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Showing food aggression at 12 weeks

Our little 9 lb female puppy, Daisy, acts like she's never fed!  I put her bowl down first and am feeding our 106 lb Black Lab, Scooter (old guy) in an area where Daisy cannot bother him because she'll run from her bowl to his and he'll let her.  She'll also steal the cat's food, so I'm feeding the cat in another area of the house altogether.

I have Dog Bones for both of them but the super large for Scooter and small dog sized for Daisy.  Scooter always breaks his in half and will lie down and eat his slowly.  Daisy will leave hers and run over and steal the half Scooter drops. If she drops it (too big) and he tries to pick it up, she sometimes growls.  At that point, I'm taking it out of her mouth and taking her back to her dog bone in the kitchen.  She'll still run back and look for his crumbs.

I'm offering food out of my hand and stroking her back while she eats.  I'm sometimes giving her a tiny cat treat while she eats out of her bowl so she's not showing any aggression at that time.  The only time of the day that she eats horribly fast and runs back and forth to Scooter's bowl is first thing in the morning, when they both get some quality (checked it out well on the internet) wet food mixed with their same brand dry food.  

There's no way she's being 'underfed' or not fed often enough. She's grown so much! Maybe 3 lbs.  It has only been 3 weeks since we got her at the animal shelter and she was the smallest puppy in the group but I want to stop any food aggression now, before it becomes a 'habit'.  

The nipping has almost ceased. She'll get very excited first thing in the morning when she first sees him but just showing her the spray bottle will stop that.  I also put some coins in a tin but it's VERY loud and terrified her last night so I think I need to take some out.

That's another issue! She's afraid to go outside at night (we have a fenced acre) and won't leave the area where the spot lights are the brightest. Also, if a school bus or garbage truck goes by during that time, she runs to the back door and cries.  

I have only had one tiny puppy previously (Scooter at 5 weeks) and he was awesome.  I generally would adopt an older puppy or adult dog but felt with Scooter being so old and having such bad hips that a tiny puppy would be less demanding on HIM than a 'teenager' dog.  

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Avatar universal
Wow, awesome suggestions!

First, I can touch her as much as I want while she's eating and she and Scooter will eat dry food out of the same bowl later in the day.  The morning food is the only time she runs to check his bowl. I leave out dry food all day and they both seem to really like it.  It's $35 a bag with no fillers.

The dog bone is the only instance of growling.  He's 10 times her size and he lets her take it but I take it back. She wants the large bone!  What if I buy the bones for medium dogs and give them the same type/ size or should I keep with this to work on the aggression?

I agree that this was probably because she wasn't getting enough at the animal shelter.  It's a beautiful and clean place, but they're filled constantly and there are a number of puppies in each cage.  Since she was by far the smallest, she probably was not getting enough.

Her Breed: Well, the paperwork said the people who turned in the full litter said American Bull Dog and Shepherd.  She got the colorings of a Beagle with a curling tail, HUGE feet, stocky legs and her ears both are up yet floppy.  In 3 weeks she's gone from very short hair to long hair LONG hair coming in. She has six toes on her back feet.  Her dew claws are to the side of her other toes like a monkey's thumb.  She's already been spayed and her legs were shaved for dew claw removal but it wasn't done.   My vet pointed out that she's getting wisps of black hair at the corner of her mouth, bottom lip.  

Just today a friend recommended I make her 'wait' for her treat after potty time.  I had her sit and then told her to 'wait' and she did every time until I said 'okay'.  She's very bright and almost totally housebroken. She wakes me at 4:30 a.m. to go poop every morning.  

Jump in if you can think of more and I'm going to get out my cookie sheet!
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1974283 tn?1425609124
It's not about whether she is being fed enough. Often food aggression if formed because they feel like there isn't enough. That what is down is what is there. This is because they were not fed enough when they were younger and had to fight for their food.

I know if a few things that I have used.

- use a huge cooking sheet and mix the food on there. Spread it out so the dog has to take their time to pick it up. This is the same as those puzzle bowls, it's just cheaper. at the same time give your older dog his food and redirect your girl to her food every time she looks at his whether you correct her by using a small poke or verbal or grabbing her collar and bringing her back to her food.

- leaving food down at all times helps too. You can start this like in the morning. Instead of feeding them together, take the puppy into another room and put down A LOT of food. This is expensive, BUT if you can get them to continuously leave the room while the food is still there, they will see that the food is not something that is going to disappear. Until this food problem has changed, I would suggest not giving any bones or leaving bones on the floor. Pick all of that up until she learns that she can share.
I would suggest changing the puppy to a good quality kibble that is cheaper so she still gets the nutrients but doesn't favour it. She will want the other dogs food, but at this point you have to keep tell her no, or like I said, keep her separated until she will willing leave her food alone in that room.

- yes, her aggression is with the dogs but, continue to feed her by hand, make her work for it. She needs to know that you are in control of the food and you will give it to her. Make her do tricks! If she is eating out of the bowl and standing rub her tummy, her chest, her legs and if she is stiff or growls, she has problems with sharing her food with you as well.

Another way is to start giving her food in a feeding pen. I don't like this idea much because it doesn't fix the problem. It simply puts it to one spot and keeps the other dog safe.

What is Daisy's breed? As much as breed stereotypes do not help, you can find ways to get the dog to understand or expel energy in different ways. Like a shitzu vs a lab. A lab would be happy to chase something while a shitzu usually would rather just walk by your side. Sometimes you have to reach the breed and what they need in order to help them.

I had a Dogo Argentino cross who was extremely food aggressive. I can't tell you how many times I was bit. She was never withheld food and her food was never taken away. I asked her t wait politely, and calmly, and when she calm I would place the food down. She could not touch it unless I said so. I knew if I didn't put my foot down, she was going to think her behaviour was okay. At that time, I follow just cesar method. I started by showing her that I wasn't going to take it away, then I moved to tricks while eating from my hands, then massaging her while she ate, then I crate trained her to go to her bed whenever she was given food, then I started working with other calm dogs while she ate. I had my three dogs eating off the cookie sheet with her. I had to downgrade the quality of food so she wasn't so protective over it. I learned that the quality matters when she got sick and she was on boiled chicken and rice, with pumpkin! Man, even after 3 weeks of working with her and having her fine with the kibble, she guarded that mixture like there was NONE left. And at this time, she was 12 weeks old.

Takes lots of time and lots of patience. Stay calm. Don't get mad at her. She is just following her instincts. Just redirect her and constantly remind and show her that there is food available. If that is leaving food down at all times or feeding more times throughout the day, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
Good luck!
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