Golden Retrievers are food-driven so they are prone to resource guarding. This can lead to food aggression, which can be a big problem if you have multiple pets at home. It’s important to correct Golden Retriever food aggression as soon as possible so your dog won’t grow with it. And since Goldies are smart canines, it would be fairly easy to tackle this problem.
What is food aggression?
Food aggression is common to dogs, even for the very friendly Golden Retriever. For canines, food is gold so they will try to claim it and hide it from others. This will lead to guarding behavior, which will turn aggressive whenever someone tries to steal the food. Such aggression can be directed to other animals or even you as the owner.
Proper precaution is important when correcting this behavior. You should also know that food aggression can range from mild, moderate, to severe. The worst case is when a dog bites whenever someone tries to get near his food.
The following are signs of food aggression in dogs whenever someone goes near their food:
- Baring teeth
- Biting when feeding is interrupted
Even if your Golden Retriever is friendly, it can still exhibit food aggression. Once you notice this behavior on your dog, it’s important to correct it properly.
How to correct food aggression among Golden Retrievers
While food aggression might be intimidating for dogs, it’s important to face and correct it. To help you out, you should take the following steps:
🐕Teach your dog to work for its food
Food aggression occurs because your dog feels entitled to the food. You can turn this around by training your dog to work for its meal.
For example, you should take the dog for a walk before feeding it. Always do something before mealtimes so your dog will realize that food is something to work for.
You can also use this chance to train your dog for various skills. Before eating, give your dog a quick training session. Remember that you should only perform rigorous activities before, and not after, feeding your dog.
🐕Get your dog used to eating beside you
Food aggression is resource guarding so you need to get your dog used to have someone standing near them while eating. Start with a big distance so your food-aggressive dog will not feel too threatened.
If your dog is relaxed, you can take a foot closer. Observe your dog’s behavior. If it snarls, growls, or bares its teeth, say a firm ‘no’.
Do this until you can sit beside your dog without being the target of their aggression.
🐕The alpha eats first
All dogs, including Golden Retrievers, are pack beings. They follow a hierarchy, which sets the line between the leader and the follower.
This applies to the domesticated setting as well. Leaders eat first before the lower members of the pack. You should eat first and let your Goldie wait. Never give in if your pooch begs for some table scraps. Once you’re done eating, serve the dog’s food right away.
🐕Use the trade-up technique
The trade-up technique will teach your dog that it’s okay to look away from the food bowl. It will make your dog realize that looking away from the food is a rewarded behavior and that no one is going to steal their meal.
Start by offering a smellier treat while the Goldie is eating. The moment your dog sniffs it, give it and let it eat. Do this repeatedly until your dog looks away from its food instantly.
Dogs become aggressive whenever they see hands trying to get their food. You can turn this around by associating your hand with a reward.
When giving treats, make sure that your dog sees that you’re holding it before you toss it to him. Soon enough, you can offer the treat straight from your palms. However, you should be careful as some food-aggressive dogs may snap and bite.
Golden Retriever food aggression can be corrected with the right approach. You should never punish your dog for it because it will only make matters worse. Instead, bank on training and the root cause of the problem. For a smart dog like Golden Retrievers, this behavioral problem should be easy to deal with.