Posts tagged ‘Animal Planet’

Friday tip of the day – Stopping a dog from guarding food

dog guarding food 1

Instinct tells a dog to protect his food. However, it’s important for you to have complete control over what goes into your dog’s mouth. Part of this is for safety. If your dog starts to pick up something dangerous or deadly, such as rat poison, you need to be able to get it away from him without losing your fingers. However, access to food is also a dominance issue: When your dog responds by taking his food or dropping things out of his mouth on command, he is recognizing you as the dominant dog. Food guarding is a frequent trigger for dog bites, too. Therefore, the sooner you can establish that you and other family members are the ultimate authority when it comes to meals, the better off you’ll be.

dog guarding food 2

If your food guarder is still a puppy, you need to let him know everything he gets comes through you: food, toys, even petting. Tell your puppy to sit or lie down before you feed him, and make him wait until you give the release word, such as okay or take it, before he starts to chow down. If he comes up and nudges you for attention, use the same tactic to make it your initiation.

dog guarding food 3

He should also learn it’s okay for you to touch him while he eats, so give him a pat when you put down his dish, and make it a habit to add a little food to his bowl while he’s eating. This way, when you are near his food dish, it is always a happy occasion.

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Location means everything when you feed your dog. If he’s off in a corner, he may feel more possessive than if he were eating in a more spacious area with room to move around. Practice giving him food and taking it away. To do this, give your dog very small portions at a time. Each time he finishes a serving, take his dish away and refill it with another small amount until all his food is gone.  As you take away and replace the dish, praise him for being a good dog. Once he’s responding well to having his dish removed and replaced, move on to the next step: adding the food to his dish while it’s still in front of him. Let him eat some of the food while you’re off doing something else, then walk up and add something special to the dish, such as a piece of hot dog or a liver treat.

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Let’s get one thing clear, though: All this is so you have the ability to control what goes into your dog’s mouth. Practice these techniques now and then so you can maintain your dominance relationship with your dog. The most important thing to remember is not to pester your dog while he’s eating. Since most of Rover’s meals should be in peace, teach all household members — especially children — that he is to be left alone at mealtime.

Thanks to the Animal Planet web-site for posting this article.

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December 28, 2012 at 10:25 am Leave a comment

Friday tip of the day – Stopping a Dog from Chewing

A dog’s mouth is the canine equivalent of our hands; it’s what dogs use to pick up and examine things, evaluate their potential use, and transport them from one place to another. Chewing lets a dog know what something feels like, how it tastes, and whether it’s good to eat. It’s a natural part of dog behavior: You can no more train a dog to stop chewing completely than you can train him to stop breathing. Chewing is also an important part of the pup’s development. Just
like babies, puppies chew in part to soothe sore gums during teething. It can take up to a year for a pup’s adult teeth to come in, so this is another instance where you’ll need lots of patience to teach your dog what he can chew and what he can’t.
Naturally, your dog will be attracted to anything with your scent on it, so be sure to put away shoes, socks, and other items you’ve handled that you don’t want destroyed.  If you don’t, the odds are they’ll be gnawed into oblivion.  Never give a dog
old shoes or clothing to chew on. Shoes especially will retain your scent. In fact, never give your dog anything as a chew toy that is the same as something you don’t want him to chew; he won’t be able to tell the difference between the old boot you gave him to gnaw and your new hiking boots.

Make those toys you want your dog to chew (and he should have a number of them) as appealing as possible. If he seems to be going exclusively for things with your scent on them, put chew toys in the laundry hamper for a day or two before giving them to your dog. Rubbing something tasty on the outside of rubber balls or other toys or stuffing treats inside of hollow toys can encourage the dog to select those items to chew on his own. In general, be sure you’re giving him the message clearly from the beginning. Give him the appropriate toys to chew, and praise him for chewing them. Always keep a chew toy within reach (even carry one with you). If you see your dog working on something you don’t want him to chew, quickly remove the item and replace it with a toy, then immediately praise him for chewing the correct item. There a million things in your home you don’t want him to chew; it’s much easier to teach him to recognize the handful of items he can chew.


If you want to give your dog bones to chew on, stick to large knucklebones or thigh bones. Before you hand them out, sterilize bones by boiling them for half an hour. Never give small bones or bones that could splinter easily, such as chicken or turkey bones.


Some dogs remain very active chewers all their lives. Destructive chewing is especially common in dogs who spend a lot of time alone, since it’s a way of working off boredom or anxiety. “Home alone” dogs need to have lots of different toys, which should be rotated to keep things interesting. When you’re home with the dog, be sure he gets lots of exercise and quality time
with you.

Thanks to the Animal Planet web-site for posting this article.

December 7, 2012 at 10:47 am 1 comment