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Question about a new puppy and eating issue!!??

My family got a new puppy about 6 weeks ago. She is mostly yellow lab. Well in 6 weeks she went from about 4 pounds to 14 pounds!! Right now she eats almost 2 cups of food total in a day and we spread that out throughout the day into three feedings for her. But my issue is everytime we feed her, she freaks out on us! She growls and shows her teeth and has even tried to bite us!! She acts like its her first and last meal everytime! I am worried because we have a 2 year old and a 3 year old and I do not want them to get hurt because she can't calm down. She does not show this aggression anywhere else- just eating. The girls have picked her up, pulled her tail, rough housed, accidently stepped on her- and she is cool as a cucumber over it. Does anyone have any advice on how I can get her out of this meal time agression? DH is going to make me get rid of her if I can't stop this. Thanks


Asked by BabyBeans0506 at 12:12 PM on Feb. 12, 2009 in Pets

Level 12 (564 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • Start by feeding her from your hand while petting her with the other hand. If she snarls or shows her teeth, immediately take food away for 5 minutes. Restart the process. As long as she shows no aggressive tendencies continue touching the pup, rougher and rougher everytime. After you are comfortable with how she is doing, put food in bowl, while your hand remains in bowl. Pet her with other hand firmly. Once we are comfortable with this step, put food down take a few steps back. Step forward and take bowl while she is eating. If she is good promptly put bowl back down. Do this several times during all feedings. If she is not good, put food away for 5 minutes and repeat process of putting down ,stepping back, and stepping in to take food. You will have to reinforce this with every feeding. Good luck and if you need more help, message me.


    Answer by equusvetgal at 1:50 PM on Feb. 12, 2009

  • Who is the closest with this dog? Who has bonded with her the most? That person needs to get down to her level, while she is eating and pet her, rub her behind, mess with her. This may take a while at this point, you really should have been doing this since day one. It gets them used to you while they are eating so they don't growl and bite. She thinks someone is going to steal her food. Just keep at it, eventually it will calm down.

    Answer by feesharose at 12:17 PM on Feb. 12, 2009

  • Its normal behavior, but can be trained out. Dogs have a natural tendency to want to establish dominance, especially when it comes to food. You need to start messing - taking the food away, and then back, pushing her over, pushing her away, etc - with her during every meal time so that she comes to view you (and other humans) as being alpha dogs and in control over her food.

    Answer by Ginger0104 at 12:18 PM on Feb. 12, 2009

  • Yep, i ex is a jerk and taught his puppy to have this behavior. Due to his neglect and abuse of her, she is now my dog. Well one day she actually bit me and that was IT. I do not own dogs that bite, so i started to work with her with petting her and rubbing her nose while she ate. Then I worked into putting my hand in her food while she was eating and i would take a little out, then I would offer it to her out of my hand. I got growled at and nipped at a few times.....but i delt with it switfly and let her know immediately that the behavior was not ok, and would take the bowl away for a minute or two. Then i would ask if she can eat nice and give it back to her slowly. This showed her that even if i took the food away, that she would always get it back. She has not growled or nipped at me in a month. She is a good girl now.

    Answer by boy_or_girl at 12:21 PM on Feb. 12, 2009

  • I found this link and thought it might help you. It was very informative about food aggression in puppies, and what to do to stop it before it gets out of hand. Hope it helps you.


    Answer by BlessedMommy64 at 12:22 PM on Feb. 12, 2009

  • At 4 months and 14 pounds does 2 cups of food sound like enough food for her?

    Answer by BabyBeans0506 at 12:22 PM on Feb. 12, 2009

  • I agree with Ginger and boyorgirl but your number one priority is the safety of your children. Make sure they are not in the room while your dog is eating. An adult should be working with her without your children in the room. If this isn't possible...consider feeding her outside or in a crate until you have been able to train the aggression out. You should also be teaching your children that under no circumstances do you ever touch a dog when it is eating or sleeping...even a really nice dog. Accidents happen with the best of dogs.

    Answer by ANGIE409 at 12:27 PM on Feb. 12, 2009

  • The amount of food is not always determined by just the size of the dog. Different types of dog foods have different nutrients in them. One bag may suggest 4 cups of their food, vs another that suggests 2 cups. And both would fill the dog the same. I have seen this in trying different brands with my German Shepard. Also she needs almost half as much food in the winter as she does in the Summer. She will not eat all i give her and will put on weight if i continue to feed her the same in the winter as in the summer. Sometimes it is trial and error with pets. Like mine has to be watched for weight gain, because the vet says that her breed has hip issues. So she stays at a healthy weight. I do not let her get over weight, and if it starts to drop, we up the amount a day.

    Answer by boy_or_girl at 12:28 PM on Feb. 12, 2009

  • This is not a good behavior. Namely b/c it is natural in the wild for animals to protect their food, but in domesticated animals we have to train them to act differently. Look at Cesar Milans website and you will find what his response to this is. We have used his manner of training our dogs and they are wonderful. Having a dog in the house can be a nice thing. He gives great advice. :)

    Answer by lifeasinoit at 8:26 PM on Feb. 12, 2009