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Help with my puppy to stop him guarding his food


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I have Bentley, who is an 18 week old Viz and is an absolute treasure to own and very bright. We have worked through any issues with him and managed to overcome them all so far, including his nipping, which has thankfully nearly gone thanks to the hints from Gunnr about the muzzle holding and no teeth. The only one we are struggling with and has only just started doing in the last 10 days or so, is that he scoffs his food if we move near his bowl while he is eating and covers it if we try and go near it. Our routine for feeding him is that we try and eat first if it fits in to our routine, then make him sit and stay about 4 feet away while I pretend to eat from his bowl. I then put it on the ground and he continues to wait until I tell him to take it and stroke him and praise him for waiting. This procedure always worked for my Lab so am surprised it is causing issues with Bentley. He is fine with his chews or bones andlets us take them from him without growling. I have tried sitting on the floor with the bowl on my lap, holding the bowl while he eats and also adding more food while he is eating, but this appears to make no difference. I want to stop this before it escalates as it is easier to stop a puppy than it is a large dog! Any ideas would be greatly received. I wondered if it had anything to do with the feeding problems I have had with him, as I am having trouble finding a dry food that does not give him diarrhoea. We are currently on our 3rd sort, which does look promising but are still in the transition period from Chicken and Rice. I thought he may be hungrier than he would normally be maybe??
 

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My last dog was a hoarder/growler when it came to his food bowl, so we were determined when we got our V that we would train her right from the start (plus, we now have 2 kids, so it was important not to let her get possessive around food). From day one and to this day, we feed her in the middle of our busy kitchen. I cook around her, we let the kids touch her, run around her, talk loudly, etc. We don't shelter her or leave her alone when eating. I used to pick up her bowl while she was in the middle of eating, because I heard that it will show her who is the pack leader/more dominant. However, I'm not sure that is a good idea - will it make her more possessive of food? So I don't do that any more. I do feed her from hand, or I hold on to her bowl while she eats - a couple of times a week.

It sounds like you have tried the things I would try, so if it were me, I'd consider getting a trainer to come into my home for one-on-one training. Or, just keep trying what you are doing and see if it improves - he's still very young. And I'd probably look into the diarrhea/food sensitivities issues a bit more - I'd probably take him to a holistic vet to help. I'd be very careful not to change his food too often. Cedar is 10 months old and we've changed her food once (because she was eating her feces and we thought it would help - it didn't) but I've been told not to try changing her food again until she is 1.

Good luck and keep us posted!!
 

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Thanks for that and I think I will just persevere a bit more like you say.
Good news on the food front, as I think we have completed the transition onto his new food with still solid poos being produced, which is such a relief! Hopefully this will keep him happy until he is about a year old when he goes onto his adult food. Believe me I would not change his food unless I needed to and acute diarrhoea was not pleasant, but disappeared after a day of chicken and rice meals, so we managed to narrow it down to purely the additives in the two foods we tried. Maybe food times will also settle down as a result who knows!!
 

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It sounds like you're doing pretty much what we would do. From the first day we got him I have always tried to make a point of putting my hand in his food bowl while he ate, pet him, tug on his ears (not to be mean, but to prep him for when we have kids!) at least once or twice a week. So far, that seems to have worked! He, for whatever reason, seems to think I'm his playmate so by me doing this, it's showing him some dominance other than from my hubby. He's now 10 months, does not growl around his food or bones and even lets the little girl I look after feed him out of her hand. :) Our trainer also suggested pretending to eat from his bowl when he started to become impatient waiting for his turn to eat, which also seems to work.

We've changed his food probably about 3 times already. Our trainer recommended one that wouldn't make his poo smell so bad which seemed to work, and again after his visit to the vet. He seems to be much better now that he is back on his Chicken and Rice :)

Good luck!
 

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Maxxie, we fed Kian in his crate (breeders advise) until he was 6 months old. We have never had an issue with this.
Perhaps you could try that.
 

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we've always fed purdey from her bowl without any issues not even her bones makes her possevied so maybe just keep with what your doin and age will kick in xx
BB
 

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Chino was a growler from the start, you must remember what they are doing is what comes natural to them when they are in a pack.

Our trainer made us buy about 6 large kongs, fill the BARF up in the kongs and give her one at a time.
So when she is finished with one approach her with another Kong full of BARF, take the empty one away and at the same time give her the new. This reinforces where the food has come from and also that when you are approaching its not that your taking away from her but giving to her.

Fixed chino up within weeks

The kong thing is great for keeping them busy and stimulating there minds as well.

I'm not saying this will work for you, but it did work for us

Also try looking into a barf diet rather than a dry food diet, almost guarantee you that will stop any diarrhoea (at least after the transition period is over)
 
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