idea to teach the kids to toss the food and have their friends do the same - small kids can misunderstand and say the dog bit when they just took the treat nicely!

You can hand feed and get the kids to feed her too, measure out the food and have them pour it into the bowl, or have two bowls and while she eats from one they can pour into the other.

If you are limiting her food and water she's going to gulp them down faster, so just fill up the water and let her go at it, take it away at bedtime of course but let her figure out how much she needs. Food you'll have to increase as she grows too. Some dogs will gulp down as much as they can get, just how they are...
 

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Dogs gulp their food, it's just how they eat.
Really? Why hasn't my mum's dog ever gotten this ultimatum? For 11 years, you'd think she would eat her food by herself for once. No, she has that bowl full all day without touching it... and only ever decides to eat if she can see you eating too... and even then she does this whole routine of bringing kibble by kibble her food to the carpet and eating it there sloooowly and leaving semi-chewed on kibble there for your bare feet's delight. Even her chewing sticks she won't eat by herself, she'll bring it close enough to your feet you end up holding it with your foot and that's when she eats it.

Anyhow, I can't even remember a time when that dog was wary of our hand in her food bowl. We used to hand feed her a lot, and if my mum was cooking, she would make some special, non-spiced piece of meat for her and drop it in her bowl. We used to put her bowl in our laps and hand feed her from there, so she obviously knew that we were going to give her all the food in the bowl... then again, I don't know much about resource guarding dogs, because mine was such a mellow puppy.

Edit: ah! We never limited her food or water supplies at first, tho. She always has fresh water and we only started limiting the food after the first month or so. But then, she's picky with food and won't eat if she's full.
 

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Rocky was also like this but he didn't have food aggression. We generally do not allow aggression around food and start doing exercises to prevent this for safety reasons as we have a guest house and therefore may have children close to the dogs - even though we STILL tell them to stay away from the feeding area, you never know what happens.

With Rock I held the bowl to my chest, and then let him eat from it at a level at which you are still holding the bowl off the ground. Meaning, the dog's head is level to his body. Then I practiced slowly taking the bowl away, and giving him a nice treat to redirect him and stop his obsessing over the food. He is a rottweiler and will eat anything you put in front of him, really, but later on I train the dogs (they all eat together when they are older) to sit and wait for my cue before they eat. I always supervise to make sure they don't touch each other's food (I also space them widely apart) and they never have a problem. I've never quite experienced food agression at such a young age - but this is the perfect time to start working on it. When he's an adult dog it could really be a problem, so start as soon as possible :p

Edit: this is all just what I do and my opinion; it doesn't have to be the right technique for you, as every dog and person works in their own individual way ;)
 

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In my opinion, there isn't any reason why you should take a dog's food away, or even have to pet them while they are eating. Lots of people CREATE guarding issues by doing this. Of course, the intention is good, wanting a pup to be OKAY with being touched, just in case. But, sometimes what happens is, a puppy won't have an issue with this, until someone starts trying to force the issue!
Am I making sense? I mean, I suppose there are times when a puppy starts out with guarding issues, but I think there are also pups who don't have a guarding issue until someone starts trying to pet or take their food away, and then the puppy thinks the food is in danger of being taken away, so then they start guarding.

And, yes, my dogs all three gulp! Plus my brother's four, too! :)
 

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In my opinion, there isn't any reason why you should take a dog's food away, or even have to pet them while they are eating. Lots of people CREATE guarding issues by doing this. Of course, the intention is good, wanting a pup to be OKAY with being touched, just in case. But, sometimes what happens is, a puppy won't have an issue with this, until someone starts trying to force the issue!
Am I making sense?
Yes. This is what I was trying to get at with my post but you worded it better than I did.
 

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I also don't believe there's a reason to always be touching/taking away a dog's food while it's eating.

I do gently and carefully train my own to be okay with people being around their food, and be okay with me removing it if I need to, for safety reasons. But I never pester them while they're eating. I've had others insist on petting my dogs while they are eating, and I've told them off for it. Just because they can doesn't mean they should.
 

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Your pups food issue is certainly a carry over from the puppy run where he had to compete for his food.
I believe you should be able to handle the dog and its food whilst it is eating because there could be situations where this becomes necessary and you do not want to be in a fighting match with a dog over food.
I would start by putting an empty bowl on the floor and, by hand, dropping in a small amount of kibble. As he finishes that, let him sniff your hand a drop some more in. When he is comfortable with this, and whilst he is eating the kibble, move the bowl with your foot. Keep repeating this until he is comfortable with you moving his bowl. Now drop kibble in and move the bowl by hand. Keep repeating until comfortable. Now drop kibble in and pick the bowl up but put it down immediately. Repeat as before.

Keep this going for as long as it takes for the pup to be really comfortable with the bowl being moved whilst he eats.
 

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Your pups food issue is certainly a carry over from the puppy run where he had to compete for his food.
I believe you should be able to handle the dog and its food whilst it is eating because there could be situations where this becomes necessary and you do not want to be in a fighting match with a dog over food.
I would start by putting an empty bowl on the floor and, by hand, dropping in a small amount of kibble. As he finishes that, let him sniff your hand a drop some more in. When he is comfortable with this, and whilst he is eating the kibble, move the bowl with your foot. Keep repeating this until he is comfortable with you moving his bowl. Now drop kibble in and move the bowl by hand. Keep repeating until comfortable. Now drop kibble in and pick the bowl up but put it down immediately. Repeat as before.

Keep this going for as long as it takes for the pup to be really comfortable with the bowl being moved whilst he eats.
I can see the value of the bolded part. But, I think you can handle this by teaching a strong "leave it" and by teaching/playing the trading up game. I don't think it needs to be addressed as part of their feeding time.
 

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I have recently became a brand new dog owner to a 8 week old pit bull puppy, she has crazy food agression she growls whenever you go near her, she has not bitten yet but i dont want to risk it...what do i do?
I really got a question why your trying to mess with a puppy while eating whom clearly had to fight over food with littermates. I can see the point of doing this in a few weeks after pup has learned that he will be fed and doesn't need to fight for food. A new puppy needs to trust you before putting trivial demands on it. There is a reason most training classes start at 12 weeks or older. If you get pup at 8 weeks that gives time for the pup to gain trust in owner. I'm not saying not to start guiding pup in correct behavior before 12 weeks. I'm just simply saying that the food issue can wait till pup knows he doesn't have to fight with other dogs for food.
 

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Sacha, our pit mix, was like this as a baby, too. She also ate very quickly- and sometimes relapses into that habit- gulping her kibble whole. She didn't guard from us, but from our other puppy of the same age. She never had to fight for food with her littermates.

It is my understanding that resource guarding is normal for dogs. Sacha is very food motivated so it has been easy to train her/ feed her using her kibble, but she does guard any high-value food. We trade up 95% of the time- like when she had a carrot she got possessive of today, I traded her for part of a hot dog.

So, as a very young puppy, we hand fed almost every meal. I taught some commands and a few endearing tricks with the meal. I did some Doggy Zen, although it seemed a little much before and we're starting it again now.

I also used the smallest Kong to put dry kibble in, and let her get it out. ( I didn't freeze it like a lot of people suggest, with PB or something. We are in the tropics so it becomes a big mess, and there's no peanut butter here.) This slowed down her rate of eating tremendously. It took a while for her to eat her ration of kibble, with me having to stop and put it in over and over, but I associated the refilling with a click noise from my mouth. And that helped her associate us with more food coming, not food going away.

For the times when I had to use a food bowl, I only fed her a few pieces of kibble at a time, pouring more kibble in the bowl with that click from a cup. I was still too nervous to use my hand. After only a few meals, she heard that click and would move her head out of the way.

I also played a hide and seek game. A world-famous professional trainer told me to play and have fun, so that's what I did. Here's the game: I would tether both of them to me. My son would go around and put their kibble all over the place with them watching- under a rug, on chairs, on top of the railing. (all outside) Then I would let one pup at a time go find it all, and I would keep the other pup tethered to me and we'd play/hand feed. I did it 1 at a time b/c I didn't want them to scrabble over the kibble, but also to be sure they got the right portion.

Our vet said to feed 3 times a day until 6 months. Right at about 5.5 months we noticed we had to wake them up for lunch, so that's when we figured they had taken themselves off 3 meals a day.

I hope this helps! Feel free to PM me.....Sacha has taught me a lot about pits.
 

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I did that petting thing at first, but totally stopped it almost immediatley. Someone on this forum suggested it, but then it seemed to cause a problem that wasn't there. You can go near her and even brush by her with no reaction now.

Do you have Ian Dunbars free downloads? They are irreplaceable.

I really got a question why your trying to mess with a puppy while eating whom clearly had to fight over food with littermates. I can see the point of doing this in a few weeks after pup has learned that he will be fed and doesn't need to fight for food. A new puppy needs to trust you before putting trivial demands on it. There is a reason most training classes start at 12 weeks or older. If you get pup at 8 weeks that gives time for the pup to gain trust in owner. I'm not saying not to start guiding pup in correct behavior before 12 weeks. I'm just simply saying that the food issue can wait till pup knows he doesn't have to fight with other dogs for food.
 

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Unlike a lot of the people in this thread, I think that you SHOULD be concerned about any resource guarding. Yes, your puppy is young and it is normal, but it is something you need to address and correct. Hand feeding is the number one way to nip it in the bud, you want the puppy to know that you are GIVING her food, not taking it away.

Now, I can agree that the dog COULD be left alone and do just fine, but you have to be extremely careful if you ever want to have another dog in the house. At the time it might not sound like a possibility, but dogs have a way of just finding our hearts. That being said, don't let it go on.

Start with Nothing In Life Is Free Training (NILIF) immediately. You can access a how to here: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/training_nothing_in_life_is_free.html Make sure all training is done this way. You can deter a lot of negative habits by practicing this. Resource guarding is normal and it's different from aggression. Take it slow and hand feed until you can comfortably stick your hand in the bowl without her minding, because chances are you kids will try to!
 

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she doesn't behave this way with er toys just when i feed her...i thought that maybe i am not feeding her enough so that is why she gulps it but im unsure.....i have never tried to take her bowl away from her or discipline her for growling, i was given the advice to remove her bowl and sternly tell her no but wont that make it worse?? i don't put my hand in or on her bowl i do want to keep my fingers :) but i do make a point when i walk past her to pet her or scratch her ears and tell her she is a good girl..i feel by doing this it will ease her nervousness when i come near...i will most definitely start the treat idea i have been doing that with trying to get her to sleep in her crate at night but so far no luck :( my main concern with the aggression is her being that way with my kids i have 6 yr, 3 yr, and 7 month old son and i want to nip this in the butt before one of my kids gets bit i try my best to keep them away from her but i don't want to just leave her be and ignore the problem i want her to be comfortable with anyone walking past her or touching her near her food bowl....so should i have my 2 oldest do the treat trick also?
I have never use this prob prolly bc I have never created it I supposed... You know, nipped it in thr bud inadvertently without knowing it? I feed my pups in their crates, that way they have a safe place to eat away from grubby kid hands & prying kid eyes. Does she have a crate? If not does she have a puppy proofed room? If she does then I would start feeding her in there & do NOT let the kids near her while she is eating.

You can do the treat in the bowl but also show her that you can also be around her by walking by without making contact, or touching her, all of which can be perceived as threatening to a dog.
 
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