I have 3 dogs, dalmatian, lab/Jack Russel terrier and a Great Dane. My son is the owner of the lab and just moved back home. We are having problems with food aggression. My dalmatian was attack today by the lab. I had to break up the fight over a soup bone that was laying on the ground next to two other soup bones. She really was on her throat ripping at her. Why and what do I do to stop it. Very upset over this. My dalmatian is 14 years old. If I wasn't there I believe my dalmatian would not be alive right now. I need to know how to stop it now. Any advice would be helpful.
This is a tough one, the food aggression is something that is somewhat of a natural behavior. First off, the lab should be fed separate(In a separete room all together), don't just leave out bones & chews either. Was there any damage to the other dog, or was it mostly noise, what I mean is was the other dog skin punctured. You can try to change the association of the dog being around the labs food, by dropping food around the Lab when the other dogs come into the room. This approach (can be) dangerous and will take weeks to months to see a change, something I would rather have a proffessional handle with you.(Use a positive handler) But I have had owners with some success, but they had young dogs.. Mostly, the dog environment needs to be managed, Useing crates for eg. Punishment has been used in the past, and the out come is more stress on the animal that is worried about his food to begin with. Food aggression in the wild is a necessity, so the behaviors are there in most dogs, but alot find that they don't need to be worried so much. For eg in my puppy class this is an exercise that we work on for puppies before 16 weeks old.But when they are adults the behavior has been there for a while, so may be harder to help. Is the dog food aggressive towards people?
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Sue, my Dalmatian has deep wounds in and around her neck and throat area. I'm glad that I was present to break up the fight (wish it didn't happen). It was frighting and the damage to the dalmatian could have been severe. I feed the lab in the morning, separate from the other two dogs. When feeding I make her sit and wait, place the bowl down allow her to eat and occasionally touch her back or tail so no aggression toward me. Should I see a trainer and what should I look for in a trainer.
Resource guarding isn't unusual at all among dogs. I second Sue's suggestion. The best way to prevent it from happening again is to remove all soup bones and edible treats from the floors. If there's nothing to fight over, no fights will occur. I also would keep the lab seperate from the other dogs any time you leave the house, just to be on the safe side.
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Sue, I live in Scranton, Pa. We now have a issue of just being aggressive all the time. What changed??? Is it the breed? I can't let them out at all together or by each other. They all got along for the last 4 weeks. Why now?? My son lived with his room mate and his room mate dog prior to moving home. The room mate dog didn't back down, they have had fights but the other dog always won. Is this why?
I agree with what has been said so far. It also sounds like there is an element of pack hierarchy going on here as well. The dogs are trying to figure out where their place is in your pack. This is usually something they work out right away, but it can happen after weeks of everyone getting along. Either something (like the bone) sets it in motion, or something else in the home has changed to make the Lab feel he can move up a rank.
I have two males that are just constantly at each other for a mid-rank position in my pack. We can have days or weeks of peace, then BAM, fighting again. Whenever you have multiple dogs living in the same space (We have 7 and make it work), there are bound to be issues. Just stay vigilant, when you do put them back together, always be on the lookout for body language that suggests a fight is coming. It is highly unusual for a dog to attack with no warning. Us as humans usually don't pick up on those signs, but they are there. I feel for you, I've been there. Good luck!