Dog Food Aggression

My 4 month old lab cross snapped and almost bit my 4 year old daughter when she went to go take her cereal away from him he’s not like this when he eats his dog food he’s done this twice other than that hes good with them should I be worried he’ll turn on them and maul them.

Our Response

Hi Danielle – just returned from holiday. Yes this is a worry especially as you have a young daughter. Please never let any child get close to a dog or puppy without you being in between. Yes some people allow their children to play with their dog or puppy – but we just don’t think it is worth the risk – a dog can never be 100% trustworthy – after all (nor can humans).

1. Start feeding your dog on a regular schedule – not when your dog asks for it but when YOU decide to give it to him. Try placing the food bowl on the floor without any food as this will let your dog know you are in charge and you dictate feeding time. Ask him to sit and then feed him

2. Make your dog very aware that YOU are the Alpha Male – in the pack and Pack Leader – YOU feed him and YOU can take it away.

3. Reinforce your role as the Pack Leader – eat first, walk through the door first, don’t allow your dog to sleep in your bed and don’t feed your dog on a higher level than where you eat.

4. Before you feed your dog tell him to ‘Sit’.

5. Stand a little distance away from your dog’s food bowl (when you are doing this make sure the House is quiet and there are no distractions). Start tossing the odd treat towards the dog bowl, start walking closer to your dog.

6. Call your dog to you when he is eating – have a favorite treat – when your dog comes to you – give him the treat and lots of praise.

7. Every-time you pass the dog bowl – throw a couple of treats near it – this will get your dog used to you approaching the bowl and let your dog know that you are not there to steal his food.

8. Start hand feeding your dog the dog food – this will get your dog used to eating out of your hand reinforcing your place as pack leader – before long you should be able to place your hand in the bowl and feed him his food without signs of aggressive behavior.

9. Stroke your dog and gently talk to him – make him feel safe and loved and when he is eating – this will tell him that you are there as a friend and not to eat his food.

Hope this helps and let me know how you get on.