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My husband and I just adopted a 3 month old Cane Corso a few days ago. He’s very sweet, but learning he is definitely stubborn. From the very first time I fed him, I have been hand feeding. However, last night when I was feeding him his dinner, and stroking him and saying his name gently like I’ve read you're supposed to do, I noticed him tensing up. I picked up some stray pieces of food that had fallen on the ground with my other hand and place them in my feeding hand and he growled and bit me lightly. Not too hard, but enough to break the skin. I know he is just a puppy, and he is in a new environment, but I am concerned about this behavior because I have had many dogs in the past and never had this problem. I am just looking for some reassurance and tips that if I continue to hand feeding that his resource guarding won’t continue?
 

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You should not be bothering your pup while he was eating. That is an excellent way to actually create a resource guarding issue. Leave him to eat in peace, at most, you can drop something extra tasty into his dish as you walk by to have him associate your presence with good things, but don't bother him. Think about it, how would you like it if someone was touching you and messing with your hair while you were trying to eat?
 

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Agreed ^. Put his food into a bowl, put down the bowl in a designated place where he can eat in privacy and comfort, such as a crate. Or a small room where the door can be shut such as a sunroom. Establish a routine of three feedings per day for now until he starts to mature more. Always let him eat in peace.

Plus, you've only had him three days. Allow him to settle in, establish some trust and some confidence in you and his new environment. Say, for a few weeks while you're teaching him basic manners and house rules. THEN you might want to begin training with a handful of kibble / treats where he "works" for a small stream of individual pieces, as a supplement to his 3x daily feedings in peace.

Dump your current source of reading material.

Be aware of any potential future resource guarding with toys, bones, sticks, armchairs etc. and tailor your training accordingly. Jean Donaldson's book "MINE !" would be a highly recommended starting point, regardless.
 

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Agreed ^. Put his food into a bowl, put down the bowl in a designated place where he can eat in privacy and comfort, such as a crate. Or a small room where the door can be shut such as a sunroom. Establish a routine of three feedings per day for now until he starts to mature more. Always let him eat in peace.

Plus, you've only had him three days. Allow him to settle in, establish some trust and some confidence in you and his new environment. Say, for a few weeks while you're teaching him basic manners and house rules. THEN you might want to begin training with a handful of kibble / treats where he "works" for a small stream of individual pieces, as a supplement to his 3x daily feedings in peace.

Dump your current source of reading material.

Be aware of any potential future resource guarding with toys, bones, sticks, armchairs etc. and tailor your training accordingly. Jean Donaldson's book "MINE !" would be a highly recommended starting point, regardless.
You should not be bothering your pup while he was eating. That is an excellent way to actually create a resource guarding issue. Leave him to eat in peace, at most, you can drop something extra tasty into his dish as you walk by to have him associate your presence with good things, but don't bother him. Think about it, how would you like it if someone was touching you and messing with your hair while you were trying to eat?
Hi, thank you for your response. However, I’ve actually read several different books and talked to some other different experienced folks and they all concur that hand feeding is a good way to start.

However, I agree that putting the other hand into the situation and reaching for the food is a problem. We have continued to do hand feeding (more carefully and respectfully) and he seems to be getting better.

As someone else in this thread commented, I think it’s just a matter of the puppy needing to get comfortable with us in our home. But, if the hand feeding does to be a problem over the next week or two, we will definitely stop that and switch to the bowl method.

do you mind if I ask what source material you have used for your puppy training? Because I have tried to use books that are highly rated and considered to be good resources for dog and puppy training. However, I’m sure that the sources are not infallible either.
 

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I’ve actually read several different books and talked to some other different experienced folks and they all concur that hand feeding is a good way to start.

A good way to start "what" ??? I'm curious.

The only times I might suggest hand feeding would be ..
1) to utilize NILIF (Nothing In Life is Free, ie: a leadership exercise where leadership has proven to be lacking previously, which is doubtful in a newly acquired 3 month old pup) .. or
2) when attempting to develop food drive in an otherwise unmotivated dog (which, again, is doubtful in your newly acquired pup) ... or
3) with great care and only in exceptional circumstances to help develop trust / confidence in a shy or withdrawn dog

IMO, aside from those examples, food should always be fed in a bowl. In a private and peaceful manner.
 

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A good way to start "what" ??? I'm curious.

The only times I might suggest hand feeding would be ..
1) to utilize NILIF (Nothing In Life is Free, ie: a leadership exercise where leadership has proven to be lacking previously, which is doubtful in a newly acquired 3 month old pup) .. or
2) when attempting to develop food drive in an otherwise unmotivated dog (which, again, is doubtful in your newly acquired pup) ... or
3) with great care and only in exceptional circumstances to help develop trust / confidence in a shy or withdrawn dog

IMO, aside from those examples, food should always be fed in a bowl. In a private and peaceful manner.
Aside from reading the book “How to Train the Best Dog Ever”, I have also consulted the AKC website and ASPCA website, among other reliable and tested resources, that say hang feeding builds trust and confidence between dog and owner. Here are some links:


 

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Hi, thank you for your response. However, I’ve actually read several different books and talked to some other different experienced folks and they all concur that hand feeding is a good way to start.

However, I agree that putting the other hand into the situation and reaching for the food is a problem. We have continued to do hand feeding (more carefully and respectfully) and he seems to be getting better.

As someone else in this thread commented, I think it’s just a matter of the puppy needing to get comfortable with us in our home. But, if the hand feeding does to be a problem over the next week or two, we will definitely stop that and switch to the bowl method.

do you mind if I ask what source material you have used for your puppy training? Because I have tried to use books that are highly rated and considered to be good resources for dog and puppy training. However, I’m sure that the sources are not infallible either.
reread what I posted. I never said hand feeding was bad. I said petting and bothering your dog was. I'd highly recommend reading Patricia McConnell's The Other End of the Leash and Jean Donaldson's Culture Clash.
 

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reread what I posted. I never said hand feeding was bad. I said petting and bothering your dog was. I'd highly recommend reading Patricia McConnell's The Other End of the Leash and Jean Donaldson's Culture Clash.
I will definitely check out all of those. I appreciate the different perspectives, and have also been reading Jean Donaldson’s “Mine!”
 
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