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We adopted our dog in the beginning of Dec. He was tested for food aggression at the shelter and I tested him at home too since I have three kids. I would often pet him during feeding, offer food from my hand and offer treats during feeding to prevent food aggression. All was wonderful until I switched to once a day feeding a couple weeks ago. Suddenly just touching him would make him tense right up and if I touched the top of his head he would growl. I immediately switched to hand feeding. I can pet him while hand feeding him and he doesn't tense up but he still seems a little anxious. It seems to me he's obviously very hungry and is nervous he wont get enough to eat. I feel horrible. :(

He has gained 6 pounds in two months thanks to coming to us a little underweight and treating his Giardia. Now I'm nervous he'll keep gaining because I think a diet is going to compound this problem. Thankfully spring is coming so it will be easier to get more exercise and he starts doggy day care 1x week on Monday that will burn off even more.

He does get a small treat during the day and one hot dog through the day for training purposes.

I switched to 1x day feeding because he gets car sick very easily. Switching has made a world of difference and I really don't want to go back to 2x day.

Does anyone have any advice? How long before he gets used to his new feeding schedule? How long before I can try the dish again or should I just commit to hand feeding forever. (I don't mind at all and actually prefer it. It gives me much more control if one of the kids runs over and I can give the kids handfuls of food to feed him too.)
 

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Not sure if this is correct ... but I would personally start with the hand feeding twice a day ... half his daily intake twice a day. I would maybe also look for a lower calorie food so he could have a little more to make him feel full. Just my opinion. :) I would also phase out the hand feeding once he is sure and comfortable about his food again.
 

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When is the carsick issue a factor? Do you take him somewhere every day? If so, take his food along and feed when you get there, if you can. Continue with the hand feeding, and have the kids all take turns feeding him over a course of an hour in the evening, with treats or just scoops of food. Even if it means three kibbles and three bits of frozen veggies to make the food seem like more volume in his mind. My kids at times will help feed the dogs, they'll put the dishes in the crates or whatever, but honestly other than a few quick tests of the issue, I don't pester them when they're eating. Just like I'd get annoyed if the waiter at dinner kept playing with my hair or rubbing my arm. Leave me to eat!!!! My guys eat in their crates and I get on the kids big time if the dogs have a bone or are eating and they go to pester. Even my three year old now knows 'oh, dog eating, leave it be'.

I don't think my guys would ever try anything, they're fine, but I never know if they go elsewhere if the dog is going to be good about that sort of thing so I would rather my kids no not to bother dogs with bones or food.
 

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We adopted our dog in the beginning of Dec. He was tested for food aggression at the shelter and I tested him at home too since I have three kids.
Newly rescued dogs are often "shut down" from the stress of being in a shelter and then the stress of a new home. It can take several weeks after adoption for an adult dog to show its true colors. Keep working on the food aggression. That may have existed before he was sheltered or may be a new thing from your change in feeding schedule. What would happen if he had access to teeny bits of food all day in a Kong or a dispensing ball so that he is not ravenous when his mealtime comes? For the safety of your children, I would recommend putting him into a kennel or bathroom with his food dish when mealtime comes.

I have a rescued Pit Bull who had food aggression issues when he arrived. I've learned to manage him and am working on Sasha to prevent similar problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Great advice, thank you. :)

I take him in the car about every other day. If he has food in his stomach, he's a wreck. Even if it's a 5 minute ride to Agway. 15 minutes tops and he pukes. His vet, the dog park, Petco, his doggie day care, etc. are all 20-30 minute rides because we live in a semi rural area. If I fed him when we got there I'd expect he would puke on the way home.

I understand what you say about pestering him. When he was eating twice a day, I would put him in a sit & stay then release to eat and we wouldn't go near him most days. Then one day my 2 year old unexpectedly grabbed him by the sides and tried to pull him away and he growled. (Can't blame him for that!) Two days later I patted him on the head to see if it was a one time thing and he growled at me. So the aggression may have been triggered by my two year old, the switch to once a day feeding, him showing his true colors or any combination of all those things.

Switching to hand feeding, I waited a couple of days before trying to pat his head because he seemed stressed and I'm trying to be careful not to make him uncomfortable.

He has a busy buddy(?) the purple bottle with rope but he doesn't like it. Maybe I should try something different. He doesn't like loud toys like empty 2 liters, etc. (they bang on our hardwood floors) squeaky & fluffy is all he seems to want to play with.

My kids all know not to go near the dog when he is eating. The 2 year old came out of nowhere that one time. I was standing right there it was completely unexpected because she knows. But she is only 2 :/ I don't give the dog bully sticks or similar unless the older two are in school and the 2 year old is in a different room.

He eats in his crate about twice a week. Maybe I should hand feed / crate feed every other day? Dole it out over a longer period of time on hand feeding days with the kids help? And look for something that dispenses food that he'll actually play with. His food is almost gone so I can look for something lower in calories. Right now he eats Nature's Domain and I was planning on switching to TOTW.

Thank you :)
 
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