Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 20 of 41 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,074 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
There was a discussion on the 'strange/rude things' thread about messing & allowing kids to bother (yes IMHO that's essentially what it is) a dog while it is eating & it got me curious as to the angle of those who insist on doing this? You know it creates RG & doesn't prevent it... Right? RG is a natural thing for animals to do (you see horses ask do it to each other during mealtimes even if they cannot 'get' the others food). So why would you make a scenario that shows the dog they NEED to RG? instead of I stilling confidence in them that if you are near their bowl good things happen (high value treats... If you must be around them at all, I never have & I can 'take' anything from mine if I had to).
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
158 Posts
Every now and then (maybe a couple feedings a week) I will take the food away for a minute or so while my pup is eating. Other than that, she is fed three times a day, and left in peace to enjoy it! I also make her calmly sit and wait until the bowl is on the floor before going to it, rather than jumping up around me to get the food.

The reasoning behind it is to try and prevent possessive food aggression. It's not a case of "teaching it who is boss" (I think that was the phrase used in the other thread, or something similar), it is just a case of teaching her that she needs to be calm and relaxed around food. It means that she doesn't rush or gulp her food (leading to vomiting), growl or snip at anyone coming around her while feeding, or jump up and knock me over when feeding her! (20lbs now, will be heavier than me when grown)

I do not agree with petting, talking to, playing with, or generally "bugging" a dog when eating though, or taking food away every time! Let them eat in peace!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,837 Posts
For me, it has always been about management. I have two resource guarders that are properly managed and we haven't had any incidents in months and months. I feel no need for any one to eat near any one else, and I definitely do NOT want any one near them while eating. Any of them for that matter, not just the RGers. My RGers were nothing to sneeze at, either. Smalls once lunged at me years ago for walking too closely to her bowl, and Shambles drew blood on myself and my boyfriend for the same sort of proximity. The two also had a rip roaring fight over the IDEA of food, when there was none present just a smelly kitchen.

I can understand the frame of mind where you work with a puppy on food handling, but the preventative measures before they RGer are just the same as when they ARE RGing. Sit and wait before getting food, games of trade, high value treats being dropped into a bowl, hand feeding from bowl, etc. There are behavioral aspects that create RGing and there are genetic aspects as well. Shambles and Smalls, but most certainly Shambles, were raised appropriately with food and it happened anyway. There is no reward for me to push their limits while they eat and make them uncomfortable by allowing any one to pet or disturb them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,722 Posts
When I got Obi at 12 weeks I put the bowl in my lap and let him eat out of it. He ate like that for the first week or so, after that I put the bowl on the floor, but had one hand on it while he ate, or I would lean over him and touch him all over. He never cared at all. If he had cared I would have used treats, but there was never any need, he never had a RG issue. We also worked a lot on trading up and dropping things on cue. He's never guarded anything from me, and I've only seen him snark at one dog in his entire life. The rest of the time he just sort of nose bumps the cats if they get too close.

Pixie has never had a serious issue either, and has gotten better since I've had her. Haven't really done anything, other than trading up and teaching her "drop it" and I've always just left her food alone. She sometimes gives Obi a nasty look, but they've always been able to eat in the same room without any issues.

I believe in prevention and doing everything I can to fix it if it is an issue, but I'd never take a dog's food away to do it. For a dog with an RG issue, I think the best thing is to leave their food alone and instead conditioning them to think that great things happen whenever you're around when they eat.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,240 Posts
I usually make my dog sit and stay while I put food in her bowl, and then release her by saying "Alright, eat!" and ignore her after that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,619 Posts
We do the same as Kayota. With the exception of the ignoring part... at least, with Charlie we ignored him and it was fine, never had an issue and we could take away his food when there was a need to. The only thing he didn't tolerate was other dogs near his food. Lucky for him he was an only dog :p

But for the first few months that we had Mike, he refused to eat if we were ignoring him. He'd wait until we were there with him and would only eat if we encouraged him to eat. He was such a spoiled brat over at his previous owners... FINALLY we managed to turn it around, and we can now tell him to sit, stay, we put down the food, we'll leave him alone and he'll eat all by himself! Yay, that took some work.

I suppose that's the opposite of having food aggression though ;) But it's hard to deal with too, lol.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
689 Posts
Ellie is/was a RG, to the point where even if a dog so much as looked at her when she was eating, she would lunge at them. Only after doing the trading games, dropping hot treats in her bowl and those sorts of things did the aggression lesson.
Now I can leave her alone when she eats. I still don't trust her around other dogs and some people while she is eating, but I know at least the cat can sneak by her with out being growled at, for the most part.
The others I leave alone, I've never really had any problems with them.

Little kids on the other hand, that's a whole 'nother story. I would never let a little kid go up to any of my dogs while they were eating. Not all of them are RG like Ellie, but to me, it's too much of a risk and I know, with the mother that I have, it would be the end of the line if one of them ever bit a child. No amount of begging, pleading, and threatening from me would stop her. :p
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,277 Posts
I think for a lot of people it's because they see the pound rescue shows where they take a hand on the stick and annoy the crap out of the dog until it attacks that hand. There's also a youtube video somewhere of a lady getting into an all out war with her dog over the food bowl, she thinks she's training the dog to behave around the food because the dog is so bad but it's just the opposite - the dog is irate by the end of it.

And many, many books etc. say to take the food away from the dog to teach it manners.

I never take the food away but do fuss with the dogs as needed, sometimes I'll clip a nail, adjust a collar or add more food to their dish, but I don't generally take the food away. As for the kids, usually if they don't finish something they go give it to the dogs, so the dogs are constantly getting apple cores, toast crusts, etc. from the kids. As well the kids will opt to get a cookie for the dogs and go give them cookies (and at times feed them off the spoons, which the dogs are happy to do too).

ETA: I also get on the kid's case for being mean to the dogs, even if they didn't mean to, and bugging them while they eat. If the dogs have a bone or are eating something and the kids head in that direction I correct the kid for doing so with a reminder not to bug the dog while they're eating. Plus to prevent issues the dogs either eat in their crates or out in the dog run, so it's not like they have a turkey frame on the couch with the kid watching cartoons.... My old girl used to get the worst of the kids because she'd lie in the spot they'd have to walk over her all the time, and she would growl/bark if they fell on her (mainly when they were just starting to walk) and I'd also give them heck and remove them, then try and remind her to sleep in the corner out of the traffic. It got to the point that she'd bark at them and they'd cry.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,075 Posts
I always have fed my dogs by hand whether they be pups or rescues of an older age ... I like to sit on the floor and feed them directly out of the bowl. I add food to the bowl. I take food from the bowl and have them eat it straight out of my hands. I trade up for better things in their bowls. I add treats to the bowls. I add some scraps to the bowls. I feed off of spoons. I allow them to eat at the table once in a while just for fun! :) I have them sit for their meal. I mix it all up so to teach them that food is never scarce and food will never be stolen from them. I try to take that fear issue and what I call ... "survival instinct" aggression away. Still ... even though I trust my dogs 99.9% ... I do not allow small children to play in their food bowls. But that is just me. I worry about that .1% I am not able to predict. After all .... we all have those "off" days ... dogs not excluded. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,634 Posts
I often use Busters meals as a training time so I'll hand feed at least part of that to reward good behavior. I often involve my girls in this meal time training. They'll take a handful of food from the bowl and reward him with it when he listens to them. Once the bowl is placed on the floor and Buster is released, the girls are to leave the room and let him finish whatever is left in peace.

I see no reason to take things away from him. If Ive given it its safe for him to have so theres no need to remove it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,290 Posts
I think it's important to train your dog to "leave it" for the unexpected, like coming across cat-crap. lol! I have never and will never give my dog food, only to test how far I can push my authority around.

I can tell Donatello to "leave it" regarding anything he has, and he knows to drop it and walk away, be it food, treats, bones, or cat-crap outside.

I see no point in petting, stroking, poking or prodding a dog when he's eating; I know I wouldn't like it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,145 Posts
Agreed with the above poster. Meals are meals, and "leave it" is "leave it"... being able to take your dogs' food away has little to no bearing IMO on whether you can take away that dead bird he just snagged on a walk, it's a completely different type of resource IME.

With a good "leave it" and "drop it", I see absolutely no reason whatsoever for me to pester my dogs when they are eating. Really the only thing I have specifically done around meal time sometimes is to drop extra good goodies into the bowl when they are eating so they don't see me as the taker away of things, but the giver of things. I CAN take their bowls away, but I only do it if there's a reason - like I gave someone the wrong bowl or the wrong amount or forgot to add something. My dogs know I'm not going to do it for some random reason, so they don't worry about it and it's not a big deal when I DO do it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,399 Posts
I've done a lot of working with my two, in an attempt to prevent any incidents if somebody DOES happen to come pester them while they're eating. Did a lot of hand feeding, dropping of treats into the bowls, "leave it" commands every now and then and rewarding the leave-it with giving the food back. They are also both required to sit or down and wait while I put the food down. I don't mess with either one of them while they are eating now. I'm able to walk near them and/or inadvertently brush by them while they're eating and they're fine. I do not allow ANYONE else to touch them while they are eating. Just because I or they CAN pester them during their meals doesn't mean we SHOULD. Thanks to gentle training, if somebody DOES mess with them during their meal, the only one who's gonna bite is me. =P
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,851 Posts
I spent an hour this morning working with the 6 week old pups during feeding. Several are being little turds about the feed dishes.

This is how I see it. I can never guarantee there will not be a time the dogs will have to be interrupted during feeding. I travel a ton. The dogs may have to be fed in groups on deployments, in a crowd of people, a kid could run up, etc.

The puppies will be going to new homes soon. They need to understand if the handler needs to touch the dog, the bowl, or the food, it is acceptable. Their food isn't taken away, they get rewarded for sharing. Just as they are being handled, ears, feet, mouth, etc.
I actually like to see possessiveness. usually these are the easiest to train, as they want their tug! They just have to learn its way more fun to share than be snotty. I don't mind if they guard food with the other pups. Yes resource guarding is very natural. However, so is growling, biting, fighting, etc. Nothing we do with dogs is really natural. In order for them to be good citizens, they must have manners.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,145 Posts
I actually find the method of repeatedly taking away a food dish to teach a dog to tolerate it to be ill-conceived. The vast majority of behaviors that we label as dominance or similar, IMO, are actually fear or anxiety based. In the case of food bowls particularly, the fear of losing your meal.

It makes NO sense to me to try to eliminate this behavior by repeatedly doing exactly what the dog is anxious about - having its food taken away. I truly think that for a dog who already has a predisposition to being a resource guarder, it makes them MORE on edge and makes it worse. Most dogs probably don't have the predisposition towards extreme resource guarding, so people get away with that method very frequently. Just like they get away with a lot of training methods because dogs are so resilient and we've selected over the years for dogs who exhibit behaviors we find desirable.

I vastly prefer teaching a dog that it is really no big deal when people are around the food bowl, because nothing bad is going to happen. My personal favorite method, as I've already said, is to drop or put little pieces of something extra yummy into the bowl while they are eating. The one dog I have who is even remotely resource guardy (Pip, who has never guarded his bowls but used to guard items) has responded beautifully to this method, and I raised Squash that way and no problems... although with his breed I really didn't expect any, anyway.

Anyway... to each their own, YMMV, etc. But I just imagine how grumpy I would be if someone kept taking my plate off the table right out from in front of me, and it almost actually makes me a little grumpy just thinking about it. So that goes on the "not using this method" pile in my house. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,248 Posts
I actually find the method of repeatedly taking away a food dish to teach a dog to tolerate it to be ill-conceived. The vast majority of behaviors that we label as dominance or similar, IMO, are actually fear or anxiety based. In the case of food bowls particularly, the fear of losing your meal.

It makes NO sense to me to try to eliminate this behavior by repeatedly doing exactly what the dog is anxious about - having its food taken away. I truly think that for a dog who already has a predisposition to being a resource guarder, it makes them MORE on edge and makes it worse. Most dogs probably don't have the predisposition towards extreme resource guarding, so people get away with that method very frequently. Just like they get away with a lot of training methods because dogs are so resilient and we've selected over the years for dogs who exhibit behaviors we find desirable.

I vastly prefer teaching a dog that it is really no big deal when people are around the food bowl, because nothing bad is going to happen. My personal favorite method, as I've already said, is to drop or put little pieces of something extra yummy into the bowl while they are eating. The one dog I have who is even remotely resource guardy (Pip, who has never guarded his bowls but used to guard items) has responded beautifully to this method, and I raised Squash that way and no problems... although with his breed I really didn't expect any, anyway.
This pretty much sums up how I feel about it. As I mentioned in the other thread, a RG issue was created in my dog because of another dog taking her food. I'm sure if I were frequently taking it away she would get pretty huffy about it too. That's a natural response that makes sense to me. I would never teach a child that anyone should be able to take their food away any time they wanted. I suspect that would cause some psychological problems just as it would for a dog.

That said, in the past couple of weeks I've stopped feeding out of a bowl entirely. I keep her daily ration of kibble in a container on my desk and use it for training throughout the day. Whatever's left I give her in her bowl at night, but rarely is there much left.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,936 Posts
I always practice taking things away and giving them back, or up-trading, I will also sit with my hand in the dogs dish while they eat, throw treats in the dish..basilcy showing them that my handling their food is good, and ensuring that if I need too I CAN take any food or treats from their mouths, and I have needed this several times. with 8 dogs, everything that lands on the ground is fair game wheather its safe for them for or and they will protect it ferciously from the other dogs, I need to be able to walk over, stick my hand in their mouth and take it without fear of being bitten.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,511 Posts
The closest I come to messing with Jubel while he eats is to maybe touch his lower back as I pass by after I've released him to eat and gone to close the door to the backyard if I didn't do that before releasing him to eat. The closest I've come to taking his food away while he eats is when he has an upset stomach and I've cooked him some beef/chicken and rice. Often I'll give that to him in a regular bowl vs. the slow feed bowl he uses in the mornings (food dispensing toy in the evenings). To prevent him from inhaling the food too fast I usually hold the bowl in my hands and pull it away for a few seconds in between gulps. If Jubel appeared to have ANY issue with this I'd make the effort to either spread the food out on a large plate or slowly add it to a bowl a few spoonfuls at a time. He doesn't seem to mind and it easier for me to just hold the bowl and pull it away for a few seconds, he seems to trust I'll give it back and let me finish it all.

As a general rule I'd never encourage anyone to mess with their dog while it's eating and strongly suggest them to never do so with anyone elses dog. I'd also recommend going VERY slowly with any new dog you bring into the home and start with the assumption it is unsafe to mess with them while they eat or their food.
 
1 - 20 of 41 Posts
Top