http://makedogsyourlife.com Dogs that guard their food are in an unstable state of mind and can be dangerous around their food bowl. This video will go over how you can work with a dog to change his state of mind and show him that it's actually really cool when people are around his food.
In this video:
00:50 - Why hand feeding is a good place to start
02:13 - Treatment by changing the dog's state of mind
02:50 - Spacing around the food bowl
04:33 - Dividing the dogs meal into portions
05:01 - The importance of getting eye contact
08:25 - Dropping higher value food into bowl
09:45 - Final steps
10:05 - Things to watch out for
10:20 - Controlling the environment
To treat food bowl aggression in dogs, you want to work in a controlled environment when you have the time to do it right. The key here is to understand that progress will only and always be at the dog's pace - not ours.
1 - Hand feed for a week or every other meal
2 - Divide meal into 10 portions (the first being just one piece of food and each meal increasing the quantity)
3 - Have the dog do a sit stay or just stay about 3 feet away while you're preparing the food
4 - Make some noise in the bowl with the food but take it all out (so there's nothing in the bowl) and put it down
5 - Don't the the dog go to the food bowl until he gives you a couple of seconds of eye contact. Once you do, release him to the bowl
6 - After he realized that there's nothing there and is looking a bit confused, repeat the same process but with one piece of food
7 - Continue with this process, slowly increasing the portion sizes
After a few repetitions the dog should reach the bowl with less excitement and be eating more calmly. This process could take 10 minutes or it could take weeks. The more severe the food aggression, the more repetitions we'll need to do to address it. Once he's doing well move on to the next phase.
8 - Give him his full portion (or divide into 2 or 3) and let him begin eating. With something very smelly, like hot dogs or chicken, move toward the bowl and drop in a piece.
9 - As the dog eats, continually drop in something better.
This teaches the dog that if he has something he values and you come near yiou give him something better - and he gets to keep his food. That's a win - win.
10 - Once he's good with that and is eagerly anticipating your arrival, stay over him while he eats and drop pieces in his bowl and slowly pet him a little.
Remember to only proceed if the dog is doing really well. Don't push it if you're not sure. Take the time and set the dog up to succeed.
If you love helping dogs (even grumpy ones) and are interested in turning your passion for dogs into a career as a dog trainer, I would love to help you do it. Check out http://makedogsyourlife.com for details on The FernDog Trainer Academy.