Food aggression - Hungarian Vizsla Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
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Food aggression

I have a very sweet 2.5yold female V. She is timid and submissive and wonderful with my kids. She has shown food aggression twice in the last couple of months. She stole food off the counter and when my dad and husband went to grab it from her, she snarled and lunged at them. I’m not sure what to do. She is fed twice a day, healthy, and shows no signs on illness. We live on 2acres and I am a runner, so she gets tons of exercise. Obviously this is a concern to me so looking for tips on how to address this behavior and concern ASAP. She does steal food from my kids and from my sons high chair and eats what he throws into the floor. we do the best we can to keep table scrapes from her, but with small children it is impossible to enforce 100% of the time.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-18-2020, 09:57 AM
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You could use tall baby gates, crate, or put her outside during meal times.

I would guess her being timid, has something to do with the recent events. How we take things from some dogs, can lead to different reactions.
Our tone of voice, rushing towards them can put them in a defensive mode.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-18-2020, 07:15 PM
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Sometimes you have to set limits with your Vizlsa. Mine are not allowed in the kitchen,or dining room, during dinner, or meal preparations. No matter how well trained, sometimes the temptation is to great. We also never feed treats from the table or from the counter.
Female dogs of all breeds can be more intensive with regards to resource guarding, than males, so the end resultant behavior you observed doesn't surprise me. The level of aggression does though, especially for a dog that has been with you daily for 2-1/2 years. That is surprising.
Through the years I have always tried to condition my dogs to not be food aggressive. It's a time consuming process, and not a 100% guarantee, but it can reveal certain behaviors.
One of my Vizslas was not food aggressive at all. I could put my hands in his bowl, and regardless of what was in the bowl he wouldn't bite at my hands. I'd take food out of bowl while he was eating, and then put it back. with never a problem. Steak, chicken, ham, bacon, it didn't matter. One night though a prime rib bone from a restaurant set him off. I would have never expected it. He was dead serious that he wasn't giving up that bone. We went a few rounds n the kitchen with give and give back drills with that bone, but after that we just put him inhis kennel if he got a bone with meat on it, and closed the door.
Make sure your poochie is okay, and doesn't have Lyme, then start working with her on taking food and giving it back.
Limit her from the kitchen during dinner and try, to the best of your ability, to not have her get food from the kids. ( Better the trials of Hercules than getting dogs and kids to stop sharing food. ) In the end though, she may just need to be put away for dinner time.
Good luck. If you want to know how to condition the dog against food aggression ,post back and I'll try to outline the method I use.

You'll never beat a lesson into a dog, you just beat desire out.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-20-2020, 12:00 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. I’d love to learn more about tips on working with her regarding food aggression. She is very gentle with me and has never once shown signs of aggression towards me both when I give her food, take of from her, and work with her. Also, I live in NoCal and the ticks are horrific year round. We do treat her monthly and check her daily for any embedded ones we may have missed. I don’t think she has ever had one on her for more than 24hours, so I never thought to have her checked for Lyme disease, but will actually do that too just to be safe.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-20-2020, 09:23 AM
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Feed her from your hand. Hold her food in your hand and let her eat.

Our male is not food aggressive EXCEPT for 1 Elk antler chew toy. We have other chews no problem. Can reach in his food bowl no problem. It is just the one antler. He will bring it to us and drop it . We can pick it up but do not try to take it from him..
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-25-2020, 05:14 PM
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When my dogs are puppies I try to introduce them to as many things as possible. With food and treats, I always asked myself, what was the worst case scenario. To me it is a toddler either trying to take food from the dog, or out of the bowl, so that was what I mimicked.
I would repeatedly put food in their bowl and take it out while they were eating.I would give them treated and then have them give them back. I did this with all kinds of different things. Hot dogs, bread, corn chips, dog jerky, ice cream,whatever I had on hand.
I would feed them treats that they had to eat through my closed fingers. Basically I kind of "tormented them", but they always, always, got the treat, or food, back in the end. It was never withheld for poor behavior. They were never "punished", but food agressive behavior was worked on.
I love my dogs. I truly do. But in my house, a child's safety and well being is more important than the dog. The dog can always go in a crate for the time the child is around it.
Maybe I'm old school and a little draconian, but I would never want a dog that a toddler, or small child, was not safe around.

You'll never beat a lesson into a dog, you just beat desire out.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-25-2020, 05:33 PM
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You may want to try the itsyerchoice game. It is from Susan Garrett and you can find a video online. It is a quickly and easily taught game that can be grown to keep your dog from taking, stealing food, eating things that have been dropped on the floor. It is a good relationship building tool as well.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-06-2020, 02:37 AM
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This is from our dog trainer Rene from bravodog she also has a podcast of the same name and I think she has an episode covering this issue. For our dog, she taught us to always trade them for an item of higher value. Practice this a lot and hopefully they get comfortable with it and when you really need to use it, they will be comfortable with you and not bite you. I imagine that would be hard when she already has food in her mouth!

She also taught us to open his mouth and pop treats in, so every time you reach into their mouth is associated with yummy things and not with something taken away!

I agree with some of the posts above that the more you can do for prevention the better in terms of limiting her access to food!

I don’t have enough knowledge to give you advice on this topic but perhaps this info graphic is a little informative about some of the myths out there that actually make it worse so you can avoid those!
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 02:06 AM
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I think that 2 men went "to grab it from her" was problem #1. And food left on counter #2, and letting dog clean up scraps off floor around eating kids #3. Never understood the reason for touching dogs food while eating. I'd have a problem with someone messing with my meal. Once I put their bowl on the floor for them I leave them alone. But that's just me.
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