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FORUMS > Training and Behavior < refresh >
Topic Title: 2 Dogs fighting over food.
Created On Sat January 07, 2006 2:04 PM
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2dogs
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Sat January 07, 2006 2:04 PM
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I have 2 dogs fighting over food, what can I do!! The fights have not been bad but I think thay will soon.. HELP!
 
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Shiplesp
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Sat January 07, 2006 2:41 PM
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Feed them separately. This is not an uncommon problem. Dogs often guard food from each other. This is normal dog behavior. As long as they're not guarding from you and not fighting with each other for other reasons, then separate feeding is as much of a solution as you will probably need. It's by far the easiest and less stressful solution. Likewise, keep "valuable" chew/toy items for their separate enjoyment.

Susan
 
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KDiamondDavis
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Sat January 07, 2006 2:48 PM
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I agree that this is normal dog behavior. Dogs need to be provided with the opportunity to eat in peace, free from worry that anyone is going to take that food. If you let another being--dog, cat, little kid, etc.--bother a dog while the dog is eating, bad things can eventually happen due to arousing the instinct of protecting the food. One of those bad things is for the dog to start guarding the food by biting humans who come near the bowl.

If this problem is happening due to free-feeding the dogs, leaving food out all the time, that practice needs to stop. Chances are you would need to stop it eventually for health reasons anyway.

When dogs start fighting over food, that fighting can spread to other situations between those two dogs. There are so many reasons not to put dogs in this position in the first place. Time to relieve your dogs of this pressure. They will quickly realize it's a new deal, and hopefully you will be in time to stop the fighting from progressing to other issues.

---Kathy Diamond Davis, author, "Therapy Dogs: Training Your Dog to Reach Others"

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kninebug
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Sat January 07, 2006 4:03 PM
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I have to agree with the other suggestions that were given. It is completely normal for dogs to fight over food, bones, or treats. Some dogs get away with doing it fine, but others will protect their food. My dogs are all fed seperately. I feed two in their own kennel and one in the kitchen and one in the dining room. When the 2 free ones are out, they go check each others bowl to see if the other left anything, but they don't really have issues. The other 2 are worse with that and that is why they are kenneled.... (amongst the other problems in our house right now). I agree also that it can lead to problems in other areas so seperating them to me would be your most logical and best choice.

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Kninebug - "Whoever said money can't buy happiness, forgot about puppies". -- Gene Hill
 
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GoneToTheDogs
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Sat January 07, 2006 4:41 PM
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I feed my dogs individually in crates...and I don't have food guarding issues! I feed this way for another reason: I like to monitor my dog's caloric intake.
If you purchase crates for feeding the dogs, you'll never have meal-time problems again.

-GoneToTheDogs
 
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2dogs
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Sun January 08, 2006 8:12 AM
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Thank you for for the suggestions... I will start feeding them separately We have crates to keep them in at night for sleeping and just to keep them out of the weather. I'll do this starting this afternoon. Thanks you!!
 
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2dogs
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Sun January 22, 2006 10:16 AM
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Thank you for your help, but.... Now thay fight over anything, was toys. (all toys are taken up) and who gets what spot on the back portch, who gets what stic that fell from the tree.
Help us... Tim
 
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GoneToTheDogs
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Sun January 22, 2006 2:33 PM
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What breed of dogs are we talking about here? Age? Sex? At what age did they come to your home?

-GTTD
 
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2dogs
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Sun January 22, 2006 6:27 PM
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1st dog, came here when she was about 3 months.. she is a mix of german shepherd and we think possibly pit? 2nd dog came about 1 month later (6 months in age)border collie/ australian shepherd. Their personalities of course are completely opposite but they are companions.
The fighting is usually started by the german shepherd mix but the collie doesn't back down and stands her ground.
 
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KDiamondDavis
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Sun January 22, 2006 7:13 PM
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So they are both females? Sounds like food was just the first sign. Here's a link to an article that may be of some help:

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=1009&S=1&SourceID=47

---Kathy Diamond Davis, author, "Therapy Dogs: Training Your Dog to Reach Others"

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SosoIknow
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Tue June 30, 2009 8:04 AM
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I have two dogs, one male 9 years old Choc Lab with bad knees and a Black Lab Female Mix 2.5 years. We have had the Male for the full 9 years, we just rescued the female about a month or so. They seam to get along 90% of the time. One thing is over Rawhide bones. The other is when ever the male seams to rub his face on the front of the couch. She will run up and growl at him?

I under stand the whole food thing, no fighting there. But She feels like he should not have any Bones even if she already has one.

Any other suggestions other then Crating?
 
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retrievergoldengurl
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Tue June 30, 2009 9:27 PM
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Separate and feed out of eyesight of one another, stink eye can also create fighting tension. Train to downstay after eating in place and always WATCH, don't assume. A dog gate or feeding in a laundry room also works for one dog. After the behavior is habituated it is true that it can spread to all kinds of other situations and agressive redirection is a very difficult thing to correctively train around. Lived it - did it - and now prevent it. Prevention is SOOO much easier than fixing it (which sadly is not always possible).



-------------------------
"Dogs live most of life
in Quiet Heart
Humans live mostly next door
in Desperate heart
Now and then will do you good
To live in our zip code."
Trixie Koontz (the dog) from A Little Big Life, A Memoir of a Joyful Dog by Dean Koontz
Retrievergoldengurl
NOT A BRAD PATTISON FAN since bullies are cowards in my book.
NOT A DON SULLIVAN FAN since this system advocates muzzling to humble and pain to train all things, how do I explain that to my puppy?
 
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hudsonshock
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Wed July 01, 2009 7:25 PM
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I've had a number of foster dogs live with me and my two dogs. A few have had food and toy guarding aggression problems. I've always had excellent results from insisting on a sit before feeding - if the dog breaks the sit before I've given the okay, the food goes away. I hand feed small bits of food, building up to larger amounts, until I can safely put my hand in the bowl the dog is eating from.

To teach proper eating around my other dogs, I'll have the new dog sit while they eat, keeping the new dog's distance enough so that they still have self-control (no sudden lunges). The okay to eat comes only after my dogs are done. Then I start closing the distance so that s/he is sitting closer and closer while they eat. Then I'll allow the new dog to eat from my hand while they're eating. Eventually, everybody is eating side by side with no issues.

My main enforcement tool, other than body posture and blocking, is simply removing the food at the smallest sign of misbehavior, and returning it when I sit is given and held.

The longest its taken is a week, but maybe I've been lucky.

The same approach works for toys.
 
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Elina
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Thu July 02, 2009 9:36 AM
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Are they fighting playfully or aggressively? The best way to figure out is to separate and if they wag tails and want more - it was just play.
My pups are always playfully fighting over all toys. But it's good sport and I can clearly see they are just playing. There is a huge difference when our friend's dog comes for a visit and he is guarding the toys and my pups are so confused - what's wrong with this dog? LOL

So, first identify if this is playful fighting or guarding. Not with food - you solved that problem, it seems. if playful - that's ok, if aggressive, then maybe they need to exercise more one-on-one with you?

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