Jul 28 2014

Understanding Food Related Aggression in Dogs…

Some dogs may be aggressive to other dogs at feeding time and only if they are hungry. When these dogs are not hungry, they can be around even the most valued food without showing any aggressive behavior. Mitigation of risk may be as simple as ignoring them or taking them to a spot away from other dogs when they are anticipating meals so that their relative hunger level doesn’t affect the other dogs.

Some dogs that are aggressive when hungry were once deprived of or had to compete for food at some point in their lives. Here, the growling was adaptive. Adaptive behaviors are tough to change, but protecting these dogs from others and others from these dogs may allow them to learn that there is no longer a risk of food theft.

Some rare dogs are so aggressive toward other dogs or humans when exposed to any food item that risk minimization involves protecting them from all sources that will provoke their aggression. In other words, these dogs should be fed undisturbed in a controlled situation (e.g. behind a locked door).

Likewise, for dogs that are seriously aggressive in the presence of some special types of food (e.g. real bones, biscuits, pizzle sticks, rawhide, treats, table food) but not others (their dog food), risk assessment strategies suggest that removing these items from the dogs’ repertoires is a good idea. If dogs are aggressive to other dogs. cats, or humans when fed their daily food, these dogs should be fed undisturbed in a controlled circumstance.

Source DVM360


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