Dog aggression with food and territory

Dog aggression with food and treats can be scary. The lip goes up, the ears go back, the growl sounds, and for Cinnamon, the hairs all along her back go up.

What is dog aggression with food?

Dog aggression with food can happen when you put the food in your dog’s dish and he starts to eat. When you approach them to put more food in or just simply get too close, they stiffen up, hover closer over the food, start baring their teeth and a low growl starts in their throat.

This can also happen with a bone, toys or treats. Your dog is happily chewing on their bone. When someone gets too close, they start to growl.

I have even seen it happen with people. A dog is sitting on their owners lap and another person or dog comes close and they start to growl, bark and bare their teeth.

In Cinnamon’s situation, she “guards” or has aggression with her space. Her space is our family room. Specifically, the couch she likes to lay on. She’s also not fond of people walking through the family room too. Strangers are the only people that Cinnamon has this aversion with. She doesn’t growl or bark at friends and family members. Now, this is a touch one because this is what I want, right? I want Cinnamon to guard our house. I take great comfort in the fact that when my husband is traveling, I know that NO STRANGER will even come close to entering the house because not only does Cinnamon growl, bark, and the hairs on her hind end rise, but she also nips!

This is great if someone breaks in, but what happens when I have a friend over or even extended family that we only see a couple times of year?

Is there any training or tips that really work?

What I have always done right when I get a pup is I make them comfortable with me being around them when they eat. I stand by them, hover over them and even pour more food into their bowl. I want them to know that I’m not a threat and to get used to me being around them. When they have a treat, I play with them with the treat.

Feed your dog at the same time every day. Set up a routine, prepare the food and place it in front of them. Make them sit or lie down patiently and stay until you say they can eat. Once your dog has successfully waited for your signal to eat, then you can let them eat. This lets them know that you made the food and that you are the alpha dog.

Before they dive into that bowl of food, you can have a couple of kibble in your hand and let them take their first couple of bites out of your hand.

When your dog is eating their regular food, approach them with something better, like meat or a special treat. The goal here is to get your dog to stop eating their food to take the treat from you. This teaches your dog several things. One is that no one is going to steal his food if he looks away from it. The other is that removing his attention from his food when people come around leads to a reward.


Territory aggression…Cinnamon’s problem

Territory aggression in Cinnamon’s case is areas such as doorways and the areas within the length of the her leash. Specifically, I think it’s the family room, front door and hallway. I have not figured out how to help this. I did hire a trainer and it helped with some other areas but not this specific one.

What I have done so far, is I put Cinnamon outside in our fenced in backyard when people come over. It doesn’t calm her down but it keeps everyone safe.

What have I tried? Well, I have tried having people stand in the hallway and throw Cinnamon treats.

I have tried basic commands of sit and stay because she can do these in other situations. But in real action time, she’s too agitated to listen.

I have tried sitting by her and having her on a leash. This helps the most.

I also take her for long walks before I know guests are coming and this helps tremendously.

I would love to tell you I have figured Cinnamon out

But I haven’t. Territory aggression is still a big problem with Cinnamon. In the next several days I will be researching this more and getting back to you.

Don’t give up

Don’t give up on your dog and I won’t give up on Cinnamon. They are worth it!!

3 thoughts on “Dog aggression with food and territory”

  1. A very interesting article and one I can relate to in training my dogs not to be agressive around food, visitors etc.
    A dog should always be taught that you, their owner, is the alpha. Teaching them confidence and trust with you is essential.
    Great article. I like the layout of your site.

  2. Hi Tammy,
    Thank you for this post as myself and my partner are looking to get a dog in the future, these are very useful tips to help once we decide.

    Keep up the great work and I look forward to more articles.

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