Food guarding can be a dangerous behaviour

Friday, 28th September 2012

Dogs guarding food can be a real problem and could represent a danger, particularly to children.

That is according to vet Joe Inglis, writing for the Metro, who was responding to a reader whose dog had started to growl when they get too close to him while he is eating.

The owner was concerned that if this behaviour continues he may be a risk to children who visit the house.

Dr Inglis wrote: "I do think you need to take this issue seriously and try and help your dog overcome this and be more relaxed around his food - but I would definitely not advise taking his food bowl away as you may well get bitten and it is likely only to serve to make his fear and anxiety worse."

In order to combat this behaviour, the vet said an approach based on rewards. He said the owner should start feeding the dog one biscuit in his bowl at a time and only giving him another when he is nice to them.

This continued reinforcement should lead to the dog welcoming his owner’s approach during eating and the growling should be replaced by affection.