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Food & Toy Aggression
Food and toy aggression is common possession aggression behavior. This behavior arises from the desire to protect their food, their chew bones, their toys, an item stolen from the trash or something of value to the dog and may be directed at humans and animals.

Nature is natural
Possession aggressive behavior is natural and normal for dogs, but unacceptable for humans. It is learned from their siblings at an early age. This reactive aggression by a dog is intentional and there is a reason for the behavior, at least from the dog’s perspective.

Training is a Good Solution
Training and starting early are extremely beneficial to restraining and controlling aggressive behaviors. Proper socialization and puppy classes are very helpful too. Dogs depending on environment and genetics may require very little stimuli to respond aggressively. Proper training raises the threshold before a dog responds and acts aggressively. Dog training classes teach the owners more about training than train dogs to behave. Dog owners train dogs.

Trade and Reward
Training a young puppy is easy. Re-training an older dog is more difficult, but not impossible. Care must be taken with all dogs, so you do not encourage aggressive reactions and get bite.

Teach the game of fetch. You bring a toy and you get a treat. This will reinforce the idea that giving you a toy is fun and rewarding. Make it a game. Dogs love games.

If your dog is chewing on a favorite toy, interrupt with a loud noise and take the toy; pretend to chew on it and give it back. They will begin to understand that you do not steal toys permanently.

When your dog is eating; offer a real great treat, such as a piece of chicken. Pick up the food bowl and add a treat to the food bowl and return it. Your dog will learn quickly that you do not steal food, but add goodies.

What Not to Do
Do not attempt to grab a toy or rawhide or you may get bite. Do not punish. Punishment is usually counter-productive and encourages a possession aggressive response. Always give back the toy or replace it with a treat or better toy. If you always take away toys, your dog will believe he must protect its toys.

Caution
Caution should be taken when training an adult dog with aggressive behaviors. Avoid situations that will cause your dog to be aggressive. A dog that is food aggressive should not be allowed to eat with visitors, cats or children in the same room. Feed them in their crate. Dogs that become aggressive over a rawhide should not be allowed to have a rawhide, unless locked in their kennel alone.
 

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Mendocino Coast Humane Society
707-964-SPAY

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