Expert: Anne Springer, B.S., Dip., CAPCT - 2/7/2013
Question I have three dogs, two are Bboston bulldogs that we've had since pups and the other is a collie x pyrenees and she's 8 months that we took off of someone who couldn't care for her... My two Bostons are great with eachother and especially when they eat... I can leave a food bowl down all day and they wont fight over it and go to it when they please... Now that we've picked up our new dog she is really aggressive when it comes to feeding time with my two other dogs, she couldnt care less if we stick our hands or faces in the food bowl but when the other two walk by or even watch her she gets mad... I've resorted to feeding them in seperate rooms now.. But I'm wonering what I can do to help her get over this aggression. My boyfriend and I are planning on fixing her soon also... She's a gentle and great dog until you put a food bowl down.
Answer Dogs guard food from other dogs as part of a constellation of normal behaviors. The really good news is that she isn't doing so with people, and if she were, that would be fairly easily modifiable by using a protocol such as is outlined in Jean Donaldson's book, "Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs." As a practical matter, I think that it's probably advisable to separate the dogs when they are eating, just as you are doing. This is a management issue, because there's little you can do about dogs being protective of their food with other dogs. Spaying is wonderful for preventing unwanted litters, but is probably not a factor in whether a dog guards food or not.
I am happy to answer questions about: dog behavior and training, therapy dogs, training disabled dogs, training recently rescued dogs, and managing off leash play groups.
Professionally involved in teaching private and group lessons, and doing behavior consultations. American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, Therapy Dogs, Inc. Tester/Observer. Special interest in pet/elder issues, and in therapy dogs.
Organizations Truly Dog Friendly
Association of Pet Dog Trainers
International Positive Dog Training Association
Therapy Dogs, Inc.
Publications Gloucester Times
Cape Ann Beacon
Education/Credentials Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, Cum Laude. Diploma in Dog Obedience Instruction, Graduate of NY School of Dog Grooming, Certified Advanced Pet Care Technician - American Boarding Kennels Assn., Certified Pet First Aid & CPR, American Red Cross
Awards and Honors 2002 Caregiver Award from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, for Pawsitive Connections Program (pet/elder issues)