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Myth Debunked: Food Aggression with Raw Feeding

I don't know how many times I've had people ask or tell me that raw feeding creates an aggressive dog. That the blood and meat make dogs vicious. Whoever believes this or experienced it, probably didn't do some really simple training and focus work with their dogs. It's highly important to train any dog, with any food to be easily handled or messed with while eating. This for sure doesn't mean just grab food out of a dog's mouth if it hasn't been trained or conditioned to this kind of activity.

I've always started my dogs out with very controlled food wait and focus work. They're not even allowed to touch the food, sniff it or anything until I give them the release....which is the cue word "OK!" with direct eye contact. So, I could be looking just to the left of their eyes and say ok, and they still wouldn't be able to take their food. If they go for it before I release, I body block them and they don't eat that day. Yep, pretty strict punishment but it's very effective! Pushy dogs don't get food!

Then for comfortable and easy management during meal times, I've trained a "drop it" that I just apply to their food. In the early stages of training this, I would feed them something boring like chicken and have something way better sitting aside, like beef heart. I'd ask for them to drop it, if they did they'd receive beef heart in return. Whatever you have to trade them should be better than what they're eating. Once this skill is trained you don't necessarily have to trade them when you ask them to drop it, they just do because it's habit for them to listen.

Simple training and conditioning is all it takes to prevent food aggression!

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  • Jordann and caninemomma like this


Dec 17 2013 11:19 AM

sounds good!  I love the 'you don't get to eat tonite'!!!  I can say "wait" and like you have to make eye contact.  I did have my 'under' trained Basenji growl at me when I went to move the turkey neck off the porch and back to the ground outside.  He got escalated and I got a little heated and had to use the bowl to move him wherein he bit the bowl.  I can see how someone can misread food aggressiveness with resource gurarding a VERY high value item-raw food.  When he was on kibble, I could reach into the bowl.  We now have a better routine with the original 'wait' etc.  No growling no more!!!

I think it also just has to do with the handler's comfort level. I personally don't have an issue with my dog "guarding" the raw (to an extent). I'm not going to expect him to give it up to me because I'm his owner. My dog used to guard everything -- toys, treats, food, etc... now he only guards his raw to a degree that would make me uncomfortable about reaching over and taking the food out of his mouth. I personally see no reason to train him further in terms of lowering his resource guarding issue -- if he is choking, etc. then I can grab him no problem so it is not a safety hazard.


I also think people need to stop seeing it as this horrible issue. Lots of dogs have RG. It's a natural instinct (just like prey drive). All you need to do is lower it to a point where it is manageable and not a danger to yourself, and the people/animals the dog is around often :)


Patricia McConnell wrote a great article on resource guarding:



Anyway this is mostly ramblings. But yeah I agree that aggression is not the same as resource guarding at all, and that it is not caused by raw food lol!

    • Prey Model Raw likes this
We start raw tomorrow, but I have already been working with the boys (from day one of having them, really) that whatever I want, no matter how yummy it is, is mine. They get it back, unless they fight me on it, then they lose it. That rarely happens anymore. :) Tomorrow may be interesting, but exciting!

Different people have different beliefs. :)

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