Yesterday I was having a conversation with a new adopter who added a second dog to her family. She was worried about food aggression. Yes, it’s a thing. Even without a second dog, it’s a thing.
When Coconut came to us he was about ten pounds underweight and he gobbled his food and we could not come near him. He never growled but it was obvious that he had had to fight for everything and he was prepared to fight again if he had to. It made me so sad that this little ball of love had not always been pampered and loved and given healthy food when he needed it.
But guarding, another term for this behavior can also happen with toys, bones, and anything the dog is concerned about competing for. Bringing in a second dog can really change the dynamics and one or both could start guarding which could lead to behaviors you don’t want such as growling, snapping, barking, and in some cases biting. This is especially a concern if you have children in the home.
The ASPCA has a great article about guarding. You can also find some suggested trainers on our FAQ page if you find yourself unable to do it on your own.
It takes time for your new dog to feel comfortable that there will always be enough food for him and that another dog will not take from him. This is one of the reasons dogs are returned after adoption but it’s a fixable problem. If you find guarding a problem with your new dog please read this article and try the suggestions. Always feel free to give us a call because we want you and your dog and your entire family to be happy.