Your Page Title Your Page Title Your Page Title Your Page Title Your Page Title Your Page Title Your Page Title Your Page Title Your Page Title Your Page Title Your Page Title
Serving Port Saint Lucie, Palm City, Stuart, & Fort Pierce

Food Aggression

What Does It Look Like?

Dogs can shows aggressive in many different ways, they may stare, freeze, growl, lift a lip, bark, lunge, snap or bite.


The dog’s perceived value of the food item can influence the  intensity of the aggression. For instance, the dog might not aggress over its regular dog food diet, but may become very aggressive around human food or highly valued dog treats such as rawhide.


The aggression may be limited to just food, or part of a larger resource guarding problem where the dog guards items like toys, people, and places.  And the aggression may be limited to other dogs, or humans, or both.

Contributing Risk Factors

● Especially tasty food items
● Constant presence of food to guard, such as free-feeding and long lasting treats
● Inadequate food resources
● Polyphagia (Polyphagia in dogs is the medical term used for an excessive appetite or overeating. A dog with polyphagia has an abnormal and ravenous appetite. There are many medical conditions that can cause polyphagia)
● Teasing the dog with food
● Children
● Randomly removing food from the dog
● Lack of a clear social hierarchy. Battles over food cam be part of the larger issue of an unstable hierarchy.
● Dental Disease
● Certain medications


Treatment is aimed at controlling the problem, not achieving a “cure.” Successful treatment (as measured by a decrease in aggressive incidents) depends on the owner’s understanding basic canine social behavior, the risks involved in living with an aggressive dog, and following safety and management recommendations.

Safety First!

If there is a situation where there is a breech in management and the dog is guarding a food item, unless the item is particularly dangerous for the dog, avoid a confrontation. Do not try to retrieve the item while it is in the dog’s possession or the dog is nearby.  It’s especially problematic when small children are involved, as they are unable to recognize the dog’s warning signs and respond appropriately.  Check out the page SafetyRecommendations For Aggressive Animals


In many cases, management may be sufficient way of dealing with the problem behavior.

● Institute regular feeding (rather than free feeding) and remove all long lasting food treats such as rawhides, bones, and pig ears
● Feed the dog confined away from people and other animals: in a secure location such as a crate of room with a door that can be latched and locked. The dog is kept there until the food is consumed and then allowed out
● If the dog is aggressive over an empty food bowl, don’t try to remove it in the dog’s presence. Wait until the dog is secured in another location before handling the bowl
● If the dog is aggressive over dropped human food, manage the dog so that it is not present during food preparation or meals. Dogs may be placed in another location (such as the yard) or crated.
● These management steps may be continued indefinitely and may be adequate for control of the problem

Behavior Modification Techniques

● Increase household discipline and structure for the dog
● Desensitize and Counter Condition to the presence of a human around food and the food bowl.
● Teach the “drop It” command.

Resolve food aggression in dogs with expert guidance. Schedule a Free Temperament Test & Evaluation.  Happy pets, peaceful mealtimes!”

Visit our site for effective family dog training solutions. Happy pets, peaceful mealtimes!”