Truth Before Dishonor

I would rather be right than popular

Tips For A Food-Aggressive Dog

Posted by John Hitchcock on 2012/04/18


I have a food-aggressive dog. She’s very friendly (overly friendly) with people she knows and a loud-mouthed, barking coward with people she doesn’t know. She would never actually intentionally bite anyone, because she’s too cowardly. But people are afraid of loudly barking German Shepherds, and rightfully so. Okay, that was a side-point, but one that I used to tell you what kind of dog I have. I have a purebred German Shepherd. And she’s food-aggressive. Try to hand-feed her and next time you do that, you’ll be stump-feeding her. She’ll chomp down HARD on the hand that’s feeding her.

And she’s a Shep. She can do it. It can become an issue with neighbor children around, even though she’s tied up. So, I’ve come up with a plan to break her of her food-aggressivity. A former neighbor suggested I put her food on a plate and then hold a board across the plate so that she can only get so much of it. He said that would break her. So there’s one tip. But I’m not using that tip. It doesn’t really make sense to me, but he swore by it, so you can try it out if you want. I’m using an idea I came up with myself.

Necessity is the mother of inventions. And, while this doesn’t exactly qualify as an invention, it fits within that realm as it’s creative ingenuity. When my daughter just recently moved out, she left behind a good sized bag full of “small” dog biscuits. It says so right on the bag. “Small dog biscuits.” Miniature, microscopic, barely visible. Those terms are more fitting. I could hold 15 of those “small” biscuits in my hand and still close it to make a fist, they’re “small”.

So, I decided to use those tiny things to break my German Shepherd’s food-aggressivity. But I wasn’t going to hold them in my hand. I like my hand just the way it is, thank you very much. So, what to do? I went out to the shed and into my tool crate, and pulled out just what the doctor ordered: a pair of small vice grips.

Want to make your food-aggressive dog not food-aggressive? Here’s how to do it, the Truth Before Dishonor way. First you get yourself a large supply of far-too-small-for-your-dog dog biscuits. Securely tie your dog to a stake or a tree or what have you, where it cannot get free. Then you grab your vice grips. Setting your vice grips to a position where they grip the dog biscuit just well enough that it doesn’t fall out, place the tip of the tiny biscuit in the vice grips. Hold onto the very end of the vice grips. Stretch the dog biscuit out to where your dog is quite literally at the end of his rope and let him bite down wherever he wants to. And then repeat. Your dog will quickly realize he doesn’t want to bite the vice grips (they are not so soft as your hands) and will then start being very careful as to where he bites, only biting onto the food. And even grabbing the food with his mouth without actually biting it, in order to free it from the vice grips.

Repeat this process several times with the too-small-to-be filling dog biscuits. And then do it on several more days. Soon, your dog will automatically be careful as to where and what he bites, and you will no longer have a food-aggressive dog. (That’s my hope anyway. I’ve just begun the process, and the signs are there that she’s learning.)

3 Responses to “Tips For A Food-Aggressive Dog”

  1. Foxfier said

    Good luck!

    On an aside, it drives me insane when I stop my girls from running up to, feeding or otherwise interacting with a strange dog– and the dog’s owner tells me that it’s fine, they don’t mind, the dog is really friendly… I’m trying to train my daughters to not get bit, thanks. If only 1 in a hundred dogs are nasty, and only one in ten will bite when subjected to abuse as only a toddler can manage, that’s still a LOT of risk for life and limb!

    My dad swears by teaching the dogs not to be food-aggressive from the get-go, it’s also part of pack structure… but that’s not usually an option for home owners.

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  2. kelley said

    your dog sounds like mine, loves every one…except around food. barks until she knows you
    how did the pliers work?

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  3. I didn’t do the work of breaking Nastia very long, but I have noted a major change in her, anyway. I have recently held some dry dog food in my hand for her to eat. Previously, she would have gone straight on, rush in, bite down on everything to get to the food. Now, she uses the horse style. Head above the food, turn snout down, and more “lip” the food out of my hand to walk away and eat it.

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