A dog who repeatedly growles at his human is a rather serious fact that denotes considerable discomfort at mealtimes. The problem should not be underestimated, and an immediate remedy should be taken to prevent the situation from worsening rapidly.
In order to do this, we first need to distinguish between several typical situations. Today we begin by talking about aggression in the presence of food.
Food Is An Important Resource
Don’t be alarmed, it’s quite common. The dog’s character plays an important role in this behavior. In kennels, when several dogs are placed in the same box, their “compatibility”, i.e. why they were put together, also depends on this. Some dogs are very possessive towards food, others are not.
Even a pedigree dog that does not come from a kennel may be possessive towards food. Even as puppies, all dogs are used to “fighting” for food. In the very important period of socialization with their siblings, they learn to read the behavior of their fellow dogs and test their limits, learning important lessons that will lay the foundations for their character when they grow up.
If you have a snarling dog passing by while he’s eating, it probably means that he’s afraid that you’ll take the food literally under his nose. Do not disturb him if it is not strictly necessary and contact a dog educator to solve the problem more effectively.
If the problem doesn’t seem so serious, you can start solving it yourself, but don’t put yourself in risky situations that would be as harmful to you as it is to your dog.
Some Tips To Get Started
Try this technique: make sure you are not perceived as “thieves” or as a danger while eating. Rather than trying unlikely techniques to take the bowl away from him (thus justifying his doubts about you), or even worse to use violence, yelling at him or beating him, let’s try another approach.
Try approaching the area where he eats with a dagger of very delicious morsels. Do not look at him, do not talk to him, do not touch him at all. Get closer (but not too close), put the morsels on the floor and leave calmly as if he were not there.
Repeat this experiment on different days, always with delicious food, and gradually reducing the distance between the point where you put the food on the ground and the bowl where he is eating.
The ultimate goal, as you can imagine, is to get to the point where you put the delicious morsels in the bowl. In this way you will create an association of ideas that will lead the dog to no longer see you as a threat, but rather as someone who adds delicacies to what he is already eating.
In this way your presence around the bowl will no longer be seen as a danger, even if you don’t have any food in your hand. The association of ideas that will be created (with time and a lot of patience), could solve the problem in less serious cases. In other cases of more marked possessiveness, the intervention of a professional will be necessary.
Prudence And Coherence
We repeat: do not put yourselves in dangerous situations. Do not tempt fate, and do not take a step you are not able to take. You can never be too careful.
The advice in the previous paragraph should also be followed only if you feel like it, and if you do not recognize that the situation is too dangerous for you. This does not mean resigning yourself to being afraid of your dog, or ignoring the problem in the hope that it will solve itself. It won’t, or it may even get worse.
Contact a dog educator because as difficult as it may be, you have to admit that you are not able to solve the problem on your own. There is nothing wrong with relying on a professional in case of need. If you have a toothache, would you prefer to contact a dentist or ask your neighbour to try something?