It's not always normal, but does raise its ugly head in some pups. It can either be genetic, or brought on unknowingly by us.
Most of the time it doesn't just go away on its own. We have to change what we were doing that brought it on, or work with the genetically predisposed pup in a different manner. It sometimes does show up a little more when hormones kick in.
What have you been doing to try and correct the problem?
I will tell you, I don't believe in alpha rolling a dog. While some will submit, others believe they are in a fight for their life. I don't like to put myself in a dog fight, if there is another option available. Plus you stand a high chance of breaking the dogs trust.
Thanks Texasred. Warning long post ahead.
We read a ton of advice and tried to weed out the good from the bad. And this is what we have tried so far:
1. Very first, we will NOT allow the kids anywhere near when he is eating.
2. We don't give many. "High value" treats anymore, like meat drippings on his kibble
3. We switched food bowls and we try not to ever feed him in the same spot, in case something had been associated with the norm.
4. We have found that the problem usually is not there if we hold the bowl, pet him, and put a little in it at a time until he gets his full 2 cups for the meal. It will instantly appear though if the bowl ever is set down on the ground or drops below our knees. Even if we put it down and leave the room, when glancing in the room, he is guarding the bowl. So we know it isn't just because we are near.
5. When he is eating a meal or treat and we can see his body language start to change we give him the leave it command. Never reaching in to take it until he backs off. My wife made that mistake one time when it started and she was bit. After he leaves it we grab it, jump around like fools until his tail is wagging with delight. And then be put the bowl lower and tell him it is okay to eat it again. Sometimes we never have to do it. Sometimes one time and the problem doesnt come back the rest of the meal, sometimes we have to do this 4 times in 1 meal.
6. When it first started we were told to roll him as you talked about, and though, this stopped him from growling at me, it did not fix the problem. He still looked upset while eating, like a time bomb. And it didn't help at all when my wife tried it. We did that for one day, and knew it wasn't the answer for him. So for the last two months we have tried the above, but it doesn't seem to be getting better. Not worse either however.
Things we have thought of, but not tried are:
1. Feeding only in kennel. We didn't do this for a couple reasons. First, he still struggles a little with bladder control, so we keep his kennel partitioned for now (he has made huge improvement on this in the last month though). Second, we feel it might make the problem go away during meals, but it might be like a bandaide. If it is still there, and he transfers it to toys or some other unexpected time when the kids are the closest "threat" it could be a very difficult situation. We want to fix it, not put off the problem.
2. We have not tried a raised bowl, so that his head is not lowered, looking down when he eats. Again we thought this might function as a bandaide.
But as it turns out, we don't know if we are doing it right, or if we should try something else.
We live in a fairly rural community, and there aren't any behavior specialists in the area. His hunt trainers are awesome, but this is not their area of expertise.
Thanks for making it all the way through, and any words would be very appreciated.
Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk