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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

I have a 5 year old pug, Daisy who is medium energy, really well socialised and very well trained. We recently got a french bulldog puppy, Mabel, she’s now 5 months old. We’re coming along with the training and she listened to most of what we tell her. The only problem is she started getting a bit nippy with her food. Not with us but with Daisy. She won’t let her eat unless we tell her to leave. We leave food down all the time and we would like to continue doing this. This morning when I gave them both a treat Mabel started shaking and staring at Daisy (they both had treats in their mouth) then Mabel dropped hers and just attacked Daisy. I didn’t get involved and did not react. Daisy put her in her place but Mabel got the treat and seemed to just keep her focus on her. How do I act? What should I do to stop her doing this? Daisy is not a massive food lover so she doesn’t teach her very well. She just accepts the behaviour most of the time.
 

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Personally, I would not free feed, but offer scheduled meals with the dogs completely separated. I would also not allow them to fight & 'sort out' the food/treat guarding problem on their own, but again use separation when long-lasting chews are offered & work on polite 'turn taking' when quick cookies are handed out. In my opinion, and experience, if you continue to put the dogs in these positions, this situation will continue to get worse.
 

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Dogs are pack animals and fighting for food is 'fighting for dominance'. I agree with BKaymuttleycrew - do not free freed. For a few days feed them in separate rooms where they cannot see each other while eating. Then after that, feed them in a large room but put one bowl on one side of the room and the other bowl on the other side, so they have a large space between each other. If one of them moves towards the other dog/bowl, bang on a cookie sheet or shout a firm 'no' command. Day by day move the bowls closer to each other. If they show signs of aggression, move the bowls farther apart, or start over with separate rooms. Whatever you do, don't punish them. This will just agitate and confuse them. Its a process, and it will take some time, but eventually you will get them trained to eat together without fighting. Just be patient.
 

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Resource guarding, which is what you are experiencing (not "fighting for dominance"),can be very serious, and needs to be dealt with sooner, rather than later. Do not let them sort it out on their own, as it can lead to more problems down the road.

Starting now, you need to quit free feeding. Each dog will have their own bowl in their own space (either crated or tied on opposite sides of the room). Give them their food, let them eat, then immediately pick up the bowls before releasing them.

Do not leave things like chews laying about. If you give chews, then each dog needs to be in their spot (crates are ideal for this), and any remains picked up before releasing them.

There is a book call "Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs" https://www.dogwise.com/mine-a-practical-guide-to-resource-guarding-in-dogs/ that would be helpful. However, if you think you need more help, then working with a positive based trainer with experience in working with resource guarding would be a good idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for the replies! No free feeding. Got it. I’ll look more into resource guarding and will definitely be trying these methods. Thanks again!
 

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Everything Leo Rose said. I will add, never feed dogs near each other. Always separate. Leave dogs alone when they eat. Do not expect the dogs to "share." They won't.

I also recommend you work and train them separately and out of sight of each other. This way the dog you are training is not concerned with resource guarding the training reward (food or toy).

The biggest thing is to set the dogs up for success by avoiding situations where they have the opportunity to resource guard. You need to be one step ahead of them.
 

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I agree with LeoRose too. Never free feed and keep the dogs separated during meal times. You might have success doing as another poster suggested, by keeping them separated and slowing getting closer and closer, but it will take more than days - think months. And it may not work at all. Your best bet is to just feed them separately.
 
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