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How to discourage your dog from food-guarding

American Kennel Club on

Published in Cats & Dogs News

By nature, many dogs have a tendency to defend or guard their food. If you notice your puppy becoming protective of her food or even other things like her toys or bed, you can take action to prevent the problem from progressing.

The American Kennel Club offers the following tips to prevent food-guarding from developing with your puppy.

• Let your dog eat in peace. Refrain from interacting with your dog while she is eating. Feed your dog in an area where she feels safe and comfortable. If there are kids around, teach them that the dog should be left alone while she eats.

• Be consistent. Put your dog’s food down when it is time to eat rather than leaving the bowl out all day. Leaving your dog’s food bowl out may make her think that the food is a resource and can be taken away at any given time. Feed your pup the amount recommended by your veterinarian and put the bowl down only during feeding time.

 

• Never take food from a growling dog. If your dog starts growling to protect her food or chew toy, don’t take it away. This will only reinforce the idea that her food must be protected because it can be taken away at any time.

Give, don’t take. You will want to establish early on that a person approaching your dog’s bowl does not mean that her food is in jeopardy. Every so often, when your puppy is eating, walk over and drop a tasty treat in her food bowl. This will emphasize the idea that a person approaching her food is associated with a positive experience and she does not need to protect it.

©2021 American Kennel Club. Visit at akc.org. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC