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Thread: Food aggression, how do you stop it?

  1. #1
    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Delta Junction

    Default Food aggression, how do you stop it?

    My malamute is a year old and I've noticed her food aggression has become more violent, and more damaging around other dogs. She's an absolute baby with people, and loves kids and is very gentle with people. It all started when we had a BBQ to cook up last years salmon this spring. I would try to give pieces of salmon skin to a karilean bear dog, and two pit bulls. My pup would come barrelling in with fangs all over the place. It got so bad, that we had to lock her in the truck so the other dogs could get a treat because they were too scared of her to even hang around.

    We were watching my friends two year old black lab while the friend was out of town. She would always attempt to drive off the lab and take the lab's food. She never growled at me when I took the food away from her so she does obey when I interrupt her bullying. We had set out a couple bones for the dogs to chew on and that's when it happened again, my Malamute went ape sht. She attacked the lab and pinned her into the corner. Every bite n tear went to the head and neck of the lab. The dog was too powerful for me to pull them apart and I thought she would kill the lab if I didn't stop it. The only way I was able to break my dog out of the transe of rage, was to bonk her on the head with a shop broom handle repeatedly.

    The lab had tooth punctures and lacerations on the head, muzzle, and neck. Not being able to afford to pay vet costs, I simply cleaned the areas with peroxide and ran a bead of super glue around the hair of each puncture and laceration on the lab's head and neck. I immediately contacted my friend and explained the situation. The superglue did work great and the dog heeled up fine with only a couple spots where hair fell out.

    I want to stop this food aggression thing before it gets out of hand because the dog is too big and powerful and I'm afraid that it may happen when I'm not around to stop it. It only took mere seconds for her to do this much damage and it appears it's getting worse as she gets older. She still has another year of learning and growing and I want to get this under control when we get other dogs to start a team since we will be moving away from the road system.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Interior Alaska


    Sounds like it is already out of hand. One solution would be not to feed this dog around other dogs. I have a dog that is very similar to what you are describing and we simply don't feed it around any other dogs. Not the advice you probably want to hear but a potential temporary solution at the very least.
    “There's a humorous side to every situation. The challenge is to find it.”
    George Carlin

  3. #3
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Kink Alaska surrounded by sled dog kennels, a fabulous view and lots of hunting.


    I have 3 rescues that went through this, but not with the intensity yours did. And I'm not sure what I did would work with you but here is a try. Don't do this when the dog is really hungry, feed her separatly. Get some treats and have her sit, "wait" until she turns her head away, she will , say her name and let her take it easy from your hand. give her a good girl. Do that for several days. Try putting the treat on the ground and make her "wait". Say her name and she can have it. I dont say "leave it"unless I want them to leave it forever. "Wait" is wait and then you will get it.
    Then match her up with your least aggressive dog. Have both sit at a few feet apart if necessary, "wait", say her name, let her have it. Have another treat, Tell her "leave it" Say your other dog's name and let him have it. Actully my better half dreamed this up and does it every night with the 4 dogs sitting side by side. I mimic the same thing when I feed all 4 side by side. We havent had a problem for about a year but I NEVER leave the center of the feeding circle. In the past we had fights over empty bowls!
    Again, don't train this when the dogs are hungry, be a strong leader and the source of all food. Don't let her win by knocking you down or getting food by being aggressive.
    Also I've seen Cesar Milan feed from a standing position, holding the bowl at his waste then pulling the bowl away from the dog. Might look him up on the web and see if he offers any suggestions. I do that with the Dane mix to slow her down, I have trouble controlling her pushiness at 3 ft tall. I started making her look me in the eye before she is fed and it seems to get the point across that I am boss. (for a minute anyway)

  4. #4


    In order to fix this you need to address the issue differently than any of the other dogs you have. You will need to "read" the dog and make corrections before the behavior occurs. Basically see it coming before it happens. There are cues and you will need to recognize those postures, head or eye movements to be effective in fixing the problem. The respect she has with people is a plus in this case. You can use that to your advantage. But from your description I'm not 100% sure she totally respects you as being more dominate. At times they can play you just to get what they want without having to work for it.
    A place to start would be a foundation of obedience. Then from there this problem can be addressed. Starting a regimen of rules, boundaries and limitations. Redefining this dogs lifestyle and creating new habits to get rid of the bad ones. Dogs with aggression issues can be rehabilitated but it takes a strong commitment and lifestyle change from the owner in order for it to work.


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