What does a food aggressive dog look like?
-May give you a warning look when you approach him while he has food
-May lower his head over the food
-May give you a warning growl when you approach his food
-His body may noticeably stiffen
Food Aggression is actually called Canine Possession Aggression (CPA) and can be a real challenge! It could be that the dog has had a time in his life that his food was taken away from him and he feels that he needs to guard it in order to eat.
There are different methods of dealing with the problem. I feel that a combination of different approaches works best.
There is the approach of showing your dog that you are the boss. I think that will work ONLY if your dog is being food aggressive JUST TO SHOW YOU that he can be. That is different than guarding food because he feels he has to protect it. Generally that is not the case. The dog is not just trying to prove that he can get away with it.
You will need to teach the dog that you are GIVING him food and not there to TAKE it and try to starve him. If the food aggressiveness is severe, you should not feed in the presence of other dogs or other people. Your dog may take the others as a threat and harm someone. Practice this alone with your dog.
Instead of putting his food in the dog dish, feed him from your hand. If you are fearful, do NOT try this. The dog needs to feel your sense of sharing and not a sense of fear. It will only confuse him if you are afraid. Share several pieces of dog food with him. Then put the food bowl on a countertop where the dog cannot reach it. Fill the bowl and set it down in the dogs normal eating place. While the dog is eating, gently toss a TREAT (something that smells great and will be tempting) near his eating spot. Do not invade his territory, but do try to toss the treat close him.
Do not try to remove his food bowl until he has finished eating and has left the area. Remove the food bowl when he is not present. Do not leave the food bowl on the floor as another dog or a human may get near it, and that may alert the guarding in the dog again.
This will take some time and you should not rush him. This was a learned behavior for him and it will take some patience to show him that he does not need to protect his food.
Do you have a dog that does its daily exercise of leg lifts by peeing all over your house?
First, let's get rid of the myth that only male dogs do this. Females are not above lifting their legs and pointing to a nearby chair leg when peeing. It is not just a male things.
Your dog may be marking its territory and markng means just that. They are choosing a spot , peeing and then proudly announcing, with the urine, "I've been here! This is my spot!" If another dog potties there, or if the dog feels the scent isn't strong enough, he will go back to the same spot to pee again, just to make sure the message is clear.
Although any dog may mark, the marking behavior happens most often with dogs who are males and not neutered. A dog who has not done this in the past may feel he now has a reason to mark such as a new person or pet in the home, visitors, or a sibling dog in your home may be challenging him.
Okay, what now? Well, we need to work on the problem.
First clean any spots that exist right now with an ammonia free cleaner to remove your dog's mark. I use vinegar mixed with water as it erases the smell completely.
That's the easy part. Now the more difficult part. Watch you dog very carefully now. If you can't watch him with an eagle's eye, crate him or confine to an area where marking is not prohibitted. It's hard to watch a dog constantly but be SURE you are if the dog is loose in your home. Sometimes it helps to put the dog on a leash and just keep him beside you. If you catch the dog trying to mark, tell him NO! and take him outside. Give him tons of praise if he lifts his leg outside.
Your dog may also be competing to be the boss, even with you! He will need to learn that the territory is not his and therefore does not need his "mark". You can teach him this by working on basic commands or even tricks where you are the leader. Teaching sit, down, come, stay teaches your dog that you are the leader. Once he realizes that there is no need for him to be the boss, the marking should decrease.
What is transporting? It's moving dogs from one place to another for a variety of reasons. Sometimes a new location helps a dog get adopted. Sometimes the dog is in danger of being euthanized. And there are many other reasons as well.
The trend seems to be transporting dogs from other states, even other countries, into the northern states. Iowa rescues have been involved as well. I commend those who are truly helping those animals, without regard to size, age or breed, and getting them to safety.
However, there have been reports the some northern rescues are trying to meet the "demand" for certain dogs, particularly puppies. That was rather shocking to me. As a rescue I did not know we paid attention to "supply and demand". I have always seen that as a retail thing. Rescues are nonprofit organizations.
Yet it is said that rescues will drive (or fly) to the southern states and pick the most "highly adoptable" dogs and transport them back to their northern rescues. What happens to the other dogs? What happens to the dogs in the northern states?
It is reported that the Northern states have done very well with getting their dogs spayed or neutered. As a result there are not nearly as many puppies being born in the northern states. The southern states, however, are not as proactive with spaying and neutering. Thus, there are many puppies still being born and the shelters are still very crowded.
These puppies do need a place to go and I understand that. However, the number of puppies will continue to be in need if nothing is done about the spaying and neutering in the southern states. If rescues from the northern states are profitting from these highly adoptable dogs, then they should use some of that money to help fund spay and neuter programs down south so the need will not be so great. If it can be done in the north, it can be done in the south too. It is rescue's responsiblity to encourage and educate people about spaying and neutering.
Therein lies the problem....if they puppy "supply" dries up, where will puppies come from? Where will rescues get highly adoptable dogs or will they be forced to take in the dogs that are in dire need? The older dogs, the fearful dogs, the sick dogs?
I've always believed that a rescue exists to serve the DOGS, not the people and therefore, not the supply and demand.
I would love to hear your comments on this subject.....
January 1st....So many thoughts of the things I want to do in 2015 and wondering how many I will have the time and/or money to follow through with.
One of the things foremost in my mind with regards to rescue is to keep learning! And one of the areas that most interests me is learning how to help fearful or shy dogs. After working with these dogs day in and day out, I have a strong desire to learn more so I can help them more. I want to learn all that is out there about these dogs but find there really isn't a lot as far as guidance. But I will learn all I can. I know there is nothing like that moment when a dogs empty eyes light up and you know that there is now more than hope for that dog. You know that dog is going to make it. And the first time the dog lets you touch or hold it....you will remember it always. You will never be the same after experiencing that. That was especially true in working with Olivia. After 1 1/2 years, she let me pick her up and love her! She looked right into my eyes. I felt so loved and so trusted. She shared herself with me in a way that I hoped for but was not sure would ever happen.
And of course, I think of the dogs we lost this past year. They stay in my heart and I believe their lives were meaningful and their deaths as well. Many times we can learn from the hardest things in life. The death of a dog is never easy and if it is the result of a decision you are forced to make, it is incredibly difficult. My eyes still fill with tears when I think of the dogs who didn't make it.
Of course, I'd love to solve all the "dog problems" in our world in the year 2015 but there is so much to do....
I really want to work on encouraging people to bring their dogs to rescues when they can no longer keep them. It would reduce the number of abandoned dogs who are left on highway and country roads and that run the danger of being hit by car, shot, starving, illness, killed by another animal.
I would also like to get more people to have compassion for the breeder released dogs and work toward helping these dogs with a new life rather than focusing on the people involved. I believe these dogs have every right to life, a great life!
I would also like to put a strong focus on increasing our adoptions this year so we will get more dogs into their new homes AND so we are able to help more dogs who still need us. We will be focusing on our training program and further grooming options.
Lots of thoughts, lots of "I would like to's" but I can't do it alone. Will you help? Yes, I know you would and thank you so much!