Dog Training and Behavior

3 Ways How to Stop a Dog from Being Aggressive with Bones

The aggressiveness with food is a common behavioral problem in many homes with pets. An aggressive dog for bones can trigger an unpleasant and dangerous situation, as this is a great source of stress for the animal itself and a high risk of harm to the owners (not to mention that there may be children nearby). For this reason, to be able to correct it, it is important to know how to stop a dog from being aggressive with bones.

how to stop a dog from being aggressive with bones

Why is My Dog Aggressive with Bones?

In this article, we will delve into the subject in order to guide owners who may suffer from this problem. But, we want to highlight that since it is a dangerous situation, the best thing is for a trained dog trainer to supervise and train the dog not to be aggressive whenever you touch their food.

The fact that a dog is aggressive about food is something more frequent than we imagine. It usually occurs more in males than in females; and more in adult dogs than in young dogs. This does not mean that it is not manifested by a young female dog but, in general, males are more dominant and, therefore, more possessive.

In addition, if this character is presented by an older dog, it will be more difficult to correct, since it will be very internalized. Unlike a young dog in learning that is much more moldable and can be educated from any point of view.

There is an expression within the scope of dog training and this is “primary resource protection”. This refers to when a dog protects, at all costs, food, its toys, its resting place, and even a person who is usually its owner. But we should not confuse it with “dominate” since, in the latter, the dog can protect and defend many resources at the same time, while in “resource guarding” it only focuses on one at a time.

With that difference, the protection of bones is a natural adaptive behavior, and not for that reason positive. In nature, a dog would hunt and devour the prey voraciously, since it does not know when it will eat again, even so, they would always respect the hierarchy and the dominant leader of the group would be the first to claim and enjoy the prey.

In our homes, it means that some dogs, either because they are predisposed or because they have had an incorrect education and socialization, express themselves by protecting their bones in an aggressive way (a fact that also depends on the breed), from whoever that approaches.

If we find this situation in our house, we must act quickly since a dog that is aggressive with bones is a source of danger, especially if there are children living in the same house.

Signs of a Dog that is Aggressive with Bones

We must abandon the idea that aggressiveness is equivalent to biting. Before attacking, a dog can warn us and show that it is aggressive in many other ways.

For example, if we approach our dog while he is eating and he growls, shows us his teeth, and even stops eating and remains silent without taking his face away from his bowl, it is an indication that the situation is dangerous.

In addition to these examples which are quite obvious, there are other more subtle ones that we must try to catch from when they are still puppies in order to correct the problem in time. For example, these are other signs that are more difficult to interpret:

  • He eats with his front paws around his bowl claiming that it belongs to him.
  • He eats very fast and anxiously.
  • He gets very excited at lunchtime.
  • If he lives with other dogs, they will move away from the him while he is eating.

If you observe any similar behavior in your dog, you should think about contacting a dog trainer to help you train him. The sooner we act, the better results we will have. That means, if you observe that a puppy will be a future candidate for aggressiveness with bones, it will be much easier and more productive to correct at this age than in an adult dog that has already developed all its personality and character. It could also help you in the relationship with the dog if this is not very good.

How to Stop a Dog from Being Aggressive with Bones

As we already said, the best is the advice of a specialist in dog behavior. The three basic ways to prevent a dog from being aggressive over bones are:

  • The most important thing is that our dog recognizes us as leaders of the pack and respects the hierarchy. It is about showing our dog that we are the owners of that food and we allow them to enjoy it. It is not about our dog kissing our feet, but about seeing us as a leader and becoming our follower – this is the way to establish order at home.

    For this purpose, we will place the food in his bowl and ask him to wait, until we give him the order that he can eat. We will wait as long as it takes until he relaxes (if he is very nervous, it is very counterproductive for him to eat). A sign of respect towards us is that while he waits for us to allow him to eat, instead of looking at his bowl, he looks us in the eye – that is a way of asking us for permission, therefore, a good time to authorize him to eat.
  • Another trick is to show him that we are not posing any threat and that we are not going to keep his food. For this we can take advantage while he is eating, to give him a treat he likes. It is not necessary to pet or talk, just bend down slowly, stand next to him and offer the treat. In this way, he will associate that our presence carries something positive.
  • Establish basic training from puppies, since many behavior problems lie in bad education from a young age. We must establish clear and firm rules. At mealtime, we must establish the time to “wait” until we give the order, we must prevent the dog from eating anxiously and too quickly and, finally, at the slightest sign of being aggressive with bones, act and put measures to correct it.

Aggression with bones is a worrying manifestation of character with which we can get a great scare at home. The prognosis depends on many factors, but age is especially important, so the sooner we act, the better results we will obtain.

Finally, remember to consult with a specialist so as not to run risky situations; he will help you safely handle a dog that is aggressive with bones.

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